On the surface, ABC’s hit '90s sitcom Home Improvement is wholesome family entertainment. The show follows the tool-obsessed Tim Taylor (Tim Allen), who instructs the viewers of his TV show, Tool Time, how to fix things around their houses - even though he continuously destroys his own home with a series of overpowered gadgets while his wife and sons look on. Peer a little deeper, though, and the disturbing hidden meanings of the show become clear.
The Home Improvement cast wouldn't admit this, but it's obvious throughout the show that Tim Taylor has lost his damn mind. If you spent the '90s watching Tim Taylor try to keep his family from falling apart, then you no doubt realize that Home Improvement is an existential hellscape. Home Improvement isn’t the only piece of popular entertainment with a potential dark side, but it is one of the few that seems to wear its contempt for its characters on its sleeve.
The horrifying things about Home Improvement not only stem from Tim’s apparent hatred for his family and paranoia about his wife’s desire to find a life outside the home, but also from the possibility that the events of the plot were all imagined as part of Tim's mental collapse. Out of all the sitcoms stricken with ennui, Home Improvement may be the most existentially frayed, and its self-destructive nature is well worth exploring.