Jacqueline Gualtieri ’18/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In 1995, the Tanner family said goodbye. They left off with the message that they would always be a family, no matter where they went and what happened to them. Now, twenty-one years later, they’ve returned to prove it once again.
Fuller House follows the life of D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure), who returns to her childhood home with her three boys after the passing of her firefighter husband. Any Full House fan could immediately point out that the premise sounds suspiciously familiar, but it becomes nearly identical when her little sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and her best friend, Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), move in to help her out.
It’s apparent in the first episode that Fuller House is not trying to do anything new. In fact, it seems to know exactly what it is: a nostalgia-filled reunion. The first season, released on Netflix on February 26, lasts thirteen episodes and it’s easy to find many parallels between the original series and the new one. Some of the writers planned and pointed out these similarities, like having the family sing the Flintstones theme song to calm down D.J.’s youngest son, like they did with Michelle (Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen) in the first episode of Full House. Other ties are less apparent, like D.J. trying to figure out what to do with her wedding ring when she starts dating again, just like Danny (Bob Saget) once did.
As a reunion, the series does fall a little short. Promotion photos and the trailers made it look like the whole gang was back. Full House fans may be a little disappointed to know that the story revolves around D.J. Kimmy and Stephanie are also main characters, but their stories matter less than hers. The original adults from the series are present, but barely. None of them have major plotlines throughout the season and most only appear in three to four episodes, usually briefly. The first episode seems to want to throw viewers off by showing the whole family under one roof, but that’s not the case for long.
Without the original cast all together, the nostalgia is a little lacking. Joey (Dave Coulier) and Jesse (John Stamos) always had great chemistry, with quick and funny banter. Stephanie and Kimmy seem to try to recreate it, but fall incredibly short. Jesse and Becky (Lori Loughlin) had a love story that the audience adored, while D.J. has two sort of love stories throughout the season, but neither are nearly as meaningful as theirs.
One love story brought back some of the old emotions Full House fans would recognize. Scott Weinger reprises his role as D.J.’s food-loving boyfriend, Steve Hale. It’s been twenty-one years and Steve never got over D.J. Now that she’s single, he comes back into her life, practically begging for a date. Steve’s character seems a little strange; he’s not the same guy that D.J. used to date. He comes across as desperately in love and seems to follow her around as a lost puppy, perhaps even a slightly aggressive lost puppy. Steve was always hopelessly in love and was somewhat over the top in trying to get D.J., but he never appeared so desperate about it as he does now. Weinger still has some pretty great comedic timing, but he seems to have a lot less to work with in the new series.
One of the big weaknesses in the show are D.J.’s children. Max (Elias Harger) is pretty much a mini Danny Tanner. He’s also a little like a young Stephanie, as he really just wants to hang out with his big brother and follows him around a bit, like Stephanie used to do to D.J. The character does not work and he comes across as over the top. D.J.’s oldest son, Jackson (Michael Campion) is similar to his mother. He is a fairly good big brother and clearly cares for Max, even if he does boss him around. The character suddenly starts to change as the season goes on, and not for the better. He becomes a nauseating stereotype of a typical thirteen-year-old boy. He starts calling himself “J-Money,” making a fool of himself around his crush—basically being every other thirteen-year-old boy on television.
The only child that is original is Ramona (Soni Bringas). Some of her storylines mirror the girls from Full House but mainly Ramona is her own character. She’s similar to her mother, Kimmy, but she’s less eccentric. She worries about fitting in, but not enough to change who she is. She’s a refreshingly new character and Bringas does a great job bringing her to life.
As a stand alone series, Fuller House falls very short. The writing is repetitive and tired, the storylines have been seen a million times, and the characters are pretty flat. However, the series does not seem as though it’s meant to be a stand alone show. If you are not a big fan of Full House, you will probably not even make it through the first five minutes of Fuller House. If you did love the old series and you grew up with the characters, you will likely binge watch the whole season in one night. The show is meant to be nostalgic. It’s meant to make the viewer feel like a kid again and remember sitting up at night to catch up with the Tanner family. Fuller House brings back that feeling, even if it is one of the only things the season does well.