Is there a better TV dad than Tim Allen? Sure, Michael Landon and Andy Griffith would probably have a word on the matter. But for almost two decades of screen time, Allen entertained audiences as America’s hilariously sarcastic TV father.
In honor of National Parents Day, Outsider is examining two of Allen’s biggest roles (sorry Buzz Lightyear) – Tim “The Toolman” Taylor and Mike Baxter. Allen was so funny as a sitcom dad that he decided to do it twice, starring in both “Home Improvement” in the 1990s and “Last Man Standing” in the 2010s.
While Baxter and Taylor are very different characters, they both share Allen’s trademark wit. Tim “the Toolman” Taylor is the father of three sons. And at times, he can be a bit of a know-it-all often to hilarious results. After all, who can forget words of wisdom like “Man pain is when you do something stupid.” That gem came when Taylor was teaching his son Mark that there are two different types of pain.
The Toolman experienced a lot of different pain across “Home Improvement” with all his accidents. But while he may be clumsy, he also taught viewers they should try to solve problems their own way. Never be afraid to try to tackle an issue. And as a father, Taylor often tried to shepherd his sons.
For instance, how about a conversation with his son Randy, discussing his own deceased father. Taylor says, “He died before I could be a real jerk.”
To which, Randy responds, “He’d be proud if he could see you now.”
Tim Allen on ‘Last Man Standing’
After “Home Improvement” ended in 1999, Tim Allen took a break from the sitcom world. But he returned in a big way in 2011 with his hit series “Last Man Standing.” Rather than being the father of three sons, Allen was now dad to three daughters. Much of the comedy of the series, especially in its early days, revolved around Allen’s Mike Baxter trying to connect with his daughters.
He often offered his male view on female problems they were having. Baxter is always one to offer his viewpoint and speak his mind. But even more than Tim Taylor, Baxter offered words of wisdom and life advice for his girls. While humor remained the focus, “Last Man Standing” was never afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve. And that made the sitcom all the better for it. At its heart, the sitcom was a show about family and growing up.
Over the course of nine seasons, Allen’s Mike Baxter watched his girls grow up and follow their dreams and start families of their own. They changed (sometimes quite literally due to actor changes) into young women. And Baxter often hilariously bickered with their boyfriends and eventual husbands.
Tim Allen may have retired once more from the realm of sitcoms and television for now. But Mike Baxter and Tim Taylor will always live in our hearts.