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Headscratchers: Home Improvement
Headscratchers for Home Improvement.
  • Has anyone ever noticed that, an inordinate percentage of the lessons Jill learns are the wrong lessons? It could just be that Tim screws up so much more often, and usually for the entire episode, that they have time to sit back and figure out how he'll mis-learn the lesson of the week before learning it properly, whereas the Jill episodes usually have her refusing to admit the possibility of being wrong (in the episodes that there is an actual aesop, and not just family or emotional or college or filler stuff). The most painful example I noticed was the episode where Randy gets his driver's license. She spends the last third of the episode learning that instead of punishing each kid for the errors of the elder, she should treat them how they each deserve to be treated. So when Brad asks why Randy gets a week of no driving (for taking the car after dark without permission, and accepting whatever punishment he got as soon as he got home) while he got a month of no driving (for crashing the car, getting sued, and trying to hide the whole thing), Jill repeats Wilson's advice (judge each kid separately) verbatim and out of context. It sounded like she didn't even understand it, and was just better at remembering Wilson Quotes than Tim! This instead of a nicer wording of "because he was far more responsible and 'fessed up immediately, and has great driving skills, whereas you were a jerkish lying danger to yourself and others". And she's supposed to be not merely The Smart One, but a freakin' psychologist well into her studies with decent marks.
    • Right on. This episode bugs me as well.
    • I love Home Improvement, but it's arguably one of the worst examples of The Unfair Sex in the history of American television. Tim is almost always the screwup and Jill is almost always the reasonable smart person. The few times when Jill actually does screw up it's almost always treated as an honest and innocent mistake. Whereas Tim's screwups are almost always chalked up as selfishness, stupidity, pig-headedness, misogyny, and [insert negative male stereotype here]. Tim has to apologize for his screwups, while Jill often has other people apologizing to her for overreacting to her screwups.
    • There are a few times where Jill is completely wrong and called on it, granted it's not often, and is mostly Played for Laughs. For example: Despite majoring in Psychology Jill is actually absolute shit at it when it comes to applying that knowledge, especially when it comes to comforting grieving people. When her father died she pretty much shut down completely while Tim took over and was able to make sure things ran smoothly. When Al's mother died she once again was completely worthless and only managed to make things worse until she almost ruined the funeral and once again Tim had to step it to make it into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • The absolute worst was toward the end of the series when Brad had the opportunity to play pro soccer in England straight out of high school and they talked him out of it by telling him that he could always do that after college. Completely backwards much!?! There's a reason why certain things are called a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity", and it's college that'll always be there!
    • Come to think of it, that's a classic Broken Aesop: "Education is important" becomes "Live your life according to the standard blueprint, don't grab the Big Chance if it comes earlier in life than others around you are comfortable with", or more succinctly "CONFORM".
      • This episode was so ludicrous that it defies description. What rational parent would tell their kid to turn down what could be a more lucrative career than they'd ever have to go college and HOPE that you can even gain employment after you do? I'm not "anti-college" but it is always there whenever you want to go.And going in your mid 20's after a successful professional career in ANYTHING probably wouldn't be that bad.
      • Not to mention that if he saved wisely he could probably pay for the entire thing himself and save his parents some money for their retirement.
      • The most annoying thing about that (to me, anyway) is that they made this huge deal about how awesome it was for Jill to go back to school. Sorry, but what? You can't have it both ways, Home Improvement!
      • Jill was able to go back to school because Tim was quite successful. If Brad's football career never panned out, as is incredibly common, then he would've been stuck playing for day to day money, and that isn't going to last into your later years. He couldn't afford to go back to school, and might instead hope to get ahead in the game, a pipedream.
