For Amanda Fuller, there was a lot to take in when it came time to direct an episode of Last Man Standing, especially as a multicamera comedy. As it turns out, Tim Allen was the hardest cast member for Fuller to direct, though probably not for the reason you may have thought. While Allen is a seasoned pro in show business, it wasn't an issue of intimidation that made things tricky for Fuller.
As Last Man Standing fans well know, Amanda Fuller plays the eldest daughter of Tim Allen’s character, Mike Baxter. As you would likely suspect, the father/daughter part of their on-screen relationship transmitted to the real world, which played into what made it so challenging to direct the stand-up comedian. Well, that and Allen not being a fan of taking orders. Fuller explained to TV Guide:
He is like a second dad to me. He doesn't like to be told what to do by me or anybody, but he doesn't get enough credit as an actor. He has a very thorough process when making sure the story is told properly; he will spend rehearsals asking every question, debating every bit of it. He was the most challenging of the actors to work with, because he was asking all the tough questions.
What a tricky line to walk! Amanda Fuller points out that Tim Allen does not get enough credit as an actor. She has a point, in my opinion. Especially when you consider that he has had two long-running hit sitcoms. What is the common denominator between Last Man Standing and Home Improvement? Allen, and his knowledge of how to make a multi-cam sitcom work.
Amanda Fuller confirmed what many fans might have already imagined. Tim Allen pays incredible attention to his craft, which makes a ton of sense when you consider how consistent Allen’s characterizations are. Allen had a lot to dig into with the Last Man Standing episode that Fuller directed, too.
In the April 9 installment, Tim Allen’s Mike got too aggressive when it came to ribbing Jay Leno’s Joe, which led Joe to temporarily leave the car restoration side business that he started up with Mike, Chuck and Ed. Allen’s Last Man Standing performance in the episode echoed his tireless preparation.
I would love to know all of the questions that Tim Allen had for Amanda Fuller while putting the episode together, because it was a tricky Last Man Standing for Mike. He realized how his words really hurt Joe, though he didn't necessarily see his own words as out of line. Mike’s conscience was somewhat prickled by seeing how far he had pushed Joe.
It will be interesting to see if there are any long-term changes to Mike’s interactions with Joe and others, since giving his fellow characters a hard time is a crucial part of who Mike is. Viewers will not get a chance to see how it plays out as far as an official Season 8 finale.
Last Man Standing had to end production early ahead of filming the planned-as-final episode of the season. Despite that, Amanda Fuller has teased that the installment that concludes Season 8 will still entail a cliffhanger, and further good news is there are still some more new episodes left before the season ends early.
New episodes of Last Man Standing air Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. While you await word on if the Tim Allen starrer will get renewed, you check out this spring’s premieres in an effort to stay entertained.