Home Improvement

Season 5 Episode 22

The Longest Day

1
Aired Unknown Apr 02, 1996 on ABC
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
69 votes
6

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The Taylors' happy, normal lives are disrupted when it is revealed that one of the kids might have cancer. As they wait for the doctor results, Tim and Jill do their best to hold it together and reassure their son that everything will be okay.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Not that emotional

    7.5
    A typical doctor check up with sad news: Randy may have cancer. It's not confirmed however, so for the next day Tim and Jill try to calm Randy down. In the end it is revealed he doesn't have cancer.



    Now don't get me wrong: this would be emotional/sad if it actually happened. In fact, there were a couple parts in here that were sad. But this episode as a whole isn't sad I don't think. It had a great dose of humor {it is a comedy after all} and it did have some sad parts. This might be my favorite episode of the season, not for the emotion but it was a good episode with good plotmoreless
  • In this episode, it is revealed after a routine physical, that Randy may have cancer.

    10
    This is a great episode of Home Improvement because it goes in somewhat of a different direction then any of the previous episodes had gone. In the episodes prior to this one bad things had happened to other people, and of course are always happening to Tim. Not that bad things haven't happened to the Taylor kids, but they were minor things. No one lives in a bubble that can protect them from everything and this is a great example. Bad things happen to good people when they least expect it. Even though school comes easily to Randy other things don't. There is a flashback in this episode that proves that, it shows Randy when he was a baby and had terrible colic. I like how "The Longest Day" starts off as a fairly normal episode and is kind of dropped with a bomb shell that carries on through the rest of the episode. You can tell how Jill and Tim are trying to protect Randy by not telling him what is going on because they don't want to worry him. Because Randy is smart he figures out what is going on from the school computer instead of from Jill and Tim which makes matters worse. I like this episode because I think it is very touching, it also has flashbacks to things that happened before the show. I like how they do the flashbacks at the end to -A Wonderful World- by Louise Armstrong. The title of this episode is very fitting because when something bad happens it seems to last forever, also the world doesn't seem so wonderful at the time. (another reason why I like how they put the flashbacks to Louise's song as a contrast). Of course every episode has got to have humor but this episode has a different kind of humor, it has a light humor or one that lightens the mood. I also think it's very interesting that Tim doesn't reveal his problems to Al. Patricia Richardson had the idea for this episode, and Johnathan Taylor thomas said in an interview it was his favorite. I agree with JTT this is my favorite episode. I have already seen it at least 5 times but because it is my favorite I will never get sick of it.moreless
  • One of the saddest episodes in the series.

    10
    Like I said on top, this is a really sad episode compared to the other episodes of the series. In a series that I really like that has a sad episode, I love to watch them. This episode is one of the saddest episodes I have probably ever seen in a very long time. It made us drag on to the end to see the results so it made me keep tuning in until it was done and I could find out what was going to happen.



    I realize that this review is so late from when it aired but I'm just watching this series for the first time.moreless
  • During a medical check the docotor find a lump on Randy's neck. The Taylors have to wait 24 hours to find out what it is. Than Randy gets very scared and dose not come home from school.moreless

    10
    This is my favorite Home Improvemnt episode. It deals with an issue that happens often in a family but it is deal with the Taylor way so it bring humor to a sad sitution. My favorite part is when Randy goses to the arcade and tim finds him and comforts him. It really touches me. I know that this episode when it first air had a lot of talk about it. Everyone doubt it. But it endend up being the top rated show of the week. Everyone was wondering how such a funny show was goin to deal with such a serious issue. I think that it did a great job. JTT also said before that this was his favorite episode. Well I am like him becasue this will always be my favorie episode.I also enjoy the end when the show all the clips of him. Classic episode!moreless
  • A potentially disastrous retreat from the typical "Home Improvement" proved to be both poignant and honest, with an appropriate dose of humor. *Spoilers Included*

    10
    Although I didn't become an avid fan of this show until very recently, this is the one episode I remember the most from when the series was still on the air. Every TV sitcom will, at some point, attempt an episode with serious plot material like this, and I was really impressed at how well-done this one was. When it first aired, I remember my family thinking that this was the show's way of writing out Jonathan Taylor Thomas's character, but fortunately, that did not happen (at least not at this point), and the episode managed to tell a solid, emotional story without taking it too far.



