Fans of Last Man Standing were cheering on Thursday after Fox renewed the popular sitcom for season 8. The network made the renewal official ahead of Friday's 150th episode. But despite the renewal, some fans were hopeful that a former member of the cast would return in the new season.
Mandy Baxter, originally played by Molly Ephraim on the series before the show returned on Fox, portrayed the daughter on the Tim Allen series throughout its run on ABC, but was unable to return once the series was picked up its current network.
Many fans are hopeful that a new season could bring back Ephraim to the role, cementing their stance on social media.
"Hopefully season 8 will have the original Mandy!! [Love] this show!!" a fan of the show wrote on Facebook.
"Wonder if the old Mandy will come back for season 8 she said she couldn't do this season because of other obligations," another added.
Molly McCook joined the series at its new home on Fox, stepping into the Mandy Baxter role and giving viewers an updated "two Beckys" situation in sitcom land. McCook previously had a role in Netflix's The Ranch with Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson but signed on to join the Allen and company as the new Baxter daughter.
While she's not new in television land, some fans were unhappy that McCook stepped in to replace Ephraim.
"The new Mandy is the only problem with this show," one fan noted on social media.
"Watching my first Last Man Standing episode since the reboot and I gotta say, I hate the new Mandy," another wrote on Twitter.
"[Not] feeling the new mandy on last man standing," a third fan wrote. "no offense molly but it's just not the same anymore!!"
A big reason for the cold shoulder from fans might stem from the difference in looks between Ephraim and McCook. The new Molly is fully blonde, with no hint of the darker hair sported by the previous version. It's sort of like giving someone chicken when they ordered a steak. Both are perfectly fine, but they're nothing alike.
"I still enjoy Last Man Standing...if they made Mandy's hair black, that would make a big difference," a Twitter fan pointed out.
The looks are not the only aspect that people seem to dislike about the "new" Mandy on the series. It's not even the only replacement character fans seem to dislike too, sharing some distaste for Boyd too.
"Poor Last Man Standing," another fan wrote. "I wish that I could have casted the new series. The old Boyd acted circles around the DULL NEW BOYD. I would have sent Mandy to Paris to study fashion...and she could come back to Denver for holidays. I would have left Kyle with long hair."
This is not the first time McCook has faced some backlash from fans of the show. She addressed her feelings towards it in a chat with Country Living after the season 7 premiere.
Last Man Standing but with the old Mandy 💯 They are cute and funny pic.twitter.com/jfT4vWGJFR— Brittany Johnson (@BratzBritt) April 17, 2019
"At first, I took it pretty personally," McCook told the outlet. "But the hardcore fans of the show have been extremely supportive."0comments
The return of Ephraim to the series seems unlikely at this point, but there could be a guest spot at some point. She has since moved to roles on IFC's Brockmire, AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, and Hulu's Casual. The latter two series have since been canceled or wrapped up their final episodes, so maybe the actress could find the time to return since the series will be returning for season 8.
We'll have to keep our eyes when the series returns in fall. Until then, it would still seem that some fans are not fully on board with McCook as Mandy.