Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Last Man Standing: A Father's Love

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Wow. When is the last time you heard of Ding Dong Ditch? I think it's been more than ten years for me... and fifteen or more since I've known someone who has done it! Things like that just aren't as fun these days, what with all of the security cameras and whatnot. It's kinda of like how Caller ID ruined prank calls in the mid-to-late 90s. Still, I liked the idea that the Ditcher in this episode wasn't doing it as a joke - it was more of a signal for Eve to meet him outside. How they devised this plan, I'm not sure... but it was cute. Cute like the two of them under a blanket just listening to an mp3 player. And my mom would have reacted much more severely than Mike did! Speaking of mothers, why didn't we get Vanessa's take on Eve's situation? Because she's the easygoing parent? And what was with that useless scene in the beginning about Vanessa telling the family that they watch too much TV? Was that whole thing just a vehicle to tell us that Kristin has started college? Back on Mike, it was intriguing to see him both worry about trusting his youngest again while also making jokes about her being his favorite. Similarly, I was touched when Ed admitted his feelings for Kyle... I never would have dreamed that he would treat a son like he treats that poor employee!

Last Man Standing "Ding Dong Ditch" (S01E19): The Baxter family has a ding-dong-ditcher, so Mike installs a motion-activated camera to capture who it is, but the face isn't visible. Eve doesn't share that she knows it's her friend, Ben, who uses it as a sign for her to meet him in the backyard. They're not making out or anything... in fact, we see him come over just to say, "I can't wait to see you at school tomorrow." [awww. first love. also, LOVED "wow, look who remembered a book."]

After Ed gives him some ideas, Mike booby traps the front walkway, then stays up until all hours to catch the prankster. The airhorn and scooter slow Ben down enough to be caught. Eve denies knowing him, even after the kid gets grilled. [Vanessa totally looked like she laughed a little after Mike said, "this is why I don't go fishing with you."] Ben's dad comes by the next day to yell at Mike for bullying Ben. [a bit surprising.] Then, he demands that the Baxters pay the $300 x-ray bill, as Ben sprained his wrist over there. [even more surprising. When I was a kid, if you fell, it was your own fault. People need to stop weaseling their way out of paying for things these days.] Mike eventually concedes, though we don't see it. He does, however, make his most recent marketing video about accountability, using fish hooks and talking about how you need to take responsibility for your own actions.

Eve and Ben listen to music in the Baxter backyard when Mike comes home early. Mike asks Eve why she lied, and she basically says that she didn't want Mike to hate Ben and she wanted to continue being the "favorite daughter." [situations like these are tough to come up with a good lie for, so I guess she did the right thing.] Mike tells Eve to pay for the hospital bill, but she brings him down to paying half each, since it was Mike's airhorn that started it all.

At work, Ed has Kyle climb a ladder to clean a stuffed bear. The ladder is unsteady, so Ed spots it... until he gets distracted by Mike. [of course.] Kyle falls, leaving Ed is paranoid that he'll sue, so he offers Kyle everything he can - sitting in a nice chair, a cigar, and some free nights at an airport hotel. [ummm... thanks?] Ed asks him to sign a waiver, and Kyle says that he'd never sue Ed... he thinks of him like a father. Ed takes the opportunity to decide to teach Kyle to golf, as he cares about the boy. [strange. did I miss some major precedent-setting moments?]

Oh, and Kristin is taking her first college course, organic chemistry. [in what world would that be you FIRST class? Though perhaps she had AP classes in high school and did REALLY well one them??] She struggles with being on-time (Mandy is her chauffeur for some reason), doesn't know an answer, is slower than the others and further behind in her studies, and is the only one not taking notes on a laptop. After she receives the lowest grade of her life (60%) on a quiz, she confides in Mandy that she wants to quit. [pause to laugh at, "he gave you a GO."] Mandy tries to make her feel better, but there are bigger problems going on... Mandy left the car with the college "valet." [you've GOT to be kidding me!]

Fun Fact: Eve plays the oboe.
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