The holidays are a tough time of year for people who do not have those beloved families we “Millenials” grew up watching like on the TV hit, Full House (1987). The show centered around a family full of love, good communication, and a laugh track, no matter what struggle they are facing. As I grow older, I realize that these TV families are not your normal, “typical” families. In fact, if you have a family like that, you are part of the very lucky few. Most of us probably skew towards Married With Children (1986). I think this is the part of the piece where Peter would say my dark “black” heart shines. Maybe I’m surprising you by saying after all the dark and bleak previous movie/TV posts I write about, I have a sappy side, and not just for my two cats. While I won’t get too political, the world is a scary place. You may be feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and just shocked by what is on social media from friends, family and the general public. This is my prescription: If you don’t like yoga, we could all learn and be more zen by watching Fuller House (2016).
Almost a full 20 years after its predecessor, Full House, Netflix decided, ‘You know what? Let’s bring this show back.’
The series picks up with the oldest sister, Donna Jo Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure), now grown, who just lost her husband and moved back into her childhood home with her younger worldly musician sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), eccentric next door neighbor Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) and all of their children. The youngest, Tommy Fuller, (Dashiell and Fox Messitt) is played by twins just like Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen shared the role of Michelle Tanner in the original series. Included in the mix are the old cast favorites dropping by: Jessie (John Stamos), Joey (Dave Coulier), Danny (Bob Saget), Becky (Lori Loughlin) and DJ’s high school “heartthrob”, and I say that ironically, Steve (Scott Weinger). The show holds the same feel as the original. Although surrounded by challenges, the family endures zany adventures, cheesy humor, ridiculous catch phrases and a live studio audience. While the 90’s reflected a role reversal of three men trying to take care of young girls, the millenial version offers strong matriarchy roles with guys taking a backseat. If what Fernando and Jimmy do is considered helping. (Their hearts are in the right place but not their brains.)
If you are a fan of Full House, the first season of Fuller House is a reward of past cast jokes like Stephanie’s famous “How Rude” line, Kimmy’s crazy outfits, just adult size now, and new favorites like how “Michelle,” the youngest sister won’t come on the show so they make up excuses of where she is. Once the internet got over the size of Jodie’s (Stephanie Tanner) boobs, the main storyline is just getting by the day to day issues of so many people of various ages living in one house and everyone finding “their place.” By season 4, DJ has finally decided on a new suitor, (no spoilers but I’m disappointed), Stephanie has found her calling, and Kimmy has retired the bacon and eggs scarf (also disappointed), but hasn’t given up on Fernando (Juan Pablo Di Pace) who is trying hard to be a better dad and partner.
Season 4 has given me the “AWW” factor more than usual. While I watched a recent episode where DJ’s oldest son, Jackson, now a teenager, has to deal with the peer pressure of being on the football team and going to his first party, I realized a few things:
1. I now identify with the parents. While as a kid I always focused on the childhood drama and thought the parents were being unfair, now I can appreciate the full spectrum. I feel like the show is geared towards me anyway. I’m a woman, 36, and loved the show as a child. I don’t know one teen talking about this show.
2. The family actually effectively communicates with each other and practice healthy conflict resolution (at least DJ, Fernando is a totally different story). There’s no gossip, no yelling, no back stabbing. Stay with me. There’s a problem; Jackson came home drunk from his first party and Fernando (Kimmy’s ex but still boyfriend…long story) secretly picks him up from the party. DJ says a mean thing to Fernando, more like stay out of my parenting business than I hate you as human. DJ thinks about it, cools off, says she’s sorry to Fernando and she’s happy her son has a man to confide in. DJ talks to Jackson CALMLY from a place of love and affirmation about the drinking. She still has trust, she’s not going to micromanage him and hope he makes better choices in the future. All is well. They hug it out surrounded by the “Awwwwwww” live studio audience watching. And you know what? I was clutching my heart at times with the audience saying “aww” too. Why doesn’t this happen more? Can it happen more? When did we come to a place where two people can’t sit down and present their feelings productively? Some may find this cheesy, but it is nice to have a show with a moral.
3. Who is actually watching these kids while DJ works 60 hrs per week? Is it like so many people are in the house they just assume someone is right?
4. Why doesn’t Fernando have a last name? Is it like Madonna? Is his character, a throw back to I Love Lucy’s Ricky Ricardo, insulting in modern times?
5. Where does Kimmy get her clothes? I love them and I think most librarians will too. Kimmy has grown into herself and her friends and family finally appreciate her weirdness. She’s my favorite character. Fun fact: if you want to go down an internet rabbit hole with possible credit card spending, you can find all their clothing with links to purchase matches on this website.
6. How did John Stamos and Lori Loughlin age so well? Is it really Greek yogurt and skin cream?
Although their off TV personas are a far cry from the saccharine series roles they play, sometimes it’s just nice to sit down, turn off your brain, and enjoy a show that’s light, where everything is resolved in a hug and there’s nothing a loving family can’t endure. As DJ always says, “their door is always open” and so are their hearts regardless of mistakes. Don’t we need a little more of that in the world?
P.S.- If you come to my door, call first, it is NOT always open.