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Standing the Test of Time: Home Improvement

March 14, 2012

It’s a well known fact that the best is not yet to come, but has already happened. Ask anyone older than 22 and they’ll tell you that the world was better when they were a kid. Ask anyone older than 50 and they’ll tell you that you don’t know what good is, and you might as well just give up now because you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

A few years ago I may not have said all this, and would have actually vowed never to be one of those persons who complained about “kids these days with their iCarly’s and Jersey Shores.”

But I am one of those people. Oh boy, am I one of those people.

And thus is born a new series: A look back at the way things were, to see if they stand the test of time. Although I firmly believe that 90s television was in many aspects better than today’s television, I know that not all of it has fared well. We’re going to find out what did stand the test of time, and what should just stay buried in your Netflix queue with that Pauly Shore movie you added four years ago after a particularly bad night of food poisoning.

First up: Home Improvement

Let’s get something out of the way first. I friggin’ loved this show when it was on. I remember impatiently waiting for my parents to stop talking after Wednesday evening’s church service so we could make it home in time for Home Improvement.

This show spoke to me like Goosebumps spoke to many of my classmates. Not only did I find similarities to their family and mine, but three letters should fully explain my love for this show—JTT. If you don’t know what I mean by that, then you obviously lacked something in your childhood, or you’re just to young or old and missed out on greatness. Great lines AND great hair.

So I don’t think I need to go into a long discussion about whether or not I think Home Improvement has stood the test of time, because right now I have 33 episodes saved on my TiVo. I record it every morning on TBS and relish in the stupid humor at night with my fiance.

Some of you may be thinking, “What? That show was horrible! Tim was a buffoon and Jill was a nag!”

You are obviously missing many of the themes and forgetting to read between the hilarious lines. Yes, Tim made a lot of mistakes, but he learned from them. He’d say something stupid, and learn from it. And not begrudgingly either, but because he genuinely understood why he was a moron. And the thing is, a lot of these mistakes weren’t uncommon for men. He’d say something and not understand why it hurt Jill’s feelings.

Raise your hand if you’re a guy and you’ve done that before?

It sucks to be a guy, right? Wrong. You can pee standing up and no one ever questions you when you feel like eating an entire bag of beef jerky in one sitting.

Beef jerky is apparently not ladylike. Whatever.

Tim was a lovable buffoon who was there for his kids and never stopped working on his marriage. (See season 7, episode 7 for proof of this.) How many shows today (or in the past for that matter) show a father who spends quality time with his kids? In Everybody Loves Raymond, you rarely saw the kids, and when you did they were just sitting there while the adults yelled about something.

Most shows either focus solely on the kids, or solely on the parents. Home Improvement did both. And for that, I loved it. Randy (the middle son) had some of the funniest lines in the show.

Yes, Home Improvement may have jumped the shark a bit in later seasons, and I’ll admit to not being as faithful a watcher as it aged. But those first few seasons were gems. GEMS I say. Sure, they weren’t sophisticated and ground-breaking, but they were lovable. Every single regular character on Home Improvement was someone I wouldn’t mind living beside. And that, to me, is reason enough to love Home Improvement.

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