Do You Know More About "Home Improvement" Than Tim Taylor?


By: Kevin Zed

6 Min Quiz

Image: ABC

About This Quiz

"More power!" Insert grunting. A lot of grunting. Followed by a plan that goes horribly awry. Cue Wilson giving Tim thoughtful advice on how to fix his problem with a historical anecdote, followed by Tim butchering not only the advice but also the name of the person quoted. From running gags such as Tim always plotting destruction with his mantra, "More power!" to watching Jill deal with raising three mischievous boys while starting a career, "Home Improvement" had everyone keeling over with laughter for the better part of a decade.

Premiering in 1991, "Home Improvement" enjoyed considerable commercial and critical success. The series launched its lead, Tim Allen, into a star and considerably boosted the careers of many of the other actors and crew who worked on the show. With its 30th anniversary fast approaching, this would be an excellent time to test your knowledge and memory of one of the funniest sitcoms of the '90s. Do you think you know more about "Home Improvement" than Tim Taylor himself? This quiz is full of trivia questions but, above all, feels like a funny (though sometimes chaotic) stroll down memory lane.

Lights, camera, action! "Tool Time" is shot in which city?

Although many of "Home Improvement's" outside scenes are filmed in California, "Tool Time" itself is shot in Detroit, a city known for its automobile industry, which makes sense considering Tim's enthusiasm for cars.


Al Borland, Tim's friend and assistant, is constantly mocked for wearing what kind of shirt?

Al always wears a flannel shirt to pay homage to his late father, who would always dress the young Al in flannel when asking him to help out with various projects around the house.


Don't change the channel! Which did "Home Improvement" air on?

Airing for 204 half-hour episodes, "Home Improvement" enjoyed a run on ABC from September 17, 1991 to May 25, 1999. The producers offered Patricia Richardson (Jill) and Tim Allen (Tim) 25 and 50 million dollars each, respectively, to film another season.


What subject does Jill major in after she decides to go back to school?

Jill goes back to study Psychology, but she's as bad at that as she is at cooking. In one episode, she nearly breaks up a couple after diagnosing the wife with a complex, even though she never met her. Later, she breaks patient confidentiality when she tells Tim and Wilson about an affair that Heidi's husband is having.


A running gag on the show, what's Al's common response to Tim's outrageous plans?

This line is a running gag on "Home Improvement," which Richard Karn almost always delivered deadpan, and was always followed by audience laughter. It became so popular that other characters on the show began saying it to Tim whenever he'd ask them to do something dangerous.


What fictional company sponsors "Tool Time?"

The Binford name was inspired by John H. Binford, a friend of a writer on the show. Did you know that there’s actually a Binford toolbox displayed in the 1995 hit movie Toy Story? That's because Tim Allen plays Buzz Lightyear.


"Tool Time" was conceived as a parody of what PBS show?

"This Old House" was hosted by Bob Vila and carpenter Norm Abrams, who Tim and Al served as caricatures of. Bob Vila found this hilarious, as he made several appearances on the show over the course of many seasons.


Which Taylor son left for an environmental program in Costa Rica?

Jonathan Taylor Thomas wanted to focus on academics, so the show had to write Randy Taylor out of the series season 8. Randy didn't appear in the series finale, only showing up via archived footage.


What do Tim's assistants always yell out before the show to get the audience hyped?

The Tool Girl's main job is to introduce Tim and Al at the beginning of the show with the line "Does everybody know what time it is?!" The audience replies, "TOOL TIME!" Sounds like a fun job.


What's the order of Tim's children, from eldest to youngest?

Brad is the oldest, most popular and most athletic. Randy, like most middle children, was known for his quips and sharp tongue, and Mark was the mama's boy who eventually became an outcast and began dressing like a goth.


Who played the part of Tim's Tool Girl on "Tool Time" for the first two years of the show?

Pamela Anderson played the part of Lisa for the first two seasons, but left the show to focus on "Baywatch." Tim's new assistant, Heidi, was played by Debbe Dunning from season two onwards.


Which famous politician did the producers once approach about doing an episode of the show?

The producers once reached out to Hillary Clinton, who was First Lady at the time, to make a show about women, children and family. Although there were concerns that appearing on a TV sitcom would diminish the role of First Lady, the White House strongly considered this proposal, but it never came to be.


Ho, ho, ho! Who does Tim compete with in the neighborly Christmas decoration contest every year?

Throughout the course of the show, Tim never beats Doc Johnson. Though in season five, Tim’s children win the Christmas competition without Tim’s help. In the final season episode of the eighth season, Al actually ends up being Tim’s toughest competition.


Who doesn't have a celebrity crush? What's the name of Tim's obsessed fan in the episode titled "Crazy For You"?

Tim's obsessed fan was Rose, though the audience learns later that she didn't exist at all. She was created by Jill as a prank to pull on Tim. Al, who wore a red dress and hat to trick Tim, played a part in the joke.


Writers often use actual incidents as plot lines. Which real-life event was written into the story?

In 1998, Western Michigan University awarded Tim Allen an honorary doctor of fine arts degree, which was later written into the show as a character arc. Tim Taylor can also be seen wearing several college sweaters throughout the show’s run, all of which were sent to production by local colleges.


It's common for TV shows to go through a lot of production changes when just starting out. What was the name of the show when it was originally being developed?

