Even the opening used to get me with the grunts, the fake video game with the kids getting chased by power tools (seemed like a pretty cool game!), and the fact that the house logo always turned into some flying contraption. I remember thinking about how cool it would be if they actually did make the house sprout propellers and take off! Speaking of which, what was with all those surreal logo guys running around between scenes? I kept waiting for one of the people to just look down and go "what the heck is that thing?" or even just acknowledge that a little Home Improvement logo guy just jumped off the counter, or swung on a light fixture, or painted the screen blue... but I don't know, I guess they were all blind to it.
In any case, Home Improvement taught me that being a man is all about blowing stuff up, trying to hide it, and saying something funny when people get mad about it. I blame Tim for all the bone-headed stuff I've tried to get away with or just barely escaped from in one piece over the years, like this cautionary tale. Unlike me though, his poor choices were always rectified by going out to the fence to seek the wisdom of their wacky neighbor without a lower face, stomping back only to fumble at an explanation, and setting it all right somehow just in time for the end of the episode. To say that this show was "formula" is just too formulaic at this point in the description.
There were other characters besides Tim though, like the nagging wife who had this inability to cook like it was a genetic dysfunction and those hot toolgirls on Tool Time who just... handed Tim power tools. There was also that wacky neighbor Wilson Wilson who was smarter than everyone combined but had no lower jaw for all I knew. Then there was Tim's sensible and slightly effeminate sidekick mama's boy Al with his typical 90s flannel shirt, but all he seemed to do was wait for Tim to say something stupid, wait for the audience to pipe down, and then deliver the five words we ALL knew were coming: "I don't think so Tim."
|I am not Mark... |
oh wait, I am!
Like I said, most of the show was either built around corny jokes-- the only ones I was capable of getting... ("what rhymes with matrimony? schmatrimony!")-- or blowing things up like a 21-nail-gun salute gone wrong, or a whole house-- or dropping a beam on a car, or driving a riding mower at highway speeds (cutting many lawns in the process), or dancing a washing machine across the garage, or launching a BBQ grill into orbit (all thanks to Tim's "improvements"). The other part of the show was built around pure Stooges-style slapstick, usually involving Tim gluing something to his forehead. And while there was always some kind of life lesson tacked on somewhere, some moral, and even a couple "Very Special Episodes," those parts were the "talky bits" as far as the 8yo me was concerned, and this little man's mind was eagerly awaiting the next random explosion or mechanical malfunction.