      • Sorry, I have to disagree there. The issue here is one of opportunities. College is an opportunity that will always be there. Even if Brad's budding sports career fell apart he could still go back to school. It might take hard work, sacrifice, and working an extra job or two to afford it, but it's possible. On the other hand, the mere chance to play on a professional sports team is something that only comes along once in a blue moon. Pass on it, and it's gone forever. Unlike college. And I have to object to your claim that Brad playing pro soccer was a "pipe dream". Was there a chance that it could fail in an absolutely hideous fashion? Sure. But the fact that Brad was even offered the opportunity to try out for a professional team meant he had a decent chance at being successful. Sport scouts are very good at their jobs and they don't extend these offers lightly. If the scout thought Brad was good enough then Tim and Jill owed it to their son to at least let him try. But instead they forced him to throw away this once in a lifetime opportunity in favor of the "always there when you need it" option that is college. And while we're on that subject, it's not like college doesn't have its own risks and pitfalls. Student loan debt, anybody?
    • One thing is that this wasn't the first time Brad has backed away from his education for an easier path. He did the exact same thing when he was doing good working at a sports store. Tim and Jill are probably worried that Brad is jumping at opportunities just because they're easier and not because they are legitimately better offers.
      • I think Tim and Jill also wanted Brad to have something to fall back on, kind of like insurance, in case his sports career didn't pan out (anything could happen that would end up derailing it), and felt it would be better for him to have that insurance before going into his sports career instead of getting it after.
      • Maybe, but the chance at a sports career isn't usually something you can just pick up again later. Unless Brad was an absolute God of Soccer, I doubt the team would be willing to wait 4 or more years while he finishes college. If Brad passed on the opportunity the scouts would go looking for someone else to fill that spot ASAP. And who knows when or if another chance for Brad to go pro will come along?
    • There is also a counter-moral that could be equally as bad. "Your kid is good at sports, let them coast entirely on that." There are so many examples of high school sports stars who crack under the pressure at higher levels. They may be good at their level, but put them in the big leagues and their normal skills are put to the test. Kobe Bryant is one of the few exceptions to that. Brad had a full-ride scholarship in play, while he might be able to make big bucks that scholarship and the university of his choice has a limited lifespan.
  • Not a big fan of this show (nor of Tim Allen) but wouldn't it have made sense for him to get a LOT better at using tools and fixing given that is WHAT HIS JOB WAS? I can see him starting off poorly,but unless he was a complete idiot (not missing any parts) why wouldn't have Tim gotten much better w/ time?
    • Tim was always portrayed as an excellent handyman and craftsman when he took his time and didn't try to overdo things (MORE POWER!). He built three hot rods practically from scratch over the course of ten years and washing machine he repaired ran without issue until the end of the series. Not to mention that he does things that require a great deal of expertise and skill (a jet-powered leaf blower might not be practical, but it shows that he has a fundamental knowledge of the workings).
    • It's more to portray Al as the Hypercompetent Sidekick, like Bob Vila and Norm Abrams on the early seasons of "This Old House." There was a particular episode where Tim and Al agreed to switch roles, and we see that Al couldn't handle the show after they changed roles (Al as comedian and Tim as the responsible guy, whereas Tim showed he could do both in that episode).
    • Even many of his "More Power" inventions worked according to what they were designed to do, they were just so supercharged they caused collateral damage as opposed to exploding. The vacuum cleaner wind tunnel, the stovetop fan that sucked the spaghetti out of the pot, and more. It's more than he overestimates the quality of the components he builds with rather than not knowing what to do.
      • Or underestimates and over-compensates, in many cases.
    • I think that, due to losing his father at a young age and growing up with multiple older and younger brothers, Tim has a burning desire to impress or one-up other people. After all, what do 99% of Tim's crazy inventions have in common? The presence of an audience. He creates them for his tv show or for his family, and he always makes a big show of unveiling and activating them. The problem is Tim is so eager to impress that he tends to rush through a project, disregarding safety and good sense, which inevitably leads to an embarrassing accident or Explosive Overclocking. By contrast, during his multiple(!) hot rod projects he wasn't trying to impress anyone but himself. As a result he was happy to take his time and not take foolish risks.
  • There are at least two occasions where I can remember Wilson's full face being shown, even for a split second. Do you recall any such instances?
    • Well, there was the finale when he came out to take his bow.


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