Home Improvement was a 1990s TV show that went to air on September 17th, 1991. After successfully running for eight whole seasons, it came to an end on May 25th, 1999. Matt Williams, David McFadzean and Carmen Finestra were the creators of the show. Anyone who watched the show in the 90s would know that it was one of the best TV series of its time. Especially in the United States, Home Improvement was considered among the most-watched television shows of the decade. It was a situational comedy genre, airing a total of 204 episodes. Each episode had an average runtime of half an hour. It was so well-received by the public that, in 1994, “Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit,” a game based on the TV show, was released by Super Nintendo.
The 90s were one of the greatest eras in the modern entertainment industry. With the rise of digital media, there was a never-before-seen rush of brilliant actresses and actors that flooded the business. From Quentin Tarantino’s comedy masterpiece Pulp Fiction to the iconic and unforgettable Titanic, starring the legendary Leonardo DiCaprio, the theaters were simply full of enthusiastic fans of all kinds of genre. However, just as the film industry was booming, certain TV shows were also gaining their way to popularity and achieving the status that would make them stand out in the public’s eyes even after three decades. In fact, the 90 were one of the earliest times in television history when people were unwilling to leave their place in front of the TV because their favorite show was running.
Being a family sitcom, Home Improvement focuses on the home life and work of the Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, played by the real-life actor Tim Allen. Tim’s family consists of 5 members: Tim; his wife, Jill; oldest kid Brad; middle kid Randy and youngest kid Mark. The show portrays Tim when he is at work, as the stereotypical American male, who is obsessed with cars, power tools, and sports (he was an avid fan of the Detroit special sports team). The show also focuses on the other side of Tim’s character when he is at home with his wife and three teenage boys. Tim and Jill have been married for nearly 20 years, so it comes as no surprise that they have had their fill of family drama. Wilson W. Wilson, a mysterious and wise man that lives in the neighborhood, is often consulted by the Taylors to solve some of their problems.
The show was originally based on stand-up comedian Tim Allen’s description of a man who was unreasonably confident in his knowledge of cars and power tools, and his habit of communicating with his wife and sons through the simple act of grunting. The show received a second place in the top 10 places in the Nielsen ratings of TV series during its third season. Besides that, it was nominated for several awards. Golden Globe Awards, Kids’ Choice Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, Young Artist Awards, ASCAP Award, and YoungStar Awards are only some of the awards it received during its 8-season run. It was estimated to have been watched by more than 30% of all the people in the US in the 90s.
After its finale in 1999, the show was not revived for a 9th season, even though the directors of the show were offered up to $50 million to work on one more season. During its eight-year lifespan, it left us with a lot of content to talk about. Undoubtedly, out of the 204 total episodes, most were amazing by some standard or another. But today, from every episode of Home Improvement that ever aired, we are going to be looking at the top 5 episodes.
1. Knee Deep – S08E15
Tim has Teller and Penn on Tool Time. Tim’s die-hard fans are under the impression that Tim is departing from the show’s basics. At the same time, Tool Time is filming in Tim’s home. Brad trips himself over a carpet that was rolled up and injures his knee. This also becomes a risk for his career as a devoted soccer player.
In the episode, there was also a factual error. Heidi says that the toilet overflowed the top of the tank because of a broken float valve. This can’t be true – that’s the purpose of the hollow tube in the tank, that is, if the float valve ever fails, the water will move down the tube into the bowl located below and then out of the drain line.
2. The Haunting of Taylor House – S02E06
On Tool Time, Tim decides to demonstrate how to build a brick wall. Since it’s Halloween, he also suits up as a scary monster in an attempt to frighten Al. Together, they make jack-o-lanterns. Only that Tim has found a new way to achieve the same result – by using, you guessed it, more power! Tim turns his basement into a “haunted house” for Halloween party. Brad agrees to dress up as “Raggedy Andy” to impress Jennifer, who is coming as “Raggedy Ann.”
The first episode of Halloween is always the best, and Home Improvement draws on it with an episode that honestly celebrates the spirit of the holiday. The Taylors are huge lovers of Halloween, so, like any normal family, they have a really good time terrorizing each other. Their interactions with the little children in their Halloween party are also quite fun. You can easily tell that a lot of their interactions have been improvised. We also get to enjoy another visit through the haunted basement of the Taylors’ house, which gets out a laugh from most of the audience. It’s nice to meet Rider Strong in an earlier appearance before his future stint on Boy Meets World.
3. Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble – S01E09
Jill reminds Tim of the need for another sink in the washroom, and Tim promises that he’ll get her one, including a whirlpool, and anything else that Jill needs. Tim tries to refurbish the bathroom and asks the crew of Tool Time as well as Al to help so it can be all done for free except for buying the material. The project takes eighteen days, much to Jill’s disappointment, who thought it would be completed sooner. Brad tries to ask Jennifer out on a date. Of course, things go downhill pretty fast for all of them.
4. Bright Christmas – S07E11
Jill’s mother is visiting the family for Christmas. It is their first Christmas together since her husband died. Jill is not very happy with her mother dating another man. Meanwhile, Tim prepares for Christmas in his typical, melodramatic ways. New rules for the annual Christmas Lighting Contest make Tim work harder to give his display “more power!”
5. The Long and Winding Road (Part 2) – S08E26
As Tim makes preparations for the last Tool Time show, he thinks of all the impacts their past decisions have had on their lives (like Tim resigning from Tool Time, and Jill getting a job in Indiana). He reflects on their lives in their home over the decade. During the drive to school, Tim and the boys ponder over some of the best times they’ve spent together, with clips featured from the previous shows.
“We’ve Got It All,” the song by Kenny Rogers, was made especially for this episode.