'Last Man Standing' Packs in 'Home Improvement' Jokes When Mandy Picks Real Estate Career

This week's episode of Last Man Standing, "Dreams vs. Reality," was a surprisingly serious look at what happens when a dream does not go how we hope. It also provided a few opportunities to jab Tim Allen with Home Improvement references.

At the start of the episode, Vanessa Baxter (Nancy Travis) and Mike (Allen) are concerned about how Mandy (Molly McCook) will react to the news that her fashion line was rejected by a major website. Mandy and Kyle (Christoph Sanders) came home surprisingly excited about getting pizza because they decided to blow their savings (which they only have because they don't pay rent) on a trip to Italy.

Vanessa and Mike tried to dissuade Mandy from taking an expensive trip. During this conversation, Mike brought up an interesting metaphor.

"Look at it this way. When God slams a door shut, he generally builds you a window," Mike said.

"Dad, why is everything with you home improvement?" Mandy asked, referencing Allen's old show Home Improvement.

This conversation succeeded, but Mandy also decided to drop her fashion designer dream and become a real estate agent. She took Mike's metaphor to mean that fashion was the door God closed and real estate is her window.

"You and your home improvement," Vanessa grumbled as Mandy gleefully left the kitchen.

Vanessa tried to change Mandy's mind because of how important that dream was to her when she was little. However, Mandy quickly became invested in the idea of selling houses.

Mike soon realized that this was not about Mandy's future, but Vanessa's past. While Mike succeeded in his dream to bring Outdoor Man to life, Vanessa never fulfilled her dream of becoming a scientist. Instead, she is a tutor in Colorado.

Later, Mike met with Mandy and reminded her how much she loved fashion designing as a kid. Mike reminded Mandy that she has done great work.

"I think it's great," Mike told her. "But it doesn't matter what I think or what Modern... anybody thinks. The only person who has to think it's great is sitting in your chair right now."

Mandy said she is sick of hearing rejection after rejection.

"Then you can pack all this stuff up... but that's ok. That's OK," Mike told her. "Then you'll never experience what it's like when they go 'Yes, yes!'"

"Just tell me the truth. Does life get any easier?" Mandy asked.

"No," Mike said with a smirk. "But the good news, it goes by real quick."

In the end, Mike told Vanessa about his chat with Mandy and he thinks she is over the real estate "rebound" idea.

Vanessa told Mike it was better for her to talk with Mandy, since he actually saw his dreams come true. Mike did not want to hear that again.

"Outdoor Man was a goal of mine. This is my dream. You, me, the kids... us. And I didn't make this dream happen," Mike said. "We made this happen."


The next new episode of Last Man Standing airs Friday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

Photo credit: Fox