The very first Fuller House Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.
Nearly 21 years ago, on May 23 of 1995, Full House aired its Series Finale. I was 13 years old, and I remember thinking…
Hey, you know what? Screw this.
I was going to open on a sentimental note. I was going to get into a whole thing about why Full House mattered and was special to me on a personal level. About how my house wasn’t like the Tanner’s, and how escaping into TV for a few hours a night was a much-needed reprieve from the frustrations of adolescence. Full House was our only family tradition. We’d eat dinner together and watch TGIF (it would later move to Tuesday nights). It was a positive memory, I gotta say.
But here’s the reality of the situation. On 5/23/95, Full House got cancelled for all the reasons it should have been cancelled. It was obsolete amongst the new, edgier landscape of network sitcoms. It was too cheesy. The kids had gotten too old. The fanbase had gotten too old. It didn’t matter anymore. Every single trope that has ever been used to propel any episode of comedic television ever had already been laid on the table by Full House in an attempt to maintain a pulse: Wacky neighbors, weddings, divorces, funerals, pregnancies, twins, a precocious new character, a pet, very special episodes about drugs, alcohol, smoking, eating disorders, Alzheimer’s, cheating, detentions, misunderstanding after misunderstanding after misunderstanding…
Mercifully (for some), it was over. Full House went on to find a second life in syndication and in the memories of those of us raised in the late 80’s/early 90’s, but TV and the real world (and The Real World) were more grown up now, and therefore so were we. It was time to move on…until February 26 of 2016, that is, when Netflix dropped 13 episodes of Fuller House into our laps.
Now, some of us are in our 30’s. Some of us are married. Some of us have kids. Some of you have fond memories of Full House as a youth. Maybe it was a family tradition like it was with me. Maybe, like back then, you just need a little reprieve from reality for a second. A quick breather where you can feel safe and comfortable before once again trudging back into the unpredictability of adult life.
Whatever happened to predictability, anyway?
Alright, let’s get weird. Are you ready for the Episode 1 review?
From the opening frame, Jeff Franklin and company make it crystal flippin’ clear that this is a nostalgia trip, front and center. We get the original opening titles and theme song, before fast-forwarding to the present day. As each cast member makes their grand entrance into the Tanner kitchen, the studio audience is beyond eating it with a spoon. They’re slathering it over their gristle-smeared bodies with a ladle. Every catch phrase and wry look is met with an explosion of rapturous applause, and you can tell that the cast members themselves are just as happy to be there. It’s a feel-good moment.
We quickly get a reset on the last 21 years:
Danny is about to sell the house, as he and Becky are taking their show national and moving to LA. He’s married to a woman who has not yet been killed by a drunk driver, but hey, we’re only 45 seconds in to the pilot. Maybe this is going to be a gritty reboot.
Jesse is, of course, moving to LA with Becky. He’s composing music for General Hospital. As you would assume, both Jesse and Becky look stunningly beautiful for their age. Must be all the Greek yogurt. Fun Fact: Cam Newton is actually 41 years old.
Joey is a Vegas comic. I’m happier about this than I should be; I’ve been rooting for him ever since he controversially lost on Star Search in 1989. And hey, if Jeff Dumbass Dunham can be successful in 2016, Joey and Mr. Woodchuck sure as hell can, too. It’s not all that far-fetched if you look at it that way.
DJ is a veterinarian with three boys and zero husbands. He exploded in a fire. If he doesn’t explode in said fire, then Fuller House doesn’t exist. Therefore, we sort of have to be happy that he exploded in that fire.
Nicky and Alex are college students, and they eat tacos and smoke weed for a living. Later on, Becky makes it clear that she’s unfulfilled as a mother and hates what her children have become.
Stephanie is a touring DJ, and in a nice moment of life imitating art, she…has a bit of a wild past. She’s like Jodie Sweetin minus the meth stuff. People also tell me she looks a little different from the last time we saw her, but I honestly can’t see a difference. She was always a 5’9″ blonde with a 32E rack, right? (I had to use Google for that joke. And I’m sorry.)
Michelle runs a fashion empire in New York, and couldn’t make it out to the Bay Area for the get-together. This leads to an outstanding moment of fanservice as the cast breaks the fourth wall to reference the absence of the Olsen Twins. They know they only needed to cut a deal with one of them, right?
