Last Man Standing’s final season featured a crossover with Home Improvement, with Tim Allen reprising Tim Taylor; here’s what he’s been up to.
Last Man Standing provided an update on what Home Improvement’s Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor has been up to since the latter series ended. Despite being a veteran of the big and small screen now, when Home improvement Debuted on ABC in 1991, Tim Allen had few credits to his name. The sitcom was based on Allen’s stand-up act and cast him as Tim Taylor, hos of a home improvement series called Tool Time alongside assistant Al and – in the first two seasons – Pamela Anderson’s Lisa. The show revolved around Tim’s self-image of him as a confident, capable family man who often had to deal with drama-often of his own making of him-involving his wife Jill (Patricia Richardson) and their three sons of her.
Home improvement became one of the biggest sitcoms of the decade and helped propel Allen on to movies like The Santa Clause or toy story. There was a warmth to Home improvement that helped set it apart from other comedies of its era, and it came to a close in 1999 after eight seasons. The series was still pulling in strong numbers when it ended, with Allen and Richardson being offered huge paydays to commit to another series. Creative fatigue and a desire to move on to other projects convinced them it was time to end it.
Allen later returned to television for another sitcom with Last Man Standing – which is available on Hulu – which ran on ABC for six seasons before switching to Fox for its final three. The show followed Allen’s Mike Baxter, a family man who works for a sporting goods chain called Outdoor Man. Last Man Standing wasn’t afraid to make references to Home improvement through its run, including castmates like Richardson or Jonathan Taylor Thomas making appearances. For the final season, Last Man Standing Pulled the ultimate meta move by having Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor himself appear, with Allen playing both parts. The episode “Dual Time” involves Mike’s wife Vanessa calling in the handyman to fix their broken garbage disposal unit, and the episode fills viewers in on Taylor’s life post Home improvement.
After getting the customary gags about how Baxter and Taylor look exactly alike out of the way, “Dual Time” sees Tim fill Mike in on his backstory. He reveals he hosted Tool Time – which Allen’s toy story referenced – for eight years but decided to end it when they couldn’t think of ways to keep topping what he’d already done – mirroring Allen’s reason for ending Home improvement. Since his show from him ended, Tim became a higher-up at Tool Time sponsor Binford Tools and performs quality inspections at their various outlets, which brought him to Denver for Last Man Standing.
Despite the years that have passed, the episode proved Tim’s handyman skills haven’t improved much and true to his nature he gives the disposal unit too much power and breaks it further. Allen also reveals to Baxter his neighbor Wilson passed away and that he sometimes thinks of rebooting Tool Time as he still misses it. In an interview with TheWrap, Last Man Standing showrunner Kevin Abbott revealed it was tricky for Fox to get permission from Disney to use Home Improvement’s – which showed Wilson’s face in the finale – Tim for the episode, and that Allen himself was very protective of the character. In fact, Abbott first wanted Tim to be revealed as divorced and just working as a handyman, but that idea was shot down. Season 9 was the final season of Last Man Standing too, with “Dual Times” commenting on the passage of time and moving on to new challenges, which is a theme Allen no doubt found resonant when pairing two of his most popular sitcom characters.
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