You never know what might lure you to watch a new TV Show. A show can catch my eye simply based on the previews, who the star of the show is, the rave reviews it has been getting and once in a while, I might just start watching because nothing else is on. However, what made me watch a recent episode of “Last Man Standing” a new ABC Sitcom starring ABC sitcom vet, Tim Allen, wasn’t my past enjoyment of “Home Improvement” or previews or even the fact that I have nothing else to watch on Tuesdays; it was a guest star that drew me in. This past week I tuned in to “Last Man Standing” because of special guest star… Nick Jonas.
Okay, so you caught me. I am a Jonas Brothers fan. (In order of how I like them: Joe, Nick, Kevin. Now you know.) So ABC lured me in by dangling Nick in front of my face. Not only did I get to see my second favorite JoBro but I was intrigued that he was playing a teenage father who had abandoned his son. I’m so used to moral Nick with his wholesome family values; it was very appealing to think that he might play some one that was slightly imperfect.
I had a bit of catching up to do since I hadn’t seen this show from the beginning, as I expected, it wasn’t difficult. Mike Baxter (played by Tim Allen), is a father of three and surrounded by women. (Hence the last man standing.) The four women surrounding Tim Allen include the level-headed wife, the cliché youngest yet smartest daughter, the overdone flirty, feisty and ditzy middle daughter, and the older, down to earth, wiser daughter. The twist in this standard-for-sitcoms character development is that our eldest daughter is a single mom to a 2-year old. I’m guessing that this is an attempt at making the family seem imperfect and therefore, more relatable, but because they are so well adjusted to the baby and have little-to-no struggles, this just seems like a random addition to the cast. (There are also two guys that work with the father, however, they seem like they are just placed there for comic relief. One of the characters is played by Hector Alizando, who probably delivers the only funny lines of the show.)
In the episode I cut my teeth on, Kristen’s ex-love interest, Ryan, returns to town. Ryan (played by Nick Jonas) is the father to her son, Boyd, and he would suddenly like to join their life again. While Kristen has no plans of getting back together with Ryan romantically, she wants Boyd to have a good dad in his life.
I should mention, this is a Christmas episode. We start out with Mike Baxter rangling his family to church and telling them that the lord watches closely this year. So, when Mike rebels against Ryan’s return to Boyd’s life, it takes his daughters (especially Kristen) to teach him about forgiveness… just like God teaches them during church.
The whole episode is very predictable, cliché and cheesy. This fits the mold for ABC sitcoms, especially the holiday. However, I can’t help being surprised by Tim Allen, who was once a great sitcom star. He struggles to deliver any funny lines. In the “Home Improvement” days, he would bark after mentioning “Sears” and people would be in stitches. His comical lines on “Last Man Standing” seem forced, and the laugh track seems ill-placed and obviously fake. I am all for bringing back the traditional family sitcom, but this one just isn’t it. It’s a little Waltony, and a little Just the Ten of Us. Even in the years of Home Improvement’s decline, this show pales in comparison.
As for Nick Jonas? Well, at the risk of abandoning my fandom and turning my back on my fellow fangirls, his lines are delivered a bit robotic. An out of work actor that has ditched his son for the last two years could really be played with a lot more sleeze, snide, and douchiness. Jonas seems monotone and lacks emotion. (It is entirely possible though; that the ABC executives wanted some one who would not play up to those characteristics, since it is a Disney-owned network and it is family television.) My dreams of a Camp Rock 3 are slowly fading away.
Well ABC and “Last Man Standing” you’ve won this round. You’ve taken advantage of my slightly psychotic loyalty to the Jonas Brothers and tapped into their fan base. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to keep me sticking around. I won’t be returning for another watch. (Unless of course, you get Joe Jonas. Fine… I would watch for Kevin too.)