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The Home Improvement Scene That Went Too Far

The goofy and beloved 1990s sitcom "Home Improvement" enjoys an enduring legacy in American pop culture. Serving as the vehicle that launched comedian Tim Allen into mainstream entertainment and cultural significance, the show follows the life of Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor and his family in suburban Michigan. During the show's eight-season run, Allen became a near-perennial Golden Globe nominee for the best television actor in a musical or comedy series, winning the award in 1995. While he only took home one award, Allen did take a unique souvenir from "Home Improvement." 

Co-star Patricia Richardson, who played his wife, Jill Taylor, was nominated twice herself for the corresponding Golden Globe award for best actress, in addition to receiving four Primetime Emmy nominations for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role on the show. Additionally, "Home Improvement" itself received two nominations apiece for the Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy for best comedy series. 

In addition to launching Allen into the spotlight, "Home Improvement" also served as the career launchpad for actress and model Pamela Anderson, who played Lisa the Tool Girl on Tim's show-within-the-show, "Tool Time," for two seasons before moving onto her better-known role as CJ Parker on "Baywatch." Child actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas also broke out on the sitcom before going on to voice Simba in the 1994 Disney animated classic "The Lion King" and take on the role of Tom Sawyer in the 1995 adventure dramedy "Tom and Huck." 

Needless to say at this point, "Home Improvement" is looked back on by many as a revered accomplishment in the world of television. "Home Improvement" is one of a number of sitcoms to come out of the '90s with a penchant for lightly crude humor while remaining family friendly, though it did veer off that path on occasion. This is the "Home Improvement" scene that went too far.

Home Improvement went too far when Tim saw his sister-in-law naked

In the episode in question, "Home Improvement" Season 4, Episode 19 ("The Naked Truth"), Tim's brother Marty Taylor (William O'Leary) and sister-in-law Nancy (Jensen Daggett) visit the family while traveling for a job interview. Of course, both Tim and Jill are excited to see their relatives and quickly invite them to stay with them. While Tim and Jill are optimistic that their stay could become permanent should Marty be successful in his interview, such a proposition quickly becomes an uncomfortable one for Tim and Nancy.

The morning that Marty and Nancy arrive, Tim takes special notice of Nancy's physique and even makes a handful of comments about her fitness goals. While Nancy reports that she is determined to "get her old body back," Tim and Jill both note they think she's already found it. While the conversation is innocent enough, it quickly takes on a different meaning. Only a few minutes later, Tim discovers that the shower in the master bedroom is running. Assuming the shower is currently occupied by Jill, he strips down and sneaks into the bathroom. Upon throwing open the shower curtain, however, Tim finds that Nancy is the one currently bathing. 

After an overly casual "Hey" from Tim, Nancy deliriously screams "Tim!" Never too quick on the draw to begin with, Tim lets his interior monologue spill out as his sister-in-law attempts to cover her body with her hands. "You're not Jill," he says, awkwardly stating the obvious. Another pregnant pause later and Tim announces his departure before closing the shower curtain and slinking away. 

Tim the Tool Man doubled down on the awkward

After the awkward encounter, the camera cuts to a towel-clad Tim profusely apologizing and Nancy doing much the same. Tim again addresses the obvious, saying he thought his wife was in the shower and jokingly suggesting a sign-in sheet for the bathroom. Nancy says she shouldn't have used the master bathroom and explains that Jill had told her Randy was using the house's other bathroom.

Never one to shy away from the inappropriate — or the ironic — Tim says there's nothing that needs to be ashamed of, insisting that they're simply two mature adults who happened to "see each other's hoo-hoos." Taking his cue, Nancy doubles down, saying they've got nothing to be ashamed of, at which point Tim replies "Yeah, especially you!" implicitly complimenting his sister-in-law's body. Though it's seemingly written as Tim's attempt to clear the air of any lingering awkwardness, it's a totally cringey line and it takes things a bit too far. 

When their spouses find out about the incident, Marty is upset, at which point Tim makes things worse by asking if he'd feel better if he saw Jill without her clothes on. Though Marty appears to consider the option, Jill and Nancy are both understandably appalled at the suggestion. At the end of the day, all four involved parties agree that the incident was an accident and do their best to forget about it (though Tim appears just a little too eager to claim he's already forgotten what he saw).