Speaking as a guy who loves “Full House,” grew up watching it, and even spent his own money on the complete series on DVD, I’m surprised that I’m not the person “Fuller House” is apparently targeted toward. Granted, I love my fair share of nineties nostalgia, and will spend hours savoring on even the most minute nineties details, but “Fuller House” fails mainly because it is painfully aware that it’s a television show. Granted, I wouldn’t argue “Full House” is high art, but they embraced the sitcom formula, despite the far fetched story line and inconsistencies in story. “Fuller House” knows it’s a sitcom, feels like a very long sketch for a late night talk show, and even breaks the fourth wall. Even in the worst of episodes, “Full House” never broke the fourth wall and never acknowledged that it’s a goofy sitcom mainly for the family.
It was a wholesome relic of the nineties that had fun with goofiness like the two part Disney world episode, and Michelle getting amnesia. “Fuller House” is set after DJ’s firefighter husband dies. She’s now a widow/veterinarian staying with dad Danny while trying to rebuild her life. DJ is preparing to move out on her own and Stephanie and Kimmy tag along, moving in with her and helping her raise her two sons. Of course they move in to their old childhood home, and the writers manage to write off all of the classic characters by moving them out in to their own situations, including Danny and Rebecca whose morning talk show is now going national. As for the Tanner kids, Stephanie is a DJ who spent her early years traveling around Europe, while neighbor Kimmy is a party planner and single mom. And confusing enough, DJ is still friends with series boyfriend Steve, who makes advances toward DJ despite her being a widow.
A la Uncle Jessie, Stephanie is a music lover who enjoys no obligations but sticks by her sister to help raise her children, while Kimmy is the new Joey and goofball of the trio. “Fuller House” feels like one big gag Netflix is playing on us, while sneaking its hands in to the pockets of those longing for the days of TGIF. As you might guess, “Fuller House” begins reminding us of the original show and is set almost thirty years later, where almost every single character from the original series returns in one form or another. Hell, even Nicky and Alexander, Jessie’s obnoxious unfunny twin sons show up as grown men, just to let us know that they’re still a part of the show’s canon. There’s even a quasi-Comet the dog! Rather than spread out the character appearances over the course of one season, the creators pack in all of the guest spots at one time just to remind us that, yes, this is a “Full House” sequel. And yes, it’s a “Full House” sequel. Did we mention it’s a “Full House” sequel?
No subtlety for us! We’re not “Girl Meets World,” we want to shove down your throat that this is “Full House” and we’re a bit too hip to embrace the silliness that the original series gave fans for almost ten seasons. It’s just better to be ironic, I guess. That said, “Fuller House” isn’t a complete painful experience. For one, Jodi Sweetin looks insanely gorgeous and has aged beautifully. She is the pseudo-uncle Jessie for this new take on “Full House,” and she dons the mode well playing the attractive aunt with an edge. Not to mention Sweetin had a very underrated comic timing in the original series that she carries in to her adult Stephanie Tanner, without missing a single beat. Once you get past the almost unwatchable pilot, “Fuller House” is only sightly tolerable traditional sitcom fodder that repeats the same beats from the original series. It’s mainly focused on DJ and Kimmy’s kids, but it also brings us along on the misadventures of grown up DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy, which often misses more than it hits.
I, for one, have zero aspirations to finish season one since “Fuller House” feels more like a spoof than anything else. The fun of “Full House” was its total naivete, reveling in its wholesomeness and lack of awareness. “Fuller House” knows exactly what it is, and I’d rather not invest time in a show where the returning cast seem slightly embarrassed to be on screen.
Now available to watch on Netflix.