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Home Improvement (ABC 1991-1999, Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson)

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Tim Allen built a very successful career as a stand-up comedian at the outset of the 1990’s, largely through a routine devoted to exploring the average man’s need to be ‘macho’ through acting tough and becoming an expert on home repairs. His humor had great appeal with the audience (the great, power-drill-wielding masses), making him an ideal candidate for television stardom. In fact, ABC had such confidence in Allen, they made him the star of a show that made him the star of a show.

Home Improvement cast Allen as Tim Taylor, the host of a very popular local cable show called Tool Time in his native Detroit. On the show, “The Toolman” dispensed fix-it tips and proposed ideas for home-improving projects. More often than not, his suggestion for any problem was to give the tool/device in question “more power!” Tim also added spice to the show with a “Tool Time Girl,” a role initially played by future Baywatch star Pamela Anderson.

However, Tim didn’t seem so invincible when he was home. In fact, it was revealed that the repair skills he displayed on the show were a television creation, and he was more than a bit clumsy when trying to do repairs around the house. Usually, he destroyed tools by trying to rewire them or boost their power. For instance, he tried to soup up the lawnmower in “Mow Better Blues,” but the “fixes” accidentally made it run in reverse and ended up crashing it.

He had a similar amount of trouble in dealing with the outside world, especially the subjects of women and children. Thus, his smart and ever patient wife Jill had to keep him out of trouble and be the one in charge. Also in the mix were Tim and Jill’s three sons: Brad (the eldest), Randy (the middle), and Mark (the youngest). All experienced plenty of growing pains, forcing Tim to “act mature” long enough to give them the advice they needed—even a very uncomfortable “birds and bees” talk with Brad in one episode.

Other regulars included Al Borland, Tim’s assistant on Tool Time, and Wilson, Tim’s wise next-door neighbor. Al often found his role on Tim’s show frustrating, because he actually knew how to do repairs but was always overshadowed on camera by Tim. Wilson was always on hand to dispense advice to Tim when he needed it. This was always done from behind Wilson’s backyard fence, which obscured the lower portion of his face. Wilson’s full face was never shown until the final episode of the show, forcing the show’s makers to find clever ways to obscure Wilson’s face.

Home Improvement

The show’s plotlines usually had Tim trying to learn how to be a better husband and father while keeping up the success of Tool Time. Allen’s comedy skills were the glue that held the show together, and the episodes offered him plenty of room to act out his famous faux-macho schtick. Things were usually kept on a light, comedic level, but every now and then the show used a dramatic storyline for variety. One of the most memorable was “The Longest Day,” in which the family thought Randy might have cancer and spent an agonizing day waiting for the results of a medical test.

Home Improvement drew a big audience from the very beginning. In fact, it was the most popular new show of the 1991-92 season and continued to draw high ratings for many years. The show also went into syndication in the middle of its network run, thus becoming popular as both a first-run and a second-run attraction. It ended its network run in May of 1999 after eight successful seasons but continues to be seen in syndication. Allen has moved on to a cinematic career, acting in features like The Santa Clause and Galaxy Quest, but he will always be remembered for creating the ultimate macho-man parody through his character on Home Improvement.

production details
USA / ABC – Wind Dancer Prod – Touchstone / 160+x25 minute episode 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast 17 September 1991 – 25 May 1999

Creator: Carmen Finestra, David McFadzean, Matt Williams / Producers: Gayle S. Maffeo, John Pasquin, Billy Riback, Maxine Lopiduss,

cast
TIM ALLEN as Tim Taylor
PATRICIA RICHARDSON as Jill Taylor
EARL HINDMAN as Wilson Wilson
ZACHERY TY BRYAN as Bradley Taylor
JONATHAN TAYLOR THOMAS as Randy Taylor
TARAN NOAH SMITH as Mark Taylor
RICHARD KARN as Al Borland
PAMELA ANDERSON as Lisa (1991-92)
DEBBIE DUNNING as Heidi (from 1993-)
JESSICA WESSON as Jennifer (1991-93)

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TV

Clochemerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)

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Clochmerle BBC 1972

Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochemerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.

cast
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator

crew details
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm

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TV

Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)

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BBC 2 Logo

In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.

cast
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen

crew details
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986

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TV

Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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