    The episode begins with Jill taking the boys to the doctor for their typical checkups, which soon results in a family crisis when a lump is found on Randy's neck. The family must wait 24 hours before they know whether or not it is cancerous, so Tim and Jill do their best to reassure Randy and keep the news a secret from the other kids, all while barely managing to hold it together themselves.



    Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson had the responsibility of representing every parent in the world in a very difficult, true-to-life dilemma, and they both did an excellent job of portraying how any parents would react when, after having a healthy and happy family for many years, one of their children might have cancer. Richardson was especially effective in her role, and even though I do not have kids myself, I could really sense what was going through Jill's mind as a mother. I liked the scene when she was outside with Wilson, and she said something to the effect of "It's like my family's been in a bubble all these years, protecting us from anything bad that could happen, and with one phone call, in one split second, that bubble could burst." I think every family has had that moment at some point, in one way or another, and every single emotion shown here was realistic. What also made this episode work so well was the fact that the writers were able to incorporate just the right degree of comic relief into it. For example, the scene where Randy jokes "Hey, if I didn't know any better, I'd think I was dying!" was funny without making inappropriate light of a serious topic. And of course, the video arcade scene between Tim and Randy is enough to make anyone well up, especially those female fans of JTT. This was one of the very few moments where the character of Randy had some truly dramatic material to contrast his usual wisecracking attitude, and the actor pulled it off very well.





    The running joke with Al thinking that Jill was having an affair with the milkman was also funny, providing another example of healthy laughter injected at just the right places. Obviously, I don't think the script could have gotten away with deviating completely from the show's trademark humor, but that being said, if they wanted to succeed with an episode like this, they needed to figure out a way to balance the two - and it wasn't just about tossing in a quick punchline when things started to get a little too emotional. The writers maintained that element, but you never got the impression that they were trying too hard or looking for an easy way around the more dramatic moments that needed to be expressed if the episode was going to have any relevance for the viewers. I admire the way they got the job done, and again, there are so many sitcoms that just don't know how to incorporate this type of plot into the show without making it look as if it's standing completely on its own. This episode connects just right with all the others in the series, thriving on the comfortable familiarity of the Taylor family and showing how they would react when a real-world problem suddenly disrupted their lives.



    To put it bluntly, this is not the kind of "Home Improvement" you are used to seeing. In order to convey the shock of such a situation as it happens, many of the show's usual gags and routines had to be put to a halt for the entire thirty minutes. There weren't even any Tool Time segments, so the audience really had an opportunity to follow this family as they dealt with a crisis that, as anyone who has experienced it knows, can devastate everyone involved before the worst has even had a chance to happen. As is natural with most shows of this type, we reach the final credits without any dangerous consequences for the main characters, but it really shows the truth of what can happen to ANY family out there, no matter who they are. Actually, my parents went through a very similar situation a few years ago, when they thought my older sister might have a form of cancer, and even though they quickly found out that it wasn't, I don't think they'll ever forget how that made them feel, no matter how short-lived it was. Simply stated, it's one of the scariest things a family can experience.



    Getting back to this episode, though, the montage at the end of Randy from his younger days was very touching, set to just the right music, and the final shot of Tim and Jill watching their son sleep got the idea across without being destoyed by too many words or long, melodramatic scenes that are so worried about you getting the message, they feel the need to repeat it at least a dozen times (obviously, I'm referring to certain other shows). Not the case with "Home Improvement," which took advantage of every minute from this episode and used those minutes wisely to depict the commonality of the situation, not the vanity of the TV characters. Everything about this episode seemed perfect, and not a single thing fell flat. The Taylors are the perfect example of a normal, everyday family that gets caught in a nightmare of a situation, and I would easily give this episode higher than a 10/10 rating if I could. It's the kind of thing that I think everyone should watch, even if they aren't necessarily "Home Improvement" fans, because it doesn't get much more relevant to real life than this.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Tim: Oh ho-ho! Lemon meringue! (takes out a fork and goes for the pie)
      Jill: (runs in) Don't touch that pie! That's for after dinner!
      Tim: I wasn't gonna touch it.
      Jill: Well, then, what are you doing with the fork?
      Tim: I had a little itch, honey...

