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DVD Review: Home Improvement – The Complete Seventh Season

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A few years ago, my brother told me about meeting up with a dedicated Home Improvement fan at school the day after the final episode aired. Here's how my brother's half of the conversation went:

"What stupid thing did Tim do on Tool Time?"

"What big idea did he come up with without talking to Jill about it?"

"What went wrong?"

"What did Wilson have to say about it?"

"How badly did Tim screw up what Wilson said when explaining himself to Jill?"

You get the idea. Home Improvement, starring Tim Allen as the chauvinistic host of a home improvement TV show in Detroit (the whitest city in America, if this series is anything to go by) and Patricia Richardson as his long-suffering wife, was a pretty generic sitcom when it premiered in 1991, and by season seven it had really gotten tired.

Jill was going back to school, Tim was going through a mid-life crisis, their three sons (including forgotten teen heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas) were well into adolescence, Tool Time co-host Al Borland (the only really likable character on Home Improvement, played by Richard Karn) entered the dating pool, and the producers strained to find more ways to hide the face of Wilson the eccentric neighbour. Home Improvement had long sailed over the shark by its seventh season, despite the absence of Ted McGinley.

Even the people who put together this bare-bones DVD set must have been pretty bored. There aren't any written materials except a short essay from executive producer Bruce Ferber, and no special features except a blooper reel. Home Improvement pioneered the practice of featuring outtakes during the closing credits, so this feature feels kind of redundant. On the other hand, people who really, really like the show probably can't get enough of Tim Allen blowing his lines.

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