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All fall down: Last Man Standing.

By popular demand, here are the eight official reasons why Last Man Standing is the latest Australian series that didn't deserve to survive the ratings wars.

1) It's yet another show with a fatally limited imagination. It's just conceivable that there's room for another show about good-looking thirtysomethings moaning about how tough it is to face up to being an adult, but Last Man Standing isn't it. When the Brits did something similar they give us the cutting-edge Queer as Folk. When we do it, we're hoping that we can be as cool as The Secret Life of Us.

2) It seems to be part of a trend in Australian TV that thinks that feminism equals portraying men as buffoons. If there was an award for Most Comprehensive Marshalling of Male Stereotypes In a Series, confidently predict that Last Man Standing would be a shoo-in. Roll up, roll up and marvel at The Stud With Intimations Of His Own Mortality, The Daggy Mate Who Might As Well Be Named Comic Relief, and the Sensitive but Still Terribly Good Looking One Who Agonises Over Every. Single. Fucking. Thing.

3) The characters never, ever go to work. Instead the men do what all thirtysomethings do during the day: they stand around and talk about the Rules of Dating while playing backyard cricket. Presumably the women are all off having their hair done while talking about sugar and spice and all things nice.

4) Well, the women who aren't wafting around being free spirits that is. We know they're free spirits because they have sex in toilets or dance with a total lack of inhibition. They also go topless at the beach (because they obviously don't have jobs either--what free spirit would, I suppose), as well as doing all sorts of other free-spirit-y things that are really a bit tame, particularly in a show that can't use the word 'fuck'. As in life, these free spirits are unbearably annoying and just as cliched as the male characters.

5) Because, as in so much TV written in Australia, the dialogue is desperately, desperately bad. Not just bad in the 'blandly functional' kind of way, nor in the 'trying a bit too hard to be sparkly' kind of way, but in the 'male characters use the words like "sheila" without a hint of irony' kind of way.

6) And, as a supplementary, the show also manages to use the word 'mate' so often that I suspect the writers have simply forgotten the names of their characters.

7) Drinking is used as a substitute for imaginative characterization. Last Man Standing's characters are the sorts that would visit the pub fairly regularly, but it quickly becomes unintentionally hilarious as the characters decide yet again to break out the beers. Or the vodka. Or the methylated spirits strained through a homeless man's sock.

And worst of all ...

8) It followed Desperate Housewives, one of the biggest ratings hits of the year, a show that exemplified all the virtues it fails to possess, and it couldn't even retain half the audience. And frankly, that's the most telling lesson of all: if you want to make something successful, try not to make comparisons between your show and others unnecessarily invidious.

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Author:Hoskin, Dave
Publication:Metro Magazine
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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