Home Improvement’s Halloween Recap

Say what you will about the 1990’s show, Home Improvement, with its corny humor and tired storyline but when it comes to Halloween, few shows rival Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. Every season seemed to get more elaborate with crazier gimmicks which lets the viewers know, when it comes to Halloween, the Taylors take no prisoners.

Let’s recap the second season’s Halloween episode, “The Haunting of the Taylor House”. It’s a good one. Trust me.

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I can’t say that I have seen all the episodes of Home Improvement but the many I have seen always start with the fictitious show, Binford’s “Tool Time”, where Tim destroys something while simultaneously proving a point in the battle between sexes as Al looks on in disapproval. This episode is no different. We see Al has his jack-o-lantern completed in the image of his idle and show’s competitor, Bob Vila. But Tim has a new way of carving which involves, carving the design, filling the pumpkin with natural gas, a mild spark charge and, of course, MORE POWER.

Al, knowing his boss’s previous attempts which usually led to failure, decides to go for cover before the explosion.

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But as usual, Al pays for Tim’s stupidity and winds up with a face full of pumpkin guts. I would say Al should have known better but it was only the second season. These gags went on for eight years folks.

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We find ourselves back at the Taylor’s house as Jill, Randy and the little kid no one gives a shit about prepares for Brad’s Halloween party. The whole house is decorated to perfection from skeletons to hundreds of paper pumpkins. There is even a severed monster head in the microwave. Who thinks to decorate appliances? The fuckin’ Taylors do, that’s who.

Jill is having fun creating a concoction using peeled grapes with vanilla pudding (eyeballs and puss) and chocolate pudding with gummy worms (worms in mud). I’ve never been able to indulge in such Halloween themed treats because I will most likely vomit on someone’s sofa. It’s the thought of puss, actually. I blame the porridge scene in the movie, Dead Alive.

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Before the party begins, Brad enters the scene in a wicked-gay Raggedy Andy costume. His girlfriend, Jennifer, decided on a couples costume and for some unknown reason Brad agreed to that insane idea. There are plenty of reasons to be made fun of in middle school but this is one that has complete legitimacy. Put your balls in the drawer, Brad. You won’t be needing them for the rest of the show.

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Throughout the show the gags keep coming from Tim showing off his fake meat cleaver through the head to the mysterious neighbor, Wilson, carving his own image hidden by the obnoxious fence in a pumpkin. They only had twenty-two minutes to squeeze in all they could and did quite an impressive job.  It’s how Halloween should be.

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Before the party begins the younger siblings head out to trick-r-treat but not before Tim grabs Randy’s bag out of suspicion. And rightfully so. Randy was on his way out to create havoc with shaving cream, a six-pack of eggs and a roll of toilet paper. Not too sure how much havoc a kid could create with that light of a load but thinking quick on his feet, Randy explained it was for his friend’s mother who didn’t have time to go to the store and needed shaving cream, six eggs and one roll of toilet paper.

Quickly dismissed, Tim lets them go sans tools of destruction. Oh, and forgot to point out the youngest is dressed like the Tool Man for Halloween. I am not sure if this is true but the alternative script had him catching on fire and beaten out with a series of different golf clubs.

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So remember I was telling you about how Brad agreeing to go as a couples costume? Not only did she screw him over by not coming as Raggedy Ann but the bitch showed up with another boy TO HIS OWN PARTY! And this kid is a tool too.

There are certain ways to handle this. Brad could not let them in and revoke the invite. Maybe calmly walk to the kitchen, remove a kitchen knife and make a mask out of their faces? Or just run in ridiculously large shoes outside yelling for everyone to leave him alone.

He did the latter. Remember, his balls are in the kitchen’s miscellaneous drawer for the rest of the show.

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With a little help from his dad giving him a pep talk and some terrible advice about women, Brad goes inside to find out what drove his woman into the arms of an over-acting d-bag. It turns out her reason to make him look like an asshole is because Brad picked another girl for his kickball team. Like a puppet on a string, Brad apologized, completely forgetting he is dressed as Raggedy Andy and she brought another asshole to his party.

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FINALLY! All the drama is behind us and the battle of the sexes has ceased, it’s time to go down to the haunted basement! Jill, in here carrot costume, leads the party down the steps to an amazingly decorated haunted lab full black lights, dry ice and bubbling concoctions with tubes and beakers strewn all over. As they cautiously scan the cellar, they discover…

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...FRANKEN-NANA!

So amazing and elaborate! It’s like Ernest’s P. Worell’s alter-ego, Old Lady Hackmore, has returned from the grave. As Tim stiffly walks towards the spooked kids, he hacks up a maggot and chases all the guests straight up the stairs. All except one kid. The little asshole Brad’s girlfriend brought to the party. And this kid has serious parental disrespect.

