Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Last Man Standing–Wonderful, Until It Rains

Last Man Standing

I love Last Man Standing, starring Tim Allen playing Mike Baxter. The humor is quippy without being clichéd, the characterization is spot on for each member of the cast, and it’s set in Denver. What more could I want?

I’ve enjoyed each episode, (and yes, I’ve seen every one of them since 2011,) but the one that aired on January 31, 2014 entitled “Taser” had one plot element that stuck out like a sore thumb hit with a hammer. (Nod to Allen’s previous sitcom, Home Improvement.)

This particular episode is set during Valentine’s Day. About midway through, there is a steady rain pouring outside the kitchen window. Did I mention this was set in Denver. And it’s Valentine’s Day. February. According to weatherspark.com, Denver’s average rainfall in February is 4% for light rain, 1% for both drizzle and moderate rain. It didn’t even tabulate heavy rain, which was in the episode. Buckets of rain, the likes you would see in late April or May. . .or in the upcoming movie Noah.

So, just as I rhetorically asked my husband, “Why is it raining in Colorado?” the doorbell rang in the Baxter household on my TV screen. As often happens in this family, no one answered it right away. When someone finally opened the door, the character, Kyle, boyfriend of one of the daughters, was standing there soaking wet. To understand what happened next, I have to tell you that Kyle had carved a little bluebird out of a bar of Irish Spring soap for girlfriend Mandy for Valentine’s Day. He enters the house dripping wet, and when he sees Mandy, he reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out bubbles. Lots and lots of bubbles. “Oh,” I said to my husband. “That’s why it’s raining!” To make matters worse, it stopped raining immediately after this scene. The next scene took place in the kitchen where two of the characters walked in from outside bone dry.

Yep. Even TV giants like Last Man Standing can screw up a good story. I can hear the writers as they story-boarded.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if Kyle carves a bird out of soap, and then it rains and dissolves in his pocket?”

“But, it’s February in Denver. It would be snowing, not raining.”

“Yeah, but we need lots of water to make the joke work. No one will notice.”

I’m standing on my writing craft convictions with my hand raised yelling, “Ooo! I noticed!” These professionals used a contrivance to make something work. Now, I’m not saying I’m never guilty of that. On the contrary, I’m famous for trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. (And apparently for using clichés, but I digress.) That’s probably why I’m sensitive. If I can’t get away with it, neither should people getting paid a kratillion more dollars than me.

So, I think the takeaway here is obvious. Don’t make it rain when it should be snowing just to make something work. But, do watch Last Man Standing. It is one of the few family-friendly shows that isn’t afraid to discuss today’s issues in a hilarious way. (Hopefully that keeps me out of trouble with the network. . .as if they would actually read this.)


Davalyn Spencer said...

Love that show - and your astute observation and timely advice. Kudos!

J. N. Hups said...

Ah-ha! That's what I call blowing your suspension of disbelief. You can do a lot of things with Denver's weather and make them believable, but a downpour in February? We barely get downpours in May. Great observation, Kathy!

Niki Turner said...

How funny, I thought the exact same thing when I watched that episode last week!!! And Tim Allen should know better, he's a native! :)

Paula said...

How frustrating! Like a book I read where the characters were in CO mountains chasing fireflies. I KNOW we don't have fireflies out here because I MISS them. Grew up with them in the south, but really? Little details like that are jarring.