By Antonio Dileo
The last time Full House graced the airwaves, it was 1995. The Clintons were in the White House. O.J. Simpson was on trial for double murder. The Internet was still in its toddler stage. Alanis Morissette later that year would hit the Billboard charts with her song “You Oughta Know” (long rumored to be about her relationship with Dave Coulier, a.k.a. Uncle Joey.). Sitcom tastes were changing towards something with the new NBC smash hit Friends over the cutesiness (and sometimes cheesiness) of shows like Full House, which to some was almost like what The Brady Bunch was to the 1970s. Unlike the Bradys, who made numerous TV, animated, and film comebacks, not many ever thought that Full House would return.
Flash forward 21 years later, the Clintons are aiming to move back in to their old home. O.J. Simpson is serving time on an unrelated charge. And, thanks to online streaming, the Tanners, Katsopolises, and Joey are back… online on Netflix. Season one of Fuller House premiered on February 26 2016. And the surprise verdict:
It’s actually not bad and is enjoyable to watch.
Fuller House picks up 21 years later and follows oldest daughter DJ (Candace Cameron Bure), a San Francisco veterinarian who’s firefighter husband was killed. Left to raise her three sons, DJ recently moved back in with her father, Danny Tanner (Bob Saget), who is set to sell their home (with his second wife) upon taking a job in L.A. In the first episode, the Tanners (minus Michelle, more on that later in the article), Joey (Coulier), Jesse and wife Becky (John Stamos, who is a producer on the show, and Lori Loughlin) and their two sons (Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit, reprising their roles from the original series), who are now slackers, also return.
Arriving unannounced, which was a running joke in the original series, is D.J.’s childhood best friend Kimmie Gibbler (Andrea Barber), with her teen daughter Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas ). They are gathered for a going-away party. After reminiscing, including some ‘hugging it out’ moments native to the original show, along with some other cheesy moments that made Full House what it was. There’s a moment where single mom D.J. has a small meltdown from being overwhelmed with responsibility. Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), now a world-traveling club DJ, decides to move back home to help her with the kids. Kimmie (Andrea Barber), recently divorced from her race car husband Fernando (played humorously by Juan Pablo Di Pace), without hesitation insists on moving in with her. And Danny then takes the house off the market. The season focuses on D.J., her three sons, Kimmie’s daughter, Stephanie, and the situations they each deal with and as a “family.” Hijinx, witty comeback lines, poignant times, and lessons learned all ensue. The adults in the original series make appearances throughout the season.
While the first episode can be over the top and saccharine, after you get to the others it improves and does well showing how all the characters changed and grew over the past 21 years. While it is Full House redux, it actually now has some humor geared more towards adults. In the first episode, Jesse makes a joke about semen after Becky expresses her wish of having more children. And, one night after she comes home from a night on the town with D.J. and the girls and puts D.J.’s infant son to bed, he asks her, “Do I have to give myself the Becky Special tonight?”
In another episode, the upstairs bathroom’s pipes are clogged after Ramona flushes a diaper down the toilet. In a comedic moment of misunderstanding, a hunky guy comes over who D.J. thinks is the plumber. Unbeknownst to her, Kimmie had found her a date online. Comedic misunderstanding occurs, with D.J. saying that she needs someone to “clean her pipes.” The hunky guy interprets it as something other than doing household maintenance. There’s also some tongue-in-cheek jokes that Stephanie makes about her “special” brownies, which aren’t necessarily Betty Crocker.
In one scene that definitely would not have been in the original series, Fernando, too overwhelmed with emotion trying to win back his ex-wife, has Stephanie sing the song he paid her to write for him about his love for Kimmie – with passion and all! The song ends with Kimmie laying a passionate kiss on Stephanie’s lips.
The theme song is the same old one, this time sung by pop singer Carly Rae Jepson, known for the hit ditty “Call Me Maybe.”
Notably missing from the series is little sister Michelle, and they don’t let you forget it. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen opted out (due to being busy running their clothing lines, New York Fashion Week, and also one sister not feeling comfortable in front of the camera), having not acted in years. In the first episode, after it’s explained why Michelle didn’t come to the reunion, the characters break the fourth wall and give a look at the camera. When Michelle or even the Olsen Twins are brought up, it’s as if they are referred to almost mockingly. Note the references to Michelle’s old punch lines like “You got It, dude”, or when Kimmie mentions the prices of the Olsen Twins’ Elizabeth and James clothing line.
Fuller House, renewed for a second season, is worth checking out.
Fuller House Images: Jeff Franklin Productions; Miller-Boyett Productions; Warner Horizons Television