    • Tim: What's in the bag?
      Brad: Something's gonna cut time off my doctor's appointment.
      Tim: What?
      Brad: You know how the doctor makes you go pee in the cup?
      Tim: That's my favorite part, except the cup is too small. I would go with a salad bowl for me.
      Brad: Yeah, well, my problem is that I can't go under pressure.
      Tim: So you went in that bag?!?
      Brad: Of course not. I put it in a yogurt container.
      Randy: I think you just found a flavor that will never catch on...

    • Randy: (to his parents) This is awesome! Skipping school, going out to breakfast, Mortal Massacre...I can't believe you guys are treating me so good. If I didn't know any better, I'd think I was dying! (long pause, Tim and Jill look upset) That was a joke, guys.

    • Tim: (about Randy possibly having cancer) So he doesn't know anything about this?
      Jill: No. None of the kids do. The whole way home, I kept just telling Randy that nothing was wrong, that he was probably just run-down, needs some vitamins. Meanwhile, I was going out of my mind. I thought I was just going to the doctor for a checkup, the next thing I know, I'm talking to a specialist about lumps. (near tears)
      Tim: Hey, hey, hey, come here. Come on. (hugs her)
      Jill: This is my worst nightmare!

    • Jill: We're back.
      Tim: What kept you guys?
      Randy: Oh, the doctor found boysenberry yogurt in Brad's urine.
      Brad: So I had to give him another sample without any fruit in it.

    • Brad: What's going on here?
      Jill: Nothing.
      Brad: Mom, if you're cooking food like this, something's got to be up. I mean, we usually get burnt toast and mushy bananas.
      Tim: It's our anniversary.
      Brad: Your anniversary was two months ago.
      Tim: (pauses) This is the anniversary ... of the first time we had eggs.
      Brad: Well ... happy anniversary!

    • Tim: I know you're scared, you know. I know how you feel.
      Randy: No you don't. I don't want to die, Dad.
      Tim: Oh, come on. You are not going to die. Even if you had cancer, which you don't--you do not have that--it's a treatable kind, okay? Hey, come on, come on. We'll beat this thing, no matter what it is, you know? I'm not letting anything happen to you.

    • Jill: Do you know that Tim has survived over 200 accidents?
      Wilson: Really? I would have thought that number was much higher.

    • Jill (about Dr. Kaufman): She said they're usually benign.
      Tim: Oh, God!
      Jill: No, benign is the good one.
      Tim: Oh, good.

    • Tim: So it's either a lump or hypo-thighmaster?
      Jill: Hypothyroidism.

    • (Tim wants to take Randy out for breakfast)
      Randy: But, Dad, I'll miss history class.
      Tim: How many times have I told you? You can't live in the past!

    • Randy: It's all Mom's fault. She told Dr. Medwick I've been kind of tired lately.
      Tim: Well, you have been. I caught you on the couch the other day asleep at four o'clock.
      Randy: Dad, I was watching "Tool Time."

    • Jill: Oh God! I feel so helpless, just waiting for the phone to ring. It is so frightening to think how one phone call can change your life forever. You know, it's like my family has been living in a big bubble all these years, protecting us from anything bad that could happen. Just one phone call, one split second, and the bubble could burst.

    • Al: You know, Tim, far be it from me to criticize a colleague, but your performance out there today was a little dull.
      Tim: Well, who'd know better then the human yawn.

    • Tim (walking into the kitchen): Ah! Smells good ... Where am I?
      Jill: I'm making a big family breakfast. Eggs, bacon, and silver-dollar pancakes. That's Randy's favorite.
      Tim: You're gonna tip him off, honey.
      Jill: What do you mean by that?
      Tim: If you make Randy something edible, he's gonna know there's something wrong.

    • Randy: Why does this bad stuff always have to happen to me?
      Tim: Bad stuff happens to everybody. Bad stuff happens to me all the time.
      Randy: Yeah, but you cause it.

    • Al: Is it me? Have I let you down in any way?
      Tim: Al, you've let me down in every way.

  • NOTES (4)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

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