By James Hibberd
Updated August 08, 2011 at 08:55 PM EDT
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The critics were restless. After two weeks of sitting in hotel ballrooms listening to celebrities talk (and talk and talk) about their shows, reporters were ready for the summer press tour to be over. But there was still one last must-see panelist: Tim Allen, who is making his return to TV in ABC’s Last Man Standing, about a traditional male living with modern women.

“You’re pissed,” he told the critics at the start of the session. “I can see it … already pissed off and tired.”

So the critics didn’t waste much time. “Tim, why are men always portrayed as douchebags on sitcoms?” one asked.

“Well, that was the working title, actually,” Allen replied, drawing laughs. “Somebody’s already got it. Fox already got it.”

But seriously folks: “It’s the lowest common denominator, ” Allen said. “The great showrunner we have, Jack Burditt, called it, one day, Sitcom 101. When you don’t have material, you go to the lowest common denominator. I still do a lot of scatological humor, but I’ve risen it to a high art. [This gets another laugh]. Every guy on TV has a flannel shirt and a gray T‑shirt underneath, and he likes beer, and he’s got a much better‑looking wife than he deserves. It’s buffoonery. I’m going to go out on a limb and say we’re not going to do that on this show. The tide keeps it that way, but we’re not going to do that.”

For another take on ABC’s session, check out Ken Tucker’s piece, “ABC’s new fall TV identity: Home of empowered women and weak little sad men.”