Tim Allen answers: 'Why are men douchebags in sitcoms?'

Tim-Allen-Last-man

Image Credit: Getty Images

The critics were restless. After two weeks of sitting in hotel ballrooms listening to celebrities talk (and talk and talk) about their shows, reporters were ready for the summer press tour to be over. But there was still one last must-see panelist: Tim Allen, who is making his return to TV in ABC’s Last Man Standing, about a traditional male living with modern women.

“You’re pissed,” he told the critics at the start of the session. “I can see it … already pissed off and tired.”

So the critics didn’t waste much time. “Tim, why are men always portrayed as douchebags on sitcoms?” one asked.

“Well, that was the working title, actually,” Allen replied, drawing laughs. “Somebody’s already got it. Fox already got it.”

But seriously folks: “It’s the lowest common denominator, ” Allen said. “The great showrunner we have, Jack Burditt, called it, one day, Sitcom 101. When you don’t have material, you go to the lowest common denominator. I still do a lot of scatological humor, but I’ve risen it to a high art. [This gets another laugh]. Every guy on TV has a flannel shirt and a gray T‑shirt underneath, and he likes beer, and he’s got a much better‑looking wife than he deserves. It’s buffoonery. I’m going to go out on a limb and say we’re not going to do that on this show.  The tide keeps it that way, but we’re not going to do that.”

For another take on ABC’s session, check out Ken Tucker’s piece, “ABC’s new fall TV identity: Home of empowered women and weak little sad men.”
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  • Abby

    ha, that’s why FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was so refreshing, it depicted marriage as an equal partnership not a wise & put-upon wife dealing with an idiotic husband. Go Tami & Coach Taylor!

    • Grandma Palin

      Friday Night Lights is not a sitcom. 2nd, Last Man Standing will still be a douchebag sitcom because it will have a laughtrack to tell you when to laugh and the same Set up / Punchline / Set up / Insult formula. Like it or not, they should just call it According To Tim.

      • AK

        Not all shows with laugh tracks are bad. In fact, there are decades-worth of classic sitcoms that used laugh tracks. (Conversely, not all comedies without laugh tracks are automatically funny.) I would be more wary of “Last Man Standing” because it comes from the guy who gave us “Home Improvement.”

      • Mike K

        Laugh tracks are so annoying. But shows that don’t have them tend to not stay on the air for long because idiots don’t know when to laugh for themselves. I’m giving this show a chance just because of Tim Allen.

      • How is that different from Home Improvement?

        Tim Allen just described “Home Improvement” – He wore flannel (and so did Al), granted he did not drink on the show, but his wife was better looking than him – at least latter on when she grew her hair out

      • Earl

        Yeah, laughtracks are wayyy outdated and theres need for them anymore. Granted, with something like S*** My Dad Says, theres no other way a TV viewer would know when a joke was just cracked.
        But How I Met Your Mother uses the old laugh track, and thats one of the better shows on TV, no doubt. Certainly one of the funniest.

      • Satan

        Friday Night Lights isn’t a sitcom? Oh snap, it makes so much more sense now…

      • Lala

        @AK, you’re wasting your time, Grandma Palin is probably one of those 12 year olds roaming the internets that couldn’t recognize a good television show if it smacked them right in their pimpled faces.

  • loseraretakingtheworld

    Like tim allen has any talent. He sucks AND is a douche bag

    • Nshi

      Please remove your sexist comment.

      • The Original Nshi

        I did not type that!!!!!

    • dlipy

      TO INFINITY…and BEYONNNNDDD!

      I will always give Tim Allen a free pass because of Buzz. And Galaxy Quest.

      • Yeah!

        I love Buzz Lightyear!

      • KristenV

        Yes! Galaxy Quest!

      • Kelly

        He was actually pretty good in Big Trouble too.

      • Ninchy

        What about the movie where he and Kirstie Alley pretended to be Amish? Anyone, anyone?? No?……..

  • Karate Pants

    Who really buys the networks’ interpretations of “the modern empowered woman”? This always model-beautiful “woman”, hair perfectly highlighted, dripping in designer labels, perched atop sky-high heels, smart and snarky, always a saavy businesswoman/lawyer. This is no more ridiculous than their interpretation of “the modern empowered woman” thirty years ago, with her feathered, frosted, perfectly coiffed hair and her smart shoulderpad aided business suits. And it’s the same boys club creating these “women” in network studio conference rooms.
    I mean, really. I don’t know ANYONE like “the modern empowered women” portrayed in these ridiculously stupid sitcoms. Nor would I want to.
    Men are portrayed as douchebags because that’s what men think women want to see. Explain to me how they arrived at their example of “the modern empowered woman”. I don’t get it.

    • Karate Pants

      And contrary to popular belief, I and most of the women I know (who I do believe to be fairly representative of REAL women) generally spend less than $100 on a pair of shoes and DO NOT spend most of our time talking about sexual exploits with men over cosmos or white wine.

      • amy

        I wish I had a pair of shoes worth over$100 & I wish I had a sex life! lol Seriously!!

      • amy

        I wish men would touch me sometimes. Oh well.

      • AcaseofGeo

        Karate Pants, the scene scenario you’re referring to sounds like “Sex & The City” and I don’t think the men on there we typical sitcom douchebags. But I have to agree on the setup. One of my fave shows of the last 20 years is “Everybody Loves Raymond” and it sorta has that douchebag man with lovely wife set up. Except the wife was very smart but didn’t have the empowered outside job to go with it.

    • Mike

      I used to think the same thing until I met my wife, a PR exec from Manhattan… I met her business partners, and her friends. Early on when we were dating I used to make fun of shows like “Sex in the City” and rant about how that portrayal was phony… then I slowly had my eyes peeled back. Sorry, they’re out there for real.

    • dannie

      The modern women depicted on tv is almost as real their buffoon husbands.

      My all time favorite show was Bonnie Hunt’s – she was the host of a Chi-town morning show and her husband was a doctor … 3.5 kids, 1 dog, etc.

      Miss you Bonnie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cronus

    Weird. This was actually the subject of last week’s Louie episode.

  • Donna

    Anyone who thinks television doesn’t have any sway over what people think need to start paying attention: it’s not “Big Brother is Watching You,” it’s us watching Big Brother. I suspect that more than half of Americans in this country get their political/cultural/moral views directly from what they watch. If you prefer not to think about it, that’s one thing, but you need to at least acknowledge there has to be someone aware of this that is directing traffic.

    • tom

      Donna hit it right on the head…all of television is carefully crafted to mold public thinking..just look at the Disney shows…” My babysitter is a Vampire”…for example, It depicts to children that witchcraft is a positive and harmless thing and should be embraced. Big Brother, thru music videos and the rest of so called entertainment is pure Social Engineering!

      • Krys

        Seriously? I guess you hate Harry Potter too!

  • Javadude54

    I’ve seen this show before, but with many different names. I’ll pass on this one.

    • annie

      Men are douchebags!

      • Steve

        Bitter because you can’t get a date, Annie?

      • Andy

        been shunned annie? not prety enough annie? sucks dosen’t it annie. tv is not real and does not depict reality…only that which we want to take out of it. the “stars” have nothing of quality to speak to, let alone credability…they ACT…..that’s what they do…ACT! remember that.

      • Annie

        So, you guys aren’t douchebags?

  • dlux

    It is the purpose of modern media — books, magazines, TV, movies — to denigrate the nominal male of household. It is cheap entertainment. It is profitable.

  • annie

    Yeah Steve that’s right I’m real bitter! It was a joke sweetheart, relax.

    • whatevs

      Although the responses to your joke did prove that men are douchebags.

  • Trent

    Donna you are 100% correct! If you watch, not only news, but TV shows they are steering public opinion.

  • Tiredofmadeupwords

    If women really wanted to watch douchebags, they’d go to YouTube and watch old Summer’s Eve commercials. So, NO, Tim Allen is not a douchebag.

  • ed

    why is the word DB acceptable? I hear it so often, it is disgusting,half the people who use it have no clue what it is.

    • Gary

      They don’t know that it means a feminine hygiene bag?

    • erin

      The fact that it’s disgusting is the point, ed. It reflects the disgusting-ness of that person’s behavior.

    • skm

      It’s a very old-fashioned term. My parents would have been in their 90s had they lived, and the term was around in their time, although it was usually prefixed with “the old lady’s”, as in “the old lady’s d-bag”. I’d guess it is from the military, probably the first world war. It was considered extremely crude when I was younger, something that old Army buddies might say when they thought only guys were present.

    • What?

      It’s sort of a large Well, isn’t it a, kind of a, the thing that you…
      Alright, i don’t know what it is

      • ThatWasFunny

        LOL… not sure why, buy your comment totally cracked me up and I can’t stop chuckling. Well done!

  • Good question

    Gee, Tim, maybe it’s only the ones who do time for selling drugs, then cheat on the woman who married him after waiting for him while he was in prison? Just sayin’.

  • Sean

    Home Improvement, even today, is still hella funny!

    • Gary

      Haha! Funny one Sean. But seriously, you know it sucked right?

    • Darrin

      My fav. episode of Home Improvement was the one where Tim overhauled some device on his show to give it “more power” and it went out of control. Then he screwed up something at home and his wife got mad at him, so he went and talked to the neighbor over the fence, who gave him good advice. He then bungled the repeating of that advice, and his wife forgave him. Did anyone else see that episode?

      • whatevs

        Come on now. Everyone is forgiving when Three’s Company does it.

  • Bill From Buffalo

    I think Tim hit the nail on the head. Not only are men portrayed as douchebags on sitcoms, they’re portrayed as douchebags on commercials. Not sure what these shows/commercials are attempting to appeal to, but rest assured I will never purchase a product/service (*cough* State Farm *cough*), nor watch a TV show that portrays my sex in a negative light to such an extreme.. .

    • Max

      Women control the majority of the populations’ family budgets. Appeal to them and you appeal to the financial decision maker and most likely the person who will make the weekly shopping trip.

      These shows and commercials are appealing to women; these shows are in place to fill the space between the commercials – hence the commercials carry the same message “men are buffoons!”

      When men look foolish, women are empowered. When you make a women (or any person frankly) feel empowered you have their loyalty.

      • The Other Anne

        Max, I see where you are headed, and your theory is probably correct. And sad. I won’t watch that type of foolishness. My husband is not a clumsy dummy. The men I work with are not buffoons (that can’t be spelled right). No one I know resembles the men in these cookie cutter sitcoms. They offer very little entertainment, and I can’t remember the last time I watched one. Honestly, I can’t. The Office is the last one I can recall, and that’s just because the ensemble was so fantatic. Give me FNL anyday.

    • Jim

      State Farm doesn’t show men as dbags…it’s just a silly commercial, get over it. I chuckle at it everytime!

  • tomm

    2 and a Half Men is one example. Either they are nerd/dorks like “Duckie” Jon Cryer who never get “any”, or smooth womanizers, who get the girls like Charlie.

    Then there’s the 3 men on ‘friends’. Snarky, Whiney, and Dummy.

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