Earlier this year came the surprise announcement that fans of Tim Allen’s sitcom Last Man Standing will be in for double the Tim in an upcoming episode as his character Mike Baxter will share the screen with Allen’s Home Improvement character Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. Allen’s one-man crossover will unfold in Last Man Standing season 9, the final season of the series, during the upcoming January 7th episode of the series titled “Dual Time.” Speaking in a new interview, Allen has opened up about what his Home Improvement character has been up to since the 1999 series finale of that series and what it was like for him to return to that role.
“It seemed weird and put on and phony, but the way it’s handled — it’s self-aware. It’s a moment where we break the fourth wall to him,” Allen revealed to Us Weekly. “The grunting was part of his deal and he kind of cops to that. He’s gotten old and he’s moved on. He no longer does Tool Time. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s really quite clever….He’s in Colorado for some meeting — Binford tools is everywhere — and he notices a guy that looks just like him. He says, ‘You know, people have told me I look like you!’ And obviously, we play with that for quite a bit.”
As fans might recall, Home Improvement ran for eight seasons and over 200 episodes on ABC, meaning it and the character are owned by The Walt Disney Company. Last Man Standing began on ABC as well but was revived at FOX after its cancellation. 20th Century Television now being a subsidiary of Disney might lead one to believe that this would be an easy crossover to make happen, well Allen wasn’t convinced it could work.
“There are some complex relationships between Disney and Home Improvement from way back when, and most of that is not public and not really valid,” Allen added. “So, it was a blessing. I was surprised and happy that everybody worked together and let us do it.”
Home Improvement was a showcase for Tim Allen’s stand-up comedy bits (a la Seinfeld), as well as the conservative star’s American alpha male image. Last Man Standing is in many ways the spiritual successor to Home Improvement, which is why the crossover works.
Last Man Standing season will premiere in a special Sunday night slot on Jan 3rd at 8:30pm ET. The rest of season 9 will air in its regular slot on Thursdays at 9:30 pm ET.