The Third Season
Home Improvement is a fun family-oriented sitcom. The series is based upon the work of stand-up comedian Tim Allen. In this show Tim Allen plays as Tim Taylor. Tim is a family man who makes a living by hosting a home improvement show in Detroit, Michigan called "Tool Time". He is a minor celebrity and more often than not, his ego gets in the way. The show takes a look at the hilarious daily interactions of Tim, at both the home and the workplace. At home we see him with his wife Jill (Patricia Richardson), their kids Mark (Taran Noah Smith), Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), and Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan), and the neighbor Wilson Wilson (Earl Hindman), and at work, Al Borland (Richard Karn) and other coworkers like Heidi (Debbie Dunning). On a few occasions the two groups collide together for some great stories.
A large portion of the show is watching Tim get into hot water with his wife, his kids, and his coworkers. Fortunately, his neighbor Wilson is always there to give him advice, although, Tim never seems to be able to follow Wilson's advice exactly, but things always turn out alright. The show's real strength comes from the cast's great chemistry and how goofy every situation gets. For a more comprehensive introduction to this series, please refer to my reviews of season one and season two.
Season three has a very similar flow to the earlier seasons. The stories driving each episode are either about Tim and his relationship with Jill, his kids, Al or something/someone related to his TV show Tool Time. The episodes are enjoyable and provide plenty of sticky situations for Tim acting the fool to make you laugh. This season also has a little variation to keep it slightly different than the first two seasons. The first change is Pamela Anderson and her role as Lisa the Tool Time girl. Somewhere between season two and season three, Lisa decided to move onto better things, college. Replacing her is Debbie Dunning as Heidi. Another change occurs in Binford management. John Binford, founder of Binford tools and dear friend to Tim, passes away in the episode "Arrivederci, Binford". The loss of Binford puts another in charge of the company and he turns out to be someone who isn't entirely fond of Tim. They butt heads in on a few occasions afterwards.
The biggest development, however, is Al finally getting a girlfriend. In this season Ilene Markham (Sherry Hursey) is introduced and she makes several appearances. One of the funnier episodes starring her is "Dream On", where Ilene dreams about Tim in bicycle shorts on top of a golden stallion. It is simply a funny episode in the way that Tim, Jill, Al, and Ilene handle the situation. Another really fun episode is "Reel Men". At this point in the season, midway, Al and Ilene's relationship is still pretty new. So she's still smitten by him and during a girls' night with Jill and another friend, we get to hear the opinions of wives who have been with their significant others for well over ten years and someone who has barely ten weeks put into their relationship. Their perspectives are very comically different.
The Taylor kids are also a little different than before. Obviously, they're a year older. In past seasons Brad was a little shy with girls and now he's really out to get them. Randy is also seeing changes. He's hit twelve and starting to turn into an obnoxious little teenager. Mark is also growing up. While he was a shy and innocent mama's boy, he is finally starting to find his place as a young kid.
As for the stories, season three has plenty of funny situations to keep you amused. One of the best episodes of the season is "Too Many Cooks". In this episode Tim and Al's roles are switched. Al is asked to be the temporary host on "Cooking With Irma" and Tim gets to play Al's assistant. Watching the two switch roles and Tim's ego get bruised is hilarious. Another funny episode is "A Sew, Sew Evening", where a new neighbor moves in across the street. He's a pretty annoying guy, but annoying in a funny and not obnoxious manner. Robert Picardo plays the role and he does a fantastic job. It's really a shame he didn't reprise his role more often.
In the season finale "The Great Race II" Tim goes up against his arch-nemesis Bob Vila in a hot rod race after his ego is bruised. The catch is that Tim's hot rod isn't exactly finished yet. For those following the series closely, in season two's finale they competed against each other in a lawn mower race, which he did not win. So, winning this race means a lot to Tim... and his ego.
Overall this season had some fun episodes. While the comedy wasn't nearly as comical as the first season, it, like season two, was amusing and entertaining to keep me glued to the TV. If you're looking for a solid encapsulation of a family oriented sitcom, Home Improvement season three has it all.
1. Maybe, Baby
2. Aisle See You In My Dreams
3. This Joke's For You
4. A Sew, Sew Everything
5. Arrivederci, Binford
6. Crazy For You
8. Be True To Your Tool
9. Dollars And Sense
10. Frozen Moments
11. Feud For Thought
12. Twas The Blight Before Christmas
13. Slip Sleddin' Away
14. Dream On
15. Reel Men
16. The Colonel
17. Room For Change
18. Eve Of Construction
19. Too Many Cooks
20. It Was The Best Of Tims, It Was The Worts Of Tims
21. Fifth Anniversary
22. Swing Time
23. What You See Is What You Get
24. Reality Bytes
25. The Great Race II
The video presentation is given in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. Overall, the picture looks good, with a relatively clean feel. There are very minor color distortions and some points where the picture seems a bit too soft. In addition, there is a slight grain in the picture, but it shouldn't ruin viewing pleasure. Despite the minor imperfections in the picture, it is better than what you would expect to see from broadcast or cable television.
The audio track in this release is English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The sound quality is fairly good, providing clean and audible dialogue. There are also English subtitles.
The sole extra included with this box set is Tim's Tool Corral. It is an interactive menu system with narration from Debbie Dunning. The menu is a workshop and you can click on various tools to see different clips from season three. There is also a play all option, so you don't have to click on the individual tools to see all of the clips. The total runtime of the clips is three minutes and fifty-one seconds. Overall a decent attempt at making a common montage of clips interactive and fun. After going through it once, you'll probably never want to look at it again.
Home Improvement is a fun family oriented comedy and this season offers plenty of fun episodes to keep you entertained and laughing. The cast works so well great together that they can turn some fairly dry situations into something hilarious. Overall I enjoyed this season, but not nearly as much as the first season. Still it is a lot of fun. Recommended.