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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's another milestone in Taylor history: Randy is about to become a
certified driver. This will be the last driving age milestone in the
series, because it didn't last long enough for Mark. Anyway, Tim
chooses the Nomad for Randy to take his driver's test, and fans of this
show know that the Nomad is synonymous for disasters. Randy is too
anxious to wait for Tim, so he goes at the next available appointment.
Anyway, on to Fool Time. Tim and Al demonstrate how to run wire through
a wall before the drywall is put up, which is simple, but what about
walls with conduit and insulation? That's why they bring out their
guest, Judy McHale, a master electrician, who has trained a rat to run
wires through tight spots. Long story short, the rat bites Tim on the
nose because Al ate its piece of reward cheese. Also, Judy confesses
the whole thing was a hoax and that her real name is Trudy. She just
wanted to meet Al. By the way, syndication cuts that last part out, so
we were left to assume the writers goofed on her name. At home, Mark
has joined a band with his friend Ronny ("Sup"), but more importantly,
Randy passed his test, and boy, is he anxious to show off to his
girlfriend. However, owing to Brad's accident the night he got his
license, Tim and Jill feel Randy should wait before driving at night.
Tim thinks it should be for a week, which is more than fair, but Jill
says he should wait a month! No other reason, except for Brad's
accident, and Randy is Brad's brother. Tim doesn't try to dispute what
his bitchy wife says, because he "got bit by a rat today." Yeah, not
To add insult to injury, Jill allows Mark to be out late on a school night, practicing with his Goth band. Feeling he's been kicked to the curb and treated unfairly, Randy snatches the car keys and disappears into the night. A few hours later, as Brad sits on the couch and eats the cheese off a pizza, Tim and Jill come home from a PTA meeting where Tim has no doubt made an ass of himself, and they discover the Nomad missing. Tim knows what happened and he quickly put Jill in her place, pointing out exactly how she was wrong in her treatment of Randy. So she sends her henpecked and rat-bitten husband out to look for her rebellious middle child, just as a drunk Wilson comes up to the porch, having just came from a Cinco De Mayo fiesta. Basically, he tells her that that boys should be treated according to their own needs, forcing Jill to swallow her pride and admit she was wrong...I'm surprised she didn't choke to death. Speaking of choking, Brad makes himself a big-ass sandwich, I guess all the pizza cheese didn't fill him up, just as Randy came waltzing in the door, having just driven around for the hell of it. Jill admits she was wrong, and by golly, if Randy didn't act like this was the biggest deal in the world. Tim does the same thing when he comes back. Yes, Jill was wrong. This sure isn't the first time, however it is the first time she admitted it. So Randy is grounded a week for acting out, and to top it all off, Mark and his band, the Wrist Cutters, I guess, put on a sterling performance in the garage, but not before Tim reminds us that a rat bit him this week.
If I had to sum up this episode in two words, they would be NOT FUNNY! Tim gets bit by a rat, maybe it was funny at first, but not when he had to keep reminding us. If you explain a damn joke, it's not funny! The jokes in this episode were horrible and forced as hell, and whatever message it was trying to convey was buried for the sake of bad jokes! Just because it's a sitcom doesn't mean we need to laugh every five seconds. Well, there are no laughs in this goddamn thing whatsoever! Now, we can sympathize with Randy over what happens, he was treated very unfairly, and Tim was right in thinking no night driving for a week, but Jill, ever the over-protective bitch of a mother, decides on a month. I love the part where Tim calls her out on what she did, and she just looks at him with this "herp-a-derp" face, realizing she was wrong and for once, she has no way of defending herself or passing the blame on to Tim. It seems every time she does something wrong, she tries to blame it on her husband. What did Tim ever see in her anyway? This episode features some horrible writing, courtesy of Jennifer Fisher, and forced performances from our leads. Home Improvement really started to fail by Season 7 and it just got worse from there. Such is the unfortunate side effect of a long-running comedy series: the characters become caricatures. Season 1 Tim would not have kept quiet and said a rat bit him over and over. Fans of the show, just skip this one. It's awful. It's stupid! It's WRONG!
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