Tim Allan – An unlikely father figure
This is something I can only appreciate in retrospect, but a decade prior to Home Improvement’s inaugural season, Allan served two and a half years in federal prison for cocaine possession. Yep, the future Tool Man was busted with roughly 1.5 lbs of nose candy (or, to put that in Amy Winehouse terms, “a Tuesday”). Long story short, I never would have expected this guy…
…to evolve into this guy.
Tim, Al, and Wilson – Precursors to TV’s modern metrosexual
If there’s one thing that can be said about Tim Taylor and Al Borland, it’s that these two men…were men. They tucked their flannel into their jeans. They grunted. They barbecued. They habitually used power tools to fix and/or demolish things. This is man stuff.
But Al also possessed a few non-masculine qualities. He was a momma’s boy. He settled disputes with his (equally bearded) brother over tea. He was emotionally sensitive—far more so than his Tool Time costar. More importantly, he wasn’t afraid to share his feelings with Tim on a regular basis (often to Tim’s chagrin). Despite all this, Al remained consistently popular with Tool Time’s female fans, and he had no less than four different girlfriends throughout the series. All of these things were played up for the sake of comedy, of course, but Al’s character was pretty progressive for a straight American male.
Tim Taylor, on the other hand, embodied more traditional/stereotypical gender roles, but would reluctantly tap his feminine side if it was for the good of the group (i.e., his friends and family). Superficial humor was his go-to defense mechanism, but the Tool Man knew when to lower his emotional drawbridge and let a few metaphorical lessons in. Lessons that usually came from Wilson: the wise, uber-enlightened neighbor.
I didn’t just ruin your childhood with this picture, did I? (Good, because that’s not actually a thing.)
I could go on about my retroactive love for this show, but I recommend catching up on some reruns on your own. Oh, and the next time you watch an episode of Modern Family or The League, see if you can’t spot some Tim “The Tool” Man Taylor moments in there. Just for fun.