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In its first seven seasons on the air (across two different networks) Last Man Standing and its creative team have often faced questions regarding the show's political leanings, largely because leading man Tim Allen is one of relatively few outspoken conservatives in Hollywood. The Fox sitcom has often featured politicized jokes and comments, usually delivered by Allen's Mike Baxter, but it sounds like the creative team found a way to bring both politics AND religion into Season 8, though not in a way that's meant to start any arguments.
When Season 8 kicks off, Last Man Standing will focus on Mike and Vanessa Baxter as empty-nesters, since they'll be without any kids in the house for the first time in ages. The stories will touch upon the husband-and-wife relationship, particularly where it comes to communication, but Last Man Standing will also give the characters more to do with their free time. Mike is set to go into a car restoration business with Joe, though things get upended when Jay Leno's Joe enters the picture, but it's Vanessa who will introduce the more political element.
Here's what executive producer Kevin Abbott revealed about Vanessa's new storyline.
She discovers that her tutoring business is thriving because the educational system is failing… and she decides to run for [State Assembly]. We always talk a little bit about politics on the show, so it’s a way for us to introduce some subject matter without being too partisan and too issue-oriented.
While fans can almost definitely expect to hear some targeted humor with this storyline, Kevin Abbott makes it sound like Last Man Standing will approach the world of local politics without any particular chips on its shoulder. Granted, it's possible that the show could take some swipes at the education system and public schooling, but it sounds like the thrust will be about Vanessa's rise through the system, as opposed to a veiled attack on anything in particular.
Last Man Standing is taking a somewhat similar approach in tackling a more religious-themed storyline. As Kevin Abbott revealed to TVLine, the show is going to take Christoff Sanders' Kyle a bit deeper into his religious beliefs. Though Molly McCook's Mandy is eager to get pregnant and start a family, there are problems to overcome there, though she's quite happy to be working dedicating her work time to Outdoor Man. Kyle, on the flip side, will head down a different path in Season 8. According to Abbott:
We have him contemplating going into ministry. He’s a religious character, which you don’t really see a lot of on TV. We’ve always referred to him as a ‘pure character’ and a ‘pure spirit,’ and we kind of like that notion of him seeing if there’s a calling to do more with his life.
By having Kyle enter into early contemplations about a life within the ministry, Last Man Standing can tackle some light religious story matter without getting into any deep theological conversations that run the risk of also getting political. The approach is fairly similar to Vanessa running for State Assembly, which is far enough on the outside of the political spectrum to keep everyone on the same side.
Sounds like both Vanessa and Kyle will have a lot to do in Season 8, which likely means life will get somewhat difficult for both Mike and Molly (not the CBS show) when Last Man Standing returns to kick off its eight season, and its second on Fox.