Just curious: Is it possible to use a backup from an iMac on a Time Capsule to restore a MacBook Pro with the same items? It seems like it would be possible given that all it really backs up is the software, files, etc., and not the actual system drivers or anything.
Yes, you can. The system, cache, or any hardware-specific data such as drivers are not backed up. Even if they were, any installation of OS X contains the necessary drivers for any supported Mac model by that version of the system (with the exception of printer drivers IIRC, which are not included to save space and will be downloaded).