Why Hundreds of Thousands of People Are Rallying To Save Last Man Standing
There’s nothing like turning on your favorite television show to calm your nerves after too much time online reading the latest news, thinking about the people on Facebook or Twitter that you need to unfriend or mute. That might be part of why when it was announced last week that ABC would not renew Last Man Standing — its second most-watched comedy series — for a seventh season, Deputy Matt started a petition calling for ABC to renew the show that is particularly popular with conservative viewers.
In less than a week, it has garnered more than 240,000 signatures as of this writing. News that a Roseanne reboot is on the way only seemed to add more attention to the cancellation of Tim Allen’s popular show.
I have to confess that the last time I watched Tim Allen was during his days as the star of Home Improvement. But what Matt has to say in the petition and some of the signers of the petition have agreed on is that the show filled an important void on network television. In Last Man Standing, Allen plays a conservative father in a house full of women.
Here’s what Matt says in his petition:
Last Man Standing stands out in the sea of network television sitcoms. It is a show that appeals to a broad swath of Americans who find very few shows that extol the virtues with which they can identify; namely conservative values.
Last Man Standing was not just selling conservative ideals though, as some of the characters in the show are clearly of the liberal persuasion, yet the characters on the show all manage to get along and take care of one another, despite their politically opposed views. The show is about more than politics though, it is about family. In fact, politics is only a secondary part of the show, but one in which many Americans can readily identify.
The reasons fans of the show are giving for signing the petition seem to bear this out. People from parts of the country that are rarely reflected in popular culture or entertainment like, say, Kansas, or Oklahoma, have been writing on the petition that they agreed with the show’s perspective and considered it refreshing. As Robert de Jesus wrote on the petition:
Like All In The Family, this show speaks about it all and that’s good for Americans to be exposed to. If we just have shows that only show liberal mindsets, we are censoring, which history teaches us that television execs fought rigorously when the government used to censor everything they broadcasted. Now, it’s ABC itself that is censoring dialogue. Shameful, and as consumers, we don’t have to accept this. Advertisers beware.
I reached out to Matt to get a sense of what he thought about the attention the petition has received and here’s part of what he had to say:
(Last Man Standing) appeals to a very broad spectrum of Americans, which explains why it has an average of 8.1 million viewers (at least according the numbers I have read). Conservatives like myself can watch the show and not be insulted constantly just for being conservative, unlike a vast majority of other shows on TV. There are very few shows like that, and I think a lot of conservative folks around the country realize that and agree, which is why they are supporting this petition. Also, as I said in the petition, the show is not just about conservative values. While the main character, Mike Baxter, is conservative, many other primary characters are not. The show is more about everyone getting along despite their political differences, something our entire country could seriously use some lessons in right now.
I’m a career cop. This show is also one of the few shows that has managed to be supportive of both law enforcement and the military. Too many other shows lately have decided to make cops and soldiers out to be bad guys, especially someone fitting my description: middle aged white male cop.
I am not by any means saying that I only want conservative shows on TV. I just don’t want to see this show die because it at least offers some balance, and that is something that our entertainment industry is sorely lacking right now.
ABC President Channing Dungey defended the network’s decision in a press call with reporters on Tuesday. According to Entertainment Weekly, she said, “A large part of these jobs are managing failure and we’ve made the tough calls and canceled shows that we’d otherwise love to stay on the air. That’s the job. I canceled Last Man Standing for the same business and scheduling reasons that I canceled Dr. Ken, The Real O’Neals, The Catch and American Crime. And Last Man Standing was a challenging one for me because it was a steady performer in the ratings, but once we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Fridays, that was where we landed.”
I’d love to hear from more people about what they love about this particular show, whether they’ve signed Matt’s petition or not. Do you agree with the sentiments behind his decision to start a petition? What other shows like Last Man Standing can fill the gap?