Tim is awarded an honorary doctorate by his old college, bewildering Jill as she works for her own master's degree. However, Tim begins to wonder whether his school's reasons have little to do with respect for his show.



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Episode cast overview:
Duke Miller
Barbara Burton
Dean Cummings
Professor Garver
Delivery Man


Tim is awarded an honorary doctorate by his old college, bewildering Jill as she works for her own master's degree. However, Tim begins to wonder whether his school's reasons have little to do with respect for his show.

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Comedy | Family





Release Date:

28 November 1995 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In June 1998, Tim Allen was awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts degree by his alma mater, Western Michigan University, much like his character in this episode. See more »


When Tim is climbing the ladder it flips over the wall and you can see the equipment used to flip it. See more »

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User Reviews

Dr. Taylor's School of Hard Knocks.
22 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

All it takes is one encounter with Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor to know he is nowhere near anything closely resembling scholar material. It's a wonder he actually went to college, though I think he probably got a shop scholarship or his parents paid for it just to get him out of the house. Tim is actually not a complete idiot, because when he puts his mind to it, he does make many profound observations. The problem is he just thinks more with his heart than his head. His intentions are good, but the knowledge with which to execute them is what he is lacking. In other words, he is not scholar material. Certainly not doctorate material. However, something is about to happen that will shake our perception of reality, when Tim Taylor actually does receive an honorary PhD. I'm not joking. Right after he demonstrates the WRONG way to use a ladder, he dips into the old Male Bag and pulls out a letter from Western Michigan University, bestowing upon him an honorary doctorate. Seriously? This has got to be a joke. At home, the boys peruse through their box of toys Jill is trying to give to charity. Tim springs his PhD on them, and of course they're skeptical at first. So is Jill, who's in the middle of WORKING for her degree. Studying several hours a day, cramming all those tedious textbooks...something Tim never did, and yet, HE gets a PhD. Only in America. Jill isn't the only upset about someone like Tim getting a PhD out of nowhere. She tells Wilson about it and he practically has a conniption fit right there in the yard. So much for being the voice of reason.

So, is Tim going to let this honorary doctorate thing go to his head? Is water wet? Dr. Tim Taylor struts his stuff on Fool Time the next day, as he and Al welcome their special guest: Duke Miller, exterminator extraordinare. He shows off an array of rat traps, from the old fashioned to the sophisticated. As expected, Dr. Taylor gets caught in all of them. Did I mention this man was given an honorary PhD? Down at Western Michigan University, which I'm assuming is about to lose its accreditation, Tim, Jill and the boys show up for the award ceremony. Tim's old professors are shaking his hand and complimenting the ground he walks on. Something is definitely up. You know what? There is! This was all a fund-raising ploy. The idiot in charge of the fund-raising committee thought awarding an honorary doctorate to a local celebrity instead of a poet would be more beneficial. Nevertheless, it did bring in the dough they needed. These guys have never seen Tool Time, they just wanted to bank on Tim's name and celebrity status. Tim feels like such a tool, man. Jill tries to rebuild his confidence, but just ends up wasting her time. So the ceremony kicks off, Tim gets his superfluous degree and takes the podium. He makes a speech about the importance of higher education, and then he makes an ass of himself. Regardless, Tim gets to keep the doctorate because...Western Michigan is a terrible, terrible school, and we close on a very immature attempt from Al to get back at Tim by writing him a letter incognito wondering why Al didn't get the degree instead.

Supposedly this episode is based on real-life events. Tim Allen was awarded an honorary doctorate...probably for the same reason Tim did. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Tim is a very intelligent man in real life (post 1978), not like the buffoon he plays on TV. This episode shines a very prominent light on what I think is a problem with some universities: that they give out degrees to almost anybody, usually owing to a celebrity status or if they kicked a crapload of money their way, while the average person toils endlessly to try and EARN that degree. Well, look at it this way, when you EARN your degree, you rightfully deserve it. When a college just gives one out as a gesture to kiss up to somebody wealthy or famous, they did NOT deserve it. You can call ANYBODY Doctor, but if they didn't earn that degree, it's meaningless. So while the jokes weren't very funny and this episode was a frustrating experience, it does have a very good message, such as: study hard and EARN your degree, and don't go to Western Michigan, especially if you plan on being a celebrity.

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