“Breaking Boyd” had a decidedly serious tone coupled with its normal humor. The latest episode of Last Man Standing dealt with Boyd’s behavioral problems. His school counselor suggests that he see a child psychiatrist. Mike can’t understand why Boyd would need to see a psychiatrist. Other than his dislike of lima beans, what more would he have to talk about? Meanwhile, Mandy, having trouble focusing on schoolwork as usual, is trying her hardest to pass her classes in order to get into the fashion program. She even goes as far as giving Kyle her phone to avoid distractions.
After seeing the psychiatrist, Boyd is diagnosed with ADHD. Mike isn’t surprised as he suggests that doctors don’t get rich by saying your kid is fine and then sending them home. Kristin is ready to medicate Boyd, but Ryan is against it. He thinks the medicine is basically speed. Vanessa and Mike agree with Ryan’s wariness regarding medicating Boyd. Kristin believes the psychiatrist is right because Boyd doesn’t listen, talks out of turn, and is rebellious. She believes the medicine will calm Boyd. Mike calls it “being a boy.” He doesn’t think they should jump right to medication and “drug the boy out of Boyd.” Kristin agrees to hold off on giving Boyd the medicine and let Vanessa work with him.
After some research, Vanessa tries giving Boyd coffee because she read that caffeine can calm hyperactive children. She also decides to get rid of all of the junk food in the house, including Mike’s Pop-tarts, “Why am I being punished? I’m not the spaz.” Mandy tells Mike she’s feeling much more observant without the distraction of her phone. However, Mike’s not sure it’s going to help academically as she confuses fraction sizes.
At Outdoor Man, Mike talks to Ed about Boyd’s situation. Ed comments, “We didn’t have these fancy new designer diseases. We stuck with the classics,” citing illnesses like chicken pox as the classics. He tells Mike that Boyd just needs to work of his extra energy. Ed suggests running Boyd like a sled dog. This gives Mike an idea. When Vanessa arrives home, he’s building an ice rink in the backyard. When Vanessa asks what he is doing, he asks, “Have you seen the movie Field of Dreams? She replies, “No.” He adds, “Well, go watch it while I build my hockey rink.”
The extra activity has helped Boyd’s behavior, so Kristin decides not to go the medication route. It also provides a way for the family to bond. Eve may enjoy it even more than Boyd. As she plays goalie against Boyd she hilariously warns, “Only the lord saves more than I do.” Mandy returns home joyously asking the family to guess who crushed their finals, meaning her. Mike comments, “Hopefully the kid you copied off of.” Mike and Vanessa are extremely proud of Mandy’s hard work. Vanessa notices that there are a few of Boyd’s pills missing. She questions whether or not Kristin was giving them to Boyd without telling them. Instead, Mike calls Mandy down, “I hope I’m wrong, but what are the odds of that?” He asks Mandy if she took some of Boyd’s ADHD medication. At first, Mandy denies using them to study. Slowly, she cracks. She claims that other students do, so it’d only be fair if she did. She doesn’t see the difference in taking those or consuming a lot of energy drinks. She says it’s their fault for putting pressure on her before she walks out.
When Mike goes into Ed’s office to further discuss the ADHD medication situation, he encounters a doe bent over. It’s an anatomically correct doe to entice bucks to come in close to be shot. They call it the Yes Deer. Mike thinks it takes the sport out of hunting. Mike comments that next they’ll be selling downers to deer and they’ll just wander in and shoot themselves. He thinks it’s a shortcut like Mandy’s uses of the ADHD medication. Ed tells him she could be doing much worse as he tells him of a story of him popping a pill in San Francisco and ending up naked in a meat locker in Chicago. Ed suggests that maybe Mandy really does have ADHD if the pills did help her. When Mike comments that it’s cheating, Ed reminds Mike, “If you take pills and you need them, that’s medicine.” Later that evening Mike and Vanessa try to discuss with Mandy the possibility of her having ADHD, but they quickly lose her attention as she notices the ice rink in the backyard.
Another way Mike tries to increase Boyd’s activity is by taping him in a cardboard box and telling him to punch and kick his way out. Boyd says, “Grandpa, I think I’m running out of air.” Mike sarcastically replies, “Well, there’s plenty of air out here. Keep punchin’.”
The episode touched on a very serious issue. ADHD affects many people, but not everyone can and should be treated in the same manner. The episode sheds light on how quickly jumping onto the medication train may not be the best choice, but, for some, medication is the appropriate action. It also discusses the unfortunate issue of prescription misuse. Prescriptions are often misused for various reasons, including schoolwork. This is a major issue that can have unalterable lasting affects, which needs to be addressed. It was an interesting episode that coupled its sharp wit and humor with a much more serious issue. Good work. I commend the cast and crew for shedding light on an important issue.