Nancy Travis and cast sign off on a sitcom that got a second chance

Last Man StandingFoxThis time—apparently—it’s really the last stand for Last Man Standing. Cancelled by ABC in 2017, the Tim Allen sitcom was revived a year later by Fox... where the show now concludes its total nine-season run with a one-hour sendoff. Farewell plotlines include: patriarch Mike Baxter (Allen) preparing daughter Kristin (Amanda Fuller) to handle the future of the Outdoor Man store chain, and the search for Mike’s prized green truck after it’s stolen.

Nancy Travis, a.k.a. Mike’s wife Vanessa, says filming that finale at the end of March was “like going through having a child taken from you. It was very emotional, and not just for the actors but for the crew and the writers and everyone who has worked on the show. It was a really sad departure.”

Last Man StandingFoxThat said, it was also the sort of goodbye the Last Man Standing team didn’t have when the series’ first run ended, since that then-surprising cancellation notice came after work on season six already wrapped.

Travis says that back then it “felt like the rug had been pulled out from under us. But going into this season, we had the perk of knowing it would be the last. Ironically though, that also was very painful, because doing each episode was like slowly ripping the bandage off a cut. I don’t know if either way is good when it’s a job that you really enjoy and love doing.”

A big part of that, Travis maintains, has been working with Home Improvement alum Allen. “It’s been a pleasure. Honestly, I’ve learned so much from him. It’s been very collaborative, and the same goes for the writers, who helped me find what worked for me and for Vanessa.”

Last Man StandingFoxWhile Travis wishes she’d had more scenes with fellow series regular Héctor Elizondo, she’s very much enjoyed playing “mom” to the actresses portraying her daughters—including Kaitlyn Dever, who returns in the finale as Eve, a role she left to focus on her burgeoning career in movies, such as Booksmart.

Over the course of Last Man Standing, Travis was also able to take parts in the streaming series Mr. Mercedes and The Kominsky Method (though she won’t be a regular when the latter, award-winning Netflix show debuts its third and final season May 28th, owing to her Last Man Standing commitment).

Last Man repeats have been popular in syndication, so the show will certainly live on. As Travis explains, the finale will be “a nostalgic goodbye to these nine seasons, and the characters move on. They go back to their lives and keep doing whatever they do. I get messages from people who are just now discovering the show. It’s really gratifying.”

Last Man Standing airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox