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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Home Improvement’ Fails Drug Test

John Martin New York Times Syndicate

It has been interesting to watch the three Taylor boys come of age on “Home Improvement” (ABC at 9).

When they were young, they were cute. As with many child actors, adolescence has robbed them of some of their charm. Wisely, the writers have allowed Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan) and Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) to become teenagers rather than force them to act less than their ages.

Tonight, Tim and Jill (Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson) find out how grown up Brad has become when they discover his stash of marijuana.

Maybe I’m getting old, but I don’t buy the way they handle it.

I don’t want to give away the whole plot. What I’ll tell you is that I don’t think many parents would react they way they do.

This is no laughing matter, and I’m not sure about the message it sends young viewers.

It’s not that Tim and Jill don’t think it’s a big deal. But anger, disappointment, fear and doubts about their parenting are missing.

They seem to be worried most about Brad thinking they’re hypocrites. You see, they smoked dope when they were young.

Watch and decide for yourself. I can’t recommend this episode for family viewing.

Tim and Jill seem to look upon Brad’s drug use as merely something kids do because they did it themselves.

Like I said, I don’t buy it.


“Mad About You,” NBC at 8: Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack (“Out of Africa”) guest-stars, but Helen Hunt directed this episode in which Paul and Jamie (Paul Reiser, Hunt) try out a new therapist (Pollack).

“JAG,” CBS at 8: Another Oscar winner, Ernest Borgnine (“Marty”), guest-stars as Harm’s (David James Elliott) investigation of a drug operation leads him to three elderly Navy SEALS who are waging their own private war against drug dealers.

“Daredevils Live! Shattering the Records,” FOX at 8: There’s nothing like entertainment that holds out the possibility someone could get killed. FOX promises no less than 70 stunts (tape-delayed) capped by Kaptain Robbie Knievel’s attempt to jump a motorcycle 230 feet over 30 limousines outside Las Vegas’ Tropicana Resort and Casino.

“Four Corners,” CBS at 9: Ann-Margret and Sonia Braga star in the two-hour-long premiere of this new drama about two families, headed by widows, coping with changes in a rapidly growing Southwestern community.

Bad weather in California has disrupted filming, so much so that the premiere was unavailable for review. The series moves to its regular 10 o’clock time slot a week from tonight.

“NYPD Blue,” ABC at 10: In a tense episode, Simone and Sipowicz (Jimmy Smits, Dennis Franz) suspect a fellow cop is responsible for a vicious murder even though a mental patient confesses to the crime.

“Dateline NBC,” NBC at 10: John Larson uses two “Dateline” staffers and a hidden camera to go inside a far-out spiritual community in Sedona, Ariz. Larson grills the leader, who says, among other things, that he is from another planet.

Cable Calls

“A Touch of Frost,” A&E at 6 and 10: Frost (David Jason) investigates the armed robbery of a pawnbroker and stumbles into a series of family secrets. And when the pawnbroker turns up murdered and his 15-year-old daughter disappears, the plot thickens in this fine potboiler.

After a slow start, this British mystery starts cooking.

Talk Time

“Tonight,” NBC at 11:35: Actor Arsenio Hall, 6-year-old actor Maestro Harrell and actress Elizabeth Berkley.

“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”), child entrepreneur Richie Stachowski and singer Sarah McLachlan.

“Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” ABC at 12:05 a.m.: Peri Gilpin, former U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder and Stanley Crouch.

“The Late Late Show With Tom Snyder,” CBS at 12:35 a.m.: To be announced.

“Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC at 12:35 a.m.: Actor Matthew Modine and musical guest Patty Loveless.