A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Home Improvement finds its humor in family-friendly issues like sibling dynamics, parenting challenges, and an accident-prone Mr. Fix-It dad. Very little about this series is cause for concern; it lends a pretty realistic view of life within a typical nuclear family. Each episode offers an obvious lesson (sometimes for parents as well as kids) in moral judgment, communication, or responsibility. The series occasionally touches on more-serious topics like divorce or a family member's death.
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What's the story?
In HOME IMPROVEMENT, Tim Allen stars as Tim Taylor, a Michigan native who hosts a local cable show called Tool Time. The show celebrates all things manly: tools, hardware stores, cars, and the like. A firm believer that "more power" is always a good thing, Tim often tweaks and adjusts his way to disastrously funny on-set mishaps that delight the Tool Time audience but test the patience of his mild-mannered assistant, Al Borland (Richard Karn). Tim is no less accident-prone at home, but even though his wife, Jill (Patricia Richardson), has been known to call in professionals to pick up the pieces of her husband's work, she remains his biggest fan. Like many couples, Tim and Jill often struggle with understanding each other and their children, but they're guided by their slightly mysterious, philosophical neighbor, Wilson Wilson Jr. (Earl Hindman).
Is it any good?
This series was a favorite for eight seasons on ABC in the '90s, and it continues to entertain fans in syndication and on DVD. Tim and Jill have a loving, respectful relationship that allows them to be an effective parenting team for their three boys: Brad (Zachary Ty Bryan), Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), and Mark (Taran Noah Smith).
Although much of Wilson's intellectual advice is lost in translation to Tim (and his misinterpretations are hysterical), Tim and Jill always learn a little something about their own feelings and each other's with Wilson's help. Strong writing, relatable storylines, and a great cast make Home Improvement a winner for families.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of communication within a family and in Home Improvement. Why is this an important character strength? Why do family members need to be honest and open with each other?
Families also can discuss when teasing is appropriate and when it isn't. Why do the Taylor boys pick on each other? How do you feel if someone teases you? How do the Taylors work out their problems? Does their situation seem realistic to you?
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