It's Tim's birthday, and he plans to go to a NASCAR race. However, Jill purchased tickets for the two of them, plus Al, Heidi, and Wilson to go on a river-rafting trip. They go rafting, but Tim reserves a luxury trailer for sleeping.



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Episode cast overview:
Mark Taylor (as Taran Smith)
Chris Stacy ...


It's Tim's birthday, and he plans to go to a NASCAR race. However, Jill purchased tickets for the two of them, plus Al, Heidi, and Wilson to go on a river-rafting trip. They go rafting, but Tim reserves a luxury trailer for sleeping.

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reference to popeye | See All (1) »


Comedy | Family




Release Date:

22 September 1998 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Wilson: [singing] Michael row the boat ashore / Hallelujah...
Kyle: [singing to the tune of 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore'] Then the feds / They taxed him more / They always SCREWWWWW-ya.
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Welcome to Kernville!
20 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's Tim's birthday. Yep, the Tool Man is a year older, but not an hour wiser. To start off the occasion, a birthday edition of Fool Time, where Tim announces that he wants to do what he darn well pleases on his birthday for a change, instead of somebody else making plans for him...foreshadowing! He wants to go NASCAR and nothing and nobody is gonna stop him. Anyway, Tim and Al look at an array of manly cakes... the family friendly kind. Tim sneers at the fancy cake mixes and opts to make his own Devil's Food and then the jerkass sits down in what he thinks is his chair, but it's in fact Al's special surprise cake. Boy, was he surprised. At home, Tim gets another surprise. Shock of all shocks, Jill made plans for his birthday. They're going to Kernville, California for a few days of "roughing it." Not only that, but Al, Wilson and Heidi are coming along to liven things up. So they all arrive at the rafting spot, everybody is totally pumped for the experience, except for Tim, and even though I don't blame him for being miffed that his birthday wishes were not honored, he doesn't have to be a dick about it. But this is only the beginning. So they meet their whacked-out guide, Kyle, and he briefs them all on safety on the whitewater, while Tim plays Game Boy like a child. He should probably listen because whitewater rafting is a dangerous sport which can lead to injury or even death if not handled Tim should fit right in.

There's a B plot about Brad and Mark ruining the couch by spilling soda and wine, but who cares? Back in Kernville, it's time to hit the river! As they run, Jill trips, and I have to say this moment was terribly acted, even the audience laughs, which I don't think they were supposed to do! So because she's a clumsy ass and twisted her ankle in that contrived fall, Jill has to remain on land. I'd say this was a case of pure irony. She stays with Kyle's wife who's just as crazy as he is. On the river, it's a beautiful countryside and everybody is having a good time...except for Tim. However, he intends to rectify that by upgrading his vacation package, and sure enough, a deluxe RV drives out to meet him. He also lets Jill know how he feels about this whole birthday "surprise" and naturally, she isn't apologetic for ruining his plans again. So Tim sleeps in the RV while everybody else opts to camp outdoors. Al's snoring prevents the rest from sleeping. So after the sun rises, it's back to the rapids. As usual, Tim complains and they all start bickering and picking on one another, then it escalates with Tim taking advantage of Kyle's condition, making the idiot jump out of the freakin' raft! So now they have to fend for themselves against the merciless rapids. Even Tim has to lend a hand and finds...that he rather enjoyed it. So they get back to land, Tim admits this was the best birthday of his life, and it all worked out in spite of everything, and hopefully Kyle was fired and then committed.

Well...what can I say about this one? It's a nice episode to look at it. The cinematography and direction are outstanding, and the locations are beautiful. It's a very good episode from a visual standpoint, but as far as story and plot, it sucks the big one. Maybe this would have worked better as a Home Improvement movie, because it does have a lot of potential for being a larger story, but since they had to condense it into a 30 minute episode, it's really lacking. Character development is sloppy, and Kyle is just a one-note joke that isn't very funny, he's basically a live-action Dale Gribble from King of the Hill, except Dale is more interesting as a character. The acting is pretty bad too. It's as if these guys did this episode for the sole purpose of getting a paid vacation, because that's exactly what it looks like. Hope they had a good time, because we didn't. Anyway, this episode is worth seeing at least once, for the cinematography and location, but other than that, this one is nothing special. Just an excuse for a comped trip. With a decent script, it might have been worth it. Whitewater can hit the skids.

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