Last Man Standing and Home Improvement Crossover Explained – Tim Allen


Yes, you see double.

Tim Allen reprized his role as Home improvement‘s Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor during Thursday Last man standing. In the episode, Vanessa hired the former Tool time the host (who wore a vintage Binford Tools t-shirt) to handle a series of home repairs. The half hour ended with a very meta-conversation between Allen’s alter egos, which also hinted at the series finale in the fast-approaching sitcom Fox.

Below, showrunner Kevin Abbott discusses the unlikely crossover event (which paid homage to a Home improvement actor) and reveals how Mike and Tim’s discussion will get the boss of Outdoor Man thinking about his third act.

TVLINE | Let’s start from the beginning. When Allen first came up with the idea to resume his Home improvement role?
We had already broken the first seven episodes when Fox, as always, asked, “Hey, is there a big event or something that you can have as a premiere?” And i come from hatred those [episodes]. I tend to think of our show as a little show, you know? We tell little stories – so by definition, something big and amazing really doesn’t happen on our show. It was [our writer] Jon Haller who said: “We had a lot of Home improvement people, and the only major character we haven’t had is Tim Taylor, ”and I said,“ That’s great. You will start to get paid, sir. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Once the idea was launched, was it as easy as writing the episode? Or did you have to get permission to use the character of Tim Taylor?
There were legal issues to be resolved, believe it or not. I thought, well, it’ll be easy cause I know Tim [will be into it], but we had to jump through a few hoops. But [Home Improvement creators] Matt Williams, David McFadzean, and Carmen Finestra were kind enough and very generous, and they let us use the character and some of the songs, and we had a lot of fun.

TVLINE | How much Allen of the Home improvement heritage?
I would say very protective. I made her a promise that we would keep her. I really liked Home improvement, so I didn’t want to do anything that would in any way disparage this character and this franchise, I didn’t want to make fun of it in any way, shape or form. I wanted to be careful. Maybe they do something with it [the ABC sitcom] in the future, a reboot or something, I don’t know, so I didn’t want to trap them in anything either. And Tim and I had several long discussions about where Tim Taylor would have ended up at that point. We changed the scenario a few times to try and get to a place where we all felt great.

Last Man Standing / Home Improvement CrossoverTVLINE | The episode featured a scene that paid tribute to Tim Taylor’s longtime neighbor Wilson and his doorman, the late Earl Hindman. Has Allen offered his contribution?
He wanted to be sure that his affection for Wilson and Earl’s character was there and that she was being honest. It was interesting, because the whole episode moved Tim. He was affected by it. He said to me, “You’ve captured some of the things that we all go through, which is watching our run here, moving forward and recognizing how good things have been…” I think he brought a lot of personal emotion [to the episode], and it was really quite powerful.

TVLINE | Much of what Allen told you about the episode ends up in this latest exchange between Mike and Tim. Does this conversation make Mike think about his retirement?
Yes, that’s exactly what drives him. He is at this point and wonders: what should he do next? Where will her life go next? Is his life on the track he wants it to be? And the fear when you’ve done well in life to try something new, or to take it in a different direction and maybe not be successful. We found this to be rich territory that we will continue to explore this season.

Last Man Standing / Home Improvement CrossoverTVLINE | Soon you will write Last manof series final. Now that Tim Taylor exists in the Last man Universe, does that rule out a final scene that reflects Newhart, where Tim wakes up next to Patricia Richardson’s Jill Taylor after a long sleep?
[Laughs] We talked about a few scenarios, but I don’t know. I can’t decide if I want to come out a little crazy or more sincere, but we’ll find out.

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