This week's episode of Last Man Standing featured a major turning point for Mandy and Kyle's marriage. Mandy wanted to make sure Kyle did not know she had doubts about his first college exam, so she tried to get Vanessa and Jen to tutor him without his knowledge. Mandy could not keep the charade going, and Kyle eventually learned how she really felt, setting up an emotional scene to help "define" their marriage, star Molly McCook said in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com.
McCook, who joined Last Man Standing to play Mandy when Fox revived the show last year, said it was a "fun" scene to play with Christoph Sanders because it helped establish where Kyle and Mandy's marriage is today. In the end of "Student Doubt," Kyle told Mandy he preferred people in his life to tell him the truth about their doubts.
"It's a lot of fun for us to kind of get down to the heart to hearts between the two of us, as husband and wife," McCook explained to PopCulture.com. "I don't think we get to do that very often on the show because it kind of just defines where we are in our marriage. And I think that it's important not only for the audience to see that, but also for us to know where we're at as Mandy and Kyle, but also as the actors portraying them."
The sitcom schedule allows McCook, Sanders and everyone else on Last Man Standing to take the time to work out a scene and learn the best way to bring it to an audience.
"Our schedule with this sitcom is so helpful with the process of getting to know our story and characters, because we're rehearsing it for a week before we do it in front of a live audience," McCook said. "So I feel like we were really able to kind of discuss where we were at and how to approach it. But it gave us kind of a week to feel it out and kind of discuss with everyone what the best way was to tell that story of where they are on their timeline."
Thankfully, the writers are also open to opinions from the actors when a big, emotional scene is coming up. The writers let them know something big is coming up, and "it kind of goes from there."
"As we're rehearsing it, if we... feel like, 'Well, I don't know, I feel like Mandy would kind of approach it more this way,' everybody listens," she said. "It's just a very family-oriented place of work. We're all very lucky. So yeah, it's a really fun process in that way."
McCook's friendship with Sanders was a big help as well. The two have known each other for years, even before she joined Last Man Standing. Considering she was coming on to a show as one half of a married couple, that familiarity was incredibly important.
"It's so important to develop a friendship with somebody when you are acting with them, especially if you immediately have to have a history of years and be married," she explained. "That's something so wild about being an actor. Sometimes you're handed a script and you're being thrown into a situation where you are married or have kids, and yet you're just meeting this person face to face. So I think that Christoph and I being friends for so many years did bring us a sense of comfortability, which was really important."
The emotional climax of "Student Doubt" felt much like another serious moment in this season, when Amanda Fuller's Kristin discussed her miscarriage with Mandy. While it does seem like this season of Last Man Standing is taking on heavier subjects, McCook is not sure if this is intentional, but the writers have done "such a beautiful job" of balancing jokes with serious topics.
"Life isn't just cracking jokes and laughing and messing around," McCook said. "It's very serious sometimes. And I think that's the whole entire moral of the show, is navigating life and how our mom and dad helped us with those things. How our husband or wife helps us with those things. Our sister. I just find that very real and I think they've done such a beautiful job telling those stories."0comments
Last Man Standing airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
Photo credit: Patrick Wymore / FOX