The month of May is always a sore spot for TV fanatics, with so many big season finales popping up in primetime and beyond. It's even worse when beloved shows are bowing out for good, which is the case with Tim Allen and Nancy Travis' Last Man Standing on Fox. The long-running sitcom will conclude on May 20 after nine seasons, and it sounds like saying farewell to the Baxters has had big impact on Tim Allen's mental and physical health.
Okay, so it's probably less about saying goodbye to the show's fictional family, and more about Tim Allen knowing he'll no longer be filming episodes with the cast and crew that had become a metaphorical second family for the star. Appearing along with other Last Man Standing actors and executive producers for a Fox press event, Allen was asked if the show's previous cancellation at ABC made the process any easier at Fox, and here's how he put it:
To be very honest, I had health problems letting go of this one. It's just been, what, three or four weeks? And I'm literally just feeling better. Never have I enjoyed [a job this much], outside of Home Improvement and maybe moments of Galaxy Quest and one of these jobs in stand-up I love. But this crew, from the guy at the gate to Radford inside to people that we ate with, I loved every second of this experience. Earl Hindman and I - may God rest him - we used to love what we did, and we'd look at every part of the set every morning and just... I'll always remember this, and that gratefulness kept me level. And this set, I looked at every set piece; I walked through every hallway over and over again. I always looked around; I'm going to miss it. Having this canceled several times like that, you get used to the sudden death, and for some reason, I prefer that. Knowing we were canceled all year long, I'd look at all of this wonderful cast. You can hear this a million ways. You just don't know how much affection I have for all of these people, the people behind the scenes, everybody involved in this thing.
For Tim "Not a Feelings Guy" Allen, saying goodbye to Last Man Standing was apparently in the realm of being too hazardous for his health, as the massive release that followed the final episode's production had him feeling quite under the weather in one way or another. I suspect its similar to a parent dropping a child off at a faraway college, knowing there won't be anymore instant and constant communication with other loved ones. But at least with family, you know you'll see them again during special occasions, while the same luxury can't be shared by a TV series' entire cast and crew.
Even if Fox delivers a 10-year reunion or something similar for Last Man Standing, it obviously wouldn't bring everyone back together. And sure, Tim Allen might one day star in another project with the likes of Nancy Travis, Kaitlyn Dever, or Jay Leno, but that would also not quite compare to the LMS experience. And considering he already knew the mournful feelings that come with series finales, Allen apparently took special care to walk around and take in his surroundings as much as possible in the final weeks, knowing he would only be able to make new memories for a certain amount of time.
To that end, as much as he wanted to savor all the moments that he could with the Last Man Standing posse, Tim Allen acknowledged that part of him wanted that whole process to be done with the quickness. In his words:
I was counting off the hours. I did not do well with this. In a very moralistic way, I'm glad it's done because I can't feel this way anymore. Now I'm looking at my cast, and again, this was a wonderful experience, and it expressed itself, I believe, in a wonderful television show like none other. There's other sitcoms that I really adore, I do watch, but I would shout out to this one. What these guys did, a most selfless group of performers. Everybody stayed where they were. Complaints aside, we all worked as a team. Very unusual.
To that last point, Tim Allen and Last Man Standing's showrunner Kevin Abbott also talked about this sitcom being one of the few shows where the cast and crew members' differing political ideologies drew focus from audiences and the media, and how that wasn't a hindrance to the series. To the contrary, both men (and others at the panel) appreciate such differences, and how they never got in the way of bringing storylines to life on screen, even when it came to elections and the pandemic. I think it's safe to assume, however, that everyone agreed that a Home Improvement revival would be amazing.
With Kaitlyn Dever's Eve set to appear in a limited capacity, Last Man Standing will air its two-episode series finale on Fox on Thursday, May 20, at 9:00 p.m. ET, so be sure to keep watching after that first episode wraps up. Hopefully fans won't miss Mike Baxter's shenanigans too much with all the big premieres coming to the 2021 Summer TV schedule.