Last Man Standing has been tackling a story involving politics in Season 8, but not quite in the way that it has tackled political stories in the past. Mike's wife Vanessa is running for State Assembly, and ultimately hopes to lead the charge for some reform in the education system. It's a more subtle political story than the series has done in the past, but does that mean the days of heavy-handed political episodes are done?
Tim Allen was asked about Last Man Standing doing a story that's more about politics than it is political, and whether or not he'd like the series to return during the 2020 election months if the show gets renewed for Season 9. Allen talked about the disadvantages of being on during the fall season versus midseason, and why the series hasn't gone as hard with politics in this season than it may have done in the past.
The disadvantage of [being on in the fall] is that you’re not on for four or five weeks, between the [World Series], Thanksgiving and Christmas… We all figured  was going to be a really fun year because Hillary Clinton was going to be president, and we thought, 'Oh wow, this is going to be different.' And we didn’t jump on the anti-Trump thing because the station that we’ve pulled into [at Fox] really was, if not pro-Trump, is at least OK [with him]. And so we’ve been able to skirt that and just sort of move on… We’re going to have fun with whatever comes up next.
Tim Allen didn't explicitly say he doesn't want to come back in the fall, though he did list the advantages of premiering in the midseason. As for why Last Man Standing is being a bit more subtle with its politics, Allen told TVLine there was no anti-Trump movement on the series because the show's new network is largely okay with the President. Allen has quite literally dressed as Donald Trump on Last Man Standing before, so this is a departure from the ABC days.
Of course, Last Man Standing has been very much about the times, and showing how people with different moral and political beliefs can ultimately still band together and be a family. There will still be shots fired at both sides, and Tim Allen confirmed Mike will continue to take some jabs at the other side of his political leanings when he can.
[Mike] is a conservative businessman that has a big, union staff, so he’s got both [sides] that he’s dealing with… and we’ve been able to skirt this, and play along with it, and glide over it… Any dig that we throw in about the government — he likes to make fun of the state of California, as do I… any digs about kale and all that — is what a funny conservative that loves his liberal friends would joke about.
Last Man Standing has a history of airing during election seasons, so if it does return for Season 9, there wouldn't be an opportunity for a live episode like what The Conners just did over on ABC if it didn't air during the election season. Depending on when the season's story breaks, however, there's a chance to do a story where there could be more of a reaction to who won the election. As Tim Allen said, the show will find a way to have fun with it either way, so expect something to be referenced election-wise should it get another season.
Last Man Standing airs on Fox Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more news on television in 2020, and for a look at what's happening with movies as well.