Sunday, January 20, 2013

Last Man Standing: Blanca Joins the Baxter Household

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I generally find the sexism on this show to be funny. Many people look at the writing as twenty years old, and still see Tim Allen as the chauvinist Tim Taylor was on Home Improvement. So, I give the jokes on this show a pass most of the time. But Tim both Mike and Ed commenting about daughters existing to act as maids rubbed me the wrong way. Fortunately, this didn't end up being a huge part of the episode like I feared. However, I had really hoped that we would have gotten more out of the storyline where Eve lets Mandy use one of her old history papers. Not only was it a flashback to younger-brother-Randy letting older-brother-Brad use a history paper on Home Improvement, but it really showed how rebellious Eve is getting as she enters high school. I mean, she's gotten drunk at a party, been suspended for bullying, and is now cheating? How did they let this plot fall completely out of the episode? If it doesn't come up again, I'm not going to be happy. I already take an issue with the fact that Mandy and Eve have a conversation in front of Mike about how Eve does Mandy's history and Blanca does Mandy's Spanish.

Last Man Standing "The Help" (S02E10): Mike and Vanessa used to have a housekeeper, Mrs. Hall, but she died several years ago and they never replaced her. [hilarious that Mike completely forgot that the woman passed away!] Kristin asks if they'd pay her to clean the house but Mike won't go for it, so Vanessa hires a former neighbor's cleaning lady, Blanca. Mike thinks that the girls should just help out more, but soon Mike loves having a housekeeper to make him snacks and keep the kids from bothering him. [I laughed at Mandy putting a coffee mug all over the kitchen. what was that fluorescent yellow purse?? loved Eve's top when she asks about the field trip, tho!] Things get awkward, though, when Carol comes over and Vanessa is insecure about having a maid. [Carol and Chuck are casual friends of the Baxters now?] In fact, Vanessa even insists Blanca join them for tea and starts vacuuming some dirt.  Perfect for Mike to come home and be confused!
After that experience, Carol wants a maid, too, so Chuck decides to pay Kristin to be their housekeeper. [cool. if they don't completely drop this storyline, this could make for some funny plots!] There's another negative aspect, too. Mandy and Eve begin abusing Blanca, having her bake cookies and raise hems. Mike orders Blanca to be rougher with the children, and she soon has them running a tight ship.

Meanwhile, at the store, Ed tells Mike that he makes it a policy not to go looking for trouble, so he's never checked the immigration status of his loading dock workers. [the odd prostate comment was kinda scary.] Mike worries that there could be big fines for undocumented workers, so they go down there and collect work documents to run by HR. [are we to believe that Mike is that responsible?] Everyone but the supervisor is cleared, and Mike is so upset at the idea of losing the guy that he forces Ed into sponsoring him because of his vitality to the business. [cool. I have a friend who had to return to his country of origin after his educational visa expired. he wanted badly for a company to be willing to sponsor him so he could stay, but it wasn't in the cards. it really is a process! Vanessa is reading 50 Shades of Grey??] 
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