Hola, Tannerino’s! It’s Kimmy Gibbler! She’s a divorced event planner with a teenage daughter. Steph teases a British accent which magically disappears once she says “How rude!” followed by more orgasmic applause. I…I liked the accent.
We now meet Max, DJ’s middle son. Max is the physical manifestation of Full House‘s original humor. He’s cute, gets the cheesiest lines, has the new catchphrases (“Holy chalupas!”) and might be a sociopath (more on that next week). He says that “Donald Trump” is considered a dirty word in the house, which is equal parts topical and confusing, because he looks like a real Alex P. Keaton if you know what I mean. Also, the Tanner’s always seemed a bit apolitical to me.
DJ and the kids have been living with Danny for about a year since the exploding, but now that Danny’s selling the house, they have to find a new place to live. This leads us into an updated title sequence and theme song (performed by Carly Rae Jepsen) that is dope as hell, showing us the evolution of the characters throughout the years. I unabashedly admit to liking this song. When Jesse and the Rippers performed it on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last year, I realized that it probably should have been a minor radio hit in the late 80’s.
We get back to Steph holding DJ’s infant son, and we get our first boob joke of the season, maybe the first in the history of the series. So early on, and they’re doing their best to hit every mark and classic moment; we’ve got huddling, apologizing, hugging it out…look, we know why this is all happening, but it’s being done in the only way it could possibly be done. They get it, we get it, and we’re moving on.
We briefly see Danny’s wife Teri, who seems to be a bit of a hornball. She cannot wait for DJ and her goddamn kids to get out of Danny’s house already so they can hump again right proper.
Fernando is Kimmy’s ex-husband, who is obsessed with getting her back but is chronically unfaithful. The joke here (I guess?) is that the good-looking ladies’ man is obsessed with a dweeb like Kimmy, but they’re both sort of compatible idiots. Fernando reminds me of Fez from That 70’s Show.
Everyone shows up to Danny’s place for the going-away party. Steph is DJ’ing, and a NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK DANCE NUMBER BREAKS OUT. Another classic series callback. In walks Aladdin, er, Steve. Steve is the owner of Comet Jr. Jr., who is pregnant because why didn’t you fix that goddamn dog, Steve? Not enough Golden Retrievers in the world, you selfish, lazy prick? You’d think that his veterinarian ex-girlfriend of all people would have taken care of that years ago. All that notwithstanding, I have my…reservations about Steve, which I’ll get into in later episodes.
Jackson (DJ’s oldest son) asks Jesse about owning a motorcycle as a child, to which Jesse says, “This was the 70’s, when nobody cared about kids getting hurt.” This was probably my first laugh out loud moment of the episode. I ended up having more of those than I thought I would throughout the season.
DJ and Kimmy appear to be trying to set up Ramona (Kimmy’s daughter) and Jackson. If they knew that, in less than 10 minutes, they were about to live under the same roof, they probably wouldn’t have planted that seed in their brains. The Rippers make a quick cameo, and the family forces Jesse to sing ‘Forever.’ They call back to it being a hit in Japan, and hey, he can still sing!
Just kidding, it’s a studio version of him singing it from God knows what year. His lipsync game is on point, though. The Tanner’s must have gotten their share of noise complaints over the years.
Steve, now a divorced Podiatrist (solid), is still pining over DJ after all these years. He gorges on leftovers, and they imply he still has a bottomless appetite. Look, I’m ALL for the revisiting of jokes and character quirks, but I’m calling utter bullshit on this one. In the original series, Steve was an athletic, teenage captain of the wrestling team. His constant eating made perfect sense. But he’s like, 40 now. If we’re to believe that he’s kept this up for the last 25 years, he’d be no less than 700 pounds and would have lost both legs to diabetes long before Obama was even in office.
Jackson tries to pull a Tom Sawyer on Max regarding taking out the trash, and Ramona calls him out. Max has been cleaning up for Jackson because he thinks he IMPLANTED AN EXPLOSIVE IN HIS BRAIN THAT WILL BLOW HIS HEAD OFF. I’m not kidding.
