But will he help Tim Allen’s surging family sitcom attract a hipper, young adult audience?
“Hipsters like things for the nostalgia factor,” star Molly Ephraim [Mandy Baxter] says. So, hipsters, we’re reaching out to you! You want things from your childhood? We have J.T.T. Come on over…”
LAST MAN, now in its third season on ABC, has been quietly building a sizable audience. Earlier this month viewership topped 7 million for the first time.
“Our show is a little like comfort food,” Ephraim says. “And we are on a Friday nights when a lot of young people are out and about having social lives. Not me, because I am home on my couch. [laughs] But it’s fine. We’ll still be here.”
LAST MAN made a public effort to broaden its audience at the beginning of season two, positioning Allen’s Mike Baxter as a modern day Archie Bunker and tackling subjects such as immigration, racism and homosexuality.
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On tonight’s episode, Mike presents his wife [Nancy Travis] with a taser gun on Valentine’s Day.
“To Mike Baxter that might be the most romantic thing anyone can do,” star Amanda Fuller [Kristin Baxter] tells me.
Here’s more of what the girls shared when we caught in recently in Los Angeles:
What is the best part of tonight’s Valentine’s Day episode
AF: I get to taze somebody!
Is it J.T.T.?
AF: Can’t say. But he is in the Valentine’s episode. He is also directing another episode and there is another one that he is going to be in later in the season.
What is the atmosphere like with him on set?
ME: It is funny to watch Tim ragging on him.
AF: “What are you doing here, J.T.T.? Go home. That was years ago…”
ME: He’ll just take it and be like, “Alright…”
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Do you remember your auditions for this show?
ME: Yes! I originally tested for Kristin because at the time in the script there were three siblings, but the middle child was a boy named Howie. So I tested for Kristin in LA and then I went back to New York and they called and said, “They don’t think you look old enough to play the older sister, but they are changing the middle child to a sister who is 17 and they want you to come back in for her.” So I came back in knowing very little about the character and I got it.
It works so much better with three girls.
ME: I think so too. [laughs]
AF: I came in a year later. [NOTE: Amanda replaced actress Alexandra Krosney] I definitely remember it. It was two months of testing. Its funny because I have been doing this so long that I have developed this weird gut feeling like I know when I am meant to work on a project. You still can’t take it for granted, but from the first phone call I had about this one I felt like “I am meant to play that part.”
LAST MAN STANDING airs Friday nights at 8:00 PM ET/PT on ABC
You can view a sneak peek of JTT on LMS at EW.com
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