Unlike many TV shows out there, Tim Allen's Last Man Standing had the quasi-privilege of learning ahead of Season 9 that this would be its final season on Fox, giving the creative team the chance to close out the story as it so desired. That set the stage for the premiere episode's post-pandemic time jump and for all the episodes that followed, which by and large steered clear of anything political and topical, and also avoided big Event Episodes that shined a spotlight on this being the final season. Turns out showrunner Kevin Abbott wasn't into doing any of that.
CinemaBlend had the pleasure of speaking with showrunner Kevin Abbott ahead of Last Man Standing's double-episode series finale, and I was curious about the motivation behind keeping Season 9's episodes as grounded and timeless as any in the series. When I asked if bypassing topical narratives was purposefully done to keep these (and past seasons') episodes as rewatchable as possible, here's how Abbott answered:
Which isn't to say that Last Man Standing has avoided any and all time-sensitive topics in its nine years across both ABC and Fox, since the show did lean more into political humor in the years before it shifted networks. But still, a lot of that fell into more general party vs. party gags, as opposed to jokes about specific incidents involving members of Congress that have sense been voted out. Similarly, the sitcom hasn't ever really focused on modern pop culture for its jokes, unless one counts Ryan and Kyle's comic book fandom in that respect, and I don't.
By the same token, while Last Man Standing's early promos for Season 9 tipped a fourth-wall-breaking hat toward this being the final season, the episodes themselves haven't gone overboard on gimmicks and bizarre event episodes the way other sitcoms have done in the past. No episodes filled with unexplainable guest stars or wacky trips to Disneyland or animated scenes or anything of that nature. According to Kevin Abbott, the idea was to for the writers to just keep crafting the kinds of stories that fans have tuned into for the past nine seasons, saying:
Given that, fans should take comfort in the assumption that Last Man Standing's series finale won't end on Tim Allen waking up and realizing the entire show was just a long dream being had by his Home Improvement character Tim Taylor (whose cameo in an early Season 9 episode arguably earned the "Event Episode" label more than any others). But I'd be lying if I'd say it wouldn't amuse the hell out of me if they did that. Even more so if it was just a Tim Taylor puppet that Jeff Dunham designed.
Last Man Standing's series finale, complete with a Kaitlyn Dever appearance, is set to air on Fox on Thursday, May 20, at 9:00 p.m. ET, with lots of other great shows set to follow it as part of the 2021 Summer TV season.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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