tek's rating:

Home Improvement, ABC
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This was based on the stand-up comedy of Tim Allen, who played Tim Taylor. The fictional Tim was the host of a local cable show called "Tool Time," on which he was known as Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor. He had an assistant on the show named Al Borland, who Tim was always mocking, though actually Al was much more competent than Tim. And the two were fairly good friends, even if Al didn't really appreciate all the mocking, especially when Tim made jokes about his mother. Al was fairly earnest, sweet, shy, an unsophisticated gentleman, though he also had a corny sense of humor. I suppose I should also mention that there were, at different points in the series, different "tool girls," who were fairly hot (the first one was played by Pamela Anderson). Anyway, Tim worked for Binford Tools, a tool manufacturing company for which he'd previously been a traveling salesman, before he got the gig hosting this show they produced. Tim... is very enthusiastic about tools and any sort of "home improvement" project that allows him to use tools. Especially power tools. One of his catch phrases is "more power!", though another catch phrase he often uses is actually just grunting in a caveman-like way, which apparently was meant to demonstrate his masculinity. His projects, both on Tool Time and in his real life, tend to be very over-the-top, and it's a running joke that these projects have often put him in the hospital... because they're clearly dangerous, and usually don't turn out the way he intended. (In spite of this, we occasionally see that he's not completely incompetent, and in fact when he manages to restrain his desire to be excessive in his plans, he's actually a pretty handy guy.)

He has a wife named Jill, and three sons: Brad, Randy, and Mark. Tim's mostly not very bright about anything that doesn't have to do with tools, whereas Jill is definitely smarter than he is. Of their sons, Brad, the oldest, is the most athletic, but not that bright. Randy is smarter and more sarcastic. They both like to tease and trick their younger brother Mark a lot, and they both get in trouble for various things they do. Um, and then there's the Taylors' next door neighbor, Wilson. Tim often goes outside to talk to him over the fence between their yards, seeking wisdom. (There's a running gag in which we never get to see all of Wilson's face.) Wilson has studied lots of history and philosophy and whatnot, and his advice often goes over Tim's head (or at least, Tim always misquotes him later), but ultimately it tends to be helpful. Anyway, Wilson is probably the most interesting character on the show. But over the years there will be various other recurring characters, and we sometimes get to see some of the Taylors' extend family and friends.

The show is... I dunno, kind of an old-fashioned comedy, in a modern setting. It's kind of corny, predictable, not particularly clever or anything. Still, it's reasonaly funny and likable, with good, comfortable characters who you can get to know and care about over time. I've never been hugely interested in it, but it's also not something I have anything against watching. I liked it well enough in its original run, and while I probably wouldn't choose to watch a rerun, if I had to sit through one and actually pay attention to it, I wouldn't mind....


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