We all remember Wilson (Earl Hindman) from the 1990s sitcom, Home Improvement. The sagacious, intelligent neighbor that was always helping Tim (Tim Allen) and the rest of the Taylors figure out life, offering quality advice and a listening ear whenever needed. He's the kind of neighbor we all wished we had (or else inspired us to be better neighbors ourselves). Wilson seems to know just about everything; though Tim didn't always understand his neighbor's intellect, he still respected him and highly valued his opinion. That said, here are 10 facts you may not know about one of TV's most famous neighbors!
10 Wilson Has A Ph.D. In Forgotten Languages And Cultures
Wilson's smart. We all know that. He's been just about everywhere; he's seen and done so much out in the world, which is why he's so knowledgeable and worldly. His house is full of artifacts and he often references history or otherwise offers famous quotes as part of his conversations consisting of advice to Tim. Considering he has a Ph.D. in cultures and languages that most people have overlooked, it's no wonder Wilson's information was so well-rounded and interesting. We could all use some of Wilson's wisdom in our lives.
9 Wilson's Hidden Face
Most of the time, the fence blocks the lower half of Wilson's face, obscuring it so that the audience is never able to see it. Yet, sometimes, there are instances in which we feel we're close enough to seeing the entirety of his face when he's away from the fence.
For example, plants and scarves have also contributed to hiding Wilson's face from the audience whenever he was away from the fence. If you didn't notice this trick, take a look back on the rare occasion Wilson was away from the fence and see what you make of it.
8 Wilson's Full Name
Wilson's full name was actually Wilson W. Wilson. Yes, really. Maybe his parents didn't have many ideas when it came to names, but at the end of the day, the name suits the character well. Can you imagine Wilson having any name other than "Wilson"? We can't. We also wonder what the middle initial stands for, but we can make an educated guess: Wilson. At least Wilson is an easy name to remember.
7 Hindman Made Extra Efforts To Conceal His Face
At the curtain call following the end of each episode, Hindman carried around a miniature version of a picket fence to hide the lower half of his face from the audience, keeping up the facade of his character on the show. It's clever and shows his dedication to his character.
Anyone in the live audience hoping to get a sneak peek was either amused or disappointed at this gesture. Yet, we have to appreciate that even after an episode, Hindman remained "in character."
6 The Actor That Was Cool With People Seeing Only Half His Face
Most actors seem to be offended whenever they're given minimal recognition or are otherwise cut so the audience doesn't see them much--or even at all. Earl Hindman was fine with being cast in a role where the audience would only ever see half his face; we could consider this a rarity in show business. Obviously he had to be fine with this on some level, otherwise, we wouldn't have had eight seasons with Wilson in the cast! Perhaps Hindman favored the anonymity, perhaps he liked having something of a mysterious aspect around his character and around himself as an actor as people tried to guess what he looked like when they could see his entire face. Whatever the reason, Hindman went with the flow.
5 Wilson's Popularity
According to a poll conducted on IMDb, Wilson comes in fourth place when it comes to unseen TV characters that audiences would like to see. Considering the number of unseen characters on TV shows, from Howard's mother on The Big Bang Theory to Robin Masters on Magnum, P.I. and even Ugly Naked Guy on Friends, audiences have an array of unseen characters to choose from. That said, it's impressive that Wilson's character ranks in the top five. Luckily, audiences got their wish, which brings us to...
4 We Finally See Wilson's Face!
In the series finale curtain call, audiences got to see Wilson's face for the very first time. Not just half of it, but the entirety of it! Finally getting to see Wilson as a whole was satisfying to audiences, especially those who had hung around as loyal viewers since the series' very first episode in 1991.
At least the series didn't leave us wondering if they'd ever reveal the face of one of its main characters; things were wrapped up nicely on Home Improvement.
3 The Running Gag On Wilson's Words
Whenever Tim approached Wilson for advice, it wasn't uncommon for Wilson to include a famous quote, a reference of historical value or something of the like to help Tim either understand or solve whatever situation he'd come to Wilson with. That said, one of the running gags on the show was how Tim would pretty much butcher Wilson's words whenever he tried to repeat them. Poor Wilson's carefully thought-out advice and wisdom was misused and sadly misinterpreted (after all, Tim doesn't always understand everything Wilson says), but thankfully, it's one of the comedic points of the show so we forgive Tim for it. We're assuming Wilson does, too, since he knows how his neighbor can be.
2 The Fan Theory
Wilson is someone that everyone looks up to, especially Tim. He's practically the Yoda of neighbors; he's always got an answer for everything and he knows so much about so many topics. There's nothing Wilson can't do. A fan theory on Reddit has been constructed from this observation, and it goes like this: since Tim is a carpenter and receives infinite wisdom from his mysterious neighbor, it makes him Jesus Christ. Tim then goes around trying to spread the lessons he learns from Wilson, who is considered God-like. It almost makes sense, Wilson as God and Tim as Jesus, but most likely they're just two regular guys that happen to exhibit certain qualities.
1 Wilson's Character Origination
Wilson's character is quite unique. He's wise, he's been everywhere, he willingly helps out Tim and his family though he has no obligation to. He's the kind of neighbor people wish they had. In a world where many of us don't know our neighbors, Wilson makes us want to know them just to see if we can find a Wilson in our own backyards. The character of Wilson himself comes from a childhood memory of Tim Allen's in which Allen was too short to see his neighbor over the fence, so he couldn't see his neighbor. It's funny how actors apply real life to a sitcom and turn it into something memorable for us all to enjoy.
Wilson is without a doubt one of our favorite characters not just on Home Improvement, but on television as a whole. The double entendre of Home Improvement is a perfect example of why the Wilson character was so popular: not only was Tim trying to teach audiences to use tools and to remodel homes, but he was also learning how to handle family life at home too (which more often than not required Wilson's input).