October 11, 2011

TV: Last Man Standing (ABC, Tue 8)

Tim Allen, Nancy Travis, and Hector Elizondo are three talented people, which makes one wonder how it is possible to build a sitcom around them and not get a single laugh.

Allen plays Mike, who supervises catalog shoots for Outdoor Man, a mail-order company selling outdoor gear. But catalog sales are declining, and his boss (Elizondo) can no longer afford to send him off to Alaska and Costa Rica for expensive photo shoots, so he is charged with finding a way to boost the company's anemic web presence.

This is good news for his wife (Travis), who's just gotten a promotion and will have to work extra hours (it's a sign of how unimportant a character she is that we are never told what her job actually is), meaning that Mike will have to step up and help out with their three daughters (20-ish single mom, boy-obsesed teen, jock tween).

So, we're in very similar territory to Allen's old Home Improvement, with the exception that Tim Taylor's cluelessness was well-meaning and likable, where Mike's is aggressively assholish. He tosses off causal sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and general loathing of the modern world.

This is an awful mess of a show, and it's baffling that anyone thought it was funny enough to put on TV.

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