I’ve been getting over a horrible plague that makes my lungs feel like they’re full of slime and I want nothing more than to pull them out and itch them. It’s been a slow go getting better, much slower than when I casually get a cold, but for the first time in about two weeks I can look at the computer without getting a headache.
It was during my down time that I ended up marathoning Fuller House, the sequel/follow up/ continuation of 80’s/90’s hit Full House. Now, I didn’t watch much Full House when it first aired, I was more a fan of Family Matters and Boy Meets World in the big TGIF lineup. I remember it being way too smaultzy for my liking , but during a phase of unemployment in my late teens I watched most of the reruns on TBS, you know because I was going places. However, with hoe much this show was parodied, I could have never watched a single episode and I’d know that Full House that is the story of the recently widowed Danny Tanner, his two heterosexual life partners Jesse and Joey and his three unnaturally adorable daughters DJ, Stephanie and Michelle.
So remember how when Jurassic World came out and it was pretty much the same thing as Jurassic Park only with fake dinosaurs and less likable characters. Fuller House is kinda like that, only its not pretending to be something new. It picks up where the previous show left off…only twenty-nine years later, but that’s irrelevant, it might as well be the very next day. It’s the exact same thing, save for the Olsen Twins not being involved and after watching the whole thing, that might be one of the better things about it.
The first episode is horrible and outside of nostalgic purposes, should not be watched. I get it, I get nostalgic too, but after the fifth or sixth original cast member has shown up and the audience has screamed itself hoarse, it gets really irritating. And then the catch phrases start happening…oh the catch phrases…oh dear god the catch phrases. From what I remember Michelle, being the youngest and most marketable of the children, had a slew of fun things she would say that would get a laugh and cheer out of the studio audience. She had so many insufferably cute things to say that I’d forgotten the rest of the cast was just as annoying, just in smaller doses.
If you can get past the reunion special, which I think is what most people watched, you get a show that’s not great, but interesting. Interesting in a sense of current pop culture vs the late 80’s/ early 90’s pop culture. We were so over saturated by the TGIF shows and their ilk that for the past twenty years, sitcoms have been everything that Full House isn’t…or at least the ones that I’ve had the misfortune of tuning in to.
Fuller House is the story of DJ Tanner-Fuller, who has moved back into her childhood home after the untimely and gruesome death of her noble, self-sacrificing, firefighter of a husband Tommy (other than a plot point he’s not all that important. The series takes place a year after his death and everyone’s moved on. He’s only mentioned to remind us that DJ can be sad or stressed out. His death never brings a sense of tension or sadness. DJ says that she misses him, but the kids don’t really seem to care and for the most part DJ doesn’t either. Other than a firefighter friend, I’m not sure that he’s mentioned by name.), with her three sons, whom just happen to fall into the same age brackets as DJ, Stephanie and Michelle. Because being a single parent doesn’t lead to a lot of humorous situations, DJ is aided by her sister Stephanie and wacky friend Kimmy. If that sounds familiar it’s because it’s the same plot as Full House, only genderbent.
From what I’ve read Kimmy’s role in the show was originally meant for one or both of the Olsen twins, which would have given us show that wasn’t a carbon copy of the original, but probably not nearly as satisfying. One of the biggest problems with Full House was that once Michelle started talking and had the five or six things she said each episode, she quickly became over saturated and the show became all about her. I don’t think Fuller House would have worked as well as it did with Michelle being there, not only would it have lost its best character (which is surprisingly Kimmy) but it would have lost it’s two best jokes, which poke fun at the Olsens and their success. (Plus, why would the Olsens come back? They’re beyond successful and haven’t shown an interest in acting in years.) I really like the idea of the show’s most over saturated character becoming an unseen character, like Maris Crane on Fraser or Ugly Naked Guy on Friends or even Gwen on American Dad (before they wrecked that joke…and the whole show.).
Outside of the premise the show follows DJ, Stephanie, Kimmy and their kids as they adjust to their new life, which seems to be the best thing that could have happened to any of them. They live in this strange benign world where there are no emotional consequences for any of their actions. This might be to avoid the old sitcom trope of the classic misunderstanding, lies that backfire or the heartfelt speeches of the original. At one point DJ’s kids find out that she’s started dating again, a big deal is made that she doesn’t want them to find out until the time is right, but when they catch her kissing love interest #1, they don’t care and wish her well. At one point Stephanie pretends the kids are hers to pick up a guy and nothing comes of it. It’s not even a lost plot thread either, she keeps on lying and the episode ends and in a later episode it’s revealed that they’re still seeing each other. I’m not sure if this is refreshing or not; it seems like people in the Fuller House Universe can do whatever they want without worry and become closer because of it.
I mean the original Full House had more tension, there were arguments, misunderstandings, liars were punished. Fuller House is largely tension free. At one point DJ calls Kimmy out on some bad parenting choices (rewarding her daughter for skipping school and making friends) and instead of an argument Kimmy full on admits that she’s making poor choices and changes her ways. When Kimmy confronts her daughter about skipping school and punishes her, her daughter is pretty cool with it and everyone hugs. No tension whatsoever, but it works. The show does try to add some tension via a love triangle with DJ’s new business partner and her Full House love interest Steve, but everyone’s so likable that it just ends with the two guys admiring each other and going out for beer and pizza. I’d actually really like it if in a later season if those two hook up, because why not. It’d be a fairly tension free way to introduce new love interests for DJ. Hell, they already kissed.
The whole thing is a little surreal and it almost feels like a dream. It’s a world filled with people that we wished existed, everyone’s the nicest person you’ve ever met, kids are super sweet and never bad, but when they are no one gets hurt and everyone learns a lesson. There’s a part of me that thinks that DJ is actually in a facility somewhere, recovering from the shock and horror of her husband’s brutal death and all of Fuller House is in her head. Everyone from her past is there, she gets to reconnect with her best friend, first love and sister and everyone looks great and is super successful. Either that or there’s a curse on the family where the first born’s spouse will suffer an untimely death, meaning DJ’s eldest should hold off on the girls until he can get in touch with a medium or demon hunter…or something.
If you liked Full House or at least watched it or can tolerate Millenial nostalgia, give a few episodes a try. It’s not as bad as you think, it’s not as bad as Full House. Hey, if Fuller House does as well as Girl Meets World, then maybe we’ll get one step closer to my dream of a Family Matters Reunion. Let’s face it, the best non-animated television family of the 90’s were the Winslows.