Although it was not meant specifically for children alone, Home Improvement was a highly rated television program in the 1990s and later appeared on Nick at Nite. There. My justification for writing about it.
The thing you must understand about Home Improvement is that it has no classic episodes. There’s no episode that ever reached the mainstream. They had a few “very special episodes” where the oldest son, Brad, either crashed a car, got a girl pregnant, or temporarily had cancer. It was a unique show but was it any good?
(Funny, they’re covering the word Home and now it looks like the show is called Improvement which is what the show needed most of all)
The show stars Tim Allen as Tim Taylor because I guess it’s easier to stay in character. Tim hosts a show called Tool Time with his partner Al. The show is on public access and for some reason people actually watch it and show up to be in the audience. Rachel Ray has to give out magazine subscriptions to get people to sit in her audience. I can’t imagine the terrible illegal things that were given out to this audience to get them to show up.
Tim is basically a wannabe handyman. His biggest rival is Bob Vila which if you want to almost credit them with, they started the whole Curb Your Enthusiasm gimmick where you play a caricature of yourself which Vila did on a few episodes. The cohost Al has a beard and has mother issues. He always wears plaid. I felt bad for Al because Tim seemed to have everything in his life while Al ended up having to marry a chubby blonde. Maybe Al was black. Of course the best member of the show was Heidi, a big breasted woman who only had to introduce the show. And women think they have it rough.
(I know I should be thinking other thoughts but all I can think about is how I think I used to own those same boots)
Tim’s home life was a main focus of the show. His oldest son Brad always had whatever bad haircut was popular at the time. He was athletic and a bit of a douchebag. The middle child was Randy played by J.T.T. If you don’t know who J.T.T. is then you must have missed 1992-1998. Randy was smart and clever. He probably ended up inventing “That’s what she said” only to later come up with something better and more witty to say to people who constantly used that phrase. Finally there was Mark. Mark had a mole. I think after the first season they gave up on stories for Mark. He was Goth at one point but other than that he could have been played by a houseplant.
The female lead on the show was played by as my dad calls her “the fat chick from Strong Medicine.” The fact he is familiar with the Lifetime original program Strong Medicine says something about his life. Her character’s name was Jill. Being a Tim, I always thought this meant I would one day marry a Jill. As a child I had little logic. Jill was a real bitch and each episode was about Tim being dumb and Jill being smart. Only two episodes was she ever wrong. One was when she was talking with an ex-boyfriend named Ron Dahl. The other time she was wrong was on the famous 3D episode which is one of the most ridiculous things ever.
(Randy’s on the fart left, Brad’s squatting down, and Mark is grabbing the pole in a very natural position…Jill’s the only one with ovaries)
Of course everybody’s favorite character was the neighbor Wilson Wilson. See how funny the show was. He had the same first name and last name. Wilson was best known for never showing his face. He lived next door to the Taylors and would look over the fence without showing his chin. I think there was a 3-part episode where Wilson murdered neighborhood children and nobody could identify him because nobody ever saw his full face. I’m making that up. This show was not nearly daring enough to take such a risk.
(That’s what his chin looks like??? Maybe he should hide it)
I know at the time this show was popular but it doesn’t really hold up. The jokes are pretty lame, the plotlines are hack, and other than Wilson, Al, and Heidi’s breasts there isn’t much to like. The entire Taylor family has too many problems. Tim talks about his Hot Rod too much, Jill is bossy, Brad has bad haircuts, Randy is smarmy and nobody likes smarmy, and Mark has a mole. My grandpa used to watch this show and call it “Tool Time” because he was nearing death. Maybe this show wasn’t meant for kids after all. Maybe these characters and stories were meant to be enjoyed by WWII veterans in their final days.