Over the years, reboots and revivals of classic TV shows have been all the rage. One classic 1990s sitcom that has been brought up a time or two is Tim Allen's former ABC sitcom Home Improvement. Given the Full House and Will & Grace revivals, it seems Home Improvement would be primed for one, especially now that Allen's Last Man Standing is ending with Season 9. The actor was able to offer a glimpse of what could be by bringing the character of Tim Taylor to Last Man Standing for a crossover, and the creative team had to be very careful when making it happen.
Before starring in Last Man Standing, Tim Allen gained prominence as Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on the 1990s sitcom Home Improvement. The beloved sitcom was a massive critical and cultural success, launching Tim Allen’s eventual film career. Like Last Man Standing, it was built around a family man navigating everyday life. Showrunner Kevin Abbott spoke to TVLine on how careful the creative team was in crafting the mind-blowing crossover episode.
I would say very protective. I made him the promise going in that we would respect it. I actually loved Home Improvement, so I didn’t want to do anything that would in any way disparage that character and that franchise, I didn’t want to mock it in any way, shape or form. I wanted to be careful. Maybe they do something with [the ABC sitcom] in the future, a reboot or something, I don’t know, so I didn’t want to trap them in anything either. And Tim and I had several long discussions about where Tim Taylor would have wound up at this point in time. We changed the storyline a couple times in order to try to arrive at a place that we all felt very good about.
Given Tim Allen's affection for Tim Taylor and Home Improvement, it was only right that Abbott and the show's creative team would handle the crossover episode carefully. So, it was nice to see Last Man Landing take on this beloved character without mocking him, the show, or its devoted fanbase.
In Episode 2 of Season 9, Tim Allen pulled double duty, playing both Tim Taylor and Mike Baxter in multiple scenes. The two men crossed paths in the most Home Improvement way possible - while dealing with home repairs. Tim Taylor was hired by Mike's wife Vanessa (played by Nancy Travis) to do some repairs in their house. As evident by his shirt, Taylor is still working for Binford even after Tool Time ended. The two characters share quite a bit of screen time before having a special, heartbreaking moment towards the end of the episode.
Home Improvement ran for eight seasons on ABC before ending in 1999, earning Tim Allen Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. In the years since Home Improvement ended, Tim Allen has appeared in the Santa Clause and Toy Story franchises along with Christmas with the Kranks, The Shaggy Dog and Wild Hogs. Since 2011, the actor has starred in Last Man Standing alongside Travis. It aired for six seasons on ABC before being revived on Fox in 2018.
Home Improvement stands as one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1990s. Even two decades after the show ended, the Last Man Standing team was still able to craft an episode that properly honored Tim Taylor and the series' legacy. You can watch Last Man Standing’s final season, Thursdays at 9:30 pm EST, on Fox.