Twelve full years after Home Improvement drew to a close, Tim Allen makes his way back to TV as Mike Baxter, a rugged man’s man living in a house full of women: his wife and three daughters. Of course, being the only man in a house awash with estrogen causes him to actively shun his feminine side…and everything else for that matter.

We are introduced to the series as Mike’s daughters and his wife discuss his impending arrival home from Alaska, where he has been doing a shoot for his company’s catalog. He arrives with an “I’m back!!” (which we can all pretty much take as his announcing his return to ABC) and slaps down a fish, telling his wife to gut it. We soon discover that he’s a father who believes in the adage of a man being that he’s able to do everything better than anyone else in the world.

His wife, Vanessa, seems to know her husband inside and out in knowing that everything is not what he tells her. In one scene, after Mike finds out that he wouldn’t be doing the catalog shoot in Costa Rica, Vanessa tells him that she finally got a promotion at her job. He then tells her that he’ll stay around to watch the kids since she’ll be working longer hours. She immediately says, “What happened?” without hesitation.

His approach with his girls seems to be that of a typical dad, though he’s a bit more likely to tune out what his girls are actually trying to explain to him. With his eldest daughter, Kristin, he tells her to find a man that will help in raising her child, Boyd. With his middle daughter, Mandy, he thinks her current boyfriend is too metrosexual for her and wishes she’d date someone more masculine, to which he then actively requests a kid at his work to do. With his youngest daughter, Eve, he makes it a point to still have a strong bond with her, though she too is growing up and becoming a teenager in her pursuit of a male soccer comrade.


A week of entertainment news in your in-box.
We find the news you need to know, so you don't have to.

Three different approaches to three different daughters in different situations make it difficult for him to sort them out completely. He seems more confused by pop culture references (of his eldest daughter’s “tramp stamp” and the comparison Mandy makes of him to Lord Voldemort). Through it all, he still has a soft spot for his children, his wife, and his grandson. However, his strong belief in what makes a man might make it a problem for his daughters as they all start to date. His rant about what happened to the rugged man via his web promotion video makes for a clear indication of what he looks for.

While Tim Allen’s character has some funny lines, he seems to be a bit too insensitive towards his daughter and unaware of the changing times. At times, he seems to have a strong conservative mindset and can be quite intimidating when he wants to make a point about something. He reminded us of a cross between Archie Bunker (though not as racist, however there were no non-white characters on the show to challenge that) and the “Everydad” of past sitcoms. Despite this, the show isn’t horrible, but we feel that Mike Baxter needs to tone it down on the aggression of masculinity, unless he wants his daughter to be called “Queen Kong” again by her fellow soccer buddies.

Leave a comment

Read more about: