Posted by Jason Gilbert
Spanking, it is a tricky subject to tackle in the more modern sitcoms. While sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory and Community have used spanking in a much more playful way, not too many shows want to tackle the subject of spanking when it comes to disciplining your children. The tv show Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen decided to tackle that exact subject matter in Season 3 episode 10. It was certainly a bold choice as I am sure it could have garnered some contravery. I do however, think that they managed to handle the subject matter well, without it coming off as either a strongly for or strongly against spanking message.
The plot of the episode is simple: Boyd is being babysat by his great granddad and when he refuses to do something that his great granddad asked him to do, he gives him one smack on the butt. This is talked about in the episode and is an event that happened off screen. Mike Baxter (played by Tim Allen), Boyd’s grandpa is upset that his father, Boyd’s great grandfather would do this. Boyd’s mom Kristin and his dad Ryan are most upset that he did that without their okay. They say that, “they never hit their son”, prefering to use a reward system as their choice of discipline. Like, if you are a good boy, then you get ice cream. And this sparks much debate and the theme for the entire episode.
Again I feel like they handled the subject matter fairly well, considering it is a fine line to walk. Mike Baxter (Tim Allen) says that he never spanked his girls when they were growing up, although he was spanked as a kid by his dad. This sparks a bit of debate between him and his dad as his dad felt he did his best, but feels like Mike holds it against him now. Mike’s dad also seems to beleive in this much more old fashioned method of discipline, but is receptive to the parents feelings that they don’t want him spanking their son.
Later in the same episode, Kristin is upset because she spanked Boyd as well, when he runs out into traffic. Kristin’s mother Vanessa tries to reassure her that she was being a good mother by doing so and acting in her best interests. Kristin is unconvince, stating that she is just keeping the trend of voilence going.
They attempt to tackle the subject in a serious way, but still keep it lighthearted. It is after all a sitcom. Mike ends the episode by saying that parents do the best they can with what they know. He didn’t fault his dad for using spanking on him and his brother, but chose not to use it on his own girls.
Again, the show doesn’t seem to be taking a strong stance for or against spanking, but showing that it should only be used as a last resort if at all. A very fine line to walk in a sitcom, they did it fairly well, I think.
One last note about the episode; there is a hilarious moment when Mike Baxter talks to his boss Ed Halzate and asks him what he thinks about spanking. “Well, I think it can spice up a relationship” Ed says. “Just remember what your safe word is”. Too funny!! I am glad that they acknowledged that side of spanking. The side of spanking, that all of us spankos are very familiar with. Now wait, if Ed said not to forget your safe word, does that mean he is the one getting spanked…lol…hmm, that is interesting. They don’t go into it much more than that joke, but it is nice to see that mentioned at least.
As a guy fascinated by the world of spanking, I always pick up on anything related to the topic, so I couldn’t help but talk about this episode of Last Man Standing, since I literately watched it last night.
Anyways, hope you have found this to be of interest.