Originally, the project's proposed title was "Hammer Time," a play on the catchphrase made popular by MC Hammer. The producers changed the name to "Home Improvement" by the time the pilot was ready to be shot.


Tim was known for being haphazard. What piece of kitchen equipment did he blow up in the pilot episode?

A running gag on the show was that Tim always had to blow something up. In the pilot episode, after hooting and hollering for "more power," Tim ends up destroying the dishwasher even though Jill tells him not to go near it.


In "Flying Sauces," what song is played when Tim and Jill "abduct" Brad and Randy, who have been pranking them all episode long?

"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is blasting over the backyard as a spotlight shines down on Randy and Brad. Tim appears in an alien costume, heading creepily towards them. Tim mentions the song later on in the episode as well.


In typical "Home Improvement" fashion, what does Tim mistakenly ingest in the episode "Reel Men"?

When Tim and Al return from their fishing trip, Tim mistakenly dips his bread in a wax pot that Jill and her friends had been using to wax their legs. Talk about a sticky situation!


Aside from Al himself, who is so often the butt of Tim's jokes?

If Tim's not making fun of Al's flannel shirts, he's making fun of Al's overweight mother. Ironically, Al's mother, named Alma, is never seen on the show, but passes away in one of the later episodes when Al asks her if he can marry Trudy.


Wilson never reveals his whole face, but in the series finale, what does he reveal his last name to be?

Wilson's full name is Wilson W. Wilson Jr. Yes, that's right. There's a Wilson W. Wilson Sr. out there. After the series ended, Tim Allen hosted a table read of the show, and Wilson's lines were done by voice-over, keeping in line with the gag of never seeing his face.


Which one of Tim's brothers used to wet the bed?

Marty, the youngest of the Taylor boys, was frequently bullied by his big brothers. In episode 715, Tim reveals that Marty used to wet the bed as a result of being bullied by his older brothers.


Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland isn't creating enough of various important hormones. Which one of the Taylor boys had this condition?

Randy always had health problems throughout the show. In "The Longest Day," Randy and Jill even talk about all the health problems that Randy has experienced, including asthma and hypothyroidism.


Weddings are always a great way to cap off a season or entire series. Who married his girlfriend Trudy in the series finale?

After breaking things off with his ex-fiance Dr. Ilene Markham — the doctor who bought him everything, including a car — Al met Trudy in season seven and married her at the end of season nine.


Which actor played the role of Wilson?

Though he is most remembered for playing the neighbor behind the fence, Long before playing Wilson, he played Bob Reid in "Ryan's Hope." He was a friendly police officer who everybody loved but could never get the girl. He passed away in 2003 of lung cancer.


Who is the owner of Harry's Hardware store?

Harry Turner, played by Blake Clark, appeared in 24 hours. Eventually, Al became part-owner of Harry's Hardware, though the name was never changed.


Which former late-night TV host made two separate appearances on "Home Improvement?"

Jay Leno, the celebrated comedian, appeared with his car collection in the season four episode "Brother, Can You Spare a Hot Rod?" Four years later, he was also in the episode "Home Alone."


The opening theme is often the most memorable thing about a show. What is the opening theme song to Home Improvement?

Composer Dominik Hauser wrote "Iron John's Rock." Included in the sample of the song are power tools, notably the electric drill and jackhammer. Tim's grunting was also used to give the song that unique sound.


What is the name of Tim's buddy who hangs out at Harry's Hardware Store?

Benny Baroni, played by Jimmy Labriola, appeared in 16 episodes. An avid gambler, Benny never seems to hold down a job, because working isn't his forte. He's notoriously known as a freeloader, often talking about how he goes to soup kitchens for the free food. In fact, he's regularly at the hardware store for the free coffee and donuts, though he never buys anything.


Who comes from a military family?

Jill's father, Fred Patterson, was a Colonel in the U.S. Army. In season six, Fred passed away in his sleep from a heart attack. He and Tim had a good relationship, but he didn't show a lot of respect towards his son-in-law, often referring to him as "Hey you."


Which famous band appeared on the show as Wilson's cousins?

The Beach Boys appear in a season six episode titled "The Karate Kid Returns." They appear as themselves and are revealed to be Wilson's cousins, though Wilson holds some resentment towards them because they didn't use his song concepts.


While taping some episodes of "Tool Time," Tim asks an unseen character to play some music. What is this character's name?

Klaus Landsberg was a real person who worked in the sound department on this show. Klaus went on to have a successful career in sound after the show, with over 90 credits to his name on IMDB.


Which one of these actors didn't appear on the show?

Brad Pitt made a famous cameo on "Friends," but never appeared on "Home Improvement." Gary McGurk was in 11 episodes, while Jenny McCarthy appeared in an episode titled "Young At Heart." Dave Chappelle, still unknown at the time, was in a season 4 episode called "Talk To Me."


Who was originally cast in the role of Jill?

Patricia Richardson, the actress who played Jill, was initially reluctant to accept the role, as she was concerned that Jill was too "perfect." After being assured by the writers and producers that Jill was to be imperfect, Richardson agreed to play the part.


What's in a name? What was Al Borland's original name supposed to be?

According to the season one DVD, Al Borland was originally supposed to be named Glenn. The actor who was billed to play Tim's assistant, Stephen Tobolowsky, was, at the time of the pilot, pre-occupied with another film, so production decided to cast Richard Karn as a stand-in. Once it became clear that Tobolowsky wasn't going to be able to commit to the series, Karn ended up staying permanently.


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