After 21 years the cast of “Full House” is back on Netflix with “Fuller House”. In the original series, Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) is a recently widowed dad with 3 daughters who has his brother-in law Jesse (John Stamos) and best friend Joey (Dave Coulier) move in to help him raise his 3 daughters. “Fuller House” takes the same formula and gender swaps it; Danny’s oldest daughter D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) is now a recently widowed mother with 3 sons. Her sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and her best friend Kimmy Gibler (Andrea Barber) move into the Tanner family house to help raise her kids.
While most of the former leads show up occasionally as guest stars, this series focuses on DJ and her three sons, Kimmie and her daughter, and Stephanie. The rest of the original characters no longer live in the house as Danny, Jesse, and Rebecca (Lori Loughlin) have all moved to LA where Danny and Rebecca host a talk show and Joey has moved to Las Vegas where he does standup.
The only original cast members not on the show are Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen who played the youngest daughter Michelle. Ashley Olsen has not acted since 2004’s “New York Minute” while Mary-Kate Olsen hasn’t acted since 2011’s “Beastly”. Both sisters have primarily been involved in running their various fashion businesses. “Fuller House” references this with Danny saying “Michelle sends her love but she is busy in New York running her fashion empire,” at this point the characters turn and stare at the camera breaking the 4th wall. At one point there was an idea (that started as an in joke) of trying to have the twin’s younger sister, Elizabeth Olsen take over as Michelle but the idea was quickly shot down by her agent.
This self awareness is what makes “Fuller House” work. It knows it’s a spinoff of an 80s/90s sitcom that at times had some very campy, cheesy, and cliché moments and is not afraid to poke fun at the tropes that the original series employed over and over. A good example of this is when Jesse makes several comments about how a hug seems to be needed before anything is solved and points out that during a good hug it almost seems as if you can hear violins. When the hug finally happens at the end of the episode the soundtrack does have violins that then lead into the closing music.
At times the series feels just a few steps below a parody of the original but it is this self deprecation that will make fans of the original “Full House” appreciate “Fuller House”. The fans who grew up with “Full House” know it’s not “The Godfather”. They don’t expect stellar acting or complicated storylines. “Full House” worked because for all its zaniness at its core was a story about a family who truly loved each other which was believable because it was played by a cast who loved each other. Even though the show wrapped 21 years ago the cast has remained very close friends ever since. Fans want to see that chemistry and that genuine affection that the cast has for each other. They want to know what happened to the characters they grew up with because after 8 seasons/years they came to think of them as friends. Yet, if “Fuller House” was just simply a continuation of “Full House” with the exact same type of stories the fans, who are now in their 30’s, would feel insulted. Instead, fun is poked at the original show while honoring its history which gives the fans a sense of being in on the joke rather than having something dear to them being torn apart. The show has plenty of hidden adult jokes but still has the sweetness of the original series so that fans in their 30’s can watch with their own children.
“Fuller House” is really made for fans of the original. Considering “Full House” lasted 8 seasons (1987-1995) and has since had syndication runs on TBS, ABC Family, WGN, Nick at Night, and Teen Nick there are plenty of fans of the original series that will like the new show. As for someone who has never watched “Full House,” they might not really appreciate this series but the real question is, how has someone not been exposed to “Full House” in the past 29 years? “Fuller House” isn’t the greatest or most ground breaking sitcom, it’s simply catching up with old friends and sometimes that’s all you need.
“Fuller House” season 1 is now available on Netflix.