By: Esther Lee
If you bought Full House’s VHS set, memorized the entire theme song, and watched re-runs religiously through the 2000s, then Fuller House is for you. If not, it’s probably best you click elsewhere for your next Netflix binge.
Fuller House is clearly not striving to please everyone—or really anyone interested in a quality show that delivers perspective—but it does completely succeed in pleasing the fans of the original. Apparently so much so, that Fuller House already got renewed for a second season on Netflix. But that’s really all it succeeds in doing. John Stamos recently appeared on Late Night to read some of the more biting reviews of the show, arguing that,“it’s Fuller House, not Room,” as if to respond to reviewers: “What did you expect?” If that’s the standard on which the show is judged, then it passes with flying colors.
Naturally, John Stamos has a point. Fuller House wasn’t meant to win the Emmys; it was meant to bring back the good times of Full House, catered to the audiences of the ‘80s and ‘90s, looking for family values filled with hugs and “Aw” inducing moments, and of course, adorable child actors. Because Fuller House is injected with the same exact devices, in the context of today’s television, it seems outdated, juvenile, and lacks diversity or depth. Modern American audiences deserve more than just hackneyed catchphrases and idealistic family values.
Granted, Fuller House did not endeavor to be interesting or progressive, and it didn’t have to—the sake of the reboot was to indulge old fans and let them soak in the family-friendly nostalgia of the original show. The pilot brings the entire gang back together, with all the oldies but goodies: Danny Tanner, Joey, and Uncle Jesse, making their much-anticipated appearances. They all have extremely convenient reasons for moving on, with Danny and Rebecca’s morning talk show, Joey’s recurring gig in Las Vegas, and Uncle Jesse moving with his wife Rebecca. The kids too are all grown up. DJ is a new single mom, Kimmy has her own business and even her own kid, and Stephanie is a world-famous DJ (Michelle is absent for the reboot). With DJ struggling to handle everything on her plate with three kids and a recently deceased husband, Stephanie and Kimmy decide to move in with DJ and help her out at the old house that Danny so graciously decides not to sell. It’s the perfect – almost too perfect – set-up for the next generation’s Fuller House.
Unfortunately, the pilot feels a little dragged out, hogging an entire 36 minutes compared to the rest of the season’s 25 minute-long episodes to lay the groundwork for the rest of the season. It also contains replicated scenes from Full House shot side-by-side with the original scenes, a clear sign that the show was more concerned with paying homage to Full House rather than establishing Fuller House as its own entity. The rest of the season similarly references the original show, with inversions of old plotlines, and makes no effort to create smooth transitions for Uncle Jesse and Joey’s random cameos. Max’s constant exclamation of “Holy Chalupas!” is also a painfully obvious attempt at recreating the famous catchphrases of “How rude!” or “You got it, dude!”
But the new child actors, though begging for their own Disney Channel time slot, bring a ton of cuteness to the show, and Steph, DJ, and Kimmy still know how to hit every punchline. Although the writing is pretty lazy, you’ll chuckle for every other cringe, and maybe even laugh out loud simply out of surprise for some of the things that come out of Kimmy’s mouth. They may look older, but not much else has changed.
All in all, despite its excessive references and heavy reliance on Full House, Fuller House is no doubt a crowd-pleaser and worth watching to pass the time, if just to satiate your curiosity about how the ‘90s stars look now.