Muse Reporting on the popular and fine arts

Measure of a man

Arts | Last Man Standing revival faces new challenges in the Trump era
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 9/28/18, 02:43 pm

The conservative, testosterone-oozing dad played by Tim Allen on TV isn’t the last man standing anymore. The sitcom returns Friday night on Fox—though the first episode already aired on Twitter—in a political atmosphere far different than any of the first six seasons, which aired on ABC from 2011 to 2017. Republicans now control the White House and Congress, which gives Allen’s Mike Baxter the high ground in political arguments with his kids. And with two daughters married, one with a son, Baxter’s not the only guy in the house anymore.

Last Man Standing was a highly rated show before ABC canceled it, causing an uproar among conservative viewers. Its faithful fans are sure to show up for the start of the revival, but Allen and his crew have their work cut out for them to draw in new viewers and stay strong week after week. Especially if Republicans do well in the midterm congressional elections, the show’s writers have to figure out how to keep Baxter funny and relatable as a member of the majority.

The season’s first episode kicks off with canned jokes and digs at ABC for canceling the show in the first place. Then political arguments spoil the homecoming of Baxter’s youngest daughter, now an Air Force Academy cadet, but the family comes together when 12-year-old grandson Boyd goes missing one evening.

The show’s strength comes from the characters’ genuine concern for each other despite their differences, which are overplayed in corny and predictable one-liners. Still, Mike Baxter remains a rare treasure in a family sitcom: a father who leads his family, loves his wife, and spends quality time with his kids. When he compares fixing up a motorbike with his grandson to healing divisions in the family, it makes you wish he was your dad or grandpa, too.

“We saw something worth saving and we were both willing to do the work together to fix it,” he says. “If you have that you can put anything back together again.”

Associated Press/Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta (file) Associated Press/Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta (file) Rep. Bob Goodlatte

Safer bets

Congressional lawmakers this week expressed interest in regulating sports gambling but have yet to lay out any concrete proposals. At a hearing Thursday of a House Judiciary subcommittee, Republican members of Congress said the government should do something to protect Americans from gambling addiction and exploitation.

“I do not believe gambling is a victimless activity,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. “I think that online gambling, in particular, can be more destructive to the families and communities of addictive gamblers than if a bricks-and-mortar casino were built next door.”

The hearing was the first Congress has held on the issue since the Supreme Court decision in June to strike down a law confining sports gambling to four states and full-service sports books to Nevada. Since then, Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, and West Virginia have legalized betting on professional and amateur sports, with more states considering adding sports books to their existing racetracks or casinos. —L.L

Associated Press/Photo by Mark Humphrey Associated Press/Photo by Mark Humphrey Lauren Daigle

Rising star

Christian musician Lauren Daigle’s new album, Look Up Child, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart last week, beating out secular artists Drake, Ariana Grande, Post Malone, and many more. Look Up Child dropped to No. 16 this week, but it still had the best sales of any Christian album since Casting Crowns’ Until the Whole World Hears nearly nine years ago, Billboard reported. Daigle’s single “You Say” was at No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 last week.

Asked whether she was seeking the golden ticket for Christian musicians—crossover success on the pop charts—Daigle said that wasn’t the plan. “I definitely think that they are going to take ‘You Say’ to pop radio, and it’s kind of naturally opening itself up for that which has been just so surprising,” she told Billboard. “Radio stations are adding it already and we don’t even have a team around anything, so that’s been cool to see.” —L.L.

Behind bars

Once revered as “America’s Dad” for playing wise, caring Dr. Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby is now known as Inmate No. NN7687. He spent his first night as a prisoner Tuesday in a single cell near the infirmary at a new state lockup just 20 miles from the suburban Philadelphia mansion where, a jury found, he assaulted Andrea Constand in 2004. A judge sentenced Cosby on Tuesday to three to 10 years in prison and denied his request for bail. As his attorneys started to prepare his appeal, his numerous accusers celebrated his sentence.

“I did think that I didn’t care if he went to prison or hell, but I did care,” said Cindra Ladd, a model-turned–Hollywood executive who said Cosby drugged her and raped her in 1969. “It’s hard to describe. I can’t say euphoria. It wasn’t happiness, but a tremendous relief that justice was served.” —L.L.

Family friendly

Apple wants to break into the streaming TV market with original content, with a twist. Unlike competitors Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and others, Apple plans to keep its shows clean. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that CEO Tim Cook axed a show starring rapper Dr. Dre for being too violent, and other offerings with big-name stars have hit the cutting room floor, too. —L.L.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • Laura W
    Posted: Sat, 09/29/2018 02:05 am

    So clean is the new edgy, is it?

  • Ceelynn
    Posted: Sat, 09/29/2018 03:39 pm

    I'm not sure of the motivation or the definition of clean, but it might be a welcome relief.

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Posted: Mon, 10/01/2018 02:32 pm

    According to Tim Cook, "clean" would be, say, Modern Family?