I made it four and a half episodes into Netflix's 'Fuller House' before I quit. That's a pretty good score though, considering my hate for laugh tracks and cheesy characters. I guess I felt I owed it to the show to give it a shot. Before I developed opinions and before I developed my sitcom appetite, back when I was a critique free 9-year-old, 'Full House' was my jam. I would catch the reruns everyday after school at 5pm, and while I couldn't summarise a single episode for you now, I do remember that I loved it.
Out of all the once retired intellectual properties that have been coming back over the past couple of years, 'Fuller House' was definitely the weirdest and the one I think I can confidently assume no one was asking for. I get 'The X-Files' returning to a world once again suspicious of government conspiracies, I get 'Star Wars' blasting back onto the big screen for the new generation, but 'Full House' was, and still is, very much a forgotten relic. But that was fine, and I think because of that, we are able to call it everyone's favourite buzzword in 2016, "nostalgic".
I haven't watched an episode of 'Full House' since, at the most, 2002. With the invention of Youtube, I occasionally would look up the opening sequence and feel a luke-warm happiness in my heart at this perfectly adequate show which I liked as a kid, but every element of it, from the catch-phrases to the actors, had very much faded out of my mind. The only two stars besides the Olsen twins who would I would occasionally see on screen in the last 13 years were Bob Saget and John Stamos, and even they were rare sightings.
The first episode of 'Fuller House', I actually thought was pretty good. I was grinning and laughing at the surprisingly self-aware attitude the show had; it knew exactly what it was, it knew no one had asked for it, it knew it had to riff on late-80s/early-90s call-backs, it knew that the Olsen twins' Michelle being distinctly absent from the cast was an elephant in the room. It made fun of itself, and after the cold open blasted us into the new opening sequence, I made the same face Shia LaBeouf made when he watched the 'Even Stevens' movie last year:
So I thought to myself "Well damn. Maybe there's actually something special happening here. Maybe nostalgia just for nostalgia's sake isn't such a bad thing if it's as blatant and unapologetic as this". The first episode ends with a split-screen of the old characters and the new characters singing 'The Flintstones' theme song to calm the crying baby, and I nearly cried like a baby myself. But, as the episodes went on, and Danny, Jesse and Joey checking in became more and more sparse, I soon began to realise all 'Fuller House' was focusing on were the 3 most "meh" characters from the original show.
Yes, 'Fuller House' focuses on DJ, Stephanie and Kimmy Gibler as adults, none of whom carried all that much clout in the original show, except for maybe Kimmy, who incidentally is the worst actor of the line-up. Besides Danny and the uncles, the only other character I remember being invested in as a pre-teen was Michelle, and because the Olsen twins disappeared into obscurity ten years ago, I doubt she'll ever make an appearance.
Without any of its larger icons then, 'Fuller House' doesn't feel enough like an homage to its predecessor at all. It just becomes its own thing, which is hilarious because with any other sequel this would be a good thing, but in the case of a multi-camera sitcom with guffawing canned laughter and wink-nudge line delivery, and also the fact that over half the cast are new characters, this show just feels like it would be right at home playing at 4.30pm on a Sunday afternoon between 'iCarly' reruns and old episodes of 'According to Jim'.
Nostalgia, in the end, isn't utilised by 'Fuller House' enough for me to bother watching it all.
It just doesn't get me far enough across the line in this case. That first episode was all I needed, I don't care enough about DJ or her new family to keep watching when all the best characters are gone. It certainly doesn't feel like a show that should be binge-watched either, so once again Netflix have made a decision that suggests they don't really know what they're doing, while simultaneously succeeding at what they're doing immensely.
Oh well. Another reboot to cross off the list I suppose. 'Full House' wasn't even that good anyway.
If you haven't already seen it, check out February's SEXY new video on the history and the heart of the Hollywood love scene ;)
About the Author:
Alexander Jones (AJ) really likes movies and TV. He really likes you too. You can find more of his stuff all over Cult Popture, in the blogs, vlogs and podcasts.