Pros: Great clean comedy, real family life, unbelievable destruction.
Cons: Wilson’s character can be kind of a bore.
This show has always ranked as one of my all-time favorite television comedy shows. I remember watching Tim Allen, back in the day, doing standup comedy. I use to catch him on HBO specials quite a bit and thought he was funny. All of his rewiring, more power, and grunts were hilarious even in standup. I also thought his standup was quite ingenious and different from the others. He also stood out to me. Now, put all of that humor into a television show, with pretty good supporting actors, and you have some excellent comedy. Tim Allen is an excellent comedian with great facial expressions and an uncanny ability to deliver one-liners. He has always been one of my favorite comedians and I still put this Home Improvement season in and still laugh from time to time.
Home Improvement is a comedy series that is focused around a character named Tim Taylor (Tim Allen). He is married with 3 boys and has his very own home improvement show called Tool Time. The comedy factor of the show is around the fact that Tim does know home improvement but, just has a different outlook than others. He is never satisfied with just improving or fixing something the normal way. He always wants to improve everything with “more power”. Of course, this is not a good idea and he ends up screwing up everything he touches one way or another in a comedic way. This is evident from the very first episode “Pilot”. Tim is asked to do the dishes and he just starts putting them in. His wife Jill (Patricia Richardson) tells him he has to wash the dishes before he puts them in the dishwasher. Even I laugh about doing that myself, wash a dish before you put it in the “dishwasher”. Well, Tim doesn’t understand that concept and decides that the only problem is, the dishwasher just needs “more power”. He then re-wires it, despite his wife telling him not too, giving it much more power. Of course, not to mention hurting himself in the process, the dishwasher blows up shooting dishes across the living room. Something like this is usually done each and every episode. The part I always liked in the show is the fact that they explain of is projects and what he is actually doing to them. It adds more realism and humor knowing how much power and the different tweaks he does.
One of my favorite parts about the show is when Tim, and his partner Al (Richard Karn), are working on his show “Tool Time”. The show is designed to show people basic home improvement and is sponsored by Binford Tools. This is where you see most of Tim’s projects and mishaps. Al is the level headed one that actually knows what he is doing and is always trying to stop Tim from doing these so called improvements. During the first two seasons you are introduced to a young Pamela Anderson who plays the tool girl Lisa. You don’t see her much during the episodes just here and there bringing something to Tim on the show. Still, the “Tool Time” parts on each episode are where a lot of the great humor is. It is amazing what Tim comes up with and how he is able to somehow mess everything up despite Al’s help.
The show is not all about Tim and his mishaps though. There are some deeper meanings that are noticed here and there. Tim and Jill raising their 3 boys and some of the trouble the two older ones can get into plays a role during certain episodes. During the first season Tim is portrayed as kind of a male chauvinist and has some issues with making sure he is the “man” of the house. At the same time Jill wants to be an independent woman and go back to work. They tend to butt heads once in a while and with all of Tim’s screw ups that just add some household problems. Luckily Tim has a neighbor named Wilson (Earl Hindman) that he goes to every episode for advice. Wilson is an incredibly smart man that speaks in a way that Tim really has trouble understanding his meanings. Tim ends up getting enough of what he is trying to say but, misinterprets most of it. For some reason you never see Wilson’s face from the nose down ever and I never understood this myself. This was probably the only part about the series that I could have done without. Still, there is some humor between Tim and Wilson because of Tim trying to understand the points Wilson is trying to say in his own unique way. Even though the show focuses around Tim and his destruction, and Tim always trying to show he is a man, it does have some in-depth story-lines involving family. These are subtle and don’t take away anything from what the show is all about, comedy.
My favorite episodes:
The “Pilot” is my favorite episode and is the first episode in this long running series. It introduces each character very well and shows what everything the show is about. Tim and his manhood, destruction, and not really understanding what is going on. It also shows Jill and her desire to go back to work and how she does get upset at Tim and his “more power” theory.
“Up Your Ally” is a great one and since I am a bowler I probably like it more than others. Tim takes the family to a bowling ally for family night. Tim shows how competitive he is as he always beats Jill and rubs it in, Brad and Randy get into trouble with another boy playing video games, and it introduces some friends of Tim’s. Even though this is one of the very few episodes that doesn’t have Tim destroying something, it just hilarious as watching Tim lose to Jill in front of his friends. Also Brad and Randy show a side of brotherhood between them.
One more excellent episode is “Stereo-Typical”. Tim goes to the store to buy stereo speakers after blowing the ones at the house. Instead, he comes home with a fancy top of the line entertainment center. Even though the entertainment center is all ready to go with instructions, Tim decides to make some modifications to it. This does not please Jill in the least and of course Tim shows that he really doesn’t know what he is doing. Another great episode that features what the show is all about.
Of course Tim Allen is the stand out on the show but, Patricia Richardson does an excellent job playing a very tolerable wife. What I like about her character is that she isn’t always forgiving about every mishap Tim gets himself into or causes. I doubt any wife could always just forgive or forget without the husband kissing some, well you know. Of course the two are always fine at the end but, she does an excellent job to help keep the show in check. The 3 kids also play good roles on the show and provide some of their own story-lines here and there. Each of the kids characters are separated by their own interest (of course Mark is pretty young in the first season). Brad is starting to like girls and doesn’t do great in school but, is interested in Tim’s Hot Rod and tools. Randy plays the brain in school but, could care less about Tim’s work and is quite the jokester, and Mark just tries to fit in. Of course, the youngest gets picked on quite about by the two older brothers. Then of course there is Tim’s side kick Al who is Mr. Goody-two-shoes and does everything by the book. He may know more about home improvement (well a lot more) than Tim does but, doesn’t have a clue in other areas of life. Wilson, the neighbor, is mainly just there in each episode to give words of wisdom to Tim that he doesn’t really understand. They all form quite a good team and characters all work well together. If there was any week spot in this area to me it would be Wilson’s character. All though his wisdom provides some humor but, that is only because of Tim. Still, I have no real complaints with any of the characters, or actors, on the show and I think they were very well cast.
If you like some physical humor, and watching someone get into some unbelievable trouble, then you can’t go wrong here. If you have not ever watched this show before, or have not watched it in a long time, I would recommend getting this first season. The season does an excellent job of introducing the different characters, what their roles are, and what the show is all about. Even the very first “Pilot” episode does this extremely well. This is a great family show that I can’t imagine anyone not liking. I recommend this with 5 stars all the way.
Thank you for reading.
Mow Better Blues
Satellite On A Hot Tim's Roof
Adventures In Fine Dining
Nothing More Than Feelings*
Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble
Reach Out And Teach Someone
Look Who's Not Talking
Yule Better Watch Out
Up Your Alley
For Whom The Belch Tolls
What About Bob?
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Birds Of A Feather Flock To Taylor
A Battle Of Wheels
Luck Be A Taylor Tonight
Al's Fair In Love And War
My other television show reviews if you are interested in reading them.
The Dick Van Dyke Show
History Channel Presents last Stand Of 300