Kimmy tells Danny that she peeped on him all throughout childhood. Danny is ‘Gibbler Satisfied.’
Real quick, I wanted to say that for some reason, I keep accidentally typing ‘Kimmy Kibbler,’ which would be a great name for a cat.
So, here we go with the main establishing of the series. DJ doesn’t know what to do. She has three kids, no house, an exploded husband and everyone’s leaving for greener pastures. Over the monitor (I think she did it on purpose), the family hears her dumping all of her problems onto the baby. Damn DJ, do you want to give Tommy a complex? Hearing this, literally everyone says they’re willing to put their life on hold for her (except for Jesse, which was a nice touch of reality). Danny and Becky turn down the biggest opportunity of their lives and Joey offers to commute from Vegas to SF. However, sanity (sort of) prevails, and it’s just Steph and Kimmy who decide to stay put. They move in with DJ, and Danny gives her the house.
Kimmy makes this decision without consulting with Ramona, which I feel is a bit of a dick move. She has to switch schools and everything. Danny must be swimming in cash to not put that house on the auction block. Max feigns a Fred Sanford-esque heart attack when he finds out he can have a puppy (Comet IV?). The family recreates a scene from the first episode where they all sing together, then everyone leaves the girls to fend for themselves. The End.
Wow. That’s one of the spinoffiest spinoff pilots that ever spun off. The way they wallowed in the success of past for a bit, then handed the ball off and set up the remainder of the season…you can argue quality and relevance all you want, but the effectiveness, awareness and nostalgia factor were rock-solid. I liked it.
And speaking of wallowing in it, let’s break Episode 1 down even further, with Cut It Out!
– Joey is wearing a wedding ring, and series creator Jeff Franklin confirmed that he has a family (wife AND kids) back in Vegas. My current theory is that they didn’t make the trip to ‘Frisco because they’re ventriloquist dummies.
– Jesse has a new job as a music composer for General Hospital. He goes on to say, “They always hire the best actors on there.” This is a callback to Stamos starring on GH as Blackie Parrish.
– I can only assume the decision to have DJ widowed instead of divorced has to do with Candace Cameron-Bure (sister of Kirk Cameron-Batshit) and the conservative Christian idea that divorce is an irredeemable, unforgivable sin. Either that, or the Tanner’s just have some terrible, statistically-anomalous luck. If the show is ever rebooted a third time, expect the plot to revolve around one of DJs kids getting widowed.
– Maybe Kimmy became a party planner because of that one time everyone forgot her birthday, and DJ had to scramble at the last minute and it was just awful. Probably scarred her for life, and she devoted her adulthood to making sure nobody ever experienced that pain again.
Now, Full House was a relatively wholesome, G-rated series. But it’s 2016, baby! Let’s get ribald, with How Rude!
– Jesse says that Becky has a firm butt and implied that they had sex last night. This happens, like, 10 seconds into the episode.
– Kimmy’s event planning business slogan: “When you’re ready to party, do it Gibbler-style!”
– The recently well-endowed Stephanie, when holding baby Tommy: “This may look like lunch, but the Dairy Queen’s closed.” Who eats lunch at a Dairy Queen, anyway?
– When Becky asks Jesse for another baby: “That ship has sailed, in fact it sunk…all seamen lost.” Katsopolis vasectomy confirmed.
– According to Fernando, Kimmy knows “long-lost secrets of the Kama Sutra from deepest, darkest India.” That must be part of what ‘Gibbler-Style’ is.
But hey, what’s old is new again, and Fuller House still relies heavily on the cheesiness and heartfelt moments of the original. Let’s touch upon this episode’s cheesiest moments with Have Mercy!
– Kimmy says she may be having an acid flashback, but never took acid, so maybe it’s an antacid flashback. Steph should have made a drug joke here.
– Max…holy shit, Max. He gets all the lines that would have originally been written for Michelle or young Steph. “Comet having babies? This is better than Shark Week!”
– Danny interrupting ‘Forever’ with a cowbell solo was more than a little dated.
– The NKOTB dance number was…just kidding, that shit was awesome.
Your cheesy moments may vary.
And with that, the inaugural Fuller House Friday is in the books. Stop by next week, when we’ll review Episodes 2 and 3. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.