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After a rant about how stupid everything looks and how dumb Brad’s little brother is, he get’s personal with Tim Taylor and attacks his show calling it “Fool Time”. That causes Tim to break character from Franken-Nana and point him in the direction to the Binford tool chest.

Arrogantly, the kid circles the tool chest, mocking Tim every step of the way. I hope this kid gets beaten at home and sleeps in a closet because that’s the only reason to be such a little dick. But when he opens the top cabinet, it breaks away to reveal a bucket. And underneath the bucket is…

THE SEVERED HEAD OF VAMPIRE AL!!!

The cocky little prick pissed himself and ran screaming around the basement only to be met with a roaming headless body (Randy) and backed straight into…

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MUMMY NEIGHBOR WILSON!!!

This kid shit everywhere and it felt great to see a haunted basement take a bully down a few notches. It’s the kind or redemption that makes a Halloween addict smile. Go home kid so your dad can give you another cigar burn, you punk!

This was when TV adored the Halloween season. It’s a fun and simple episode that I can watch hundreds of times over and never get tired of. It’s as if the writers put Halloween first and tried to fit a story to fill between the props and costumes. I love it and Home Improvement kept Halloween special for many seasons.

Where Did You Go? Part 10

Are you ready for another installment of “Where Did You Go”? No? Well, too  bad because I have the microphone so YOU WILL LISTEN TO EVERY WORD I HAVE TO SAY. Sorry.

newlander and feldmanIt’s the Frog brothers from the movie Lost boys! Actually it is Jamie Newlander and Corey Feldman. We all know how Corey is doing so we can skip that half-stack and move on to Jamie; the real lost boy. It’s funny to watch this movie and see those two act as “tough vampire killers” brandishing stakes and talking in ridiculously low voices.

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Besides The Lost Boys, Jamie hasn’t done too much other than the 1988 remake of The Blob, an after school special, and producing some other films here and there. He did make an appearance on the reality train wreck, Two Coreys. And even better news, IDBM has him scheduled for a Lost Boys 3. I am looking forward to that because from what I heard about Lost Boys: The Tribe, it can only get better.

2314598065_d79211639bTWWWOOO WEEEEEKKKSSS! Man, did this part of Total Recall blow my mind. And to be honest, really disturbed me. Priscilla Allen, (seen above) hit a home run in her freak out role as the malfunctioning costume that went haywire on Arnold. I suppose it’s just my weird thing with seizures.

priscilla allenThis sucks. Priscilla left us back last year after a long fight with cancer. I hate learning this while writing these but I guess that’s how we find out. As a native Sad Diego gal she really spent most of her life there as a drama student turned teacher. She had a few roles including Total Recall, The Naked Truth, Let Others Suffer and above all else a couple episodes of “Happy Days”. She mainly taught and did live performances. I am sorry that we lost you Priscilla. I am also sorry you were cast as the “fat lady” in Total Recall. But I will never think of a fortnight the same.

2290006229_d0a1ac110b“Here’s a quarter. Go downtown and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face. Good day, Madam.”

There are people who play small parts in movies that really can make scenes memorable. Mrs. Hogarth was one of them. When she was chewed out by John Candy in the movie Uncle Buck for referring to his niece as a silly-heart, you can’t help but applaud. The kid was classic in that scene too.

people2Man, Suzanna Shepherd has made a great career at being the grumpy grandma. I think her role in Good Fellas stuck with me and maybe it’s just that she reminded me so much of my own Grandmother on my Mom’s side. You know the type…(love you Grandma!) Anywho, she has been around town and has done amazing work. She is not the most obscure actress on the “where did you go” thing I have been doing but I just haven’t seen her around. Actually, I kind of thought she was chilling with Priscilla.

noahsmitEnter Taran Noah Smith: the youngest of the Taylor family in the hit 90’s comedy,  Home Improvement. Back in the day, Taran, who played the character Mark Taylor, was the cute little brother that fell pray to his mischievous older brothers. He was kind of the naive child that lived under the protection of Jill and try as he may, Tim couldn’t make him tough. But as the years progressed, Mark morphed from an innocent cute kid to a gangly goth goof. And really, in real life Taran did the same thing. My how life can imitate art.

who-was-on-home-improvement-taran-noah-smithWell, Taran’s career after Home Improvent never really florished. He married a woman 16 years his senior, sued his parents for his trust fund and started his own Vegan/Organic restruant called Playfood in California. Sadly he divorced and his home has been foreclosed and I believe Playfood went tits up. Oh yeah, I read he returned home to his parents house. Ouch. Good luck, Taran!

The_HitchhikerI think Rob Zombie said it best when he commented on the actors in the 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre. “Are these actors or did Tobe Hooper hire crazy people for this film? Man, these crazy people sure can act.”

