On Tool Time, Tim brushes off Al's suggestion that he use a guide arm while cutting with a power saw. He promptly loses control of the saw and instead of a straight line he cuts a shape that's a tad suggestive for prime time TV. That, or my mind lives in the gutter. Maybe a little of both.
After the show ends, Tim tells Al that he's installing a new satellite dish on his house and asks if Al can come by and help. Al says he can't -- he's booked himself some "private man time" for the weekend. Which is odd, because a second later, Lisa walks in and reveals that Al has promised to help her put up her bookshelves. Why on God's Green Earth didn't Al just say that?! "Private man time" makes it sound like he'll be doing unspeakable things to a trumpet.
"She's a coworker Tim. I think of her as a man." [Gay joke!]
"That's why you're still single, Al." [Heteronormative joke!]
At the Taylor house, a delivery truck arrives with the satellite dish. Jill gets a phone call from some dudebro (what was the 90s term for "dudebro"?) named Ran-dahl. Jill says he's coming over to help Jill with her resume. Tim warns that no man would give up a Saturday to help a woman unless he wants throw her onto the kitchen table and ravish her.
The satellite dish arrives. Jill questions Tim's ability to install it correctly. Ran-dahl arrives shortly after. Tim and the kids pretend that the satellite dish has some sort of magnetic field that sucks them in, which is an odd thing to do to to such an expensive piece of equipment.
Mark gets a splinter and Jill takes him inside, giving Tim a chance to chat with Ran-dahl alone. Ran-dahl does that classic sitcom bit where he undermines Tim by calling Tool Time "little" and minimizing the show's expansion into Alpina, MI. Ran-dahl imitates Tim's grunt in the least flattering way possible, his tongue flapping about like this. Ran-dahl insists that Tim is very funny on Tool Time, and they both go inside to join Jill in the kitchen.
Jill totally flattens Tim's grapes by suggesting, in front of Ran-dahl, that he call Al and ask him to come over and help. Tim insists he doesn't need help, but Ran-dahl joins in the grape-flattening by saying that to successfully install a satellite dish, you need a "precise calculation of the declination angle of the dish in relation to the equator." According to Ran-dahl, the tiniest mistake means no ESPN for Tim.
Tim goes out into the yard and asks Wilson if he thinks Tim is funny on Tool Time. Wilson reveals that he doesn't have a TV. Wilson correctly deduces that something else is bothering Tim, and Tim fills him in on the Ran-dahl situation. Wilson points out that jealousy, which Tim seems to be experiencing, stems from insecurity, a charge that Tim categorically denies.
Wilson tells Tim he has "three strapping boys, a nice home and a loving wife." Tim lists all the things he shares with Jill, and says "nobody makes he laugh like I do." A microsecond later, Tim hears Jill laughing as she sits at the table with Ran-dahl. The thing they are laughing about turns out to be extremely lame.
Ran-dahl offers Jill advice on her wardrobe choices. Jill asks him about a blazer with shoulder pads and while Ran-dahl answers, Tim mimes shoveling bullshit behind his back. Ran-dahl leaves to get something from his car, and while he's gone, Tim insists that Ran-dahl intends on hitting on her.
Tim goes through Ran-dahl's pockets and discovers breath mints and cigarettes. For before and after, Tim says. Jill suggests he might just have dirty sink-trap breath and that's the moment Ran-dahl chooses to walk back into the house. He is minty fresh, he insists. Tim promises not to interrupt anymore and heads up to the roof.
Ran-dahl asks Jill to lunch before her job interview. He has a friend who is VP of sales at the company that's interviewing Jill and he thinks it would be a good idea for the three of them to have lunch beforehand. Meanwhile, Tim hangs upside down from the roof and spies through the window.
Ran-dahl suddenly 'remembers' that his friend is still in Cleveland, but that's no reason why he and Jill shouldn't still have lunch. (Cue the music.) Ran-dahl catches Tim spying. Jill claims that Tim does that all the time to "check things." Ran-dahl counters that Tim is uncomfortable with him because he senses that Jill is sending out "signals." ("Signals" is 90s TV-speak for "dirty, wanton, succubus whore.")
Jill throws him out and then goes out to the yard to apologize to Tim. Tim, who is all tangled up in a rope and hanging from the roof like something out of a Japanese bondage scene, growls, "Where is he?" like he's going to kick Ran-dahl's ass, but only gets more tangled in the ropes.
Jill confesses that she never realized Ran-dahl was attracted to her. "I'm a mother with three kids," she says, as if she smells permanently of diaper lotion.
"You're a beautiful, intelligent, sexy woman," says Tim. "And he'd be a fool not to hit on you." Then they kiss.
What I like about this episode is the fact that Tim's discomfort with Ran-dahl is relatively mild and that he doesn't punish Jill for it. Characters on other sitcoms of that time period didn't handle those uncomfortable feelings so well (I'm looking at you, Ross Geller!) I also enjoy Jill's ability to laugh it all off. ,
What's not so great is the plausibility of the plot itself. Would Ran-dahl really hit on her in her own house, with her husband just outside? It seems out of character for him to be so up-front about it. He seems more like the type insist she go to lunch with him, drop his napkin and go looking for it in Jill's pantyhose. (Gross.)
Overall, I'd have to say the best part of this episode is Al's "private man time."