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"Home Improvement" A Marked Man (1995)

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My Son, the Thief

8/10
Author: ExplorerDS6789 from United States
2 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Today's Tool Time gets off to an interesting start: Tim and Al have a special guest star. Meet Deb, master of husband-calling. You've heard of hog calling, well this is pretty much the same. With her shrill voice and repeating his name to almost deafening volumes, her husband has little choice but to respond to her beckon call. Tim decides to put this to the challenge and asks her to call him while he's watching sports. Deb gives her loudest, shrillest shouts, but it doesn't stir Tim. Possibly because his eardrums are now shattered. Yep, he's experiencing a temporary loss of hearing. He's lucky. After that, Tim and the boys head down to Harry's Hardware, where Al is still a very meticulous partner. Tim looks for a hacksaw blade while the boys admire a state-of- the-art Swiss Army knife. It cost 95 simoleons, and for that kind of money, it better cut through stone. So Tim gets what he needs, charges it and they all leave, but suddenly, Al notices the aforementioned knife is missing! He brings it to Tim's attention, being careful not to accuse the boys of theft. Tim denies that his little angels could never do such a horrendous thing, but when Al regales him with an anecdote about his uncle's grocery store and the time he stole a cookie, he decides to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Tim confronts Brad, Randy and Mark about the knife and they all deny it. The Taylor patriarch doesn't quite believe them, so as he and Jill collect laundry from the boys' room, Tim does a little snooping. At first they come up empty, until right from out of the back of one of Mark's pants pockets drops the knife! They quickly confront Mark, and Tim overreacts as only he can, even though he has a right to be upset. Al and Harry are close friends of his. But then after he grounds Mark indefinitely, he calls him a rotten little thief, sending the boy running from the room. Naturally, Jill gets on Tim's case for berating Mark. How dare a father get angry at his son for shoplifting and then punish him for it, right? Next day, Mark didn't come home from school. Worriedly, Tim calls around, with no luck. That is until they receive a call, saying Mark was down at Harry's, but too fearful of Tim to go home. Tim and Jill race down there, just as Al finishes regaling Mark with the cookie story. At first, Mark isn't receptive of Tim, until he starts pouring his heart out, trying to reason with him, and all the while some jerk kept interrupting them looking for mops. Jill hands him one and sends him on his way. Apparently Mark's motive for stealing was he wanted Brad and Randy to think he was cool. Bottom line, Tim reduces Mark's sentence to only grounded two weeks, and they all leave together, a happy family again. However, Al discovers something is not right. A mop is missing!

I think this is an episode some of us can relate to. Either you were caught shoplifting as a child, or you're the parent of a child who shoplifted. Either way, it's a rough road to travel down. Viewers may be split on which parent acted in the right. The more liberal parents will think Tim was too harsh by yelling at Mark and calling him a rotten thief, and while that last part was a tad much, he was still in the right to be angry and scold him for his actions. The right-wing parents will agree Jill was way too lenient on her "little baby boy". Well, the important thing is that Mark saw the error of his ways and will straighten up from here on out.

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