A controversy has erupted in the days since ABC announced Last Man Standing will not return for a seventh season. The cancellation inspired backlash and a boycott of ABC by fans who accuse the network of trying to punish the sitcom’s star, Tim Allen, for his conservative political views. ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey defended the decision Tuesday, saying the sitcom got the ax for the “same business and scheduling reasons” as other canceled shows, including programs with more progressive messages.
Allen’s character, Mike Baxter, often touched on his political views. Episode 9 in the show’s sixth season revolved around political correctness on college campuses. And Allen himself actually dressed as Donald Trump for Halloween in the fifth episode of the same season. However, there were plenty of nonpolitical stories on the show. Relive some of the series’ best moments below.
7. That time Nick Jonas played Ryan
In season 1, the role of Mike’s daughter Kristin was played by Alexandra Krosney. In season 2, Amanda Fuller took over. The role of Ryan — the father of Kristin’s child who abandoned her when she got pregnant but later became her husband — was also recast; Nick Jonas played the character when he first appeared in episode 10 of season 1, which saw him try to become more involved in his son Boyd’s life. But Jordan Masterson took over the role during season 2.
6. The bear nightmare
Allen’s Mike is a big game hunter and co-owner of Outdoor Man, the in-show chain of sporting goods stores. The season 6 premiere (a.k.a. the bear episode) gives Mike an opportunity to showcase his expertise with wild animals, thus saving the day. When the live bear walks around the store, a lockdown ensues, and most of the Baxters and Chuck (Jonathan Adams) are trapped inside. In the hilarious episode, Ryan attempts to lure the very real bear by running past it with a large salmon in hand, while Mandy (Molly Ephraim) remains completely clueless.
5. The introduction of Troy Fontaine
Inspired by Undercover Boss, Outdoor Man co-owner Ed Alzate (Hector Elizondo) decides to go undercover as a warehouse worker in the third episode of season 3. To ensure he isn’t recognized, he dons a disguise featuring a long, brown ponytail and tinted glasses. This lets Ed get to know his employees as the audience gets a chance to appreciate Elizondo’s comedic timing.
4. Mandy’s music videos
Mandy’s stellar music videos, which featured in the first two seasons of the series, are standouts, especially the ridiculously campy “Love Arrow” in season 2, episode 13. Amusingly titled the Inglorious Baxters, Mandy, Eve (Kaitlyn Dever), and Kristin’s all-sister band show off their talent and humor. Bonus: It also leads to the beginning of Mandy and Kyle’s (Christoph Sanders) romance.
3. Eve’s participation in ROTC
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is a pivotal part of the youngest Baxter’s life. Over the course of the show’s early seasons, Eve’s aim to get into West Point and follow in her grandfather’s military footsteps often saw her attending Army Junior ROTC training and questioned what it means to be a young woman who wants to serve her country. This moment in season 2, episode 11 finds Eve excitedly showing her mother her new uniform after signing up.
2. Mandy’s wedding
After years of dating, Mandy and Kyle finally walk down the aisle in season 6, episode 11, making Kyle an official member of the family he loves so much (and one that loves him back). It also sees Mandy put aside her desire for a perfect wedding day to prove just how much she loves the man she’s chosen to marry.
1. The Home Improvement reunions
Last Man Standing found Allen once again playing a father of three kids, albeit three daughters, inviting comparisons to his previous sitcom. To the delight of Home Improvement fans, the show peppered in a few reunions throughout the series. The first, in the ninth episode of season 2, shows Richard Karn (Al) playing an architect who quips about Mike having “three boys.” The next one, in season 2, episode 18, sees Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Randy) taking a break from directing a few of the show’s episodes to play John Baker, Kristin’s old friend from her job at the diner who offers her a job at his new restaurant. The last reunion, in season 4, episode 12, shows Allen coming face-to-face with Patricia Richardson (Jill), who plays the widow of a man prone to “home improvement” disasters. She also has a son who looks a lot like JTT.