There was nothing that made my dad laugh harder than watching Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor fumble about with his co-host Al Borland. I enjoyed watching ‘Home Improvement’ with him, but I had my sights on the show for a very different reason: Tim’s middle son, played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Today, Allen’s brand new sitcom Last Man Standing has been doing all right in the ratings department. Allen was the ultimate TV dad in Home Improvement so it’s nice to see him perhaps recreate his earlier success.
But why, oh why, was the role of Allen’s character’s granddaughter’s dead-beat baby-daddy given to youngen Nick Jonas and not used as a perfect opportunity to reunite Tim with his former TV progeny, Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
The two were brought back together and into the limelight when Entertainment Weekly did a Home Improvement reunion photo spread with the rest of the Taylor family.
His time on Home Improvement doesn’t even begin to account for the mania surrounding the hottie “J.T.T.” at his prime. The kid ruled the Teen Beat scene, his pretty face covering every magazine, every friend of mine with wall-sized posters of “J.T.T.” adorning their walls. He didn’t just want to be the king. He was the king.
Teen idol J.T.T. celebrated his 30th birthday two months ago. Precocious little Randy Taylor’s now all grown up.
Some Questions You Might Have About J.T.T. Now
Where the hell did he go?
Jonathan Taylor Thomas kind of dropped off the face of the Earth for a while there. He’s taken a long break from movies to go to school. He did a bunch of voice work (my favorite of which was on The Simpsons).
At the height of his fame, you couldn’t check out at a supermarket without seeing Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ cherubic face on a magazine cover. He was the ultimate heartthrob. The leader of the pack. The cutest boy in the whole school.
Is Jonathan Taylor Thomas his real name or a stage name?
I was aghast to find out that it’s a stage name. His real name is Jonathan Weiss. It’s the name under which he graduated from Columbia University in 2010. He also attended Harvard, in case he wasn’t already a dream boat.
Did he do any press for the re-release of The Lion King in 3D?
Good memory. Yep, the voice of young Simba in the original 1994 release of ‘The Lion King’
was Jonathan Taylor Thomas, with older Simba being played by Matthew Broderick. However,
even though Disney re-released the movie to theaters this year, J.T.T. did almost no press for it. His notable absence is what prompted the blogosphere to ask where he's been lately, and why he's hiding out. The LA Times had a particularly hard time getting more information about him; a reporter called Disney and his agent, both of whom said he didn't want to do interviews for The Lion King. His agent simply said he'd been in school and is taking time off, but did hint at his desire to continue working. Very mysterious.
Was J.T.T. completely crazy in an episode of Smallville?
He was! Starting in 2002, he played Ian Randall, a krypto-mutant who can duplicate himself. He then dates both Lana (Kristin Kreuk) and Chloe (Allison Mack). Smart boy.
Is Jonathan Taylor Thomas a vegetarian?
He is! He has been for most of his life, except, of course, when he played a lion in a movie.
Wasn’t he also on Veronica Mars?
Yeah! I’m just glad someone besides Rob Thomas and the Internet remembered that show’s existence.
What’s the deal with all the gay rumors surrounding Jonathan Taylor Thomas?
He played a gay teenager in Showtime’s Common Ground and a bisexual hustler in Speedway Junky, which is probably where the rumors started. In 2000, he was on the cover of The Advocate but only to announce that he’s straight. Then, recently, Lo Bosworth from The Hills insinuated that rumors about J.T.T.’s sexuality were still rampant in LA when she guested on Chelsea Lately. Bosworth admitted her long-time crush but said she wasn’t sure if he was gay. Either way, Chelsea told him to ‘Come hang out, girl!’ LOL.
What’s your personal favorite J.T.T. movie?
Normally, this time of year I’d say I’ll Be Home for Christmas but as a former Indian Princess (a type of Girl Scouts organization promoting bonding between fathers and daughters), my favorite J.T.T. movie is 1995’s Disney comedy Man of the House. In it, Jonathan and Chevy Chase are forced to get along with each other after he marries J.T.T.’s mom Farrah Fawcett. Oh, and they do this by becoming Indian Guides. Also, J.T.T. gives his new stepdad the Indian nickname “Squatting Dog,” which is hilarious. By the way, do not confuse this with 2005’s Man of the House starring Tommy Lee Jones.
That’s your favorite Jonathan Taylor Thomas movie?
Yes! From Farrah-mom’s perfect sea shell art to the “mime dad” to thugs trying to beat up Chevy Chase’s lawyer character for revenge to the ending where J.T.T. and Chevy finally bond as father and son by using all the skills and tricks the Indian Guides taught them -- including setting a trap, transporting bee hives, sharpening arrows, throwing tomahawks and, yep, sicing bees on the bad guys, who, by the way, have guns. Plus, the ending uses one of my favorite movie cliches -- that the unarmed good guys can talk the stupid, gun-wielding baddies into their own demise using nothing but cleverness.
And of course, the “mime dad” saves the day by shooting at arrow at live dynamite and precisely cutting off the fuse. He banked a lot on the archery skills he learned at...mime-archery school, I guess? Although wouldn’t he be required as a mime to only shoot mime arrows? Either way, a man’s and a young boy’s lives were at risk here, but sure, let’s roll with our Indian Guides training on this one.
As we soon learn, three guns have nothing on Norm from ‘Cheers,’ ‘Man of the House’ also showcases how much Chevy Chase has aged in the last fifteen years. He’s aged a thousand years.
Is ‘Tool Time’ your favorite show-within-a-show?
It’s a pretty good one but I’d personally go with Sports Night and the titular show-ception, Sports Night.
Did you ever have a crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Gaby?
Who didn’t?! Ever since our teacher made us watch Tom and Huck, J.T.T. was the one. (RIP Brad Renfro.)
I remember one time, my second-grade BFF Madison and I covered an entire wall of her bedroom with carefully cut-out pictures of J.T.T. We made sure to cover every crevice with his countenance. It was truly a masterpiece rivaling the Sistine Chapel. The Bro-tine Chapel of J.T.T. or something poetic.
So, is J.T.T. poised for a comeback?
That remains to be seen. Patricia Richardson, who played mom Jill Taylor on Home Improvement tweeted during the photo shoot for the show’s reunion in EW, saying, "Jonathan is acting, and he wants to direct!" According to IMDB, this may be coming true soon -- though under the shortened, more grown-up name: Jonathan Thomas.