Are Laugh-track sitcoms dead? “No,” says “Last Man Standing”

 

Image courtesy of: WP Productions

By: Madison Beckman

Over winter break, I found myself with too much free time and in the market for a new TV show. So I floundered through the Netflix homepage until I stumbled across what would end up becoming one of my favorite programs, “Last Man Standing”.

Currently airing its sixth season on ABC, “Last Man Standing” is a hidden gem that shares the relatable story the Baxter’s, an All-American family living in Denver, Colorado. LMS centers on patriarch Mike Baxter, played by seasoned sitcom dad Tim Allen of “Home Improvement” (1991-1999) fame. Baxter is a salt-of-the-earth family man who balances his time between being at home with his wife, three daughters and grandson and working at a sporting goods store. It seamlessly weaves humor and current events into a heartwarming family comedy, much reminiscent to earlier postmodern classics of the laugh-track genre like “Roseanne.” (1988-1997).

The Baxter family features members from both ends of the political spectrum, discussing various hot-button issues including health care, women’s rights and religion. LMS tackles these serious issues in a respectful way, allowing for the equal demonstration of multiple perspectives. While never becoming too preachy, the show does not demonize any side of an argument like many other programs in the same market are guilty of doing these days.

While it is genuinely a funny and heartwarming show, Americans can largely benefit from watching “Last Man Standing” during such a divisive time. It is crucial, especially in this toxic political climate, to learn how to respect all viewpoints. Shows like this are helpful because they not only close the door for condemnation; they have ceased to build one in the first place. By teaching people to accept beliefs other than their own, the wholesome and comforting “Last Man Standing” is what Americans need to reverse their deterred sense of faith in both television and country.