Home Improvement: Season 1, Episode 5

Wild Kingdom (15 Oct. 1991)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Family
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 94 users  
Reviews: 1 user

Mark is bringing his Cub Scout pals for a visit. Tim has to re-light the pilot light of the furnace and he decides to show Randy and Brad how to do it. While in the basement, they discover something moving down there.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Lisa (as Pamela Denise Anderson)
Jimmy Wagner
Cub Scout #1 (as Rickey Collins)
Everett Wong ...
Cub Scout #2
Cody Burger ...
Cub Scout #3


Mark is bringing his Cub Scout pals for a visit. Tim has to re-light the pilot light of the furnace and he decides to show Randy and Brad how to do it. While in the basement, they discover something moving down there.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family





Release Date:

15 October 1991 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The initial title was "Wild Thing", after The Troggs' song, and actually was named that in original airings and printed series lists. From 1995 onward, it was "Wild Kingdom". See more »


At the beginning when Mark is doing his "card trick" it is clearly visible that he only deals 3 cards the 2nd time doing the trick, you see him deal 3 and on the third card he never puts it down and shows the Ace of Spades to Tim. See more »


Randy: [there is a snake in the light fixture] Come on, Dad, just stick your finger in the light. When the snake bites it, pull him out.
Tim: Ha ha ha. Can I talk to you a minute? Maybe you didn't hear ol' Dad the first time: Shut up.
See more »

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User Reviews

Gracious Snakes Alive!
6 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Tim tries to relax on the sofa, watching a classic episode of Tool Time, when a freezing Jill begs him to go down and re-light the furnace. At the same time, Brad and Randy have taken up an interest in tarot cards. Their first customer is Tim, and he draws the death card...twice. Probably just a happy coincidence, or perhaps the boys planted it there. So all three go down to the basement, where Tim conks his head on the overhead pipe for the first time, and thus a running gag is born. He lights the pilot successfully, but before they go back upstairs, they hear a strange sound coming from the corner behind some boxes. Thinking it was another of Brad and Randy's stupid pranks, Tim tells them it's probably a panther that escaped from the zoo, then he scares them and they take off running. In all seriousness, the sound they heard was probably just a mouse. The boys suggest it could be a snake, but a defensive Tim immediately dismisses that possibility. Meanwhile, upstairs, Jill prepares for Mark's cub scout troop coming over that night, and as for an activity, they're going to have pizza and make paper bag masks whether they like it or not. Tim tells her about his mouse finding, and she gets all squeamish as the gals usually do, and gets to "high ground." She begs Tim to call an exterminator, but he laughs it off. Then he and Wilson have a talk about fears, though Wilson's are much deeper, intellectual and eccentric than the average man's. He asks to borrow his mouse trap, however when Wilson hears about the noises Tim heard, he thinks it might not be a furry little critter after all, but a slimy, slithering one.

Tim is afraid of snakes, as you may have guessed, so he takes Jill up on her request to call the exterminator, right after getting the bejesus scared out of him when Randy shows him a snake skin he found. The boys continue to torture him about his fear by telling him about the deadliest breeds of snakes, and even hiding those pop-up ones in his tool box. The exterminator concludes there was no snake in the basement, but doesn't rule out the possibility that it could be hiding some place else. Next, Brad and Randy pull the 'death card' schtick on Mark's friend, Jimmy. Those little crapheads. Tim comforts the boy, letting him know there's nothing to be afraid of, and tells the other boys how everyone is afraid of something and teaches them how to scare away fear: with a loud, hearty grunt. They all get into a big round of grunting to scare away their fears, and then Tim goes inside to order the pizza. By the way, have you noticed the oddly-placed light fixture on the wall by the phone? It didn't look like that before. Well, there's a special reason why it's there, and we'll find out what that is momentarily. Just as Tim orders, a snake dangles from out of the light fixture! Jill calls the exterminator back, but he's in disposed for an hour. However, he gives Tim a few helpful hints, such as to look in the fixture and see if the snake is still there, so with encouragement from the kids, Tim heads over to face his fears. He snaps on some rubber gloves, aiming to rip out the light fixture, snake and all, and stuff it into a pillow case. He's very reluctant, but the boys were watching, grunting their encouragement. Like a flash, he rips off the light and disposes of it. Problem solved. No more snake. Or so he thought. As he sits on the counter, basking in the afterglow, Brad and Randy try to warn him that there's a snake behind him, but Tim's not falling for that old gag...until the snake slithers its way right into Tim's shirt, causing him to "snake", rattle and roll. Tim conquered his fear face to face, and was successful. But now the Taylors have an unsightly hole in their wall. Oh well, they'll take care of that in the next episode.

During the credits, we see numerous attempts to get the snake to crawl into Tim's shirt. Must not be easy teaching a snake to act, and I guess they didn't have a charmer on hand. All kidding aside, this is one of my all-time favorite episodes, it's so well done in terms of writing, directing and acting. Tim Allen's acting talents really shine here, as there's plenty of funny moments, and even some heartfelt ones, like when he was talking to Jimmy, played by adorable child star Adam Wylie. Maybe you have a fear of snakes as well, or rats or mice, or if you're like me, spiders. I guess what it all comes down to is facing your fears head on and doing something about it. So anyway, I DEFINITELY recommend Wild Kingdom, it's one of Home Improvement's best episodes. Fans or even non-fans should see it.

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