Review: Tim Allen's groan-worthy new 'Last Man Standing'

Review: Tim Allen's groan-worthy new 'Last Man Standing'

One of my favorite random "30 Rock" gags of recent vintage is that the show-within-the-show only got on the air as NBC's way of apologizing for having aired "Bitch Hunter," a misogynist action drama starring Will Ferrell as a hero who barks out dialogue like, "Put the mimosas down, bitch!" Each time we'd see a clip of "Bitch Hunter," it would come with a credit listing the various writers and producers, which included eccentric former NBC president Ben Silverman, "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner and (each time) "30 Rock" writer Jack Burditt. 

At the time, I just took it as a friendly dig at one of the series' own writers. But having watched two episodes of "Last Man Standing" (it debuts tonight at 8 on ABC), the Burditt-created sitcom in which Tim Allen plays a sexist, homophobic, xenophobic sporting goods executive, I had the following thoughts: 

1)Allen's character would probably be right in the "Bitch Hunter" target demo; 

2)"Last Man Standing" is Burditt participating in an elaborate practical joke to see how much of that ethos he can put into a network sitcom; or 

3)That "30 Rock" kept associating "Bitch Hunter" with Burditt was less a friendly joke than a veiled cry for help.

Allen's Mike Baxter has a cliched sitcom wife - always rolling her eyes at his foolishness but ultimately going along - named Vanessa (Nancy Travis), a trio of daughters(*) and a job at Outdoor Man, a sporting goods company defined for so long by Mike's real baby: a catalog featuring photos of outdoor men doing manly outdoor things in exotic locales. But as boss Ed (Hector Elizondo) points out, not enough people read catalogs anymore, so Mike's globe-trotting lifestyle gets grounded while he tries to fix the company's terrible website - and so he can realize how much his girls need a man around the house. Read More...


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