Home Improvement was not a show known for high drama or life lessons. It was pretty much a ridiculous (ridiculously hilarious) show about an incompetent handyman and his witty family. But (as you well know) it’s not an 80’s/90’s sitcom without a very special episode.
Can you guess what this episode is about based on the title?
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, this episode is about weed! During an on-location shoot for Tool Time (the show with in a show) Tim scales a tree in his backyard to demonstrate the hazards a blizzard can take on suburban homes. Turns out blizzards also damage trees, and Tim (the incompetent handyman) falls into the rough of his gazebo/all of the wooden lawn furniture.
As Tim and his sidekick, Al, are sifting through the wreckage, Al finds a baggie of “oregano” that he assumes Jill (Tim’s wife) keeps outside in the cold to maintain optimum freshness. Tim tells Al that what he’s holding is a bag of weed, and Al freaks out because his “prints are on the bag.” Naturally, at this point the only thing to do is to stage a stakeout behind next door neighbor Wilson’s fence. Wilson expresses his shock that drugs were found in his very own neighborhood because he has only ever heard about “kids and drugs in the newspaper.” Clearly, Jill and Tim are the only adults in this show who are edgy enough to have any experience with illegal substances. After a Friday night spent in ten degree weather, Jill and Tim finally see their eldest son Brad go into the gazebo to retrieve the pot.
After lecturing Brad on how pot could ruin his whole life, they send him up to his room while they figure out how to deal with them. But Jill is left reeling because Brad accused them of being hypocrites since they probably smoked too when they were his age. Tim is all like no way all I did was drink beer! but Jill is all like omg I smoked so much pot. I should have helped my son learn from my errors. Then Jonathan Taylor Thomas (as middle child Randy) accidentally stumbles onto his parents freaking out. At which point his dad accuses him of smoking too, and JTT is all like “what no way!” and he really means it because JTT is a golden boy and above the influence and funny and the greatest 90’s heartthrob ever.
So then JTT goes upstairs to talk to Brad because he’s shocked that Brad smoked and he didn’t even know it. The Brad is all shocked that JTT has not smoked and JTT is like clearly too intellectual to get high and then have pseudo-intellectual conversations. Then you hardly see JTT anymore for the rest of the episode because you can tell by this point in the show’s run that he’s pretty much over acting and ready to enroll in Harvard.
Finally, Jill and Tim agree that the best way to handle Brad is to come clean about their own experiences (and ground him for months). As it turns out, Jill was a huge pothead in high school. One time she went to a Led Zeppelin concert, smoked some pot laced with something weird, and ended up in the ER thinking that her name was Charlene Fogelman. Personally, I think that sounds horrifying and like a terrible waste of a Led Zeppelin concert. I’m also glad that this stuff is slowly getting legalized, so that people in real life will be able to purchase from reliable (legal) sources that don’t mix PCP into their product. But I digress. After this, Jill ends up in jail and Tim has to bail her out because her parents won’t even speak to her. How lucky is Jill that she was still a minor, right? I don’t even think we could have Home Improvement if Jill had been a mom with a criminal record! It would have been like Orange is the New Improvement. Ultimately, Brad decides that smoking pot is not worth the risk of his soccer scholarship. Well, like no shit it isn’t.
Very Special Lesson: Don’t do anything that will make you think you are Charlene Fogelman. I hear she’s a convicted felon.