‘Last Man Standing’: Tim Allen Show Features Major Parenting Lesson for On-Screen Daughter Mandy

by Thad Mitchell

Popular Fox sitcom “Last Man Standing” is winding its way to an end with the series finale now just a few weeks away.

With the show now in its twilight, “Last Man Standing” isn’t pulling any punches as the cast and fans prepare to bid farewell. The show stars all-time great comedy actor Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, a marketing director for outdoors superstore, The Outdoor Man. Much of the show revolves around Baxter and other characters learning life lessons the hard way and Thursday’s episode follows that trend. The episode, titled “Parent-normal Activity,” dives into the relationship between Vanessa Baxter, Mike’s Wife, and her relationship with her daughter, Mandy, and granddaughter, Sarah.

Vanessa expresses discouragement over Mandy’s parenting skills or lack thereof. Sarah has been acting out as of late and Vanessa senses it is because Mandy does not attempt to “hold the line.” The “Last Man Standing” episode begins with Mike and Vanessa discussing how difficult Sarah has been recently. They surmise Sarah’s behavior could be the result of a lack of discipline provided by her parents, Mandy and Kyle.

After an incident in which Sarah throws a Kazoo at her grandmother, Vanessa decides it is time to set boundaries. Angry, Vanessa places her granddaughter in a “time out” for her bad behavior. Arriving to pick up her daughter, Mandy is dismayed that her mother put Sarah in a time-out and demands she apologize. When Vanessa refuses to do so, Sarah tells her grandmother that “it’s ok.”

‘Last Man Standing’ Characters Learn Life Lesson

Upon Sarah leaving the room, Vanessa chastises Mandy and tells her she needs to be more firm with Sarah. She says Sarah needs to be told when she commits a negative action, which draws the ire of Mandy.

“The only thing she needs to know is that I love her, and the only thing you need to know is this: timeout is the opposite of love,” Mandy says in a huff.

Later that night, Mandy confides in her mother that she believes Sarah “hates her” and as a result, she cuddles her daughter. Vanessa makes clear to Mandy that she is not the only parent who feels that way.

“The thing is, you don’t want to stop being a parent because you think you might upset them,” Vanessa said. “Mandy, look, Sarah is your daughter, so this is your decision. If you want to be a good friend, then you just continue doing what you’re doing. If you want to be a good parent, you really have to set some boundaries.”

The next day Mandy reveals that she and Sarah talked about how she should behave when at grandma’s house. She demonstrates their progress by having Sarah politely ask to watch television.

The Last Man Standing episode concludes with Vanessa and Mandy on the same page regarding parenting responsibilities.