A decade ago, I’m not sure that anyone would have predicted future comedies would fall into one of two categories: those still featuring a laugh track and those without it. Though it’s become one of the defining elements of the genre, telling audiences when to laugh doesn’t necessarily speak to a lack in quality of the jokes. The only thing that’s really changed is that the laugh track or lack thereof must be considered before investing in a new program.

While there are shows that are easier to invest in if they are watched from Day 1, luckily there are plenty of shows with the ease of plot or the writing finesse to help people to jump into any episode and get involved with a new series. To determine whether a show falls in to the former or latter camp, TV Blend writer Jessica Rawden has vowed to watch episodes of shows she’s never seen before and analyze those show in different areas to let you, the reader, know how quickly you could become a fan. This week Jessica is tackling Last Man Standing’s Season 4 Episode 11 drama “What’s in a Name.”

1. Quality Of Story
Last Man Standing is a family drama, and as a family drama it focuses on whatever is going on in the lives of its characters. This week’s episode featured Mike Baxter (Tim Allen), a father of three girls who attempted to spend time with his grandson completing the perfect racecar. This spawns a rivalry between Baxter and the kid’s father that takes up most of the episode. A second sideplot features Baxter’s middle daughter creating a sexy Valentine’s Day video also features prominently.

No, the story is not cutting edge stuff. In fact it’s closer to reminiscent of the programming I watched in my youth. If that sounds like a shot at the series, it shouldn’t. Just because a show harkens back to the past doesn’t mean it’s not funny, and Last Man Standing never feels like a complete waste of a half hour. Additionally, the show does go out on a limb at various points. At one juncture, Hector Elizondo has a bongo solo and at another point Baxter basically does standup via the convenient device of a viral video. These are things I haven’t really seen in a sitcom before.

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