It came as a shock to fans when Last Man Standing announced it would have to recast the role of Mandy Baxter. Fans were thrilled the show was returning but not so happy with the recasting news.
Molly Ephraim played the role for six seasons. However, when ABC canceled the show, she rightfully moved on to other projects.
Fox revived the show last spring, but Ephraim was unavailable to return to the role. The show would have to recast Mandy.
There was no way around recasting. The role is pivotal to the show, especially since Mandy and Kyle are still newlyweds. It would have been more unbelievable to write off the character than to recast the role.
Enter Molly McCook, who was tasked with taking over a role from a beloved actress.
Since the premiere, there has been a lot of backlash surrounding the character, especially when it comes to the physical difference. Original Mandy was short with dark hair. New Mandy is tall with blonde hair.
The show handled the physical differences in a comical way during Last Man Standing Season 7 Episode 1. Everyone in the family noticed a change in Mandy, except her husband, Kyle. It was a great move to acknowledge and poke fun at the obvious differences between the two actresses.
Sadly, fans can't get past the appearance of new Mandy to even give her a chance. Yes, it was startling at first, but four episodes have aired. It is time for fans to get over the physical differences and give new Mandy a chance.
Honestly, the chemistry between new Mandy and Kyle is off the charts. Molly McCook and Christoph Sanders are hilarious together. In every scene, they appear to be having the best time together.
There is more playfulness between the newlyweds than there was with Molly Ephraim. No, I am not slamming her. She was terrific in the role. I am merely pointing out a difference.
Old Mandy never came across as overly supportive of Kyle. I always liked them as a couple but never believed she loved him as much as he loved her.
Now I see a couple truly in love who both accept every single aspect of the other person. The relationship comes across more genuine and real.
Other than the Kyle aspect, fans should give new Mandy a chance because she deserves it. McCook is talented and very funny. If you don't believe me, watch her as Darlene on the Ranch.
McCook has kept the core of what made Mandy, well Mandy, but she is putting her own spin on her. The actress didn't come in and revamp everything the fans loved about the character.
There is also a more serious, softer and vulnerable side to Mandy now. On Last Man Standing Season 7 Episode 3, Mandy struggled with putting her own needs before Kyle's when it came to starting a family.
Sadness took over her face when Mandy admitted to Vanessa she was not ready for a baby. It was a rare moment for Mandy to show that side of her, and McCook nailed it. My heart broke for Mandy.
There is definitely an adjustment period when a role is recast, but there comes a time when you have to accept the new actor or actress.
The time to do that for new Mandy is now. The Last Mandy Standing revival is a considerable success, and McCook has played a part in it.
I don't think she has taken anything away from Mandy. Her chemistry with the entire cast is outstanding. There has not been a scene that looked awkward or forced.
Many times, when a recast comes on board, scenes can be painful to watch. I have yet to have that experience with new Mandy. I think she fits in with the rest of the cast seamlessly.
If she was awful, do you really think Tim Allen would allow her to be on his show? No, he wouldn't; so if he can give new Mandy a chance, don't you think you can too?
I had a harder time accepting Amanda Fuller as Kristin, even though Alexandra Krosney only played the character for one year. It took time, but I eventually came to think of Fuller is Kristin. She is a fantastic, as well as a talented actress who I just needed to give a chance.
Here is the choice we have as fans when it comes to a recast on our favorite shows: either adjust to the new actor or actress or stop watching the show.
Are you willing to stop watching Last Man Standing as opposed to giving new Mandy a chance?
Rachelle Lewis is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.