Audiences might have short memories, but the success of “Last Man Standing” proves that Tim Allen exists in a rare class of Teflon primetime royalty. Even though a dozen years elapsed between the finale of “Home Improvement” and the premiere of his latest sitcom, “LMS”—which stars Allen as Mike Baxter, a macho husband and father of three girls (and grandfather to one boy) struggling for manhood in a house of women—debuted to a rock-solid 8.1 Nielsen rating and appears destined for renewal.
Only a few hours prior to tonight’s second episode (8 p.m., ABC), “Grandparents Day,” Allen and co-star Nancy Travis (who plays Mike’s wife, Vanessa) chatted with XFinityTV.com about waiting to get picked up, Elvira’s Halloween cameo and avoiding the “splashy” storylines.
Now that you’ve premiered to such stellar ratings, does it seem certain that the show is here to stay?
Allen: For at least today. It’s a very different landscape now, you never know.
Travis: It is. You know, we hope that’s the case. We hope a lot of people tune in tonight to watch this episode, and we hope we’re in it for the long haul.
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Speaking of future episodes, the Halloween episode is next week, and Elvira is cast as a special guest. What can we expect from her appearance?
Allen: I’m not gonna give it away…. I’ve gone trick or treating, and I shouldn’t be trick or treating, because it’s not actually my son, it’s my grandson, and his mom does not want her kid involved in all these Celtic ceremonies that Halloween. The funny thing for that part of the show is I tell all my kids that the history of Halloween is a Celtic response to Constantine’s work in Turkey at the time when they were putting the churches together. [Laughs]
Travis: [Snores] La la la la, and then funny stuff happens. [Laughs]
Allen: And then everybody goes to sleep, there’s a couple of gags, and then Elvira comes in…. she and the rest of her.
Travis: And I’m in a sexy pirate costume. Let me talk about that for a little longer.
Travis: Oh God, is she ever. She looks great. That’s the whole deal is how she dressed like a pirate, because it was Margaret Thatcher last year.
With the show on fairly steady ground, are you guys plotting any other big theme episodes?
Allen: An abduction I think, an alien abduction. And one of us turns out to be a chameleon, where you can remove limbs and they grow back. It’s very big, very forward thinking. This isn’t just your typical situation comedy. [Intones mock announcer voice] “Filmed in front of a live studio audience.” I just wanna make sure everyone knows that, that it isn’t canned laughter.
Travis: I don’t even know in terms of the development of the scripts, but right now we’re just trying to put together the Baxter family element and those relationships and make those relationships specific and real, and we don’t have any splashy, big episodes yet.
Allen: Well put Nancy, well put.