8 Non-Political Reasons ABC Canceled Tim Allen’s ‘Last Man Standing’
'Last Man Standing' is a Tim Allen show that no one talked about until conservative outlets started using their tin foil hats as bullhorns to spread news of its cancellation. Now, right-leaning fans of the show are in an uproar, but for all the wrong reasons. There are actually several, very simple reasons the high-rated show was canceled... and none of them are political. Well, most of them aren't.
Listen, guys. I get it. Some of my favorite shows have been canceled. It sucks and it seems unfair and you want answers. But mostly, you just want your show to stay on forever. You don't care if the creative well has run dry -- you just want your favorite characters to keep rehashing the same old bits until the end of time or the ascension of our robot overlords, whichever comes first. This is something I understand.
What I don't understand is why so many people are upset about 'Last Man Standing.' It was an okay show, but was far from groundbreaking. Despite that, it had pretty good numbers for being aired in the ratings dead zone that is Friday night. So, naturally, fans were baffled by the recent announcement of its cancellation. Then, clickbait right-wing websites began flying conspiracy theories up the flagpole about Tim Allen's political leanings being the reason... and people bought it.
The truth is, it's not that complicated. There are a number of reasonable explanations for the cancellation, which I've listed below.
Tim Allen is one of the highest paid actors on television at $4.2 million a year. That's $235,000 per episode! That's pretty good money to recycle 'Home Improvement' jokes for a half hour every week. Also, the network would've been on the hook for picking up all production costs moving into the next season, where they previously were not. Not to mention the fact that they reportedly just spent a boatload to keep 'Modern Family' on the air, which regularly brings in higher ratings, and has won multiple Emmy Awards, including several for Outstanding Comedy Series -- an honor for which 'Last Man Standing' isn't even in the conversation.
I know I said that the reasons weren't political, but there are some politics involved here. Whenever there is controversy -- sponsors run for the hills. That's why you didn't see Tiger Woods in commercials after he got caught cheating with a bunch of different chicks. It's also why Bill O'Reilly just got canned over at Fox News despite being a ratings giant. He didn't get fired when the network had to pay off all the women suing him, he got fired because the story went public and all the sponsors dropped their ads from his show. You see, ratings without advertisement dollars are useless. When you have a guy on TV that praises a political figure (and even dresses up like him) who's embroiled in a new controversy every day -- you start to understand why advertisers would get nervous about attaching their brand to that.
3. People Kept Mistaking It for the Other 'Last Man Standing'
I can't tell you how many times I turned it on ABC expecting to see Bruce Willis using the infinite ammo cheat to smoke gangsters in the 1996 over-the-top prohibition era shoot-em-up of the same name. There's nothing worse than expecting to see B-Willy get lit and Christopher Walken fire a tommy gun, only to find the voice of Buzz Lightyear mugging for the camera and making luke-warm Obama jokes.
4. The Show Wasn't as Smart as it Thought it Was
I saw a headline that read something like, "Tim Allen's Destroyed Liberal Snowflakes On Show Before It Was Canceled." It was the above clip that sets up a ridiculous premise in which Tim Allen gets to proudly buck the system that doesn't want to let him say that he loves America, and hard work pays off. How controversial. You know how college students are so sensitive you can't say "ladies and gentleman" to them? Guys, these are Grade A yuk-yuks here. Colleges are getting a bit out of hand with their coddling of students, but it's not even close to that ridiculous, and nothing he says is remotely controversial.
5. It's Basically Grumpy Home Improvement
Mike Baxter and Tim "The Toolman" Taylor are basically the same character, except the cheap laughs provided by Tim's power tool buffoonery have been swapped out for mediocre uncle jokes, all of which are scored by an obnoxious laugh track. The house his family lives in is even reminiscent of the one from 'Home Improvement'. Instead of Tim's three boys, Mike has three girls. Instead of 'Tool Time,' Mike hosts a vlog for the outdoor sports store chain for which he works. I don't know about you guys, but IRL I'm constantly listening to that politically charged vlog that Cabela's puts out every week, because that's a believably real thing major stores do. The only thing 'Home Improvement' had that this show doesn't is J.T.T. ***Checks IMDB -- Never mind. They totally had J.T.T. too.
Instead of giving people half of a show they'd kind of like to see again, ABC decided to bring back all of a show everybody wants to see again. Why have a half ass "spiritual sequel" to 'Home Improvement' when you can have a full-on, everybody-is-back-as-the-same-characters revival of Roseanne? The new 'Roseanne' has already generated more buzz in a week than 'Last Man Standing' mustered in its entire run, and rightfully so. They're both shows about working class families, except 'Roseanne' is funnier without all the self-righteousness. LMS regularly appeared on the chopping block at end of each of its six seasons -- this time it didn't make it off the block. I'll bet they chose to spend that Tim Allen money on 'Roseanne' instead. It's a good move -- even for a third of the episodes.
7. Did the Show Even Exist Before it Got Canceled?
People are acting PISSED about this. Like, almost mad enough to actually start watching the show if it gets picked up by another network. Almost. They're acting like you're taking their health care away or something, but no... well, that is happening too, but it's unrelated. This show had zero buzz. I literally have never heard a single person talk about this show. I've watched it a few times because I did love 'Home Improvement' growing up, but found 'Last Man Standing' unremarkable, generic, and instantly forgettable. However, you read one story about it getting canceled because of Tim Allen's politics, and all of a sudden it's the greatest show on television? Give me a break. I'm willing to bet half of these people "outraged" by this have never even watched 'Last Man Standing.' This show is Dinty Moore Beef Stew. This show is Eddie Money's annual concert at DTE. This show is off brand snack mix -- the kind without the roasted garlic rye chips. 'Last Man Standing' was a show that was just kind of there, like a coaster. You occasionally put your drink on it, and look at it from time to time, but you never talk about it with other people.
8. The Show Had Run its Course
Like so many shows before it, 'Last Man Standing' was canceled, but not before reaching the coveted 100-episode mark. That's the standard amount a show needs to be sold in syndication. But after that, what's the point of keeping it around much longer? Are they going to make another 100 episodes that are lousy with dated political jokes that won't play well in syndication? This show isn't Law & Order SVU. It's a topical comedy series that doesn't hold up as time marches on. Much better shows have been canceled, and not all of them got to the 130 episode mark. Take 'Becker' for instance. Another forgettable show starring Nancy Travis. That one only made it to 129 episodes, and was a much funnier show. Still, no one talks about it 13 years later. Even though 'Last Man Standing' is a lesser show, the complete series on DVD will soon be right next to the 'Becker' collection in the bargain bin at Walmart. That's why it got canceled. Suck it up, snowflake.