Home Improvement (1991–1999)
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To Build or Not to Build 

At home: Mother's day is approaching and Tim wants to prove to Jill that he and the boys can actually buy something from the heart. In Tool Time: Tim presents Binford products that clear ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Wilson's Mother (as Ann Guilbert)
Lisa (as Pamela Denise Anderson)


At home: Mother's day is approaching and Tim wants to prove to Jill that he and the boys can actually buy something from the heart. In Tool Time: Tim presents Binford products that clear drain and toilet clogs. Surprisingly, there is no catastrophe. Tim demonstrates how to pour a concrete foundation. Sadly, again no catastrophe. Written by Toni Tapola, Finland

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Plot Keywords:

handmade gift | See All (1) »


Comedy | Family




Release Date:

5 May 1993 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Due to the actual age of the actors, Wilson's mother would've been 13 years old at the time of his birth. She was born in 1928 and he in 1942. See more »


Tim: Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the Great Randini!
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User Reviews

Building from the Heart
17 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's that time of year again. A day lauded and cherished by all women. Valentine's Day? Nope. One a little more sentimental: Mothers' Day. At the Taylor household, Jill can't keep from wondering what Tim and the boys are getting her, fearing it will be the same dollar-store crap they get her every year. But this year, it might be different. The next day, just as Randy starts practicing some magic tricks (plot point for later), Tim assembles the boys to spell out his perfect Mothers' Day plan: they're going to build her something. Despite his best efforts to keep it a secret, Mark ends up blabbing it to Jill anyway. She's tickled at the idea, but Brad and Randy would just as soon take the easy way out and buy her something. So anyway, on to Tool Time where Tim plays with some plumbing tools and Al doesn't find it funny in the least, but before they go, in light of the Mothers' Day season, Tim attempts to make Al's mom a peace offering, owing to the many, many times he pokes fun at her. And this is what he made her: a jumbo-sized flannel apron. Classy.

At home, the garage has been turned into Man Central. "No Moms Allowed." Tim, Brad and Randy are building...or rather, Randy attempts to build a birdhouse, but it just doesn't sit straight. He didn't put any effort into it because he's still against the whole building idea and wants to just buy Jill something. Tim won't listen and tries to convince him that he does like building things, causing Randy to walk away, and nothing gets accomplished. When Jill hears about this, she destroys the secrecy of "Man Central" and confronts Tim, who is fixing Randy's birdhouse. He won't listen when she tries to tell him that Randy doesn't like building things, and that he's more into performing and such. Well, at least this Mothers' Day won't be a complete loss, as Tim actually made reservations for a fancy restaurant for all of them that night. But what to do about Randy? Can a talk with Wilson help? Probably, since he's gone all out to celebrate the holiday, up to and including flying in his own mother, who's just as eccentric as him. They both assure Tim that it's the thought that counts, so while he continues to ponder a solution for his middle son, it's back to Tool Time, with special guests Rock, Pete and Dwayne from K&B Construction. But before they get into mixing cement, Pete asks if he may recite a Mothers' Day poem that he wrote. Very eccentric, but it was still heartfelt and genuine. But now, on to the big day: Brad and Mark give Jill the wooden boxes they made, while Randy has a big surprise. See, he's been practicing his skills as an amateur magician and so, with Tim's help, he's build a giant box in which he will make Tim disappear. Turns out The Great Randini is a better magician than he anticipated, because he can make Tim disappear, but can't make him reappear. Undaunted, Jill goes to dinner with the boys anyway, leaving Tim, who had somehow rematerialized back in the box, all alone. We end with Al reciting a Mothers' Day song as he, Tim and the K&B Boys spell out "Mother" with tools.

This one was pretty good. I'm sure you've noticed that there's always a bigger to-do about Mothers' Day than Fathers' Day, and I think many of us can relate to Randy, who can't seem to settle on a perfect gift. Some people are very hard to shop for, and if you're not up to building something, you've got to go with what you know. Remember, folks, it IS the thought that counts. Never mind of that sounds cliché, it's the truth. So if you're a mother, you know somebody who is a mother, or you're a son or daughter, this episode is ideal. My favorite parts are Jill attempting to enter "Man Central" by giving the secret grunt, and at the end when the guys give their loving tributes to the one who gave them life. Not much I can say about To Build or Not to Build, except that it's one of the series' finest episodes...and that ending of Tim in the box reminds me of Season 1's "Off Sides" where the boys get a magician babysitter and he ends up getting stuck in his own box.

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