Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, that aired from September 17, 1991 to May 25, 1999. The show was created by Matt Williams, Carmen Finestra and David McFadzean. In the 1990s, it was one of the most watched sitcoms in the American market, winning many awards. The series launched Tim Allen's acting career and also was the start of the television career of Pamela Anderson, who was part of the recurring cast for the first two seasons.
Timothy Alan Dick (born June 13, 1953), known professionally as Tim Allen, is an American actor and comedian. He is known for his role in the sitcom Home Improvement. He is also known for his starring roles in several popular films, including the Toy Story film series (as the voice of Buzz Lightyear), The Santa Clause film series, and the science fiction action comedy film Galaxy Quest (1999). Since 2011, he has starred as Mike Baxter in the ABC sitcom Last Man Standing.
Based on the stand-up comedy of Tim Allen, Home Improvement made its debut on ABC on September 17, 1991, and was one of the highest-rated sitcoms for almost the entire decade. It went to No. 1 in the ratings during the 1993–1994 season; the same year Allen had the No. 1 book (Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man) and movie (The Santa Clause).
Beginning in season two, each episode started with a cold open that used the show's title logo during the teaser. From season 4 to the end of the show's run in 1999, an anthropomorphic version of the logo was used in different types of animation.
The series centers on the Taylor family, which consists of Tim (Tim Allen), his wife Jill (Patricia Richardson) and their three children: the oldest, Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan), the middle child Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) and youngest, Mark (Taran Noah Smith). The Taylors live in suburban Detroit, and have a neighbor named Wilson Wilson (Earl Hindman) who is often the go-to guy for solving Tim and Jill's problems.
Tim is a stereotypical American male, who loves power tools, cars and sports (especially the local Detroit teams). He is a former salesman for the fictional Binford Tool company, and is very much a cocky, overambitious, accident-prone know-it-all. Witty but flippant, Tim jokes around a lot, even at inappropriate times, much to the dismay of his wife. However, Tim can sometimes be serious when necessary. Jill, Tim's wife, is loving and sophisticated, but not exempt to dumb moves herself. She later finds herself returning to college to study psychology. Family life is boisterous, with the two oldest children, Brad and Randy, tormenting the much younger Mark, while continually testing and pestering each other. This rough by-play happened especially throughout the first three seasons, and was revisited only occasionally until Jonathan Taylor Thomas left at the beginning of the eighth season. During the show's final season, Brad and Mark became much closer due to Randy's absence.
Brad, popular and athletic, was often the moving factor, who engaged before thinking, a tendency which regularly landed him in trouble. Randy, a year younger, was the comedian of the pack, known for his quick-thinking, wisecracks, and smart mouth. He had more common sense than Brad but was not immune to trouble. Mark was somewhat of a mama's boy, though later in the series (in the seventh season) he grew into a teenage outcast who dressed in black clothing (a goth). Meanwhile, Brad became interested in cars like his father and took up soccer. Randy joined the school drama club, and later the school newspaper; in the eighth season, he left for Costa Rica.
Each episode includes Tim's own Binford-sponsored home improvement show, called Tool Time, a "meta-program," or show-within-a-show. In hosting this show, Tim is joined by his friend and mild-mannered assistant Al Borland (Richard Karn), and a "Tool Time girl" — first Lisa (Pamela Anderson) and later Heidi (Debbe Dunning) — whose main duty is to introduce the pair at the beginning of the show with the line "Does everybody know what time it is?" They also assist Tim and Al during the show by bringing them tools.
Although revealed to be an excellent salesman and TV personality, Tim is spectacularly accident prone as a handyman, often causing massive disasters on and off the set, to the consternation of his co-workers and family. Many Tool Time viewers assume that the accidents on the show are done on purpose, to demonstrate the consequences of using tools improperly. Many of Tim's accidents are caused by his devices being used in an unorthodox or overpowered manner, designed to illustrate his mantra "More power!". This popular catchphrase would not be uttered after Home Improvement's seventh season, until Tim's last line in the series finale.
The Tool Time theme music, an early 1960s-style saxophone-dominated instrumental rock tune, was sometimes used as the closing theme music for Home Improvement, especially when the blooper scenes ran behind the credits took place during the taping of a Tool Time segment. The musical piece, written and performed by the show's regular composer Dan Foliart, was first used in a TV series six years before the premiere of Home Improvement. Foliart had been one of the main composers on the Showtime sitcom Brothers; in the second season premiere of that series in 1985, his future "Tool Time" theme, in roughly the same arrangement, was used in a scene where Joe Waters (Robert Walden) and Kelly Hall (Robin Riker) were dancing to it as it played on Kelly's home stereo. Riker would later co-star in the second season of Home Improvement sister series Thunder Alley, for which Foliart's co-composer on Brothers, Howard Pearl, scored.