It’s been a weird year for TV productions in general as they adjusted to new safety norms and odd ways of filming on sets. However, for a veteran show like Last Man Standing, a show which found out it would be ending in the middle of all of these changes and adjustments, things are even harder. As the longtime sitcom was ending, actress Nancy Travis revealed one thing that’s still tough about how Last Man Standing had to say goodbye on Fox.
In general, given Last Man Standing had several months of filming left between the announcement the series would be ending that came in October of 2020 and the ultimate filming of the finale -- which didn’t happen until 2021 -- Nancy Travis, Tim Allen and co. did have the opportunity to adjust to what was impending. However, it’s one thing to know the end is coming and another to experience it and 2021 was a particularly tough year for shows that ended. As Nancy Travis put it:
We're actors and this is our job, but when it's over, you just get your stuff and you move on and leave and go to the next thing and it's just a very awkward thing because in this time of COVID, none of us really got to say goodbye. We didn't have a cast party, we didn't have a wrap party -- even for the crew. You go to work, you see these people day in and day out for nine years, and then you walk away and you go home and you wake up the next day and say, 'Now what am I gonna do?’
Typically when sitcoms end -- and I think Modern Family was a great recent example of this, you have a big wrap party. There’s lots of hugging. There’s lots of crying. There are social media posts. Sure, we did get some touching comments from Tim Allen and the cast and the ending of Last Man Standing has felt final, but it wasn’t typical by any means. And from what Travis told ET, it was tough to do the ending this way.
In fact, she also used to joke that when the ending came, she’d be the first out the door, but by the time Last Man Standing wrapped at the end of Season 9, it seems like she changed her tune a little bit. The actress says she’s still having quite the time letting go of Vanessa Baxter as she shifts back into her regular life and starts looking toward her next role.
I used to joke, people would ask me about different episodes, and I would joke and say that as soon as I said the last line, my car was going and I'm on the freeway and the episode is out of my head. So in a strange way, we ended and we were forced to say goodbye, but I don't know if you ever say goodbye. There are these moments that I feel... I'll say, 'Oh, that's something Vanessa would say or Vanessa would do. Not me!' And especially when you've been so intimately connected to a character for such a long time, you just wonder, 'Am I Vanessa? Is Vanessa me? Where does one end and the other begin?'
The whole ending of Last Man Standing felt a little odd. The show had already been cancelled once before and seemed to be in a place where it could go as long as it wanted. Then again, a lot of veteran comedies were axed at the end of this TV season, so it was far from alone in its ending. Still, there's clearly interest in the show and potentially doing a Last Man Standing Season 10, as showrunner and executive producer Kevin Abbott even told CinemaBlend recently. It sort of hasn't even sunk in for me yet that the series is over, so it's easy imagine how Nancy Travis, Tim Allen and the rest of the cast are having a bit of a rough time.
Still, life goes on. They'll all doubtless have a slew of upcoming projects on the horizon and we'll keep you updated every step of the way. In the meantime, you can see what is returning this summer with our full 2021 TV premiere schedule.