I think the actor Edwin Neal has always been the one horror film actor that truly chilled me. Playing ‘The Hitchhiker”, his body movements to shifty eyes and crazy twitching movements, almost as if he was in the mid stages of muscular dystrophy, he nailed the one person you would never want to pick up on the side of the road.

edwin_nealEdwin has had a pretty long career after TCM. He did JFK with Oliver Stone and My Boyfriend’s Back. Most of his success as of late has come from his voiceovers to foriegn animation films and even Japanese pheonomenon action shows like the Power Rangers. Who knew, you know?

The cool thing about this guy is the fact he was awarded the bronze star with valor during the Vietnam War. I remember an interview he did about the filming of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and he recalled it being as horrific as some of his war experiences. Now that’s a crazy horror movie! Oh yeah, he also resides in Texas to this day. Nice.

starThat’s Xur. He escaped in the movie The Last Starfighter. He set up a sequal and they never came through. Fuck that and fuck Xur. I am so bitter about that let down I could care less who the guy played Xur is. So that’s that. Stay tuned for part 11. I’ll get to it.

Thanks For Thanksgiving

Things might get a little crazy between now and Thanksgiving so just in case I don’t get a chance to post then, I will post this now. This is what I am thankful for.

  • The state of Idaho. Because not many are thankful for it. It’s a handsome state when looked at from a map at least.
  • The movie The ‘Burbs. “I let go of the goddamn brownies…”
  • Finally being able (at 30) to grow a full beard.
  • img_0196Being comfortable with myself even though I look like a melvin. (Picture shown above.)
  • The men and women in uniform that keep this country safe and free.
  • Micro Brews with cool labels.
  • Empire Strikes Back. My first memory of the movies and we went the Thanksgiving weekend of 1982.
  • The Creepshow. That was the trailer before The Empire Strikes Back and to this day, I still am “creeped” out by that movie. God bless it.
  • REI
  • My place in the mountains. Especially my work desk view.
  • back-yardOh hell, I’ll just say it. Cheese.
  • The New York Times. It’s a Sunday must.
  • Kids with odd first names like “Lake” or “Apple” or “Valley”. It makes me feel better about my initials “WEW”.  Woooooo!
  • Home Improvement 1991-1994
  • XM/Sirus radio. The drive from GA to ID would have sucked real bad without that.
  • My job
  • X-Entertainment. No other place can one go to see their childhood archived.
  • My rock star shoes. They are on their last legs. So to speak.
  • img_0283Triscuits. Both reduced fat and Olive oil and Rosemary.
  • Maybe the one guy who can regain international trust, racial healing, national pride and all that is great with America will be the President. (don’t Fuck Up!)
  • The F-14 Tomcat. Even though it is retired.
  • Everyone on my blog role. I love sharing memories with them and I love how they share them with me. I imagine that we are all camping and exchanging tales of bike accidents and office blunders as we chortle our way to slumber. I have a very special place in my heart for each and every one on the Veggiemacabre blogroll.
  • All my ex girlfriends. I know that sounds odd but it is true. Each person has left an indelible print on who I am today. Even though most want me dead, they made me better. And for that I am thankful.
  • Little kids high on Juicy-Juice and cookies. (2:07…..it’s worth the wait. “ooooo!”) The little guy is breaking a sweat!
  • La Sportiva running shoes
  • My gift of gab
  • My parents. As the late, great actor John Candy’s character, Dell in Planes Trains and Automobiles said, “Love. That’s not a big enough word.”
  • Being in better shape at 30 than I was at 21. Or even 18. That is important to me.
  • Being able to put down the bottle and walk away. Always had a tough time with that. Especially last year.
  • Fitness Macabre is still in the works and the sponsors are letting me run with in after the 1st of the year. I don’t know if I am thankful for that yet but I’ll throw it up here.
  • The freedom to move around. Last year I thought 92 degrees was a cooler day and today I think 42 degrees is a warmer day. I love experiencing that broad shift of environments.
  • The Food Network. Especially Good Eats and 30 Minute Meals.
  • My close friends. The ones who put up with my snoring, know that when we eat out I may order in a foreign accent, will pontificate at random and tell long stories and often lose the point half way through. Thanks for taking it all in stride.
  • That my friend found the love of his life and married her. I wish I could have been there but this year I needed some serious “head’ time. I will always regret that.
  • Great White Sharks are making a comeback from being endangered.
  • And above all else, good health

So that is my 2008 list of thanks. I wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Try to reflect and let the people who mean the most know how important they are to you. You never know when you may get another chance. Think of those less fortunate and if you can, share. Try to keep an open mind and forgive those who you don’t get along with. At least for Thanksgiving. Letting go and loving is so much easier than holding on and hating.

So, thanks.

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