This Old (and Full) House

fuller house netflix

By Brandon James Anderson

In 2014, I took a look at how American popular culture was feeling increasingly nostalgic for all things related to the ‘90s. In fact, I wrote about this several times during 2014.

With so many examples to draw upon back then—from the Reading Rainbow reboot, a sequel sitcom to Boy Meets World, and the re-entrance of the highly sugared, in-your-face-diabetes-in-a-can soft drink known as Surge into the beverage marketplace—one would think that 2014 was when America had reached its peak of ‘90s nostalgia.

Well, anyone with a social media account could tell that certainly wasn’t the case this weekend when Netflix unleashed the first season of Fuller House into the zeitgeist.

Naturally, I cleared my schedule Friday evening and dove right into binge-watching the series. While I’m at about the halfway point of Season 1, here are some running thoughts after watching (and re-watching) the pilot episode of Fuller House:

*We start off with Danny Tanner talking to a baby in a highchair. Pretty sure every other episode of the first few seasons of the original show featured this exact same scene. From the get-go, it is clear Fuller House is going to cement itself in familiarity. And that’s totally fine because I doubt anyone interested in this show is coming in with an expectation that it’ll re-invent the sitcom genre.

*As much as I abhor laugh tracks, Stamos walking down the stairs and into the Tanner kitchen to thunderous applause put a smile on my face. You’ve still got it, Stamos, you ol’-son-of-a-bitch.

*Speaking of still having it, Lori Laughlin also appears to not have aged. And Michigan native Dave Coulier looks well under his 56 years. (The character of Uncle Jesse even provides some meta-commentary on the agelessness of the cast.)

*If you read anything about the show over this past weekend, it was likely something with a click-bait title about the show throwing shade at the Olsens for electing to not participate in this sequel series. Sure enough the joke is there early on in this pilot episode. It’s funny enough and not particularly mean-spirited. And for as familiar everything is up to this point, it feels a little odd to have this show break down the fourth wall. Odd, but welcomed.

*So, D.J. Tanner is a widowed veterinarian? Animal related hijinks will surely ensue, I’m sure.

*Oh, and speaking of occupations, Stephanie Tanner is now a DJ who goes by the name of “DJ Tanner.” Because, of course, DJs never use pseudonyms. And she has a British accent. (Which, thankfully, doesn’t last long.) Can I just get more Jesse, Danny, and Joey, please?

*“Hola, Tannerinos!” And with that, Kimmy Gibbler is back in our lives looking exactly like she did when she left in 1995. Truthfully, I’ve always hated this character. Which I suppose was her purpose back then. If that’s still the purpose, mission accomplished.

*Kudos to this opening credits sequence which includes an update to Full House’s theme song along with visuals from the original credits. The abundance of pastel blues, yellows, and pinks completes the trifecta here. Again, this new show is clearly letting us know what it is up front.

Over the past 20 years, you would have thought Danny Tanner would buy a bigger couch...

Over the past 20 years, you would have thought Danny Tanner would buy a bigger couch…

*So, Jesse and Becky’s twin boys grew up to be douchebags? Sounds about right.

*The opening credits spoiled the surprise, but the appearance by D.J.’s high school boyfriend, Steve, helps keep this episode checking off all the right boxes. Given that he basically hits on his widowed old flame, I’m assuming Steve makes more than this one cameo appearance. I mean, that Aladdin money has to run out for Scott Weinger at some point, right?

*My three favorite bands of the early ‘90s were Ace of Base, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Jesse and the Rippers. A mini-reunion of the latter is a nice touch in this first episode. Also, my wife and I have now decided our one and only wedding regret is not incorporating “Forever” into the ceremony.

*Wait, wait, wait. You mean to tell me D.J. is finding herself in over her head as a single parent of three children? Hopefully she has a relative and a best friend upon which she can rely for assistance, yes? I see where you’re headed Fuller House

This first episode is just as much a reunion episode of the original series as it is a pilot of the new one. It more or less succeeds at pulling off both. What it’s not pulling off is Stephanie Tanner’s viability as a world-renowned DJ. Still, there’s enough here in the pilot and the first half-dozen episodes to make me not hate the show. It knows what it is and it knows its audience. And, at least for now, that’s enough to make this child of the ‘90s keep watching.




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