‘Last Man Standing’: Tim Allen’s Mike Baxter and Character From ‘Home Improvement’ Poke Fun at One Another

by Jennifer Shea

On “Last Man Standing,” which stars Tim Allen, Allen’s Mike Baxter came face to face with Allen’s Tim Taylor from “Home Improvement,” and the two characters promptly started poking fun at one another.

Season 9, Episode 2 was a crossover episode in which Mike’s wife Vanessa (Nancy Travis) calls in a handyman who bears a strong resemblance to Mike. The two men then get into a back-and-forth. The episode aired Jan. 7.

“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, Binford Tools, they make great stuff,” Mike Baxter says, pointing at the other man’s t-shirt.

“Well a lot of people have been telling me for a long time that there’s this outdoor guy that looks just like me, and…,” Tim Taylor says, trailing off.

“Oh, so they’re talkin’ about me in Detroit?” Baxter asks.

“Well…” Taylor replies.

“What else do they have to talk about? Certainly not the Lions,” the “Last Man Standing” lead adds. Both characters laugh.

“The other day, when your wife’s call came in, there was buzz around the office. They said, ‘This is a job at the outdoor man’s house,’” Taylor explains. “So I really had to go out and take the job.”

“Well, you’re lucky, because I don’t hire many handymen,” Baxter says. “I’m pretty good with tools myself.”

“And yet, here I am,” Taylor comes back. “I was pretty famous myself. I had this TV show for eight years called ‘Tool Time.’”

“And yet, here you are,” Baxter quips.

Watch a clip from the “Last Man Standing” episode here:

‘Last Man Standing’ Crossover Was Difficult for Allen

Allen was a bit surprised at how challenging that episode proved to be for him, for several reasons. One, playing Tim Taylor again brought back memories of Earl Hindman, who played Taylor’s neighbor Wilson on “Home Improvement,” and who died in 2003. Then there was the fact that it was their first “Last Man Standing” episode back from a coronavirus-induced hiatus, and there was no audience.  

“It was very peculiar to do both parts, I’ll tell you that. It was challenging for me to do both parts and kind of emotional,” Allen told Entertainment Tonight in January. “I adored the man [Hindman] and we kind of brought that up in the story. I started thinking about all the history I had with that TV show, how I compare it to my life on this show. It’s all about loss, is all I kept saying in that episode.”

Moreover, Allen said, “getting used to no crowd, and then having people direct me in a character I developed 20 years ago and then was kind of done with, it [was hard].” He called the “Last Man Standing” episode “weird, creepy… unusual.”

As weird as it may have been for Allen to play both parts, it certainly made for some entertaining television for fans of “Last Man Standing” and “Home Improvement.” And with the series finale of “Last Man Standing” fast approaching – May 20 – fans will just have to enjoy the entertainment while it lasts.