Last week’s may not have fit the narrative, but the reasons that I appreciate Last Man Standing all came flooding back in this episode. They deal with realistic situations like adults. What I appreciate about them most is that they’re able to comically handle serious situations, while never playing caricatures or outside of the realm of truth. This episode, exploring alcoholism, is no exception.
This week on Last Man Standing: It is revealed to Mike and Vanessa that Eve has a new boyfriend, so they invite him over for brunch to get to know him better. Rob presents Mike with a serious problem, and Mike struggles with talking to Eve about it. Meanwhile, Mandy enlists Kristin’s help to drop hints to Kyle for Christmas, but Kyle already has her gift finished.
I’d like to start with the most important issue faced in this episode, and that is homemade versus store-bought gifts. Both have their special meaning and time and place. What I appreciated most about it, though, was that it didn’t paint Kyle as dumb. It poked fun at an absent Ryan more than once, but never at Kyle for going the route of a sentimental gift. The expected play in this scenario would be having Kyle screw up his first happily-wedded Christmas, but instead, he outwits the others. It was a great moment for an oft-underappreciated character.
Then, there’s also the actual biggest issue in the episode: alcoholism. It’s easy to think, based on Mike’s reactions to Ryan and others of his daughters boyfriends, that he would be appalled to find out that Rob is in AA at only 20 years old. Mike, once again, is able to defy the expectation of the casual viewer (AKA, those outraged by his “precious snowflakes” rant) and approach the situation objectively. Even though the kid is a Raiders fan (more on that later) and an alcoholic, Mike is able to appreciate how much Eve cares for him, and the redemptive effort that Rob is making. It’s clear that instead of being worried about Rob’s problems, he’s worried about Eve being aware and that he’s honest with her. Ultimately, it’s proven that Rob is an honest guy, and Mike can live with that. I appreciate the realism and practicality of this entire story, and there were some good quips in, too.
A few other thoughts:
- Kyle’s revelation RE: Rudolph was perhaps the best part of the episode
- “We are nice, dammit!”
- “His moods do not swing. He’s only got one.”
- I’m a big Cincinnati Reds fan, and my brother is dating a St. Louis Cardinals fan, so I totally feel Mike on this Raiders thing. I wouldn’t want my loved ones exposed to Cardinal fans. THE WORST!
- About 30 seconds before it happened, I figured out that the armadillo was for Ryan, and I howled with laughter. Kyle was this week’s MVP for sure.
- “He’s not going to become a democrat now that he’s stopped drinking!”
So everything I appreciate about Last Man Standing was ever-present in the fall finale. I appreciate the willingness on their end to tackle these topics while the characters continue to progress and handle things with maturity and practicality. Though heightened, Last Man Standing appeals to the realism in it’s viewers, and I love it.
What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know!
Last Man Standing airs Fridays at 8/7c on ABC
Last Man Standing Season 6 Episode 11 Review: "My Name Is Rob"
Mike and the family meet Eve’s new boyfriend as they prepare for Christmas on this week’s excellent episode of Last Man Standing.