TROUBLE CITY

DVD REVIEW: HOME IMPROVEMENT - SEASON 6

Home VideoDavid OliverComment

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STUDIO: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Touchstone
MSRP: $24.99
RATED: PG
RUNNING TIME: 561
SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Season 6 Bloopers


The Pitch

Yet another season of grunts, a madman with power tools, laugh tracks, and a suburban Obi-Wan partially hidden by a fence.

The Humans

Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Richard Karn, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Taran Noah Smith, Zachery Ty Brian, Debbe Dunning, Earl Hindman


"Hey Tim, how about taking some of the $1 million-an-episode loot and springing for a real hot rod, ya cheap bastard?"


The Nutshell

Tim Allen and company are back for Season 6 of their ridiculously successful and top-rated sitcom. Allen is Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, the host of a cable TV home improvement show, which is ironic, because he ends up destroying things as much as he builds. Richard Karn is Al, his trusty assistant, and Patricia Richardson is his eternally forgiving wife, Jill. When Tim’s not busy making a mess of things on the show, he’s busy trying to keep out of trouble with his wife and raising their three kids (Thomas, Brian, Smith). When things are really in a pickle though, Tim can always rely on the sage advice of his neighbor, Wilson (Hindman), who, as a series-long running gag, always had the lower half of his face obscured by everything from the fence, to a yam, to a surgical mask.


"Hey Pat, just wanted you to know that I'm gonna wrap up the show in a couple of years so I can put all my focus on this Wild Hogs thing I've got brewing..."


The Lowdown

This is Round #4 between me and Home Improvement. And what do I possibly have to add that I haven’t covered in the three previous times I’ve covered one of this show’s season box sets? Not much as you might expect. But let’s quickly recap: Home Improvement was the #1 show for several years during its eight-year run; featured all the things that make family sitcoms loathsome (life lessons, inane situations and misunderstandings, canned laughter, kid actors with three names, you get the point); and yet despite all that was quite an enjoyable little program to watch, buoyed by Allen’s easy likeability and usually clever writing. Oh, and Allen and Richardson both made assloads of money starring in this show, and even turned down assloads more when they decided to wrap things up after eight seasons.


"Tim, I know ABC is still desperate for us to keep doing this show, but come on, man..."

By Season 6, the show wasn’t showing any real signs of premise fatigue, nor deterioration of quality that plague many shows that manage to make it so long in Nielsenville. Allen’s rapport with his cast was just as strong as ever and the situations that he frequently found himself in were still as entertaining (if ridiculous) for the most part. The show was definitely at its best when Allen was playing off of either Karn or Richardson, and when Tim Taylor ignored common sense whenever he was around something that he shouldn’t fiddle with and the predictable results occurred. The show might have even gotten a bit better because the thing that I think drags and has dragged down many sitcoms - especially family sitcoms – the kids, wasn’t as much of an issue because the three boys were starting to grow up.

Some of the standout episodes included the opening, “At Sea”, where the Navy is dumb enough to let Tim onto one of their aircraft carriers, and also Jill catches their oldest son, Randy, making out with a girl and makes Tim have “the talk” with him. “Future Shocked” featured Tim and Jill thinking about what their lives will be in their golden years and sporting 10 pounds of old fart makeup between them. In “The Tool Man Delivers”, Tim and Jill have to deliver Heidi’s (Dunning) baby when she goes into labor at an awards banquet. “I was a Teenage Taylor” finds everybody and their grandmother pulling Halloween pranks on each other.


"Man, Tim, this Baghdad location show was a great idea. Hey, what's that missile-shaped object coming toward us?"

In “Totally Tool Time”, Swedish buyers consider buying Tim’s show, while “Whose Car Is It Anyway” finds Tim supremely tempted when Jill tells him that she doesn’t want him driving her foreign sports car which she just bought after inheriting some money. Al gets married in “Something Old, Something Blue” and in “Insult to Injury,” Tim is obsessed with breaking a Bob Vila record on his show with a steamroller even though he’s separated his shoulder. The final episode of the season, “The Kiss and the Kiss-Off”, featured the return of the original "Tool Time" girl, Lisa (some chick named Anderson), and a bit of a problem when Tim gives her her old job back without telling Heidi, his current "Tool Time" girl.


"Hey Pat, just wanted you to know that I'm becoming a man and, well..."

Yes friends, after six seasons, Home Improvement was still going along at a pretty good clip and still had another couple of years left after that...which I’ll probably be covering when Seasons 7 and 8 come out. Whoopeee...

The Package

The show was shot on tape, on sets that look exactly like sets, but the quality of the transfer is good, and the sound, when it’s not being drowned out by laugh track, is fine also. There’s only one special feature, however, and that’s a six-minute blooper reel. I’m no purist, but something like a couple of director commentaries or a Debbe Dunning nude pictorial would have been nice...


"You know what, Wilson, from me to you: eat a fat one, you know-it-all schmuck."
6.9 out of 10