The release of tens of thousands of pages of official documents from the Clinton era means that political journalists looking for gossip (or perhaps crumbs of information on how Bill Clinton personally defeated the alien uprising, but you didn’t hear about it in the papers) have been combing through said documents for scoop. On Friday, Politico uncovered the most important and exciting nugget of them all: Hillary Clinton was approached about appearing on Home Improvement. And from the looks of it, she (or someone on her staff) seriously considered an appearance on the Tim Allen sitcom. “Home Improvement is the most popular television show on the air,” reads the document. “They are willing to do a show on women, children, and family issues or a show on whatever issues Hillary would like.” The document does not reveal if Clinton, like so many women in the ‘90s, thought Jonathan Taylor Thomas—JTT, to those who loved him best—was totally crushable.
We have no idea why this didn’t happen, but we’re guessing it was because the Home Improvement writers’ room just wasn’t able to come up with a reason for the First Lady to pop up in the show’s fictional Detroit, Michigan. During that era, Clinton appeared as herself on Sesame Street and in a TV movie named Susan B. Anthony Slept Here, according to her IMDB page (which exists!), so it’s not like she was against television appearances. So the only thing stopping Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor from grunting “More power” in her general direction and having her smile and reply, “More power is best held amid a complicated system of checks and balances, Tim,” was that nobody could come up with a good story for her.
Well, here are five. If you guys know any time travelers, please give them this article. (Unless you already have? And reading these potential storylines convinced everyone to scuttle the deal? This is why no one should mess with time travel.)
“First Lady In The House”: This is the easiest story of them all. An important person’s car breaks down right outside the Taylor home. Tim agrees to fix it, then suspects it’s the President’s car and gets excited about what his reward might be. Instead, it’s just the First Lady’s. When she shows up, she exchanges gentle ribbing with Tim, then laughs with Jill about what goofballs they married. Talk of health-care reform is awkwardly sandwiched in to everything.
“Al’s Blind Date”: Al needs a blind date to impress people at his high-school reunion. As it turns out, Jill went to college with someone who would be really impressive: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s in town for a fundraiser and apparently amenable to going to a high school reunion with some guy her friend’s husband works with. Hillary is invited to speak at the reunion and awkwardly segues to a discussion of education reform.
“Don’t Tread On Mark”: In a very special episode of Home Improvement, Taylor son Mark is getting bullied so badly at school that he stops eating and wishes he could just die. (He doesn’t actually contemplate suicide, because this is Home Improvement and staring into the abyss is not allowed.) Jill—who has that slight Southern accent, remember—calls her old friend Hillary Clinton, who arrives to tell Mark that he’s a wonderful kid, and this, too, shall pass. She then goes to his school and defeats all of the bullies in hand-to-hand combat, because Hillary Clinton didn’t take all of those stage combat courses for nothing.
“Wilson’s Old Friend”: Tim needs some advice from Wilson, but when he heads out back, his fence-hidden friend is nowhere to be seen. Turns out he’s been spending quite a bit of time with a friend he knows from way back in the day. Tim, jealous of all of the attention and advice this old friend is getting, grows angrier and angrier with Wilson, until he meets and gets advice from said friend: Hillary Clinton. Hillary tells Tim all about how a slight increase in the top marginal tax rate will be good for small business owners. Tim goes, “ARRRRWHAAAA?”
“Back To The Baxter”: This one will be the trickiest to pull off, since it relies on knowledge the writers could only have in the event of time travel being invented. But the Taylors should be hanging out with Hillary Clinton—because the Clintons are old friends of the family—when the home is invaded by a time traveling Mike Baxter (Tim Allen’s right wing talking point of a character on his current series, Last Man Standing), who has to warn everyone—but especially Tim—about the encroachment of socialism onto the American political sphere, while also awkwardly working in references to some of the more obscure Clinton conspiracy theories that circulated in the conservative world in those days (like Vince Foster?!). Anyway, everything is settled with a dance battle.
As you can see, the possibilities for storytelling here are endless. Home Improvement writers of the mid-90s: Don’t back down! Hillary Clinton must have her Nancy-Reagan-on-Diff’rent-Strokes moment!