You know what’s a good show? Home Improvement.
A few years ago, I wouldn’t have said such a thing. I thought the cheeseball factor rivaled that of Full House. But in the last year or two, I’ve been catching the re-runs on cable randomly during the day, and it has really grown on me.
The show was a ratings powerhouse in the 90s. I remember watching it back then, but sometimes what you watch as a kid doesn’t age as well as you do. Still, with nothing better on at 1 p.m. on weekdays, I’ve reentered the world of the Taylor family and their hilarious hijinks and found that it is genuinely funny, if still forced from time to time.
The standard “sitcom” jokes are there: Al’s mom is fat, Tim hits his head on the pipe in the basement, everyone has the perfect witty comeback in every conversation. But I’ve also come to appreciate how non-dysfunctional the family is. Conflicts arise amongst the boys in their own contrived sitcom-y way, but Tim and Jill are still models of good parenting. Tim grills Al incessantly, but he can still be a good and caring friend when needed. There is heart in everything–something a lot of sitcoms forget to remember.
I got the chance to meet the show’s executive producer David McFadzean when he spoke at my sister’s first school, Calvin College. He said the concept was to create a show where the family was functional and loving, an idea foreign to a lot of television shows. The concept worked, as the show’s success demonstrated.
And while Tim Allen’s comedy is largely limited to grunting and mock-stupidity, he’s still darn funny, especially when he can work off of the solid supporting characters like Al and Wilson.
Anyway, that’s my two cents. If you’re channel-surfing one day and happen upon another hilarious episode of “Tool Time”, don’t change the channel. Stay there and enjoy it.