Thursday, March 19, 2015

TV on DVD Review: Home Improvement - Season 3

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Loving family with plenty of laughs.
Cons: Formula already very obvious
The Bottom Line:
Construction and tools
In this family sitcom
Combine for great laughs

“The Day I Come to My Senses is Still a Long Way Off.”

Building on the success of the first two season, Home Improvement season three was another huge success for the family sitcom.  There are a few changes, but nothing too big, which means the laughs continue, and fans will continue to be delighted.

If you’ve missed the show, this was a 90’s family sitcom that centered on the Taylor Family.  Father Tim (Tim Allen) also hosted the successful local show Tool Time with his assistant Al Borland (Richard Karn).  This season, they get a new announcer in Heidi (Debbe Dunning).  At home, he is married to Jill (Patricia Richardson), and they have three kids, Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan), Randy (Jonathan Tayler Thomas), and Mark (Taran Noah Smith).  Tim is constantly messing things up, both his projects and in his relationships, so he often finds himself getting advise from their neighbor Wilson (Earl Hindman).

In addition to Heidi, the changes come in some of the supporting characters for the season.  Al gets his first serious girlfriend in Ilene (Sherry Hursey), who recurs throughout the season.  The Taylors also get some new neighbors in Joe and Marie Morton (Robert Picardo and Mariangela Pino), and the wife becomes a friend for Jill, which is nice since her friend Karen (played by Betsy Randle) from the first two seasons had left to become Amy Matthews on Boy Meets World this year.

So what exactly happens this year?  Jill and Al team up with some women to put together a Habitat for Humanity house racing Tim and his team of athletes.  With a little help from his parents, Mark takes Brad and Randy on for one of their pranks on him.  And speaking of pranks, everyone gets in on one against Tim on Halloween.  Tim’s attempts to get a Christmas picture and decorate the house for the holiday both meet with disaster while Brad wants to skip the holiday for a ski trip with friends.  Meanwhile, Tim finally finishes his hot rod and winds up racing it against Bob Vila.  And Jill spends much of the season trying various things to raise money for the library as well as reuniting with her best friend/enemy at a high school reunion.  Over at Tool Time, we also get a man’s bathroom and a man’s kitchen.  And Randy uses old love letters while chatting with a woman on a dating site.

There is lots of fun to be had here.  The jokes are plentiful, and the situations are completely relatable.  There are times it’s hard to understand why Jill hasn’t killed Tim since he can be so clueless, yet I like the fact that they still work everything out by the end of the show.  Ultimately, there is a love in this family that makes the rest of the show so much fun to watch.  I do wish Tim weren’t so mean in his put downs at times, especially to Al, although Al begins to hold his own a bit more.  I especially loved watching them reverse roles when they fill in on a cooking show in one episode.

My complaint with the show is how formulaic it is.  Yes, all shows, especially sitcoms, can be, but this one is especially noticeable, even this early into the show’s run.  There are still plenty of wonderful and funny moments, but a little more creativity in the plot structure would be nice.

Having said that, the actors are continuing to bring the characters to life in a great way.  The kids are turning into find actors as well, although the stand out continues to be Jonathan Taylor Thomas whose Randy steals many of the scenes he’s in.

There were 25 episodes in season three, and all of them are preserved in this three disc set in their native full frame and stereo sound.  The only extra we get is a visit to Tim’s tool corral, where we can watch clips from that season of the gags involving those tools.  It’s not that exciting, especially if you’ve just finished watching those episodes.

Home Improvement might not be made as much for watching the episodes back to back, but there are still plenty of wonderfully funny moments in this season three set.  Fans of the show will be delighted to revisit these characters.

Season Three Episodes:
1. Maybe, Baby
2. Aisle See You in My Dreams
3. This Joke’s for You
4. A Sew, Sew Evening
5. Arrivederci, Binford
6. Crazy for You
7. Blow-Up
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 Worst of Tims
21. Fifth Anniversary
22. Swing Time
23. What You See is What You Get
24. Reality Bytes
25. The Great Race II


  1. Wow this takes me back to my childhood. I didn't miss an episode of Home Improvement when it originally aired. Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

    1. You are very welcome. Glad I could revive some happy memories for you.