Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Last Man Standing: Too Much in an Episode

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I guess Last Man Standing needed to start segueing into something different for next season? That's why we needed to make a big deal out of Eve going to high school? We haven't seen Vanessa volunteer much all season, so why make an episode out of her winning an award and moving on from being so involved in her kids' schools(s)? Regardless, this episode could have done so much more. Eve could have had more lines about why she was looking forward to orientation and more to say about the mixer. Ed and Kyle's bobblehead dolls could have existed in more than one pointless scene... Mike didn't even find out about them! Vanessa could have struggled a little more with the fact that she might not win the award. Mike could have made a funnier scene out of the silent auction and the Scarface bidding against another father. Mandy's point about the spotlight could have resulted in more than just a different tie choice for Mike. Instead, all of these things were truncated in order to fit them in.

Last Man Standing "The Spotlight" (S01E23): Eve gets really excited about high school when her class is headed for orientation. [is Mandy's outfit from 1992? because it just screamed Kelly Taylor!] Afterwards, however, Eve is freaked out about the future. [I missed the whole "freak about high school" thing going to a 6-12 school. I do remember having many frets about starting middle school, though! Locker combinations, remembering a different seat in every class, starting daily music lessons, and getting on the bus at 5:45am!] Vanessa calms Eve some, but she's much better after Mandy does her makeup and takes her to the high school orientation mixer.  
The same night as the mixer is a big appreciation dinner at the middle school for the parent volunteers. [wouldn't that same group of people be the chaperones at this mixer? how did that work out?] Vanessa hopes to win "volunteer of the year" for the first time, possibly because Mike got the outdoor store to donate a scoreboard to the school (though he claims it was only to balance the table that was tilted toward a woman whose husband donated sod). [is this a thing? people making such large donations to schools to get recognition?] The dinner also has a silent auction component, with items like a Peyton Manning-signed football (donated by Mike) and a Scarface collector's set (over which Mike and another father have a small bidding war). When the salmon hors d'oeuvres make people sick, Mike has to emcee and be the auctioneer, and Vanessa accidentally bids $2500 on a quilt. [OF COURSE people got sick and they needed an emcee. OF COURSE Vanessa gets overly excited over a plaque and blows $2500. EYE ROLL.]

And, a few more things dealing with Mike. At the store, he meets Peyton Manning, stealing the spotlight at home by announcing it just after Vanessa shares the news about her award nomination. He doesn't see it that way, though, until Mandy points it out. [I thought it was big of Mandy to admit that she and her father are alike in that way, but it was strange that they didn't make the point come through better.] At the store, Ed orders some action figures for OutdoorMan, which are actually Mike bobbleheads with some sort of problem with the butt. And, the episode ends with Vanessa recording a marketing video for women, telling them to buy camping equipment for their men to get them out of the house. [haha!]
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