Friday, February 24, 2012

Last Man Standing: Doing Business with Family

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Both my husband and I thought that this episode, based on its title, was going to look at Mike's daughters acting as sons. Nope. Instead, we learn quite a bit of background on Mike (and a little about Vanessa, too). It's not the most entertaining episode, as we've all seen some siblings bother one another before... but it helps us to know a bit more about the family as a whole (even Grandma and Grandpa are featured, plus Vanessa gets a chance to talk about her sibling situation), so I'll take it. I mean, we only have a handful of episodes left in this premiere season, so it's about time that they start setting up longer arcs and whatnot. Agree?

Last Man Standing
"Baxter & Sons" (S01E18):
Mike's younger brother Jimmy comes to town to bid on building the new store, unbeknownst to Mike. Ed knew all about it, but Mike doesn't want Jimmy to do it... until their father shows up, too. We find out that Baxter & Sons is the name of their father's company, which has a background in doing similar projects, though it hasn't been all that successful as of late. [hmmmm...] The boys constantly poke fun of one another, but it's also clear that things aren't 100% good between them. Ed decides to let Mike choose who will build the new store, and he decides to give the opportunity to family, against his better judgment. [if I recall correctly, there were two episodes of Home Improvement where Tim working with his brothers backfires and he says the same thing...] But, when Mike and Jimmy talk to a loan officer (Richard, who went to school with Kristin), it is revealed that the company won't qualify for the loan without a co-signer. [is a college sophomore really approving loans??] Mike offers to co-sign, but Jimmy doesn't want Mike to treat him any differently than as if someone else had gotten the job. [I was surprised at both Mike and Jimmy's reactions here!] Ed solves the problem by acting like he'll just give the job to his "second choice," but everyone seems to know that those guys are crooks. Jimmy asks Mike to co-sign after all, though they immediately argue about whose car they'll take to the bank. [this part made me laugh... how mundane.] In the end, Jimmy helps Mike with his online video, but they end up in a physical brawl. [oh, brothers!]
[In a useless side story...] Grandpa plays chess, writes angry letters to publications, and helps Jimmy run the business, which makes Mandy thinks that he's lonely. Since his wife died five years ago, she wants to set him up. You know, since she thinks that she's a good matchmaker on account of a couple she set up at school is expecting. [so many things wrong here!] The girls look online and Mandy shows her grandfather some choices. He surprises her when he says that he has a girlfriend (Stella). [so did just the girls not know this or is the cat out of the bag all of a sudden?] Oh, and the grandfather was apparently looking at real estate ads in the area. [...possible foreshadowing of his becoming a recurring character?]
Oh, and Vanessa has two sisters, April and Terri.
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