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Home Improvement

1 9 9 4 – 1 9 9 9 (USA)

This smash hit US sitcom from Matt Williams (creator of Roseanne) was set in Detroit and starred Tim Allen as the gadget-crazy know-it-all presenter of a local cable DIY programme called Tool Time (“sponsored by Binford Tools”). The show is the fourth-highest-rated home improvement show in Michigan.

Largely misread as a piece of macho posturing by UK critics (who advised British viewers to tune out), Home Improvement effectively and amusingly satirised the unreconstructed male – right down to the wife at home, Jill (Patricia Richardson), who truly held the power.

homeimprovement4There were other notable comedic elements to the series: As with any domestic sitcom, there was a next-door neighbour. But in the case of Wilson, he was permanently hidden from view by the fence (pictured at right) and uttered mystic, Confucius-like sayings. The character was voiced by Earl Hindman.

Tim Taylor offered advice to his viewers on how to fix various things around the house, and he peppered his advice with a lot of gentle humour. Tim’s co-host Al Borland (Richard Karn) usually knew much more about how to repair something than Tim did.

The duo were assisted by a “Tool Time Girl” – initially Lisa (Pamela Anderson getting her break into TV) and later Heidi (Debbe Dunning) – whose main role was to introduce the pair at the beginning of the show (“Does everybody know what time it is?”) and to bring tools and such on to the set for Tim and Al during the show.

As with Roseanne, the closing credits showed ‘bloopers’ committed by the cast.

homeimprovement8

The final episode had Jill gaining her master’s degree in psychology, and when a job opportunity came up for her to work at Family Practice in Indiana, Tim gave up his reluctance to move, and the home in which they lived was seen being transported to Indiana (by tugboat).

One of ten children, comedian Tim Allen was arrested in 1978 for attempted drug dealing and sentenced to 28 months in jail.

Upon his release he became a stand-up comedian, eventually attracting the attention of television producers.

Home Improvement was based on a number of Allen’s handyman comedy routines from his stand-up act.

Allen also became a successful movie actor and, as a result, his salary rose from $50,000 for Toy Story in 1995 to $5,000,000 for Toy Story 2 in 1999.

He was also paid an astounding $1.25 million per episode for each appearance on Home Improvement during the 1999 season.

Tim Taylor
Tim Allen
Al Borland

Richard Karn
Jill Taylor
Patricia Richardson
Brad Taylor

Zachery Ty Bryan
Randy Taylor

Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Mark Taylor

Taran Noah Smith
Wilson

Earl Hindman
Lisa

Pamela Anderson
Heidi Keppert
Debbe Dunning