In Tool Time: Tim announces the poll winner of The Most Popular Guest on Tool Time. The winner will be returning for another episode - despite Tim's attempt to rig the vote. Tim ends up in ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Bob Vila ...
Karen Kelly
Lisa (as Pamela Denise Anderson)
Michael Goldfinger ...
Shawn Shea ...
Stage Manager


In Tool Time: Tim announces the poll winner of The Most Popular Guest on Tool Time. The winner will be returning for another episode - despite Tim's attempt to rig the vote. Tim ends up in a lawnmower racing contest against the guest in question. Lisa finally gets more than one scene! At home: Karen has won a day at a spa for two and plans to take Jill with her. Brad and Randy say they won't exclude Mark from their activities if he passes a non-squealer test: he has to hold a tadpole inside his mouth for three seconds. unfortunately, Mark swallows it when Randy gives him a pat on the back. Jill decides to teach the two a lesson... Written by Toni Tapola, Finland

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family




Release Date:

19 May 1993 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Lisa's (Pamela Anderson) last episode as a regular cast member. She later made two guest appearances as her character Lisa in Tool Time After Dark: Part 1 (11 April 1995) and Kiss & the Kiss-Off (20 May 1997). See more »


At the very end, "The Great Race", the top of the set as well as the studio lights are clearly visible, probably as a lead-in to the closing credits. See more »


References The Great Race (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

Ready, Set, Mow!
20 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Tool Time has held a contest, asking viewers to vote for their favorite guest star. Al notes that Bob Vila's name was mysteriously left off that list. Tim credits the error to a computer and reads off the finalists: George Foreman, Michael and Mario Andretti, and Dwayne from K&B. When he sees who actually won, he's quick to deny it and announces it was the Andrettis. Al snatches the letter away and reveals the rightful winner: Bob Vila, won by write-in vote. Naturally, Tim was not looking forward to next day's show, when Bob would be coming back. Of course, Al couldn't keep from fawning all over their special guest, and his idol, and Tim tries to dispel any rumors that there is a rivalry between he and Bob... yeah, after you admitted to erasing his name from the ballot, I don't think that argument holds a lot of water. Bob talks about a charity drive he's hosting, including a lawnmower race. Tim mentions his souped up mower, the one with a motorcycle engine. Bob mentions that his has a larger motor, custom built by professionals. He challenges Tim to a mower race, and the Tool Man accepts. He goes home and fixes a jet engine onto that bad boy. It can go from 0 to 94 in 2.5 seconds, and can mow a football field in under 11.

For our B plot, Mark wants to hang out with Brad and Randy, but they figure him for a snitch and always deny him. However, this time they're willing to let him swear his allegiance by making him take "the test". He has to put a live tadpole, which they'd taken from the creek, in his mouth for 3 seconds. I'll bet you can guess where this is going. So Mark reluctantly lets them place the tadpole in his mouth, and when his time is up, Randy pats him on the back, thus making him swallow it! They add insult to injury by saying the tadpole will grow inside him and become a frog. Those little turds. They book it when Mark goes inside to tell on them. Jill assures him he'll be fine, then when he goes, she gets all grossed out. When Tim hears, he has a good laugh, recalling days of old in which he and his brothers made each other eat bugs in their food. Well, the nuts never fall far from the tree. Anyway, you know what they say: an eye for an eye. Jill whips up her special tadpole soup, which she intends to feed to the boys. At first, Brad and Randy think it's all a joke, however the soup does look, smell and taste pretty strange. Moreso than usual. Add a fake frog to the mix and it get them screaming. So hopefully they've learned their lesson: tadpoles ain't for eatin'. Now, on to the big race! Tim vs. Bob, in the name of charity...and Tim's foolish hubris. At first, Bob is in the lead, until Tim fires up his secret weapon and takes off. As expected, the mower goes out of control. So it's more than likely Bob won the race, and Tim get a speeding ticket and his lawnmower impounded. But at least he made $186 mowing 40 lawns. Oh well, no need to let that fancy helmet cam go to waste, so Tim chases Jill around the house, revealing that they have no ceiling, only set lights. Fourth wall, consider thyself broken.

During the end credits, we get a curtain call of the main actors...and of course, Earl Hindman is holding a mock fence over his face. He believe he did that at every curtain call except the one for the finale. I'd say The Great Race is a good episode. The lawnmower racing scene is infamous, and it's too bad we didn't get to see news footage of that high-speed pursuit. I've seen one of somebody going on a joyride with a street-sweeper, but never a lawnmower. So if you like what can be referred to as the "Bob Vila Trilogy", including this episode, What About Bob and The Great Race II next season, I recommend The Great Race. This was also the final appearance of Pamela Anderson as tool girl Lisa. She'll be replaced by Heidi next season, and she won't return to the show until the end of Season 6. It's nice seeing Pamela in her natural look. This was also the final appearance of Karen. Jill gets a less annoying friend next season. So, anyway, Season 2 was a pretty good season. Lots of great, memorable episodes, and some not-so-good ones, but this is during the show's Golden Age, so there are more winners than losers. My personal favorite episodes of Season 2 are Rites and Rongs of Passage, Haunting of Taylor House, Roomie for Improvement, I'm Scheming of a White Christmas, You're Driving Me Crazy You're Driving Me Nuts, Karate for Not Here I Come, Shooting Three to Make Tutu, To Build or Not to Build, Birth of a Hot Rod and The Great Race. My least favorites are Overactive Glance, Heavy Meddle, Love is A Many Splintered Thing, Dances with Tools, May the Best Man Win, Let's Did Lunch, and Ex Marks the Spot. If you plan on adding Home Improvement to your DVD collection, I'd say Season 2 is a must.

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