On Friday, Last Man Standing will mark its 150th episode with a mini-Reba reunion. Showrunner Kevin Abbott, who was previously an executive producer on Reba McEntire’s eponymous sitcom, enlisted none other than TV’s erstwhile Barbra Jean, Melissa Peterman, for the milestone outing.
In the Mandy-centric episode, Mike and Vanessa’s middle daughter believes that she needs to hire a social media influencer to help get her clothing line off the ground — but Mike has a different idea. He invites Mandy to sit in on a meeting with an aggressive sales rep named Celia Powers (Peterman) in the hopes of teaching her some old-school business acumen.
“When we were conceiving the character, we immediately thought of Melissa,” Abbott tells TVLine. “[Executive producer] Matt Berry is my No. 2 on this show, and he was my No. 2 on Reba, and we just love her.”
Celia goes on to become something of a mentor to Mandy, which is “somewhat off-putting to Mike,” Abbott explains. “Mike’s a little bit more of a straight arrow, whereas Melissa’s character is outrageous. She considers herself a millennial and very hip [with the times], so they’re very funny together.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time that Last Man has cast one of Abbott’s former sitcom stars. As longtime viewers will recall, McEntire previously guest-starred as Mike’s ex-girlfriend Billie back in Season 5. Whereas that appearance was ultimately a one-off, Abbott hopes to have Peterman back in the just-announced Season 8. “You don’t necessarily have to script funny for Melissa. She’ll just find the funny,” he says. “We hope to have the character [return].”
Last Man‘s 150th episode — Season 7’s 20th episode overall — airs Friday at 8/7c on Fox. Watch an exclusive clip below, then hit the comments with your reactions.