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The Long and Winding Road (Part 1)
Season 08, Episode 25
Air Date May 18, 1999
Writer Laurie Gelman
Director Andy Cadiff
Previous Dead Weight
Next The Long and Winding Road (Part 2)

The Long and Winding Road (Part 1) is the twenty-fifth episode of the eighth and final season. It originally aired on ABC in the United States on May 18, 1999. It is the first part of the 3 Part Series Finale.

Note: Even though this episode and The Long and Winding Road (Part 2) and The Long and Winding Road (Part 3) is the series finale, Backstage Pass is officially the last episode of the series.


A Jerry Springer-style free-for-all breaks out between guests and audience members during the taping of an episode of Tool Time, during which Tim himself gets punched in the jaw. After the show, Morgan Wandell, the new supervising producer for Tool Time, comes backstage and compliments them on the show. Tim, Al and Heidi are incredulous at the revelation that the whole thing was staged by Morgan, and Tim is incensed that Morgan is trying to turn the show into a travesty, but Morgan is only interested in ratings and expects more tabloid-style shows, including next week's episode, during which he wants Tim to intentionally start an electrical fire. When Morgan hints that Tim can be replaced, Tim threatens to go to talk to Bud, but Morgan informs them that Bud is no longer with Binford Tools, which Tim did not know. When Tim threatens to quit, Morgan blows him off and leaves the set.

Tim returns home just in time to catch Jill before she leaves for a meeting with Dr. Hanover. When he informs Jill of what happened on Tool Time, and that his next episode will be his last, Jill is stunned, and then wonders what they're going to do about the loss of income.

At the meeting, Dr. Hanover informs Jill that he has recommended her for a job. A Dr. Lee has opened up a family clinic and wants Jill to work in his adolescent development program. Jill is on the fence as to whether or not to accept the job as the initial salary won't be enough to support her family, but then Dr. Hanover informs her that Dr. Lee's new clinic is in Bloomington, Indiana, meaning that if Jill accepts the new job offer, she will have to move.

When Jill tells Tim of her new job offer, he is initially against it. He tells Wilson as much later, pointing out all of the things he would be leaving behind if they moved, including his family, friends, and business. But Wilson reminds Tim of all the sacrifices that Jill made for his career, and now Tim is faced with doing the same thing for Jill, which he is not used to. Realizing Wilson is right, Tim talks to Brad and Mark, neither of whom are fond of the idea, but when Tim tells them it's time to do something for Jill, the boys agree to move.