Home Improvement: Season 1, Episode 3

Off Sides (1 Oct. 1991)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Family
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 104 users  
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Tim and the boys are watching football on TV when Jill reminds him that they have a dinner reservation at Chez Pierre because it was supposed to be their romantic night out. Tim has to give... See full summary »



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Title: Off Sides (01 Oct 1991)

Off Sides (01 Oct 1991) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
Sir Larry Houdini
Rudolph Willrich ...


Tim and the boys are watching football on TV when Jill reminds him that they have a dinner reservation at Chez Pierre because it was supposed to be their romantic night out. Tim has to give up the football - but sneaks a portable radio with an earpiece underneath his clothes into the restaurant in order to listen to the match. The boys get a peculiar new babysitter, Sir Larry Houdini! Written by Toni Tapola, Finland

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Comedy | Family





Release Date:

1 October 1991 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Randy Taylor: [to Sir Larry] Hey, you're great! I saw you at Chris Johnson's birthday party!
Sir Larry Houdini: Ahhh, lovely little girl.
Randy Taylor: Chris is a boy.
Sir Larry Houdini: Strange little boy.
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References The Flintstones (1960) See more »


Written by Irving Berlin
Sung by Eric Christmas
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User Reviews

A Sporting Chance.
15 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Tim's a big sports fan, and he's instilled his love of the games upon his boys as they sit in front of the TV and watch the big football game, every brand of salty snack at their disposal. But of course, his is a parade that's about to be rained on, because Jill has to remind him that they were going out to dinner that night, at Chez Pierre. Ain't it always the way? You get into the big game, when your wife reminds you that you haven't taken her out to any expensive French restaurants lately, so you gotta give up your night of fun to spend with her. Worse yet, Tim forgot to find a babysitter to watch the boys. What about Wilson? Isn't he always home? Well, get this: Jill was so desperate for a babysitter that she lied to a magician, saying they were throwing a birthday party, just to get him to come over. Sir Larry Houdini, escape artist extraordinaire. He's the distant cousin Harry never talked about. Well, it could've been worse. Jill could've ordered a clown. At first, Sir Larry refuses to stoop to babysitting, but a crisp $20 bill quickly changes his mind. Jill has a hard time prying Tim away from that TV, but they finally manage to get going. The restaurant is about as boring as you can imagine, but you see, Tim's got an ace up his sleeve...as well as a wire. When Jill goes off to "powder her nose", Tim whips out a mini radio and headset, so he can listen to the game. Unfortunately, there's a little something Tim neglects whenever he watches sports: self control. Every touchdown, every interception, he shouts for joy.

At home, the boys help Sir Larry perform one of his tricks. Taken out of context, the sight of Brad and Randy wrapping Sir Larry in chains and a straight-jacket would give someone a bad impression. But it's all part of the act. He's going to have himself locked in a trunk, and within the span of 10 seconds, he will magically appear at the front door, free as a bird. Unfortunately, it doesn't go quite as planned. Back at the restaurant, Tim and Jill's semi-romantic meal is constantly interrupted by the sounds of men watching football in the kitchen. The staff have a television, and I guess it's this restaurant's policy to allow their staff to be noisy within earshot of the customers. Anyway, Jill tries to find something she and Tim can do together, besides bicker. She suggests ballroom dancing. Tim reminds her of what a disco stud he used to be, and she reminds him that disco didn't die, he killed it. Actually, it was the combined efforts of Tim Taylor, Danny Tanner, Jon Arbuckle, and...well, everybody who tried. Obviously she wasn't going to get through to Tim with that damn game going on, so off he went! Back at home, Sir Larry was still locked in the trunk. Unable to find the keys, the boys tie the trunk to a rope and hang it from a tree. Imagine Tim and Jill's surprise when they got home! Naturally they assume Brad and Randy did it, but the magician tells them they're innocent. He tells Jill to call his son, Cyril the Magnificent who has some extra keys, while Tim talks with Wilson about his sports obsession. He suggests they find similar interests to share, things they can do together. So, Tim apologizes for making an ass of himself at the restaurant and that he'll cut back on sports...somewhat. So, they have a nice dance in the backyard, serenaded by Wilson's accordion and Sir Larry singing.

There's a brief Tool Time tag featuring Tim talking to the audience about being receptive to your partner's needs, while Al struggles to lift a sing. Tim eventually does help, and rightfully gets his fingers crushed. A non sequitur Tool Time, and trust me, there are many more of them to come. Off Sides was a very good third episode to this series, though some parts feel a bit clichéd now, such as a man's obsession with sports and the wife making him go out to a romantic restaurant with her on the night of the big game. Seriously, that Chez Pierre place is a riot, letting the staff distract the patrons that way. It reminds me of one night when I was eating at Sizzler, and an off-duty server was sitting behind me watching basketball. Each and every time they scored, he jumped up and cheered. I finally had to ask him to knock it off. This scenario about guys going nuts over sports is very true to life. Also, the babysitter Sir Larry was hi-Larry-us. He was a nice change from the norm. Off Sides comes recommended to all you sports nuts and hopeless romantics.

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