Megan provides a defense for Netflix’s Fuller House revival
The first minutes of Fuller House are the most painful moments of television all season, worse than the Republican Debate where no one knew whether to come out when their names were called.
During the first episode titled “Our Very First Show, Again,” my mouth gaped open like the perpetually-accessible Tanner kitchen door, as Fuller House cast member after cast member entered. The formula: Actor/actress appears, says memorable catchphrase, audience applauds for 10 seconds. It was very reminiscent of The Simpsons episode when Bart exhausted his “I didn’t do it” tag.
Full House was never a great show. Let’s get that out of the way first. So the expectations were low for this reboot. The whole first episode of the Netflix series is complete fan service to those who were disappointed by the original Full House ending (Michelle gets amnesia after falling off a horse—yes, really) and relies solely on the nostalgia of seeing the entire cast (sans the Olsen twins) together again. Even Uncle Jesse says, “Damn, we look good”—after saying “Have mercy,” natch.
But once you get past the first episode and the plot develops (DJ is a widow and receives help raising her three boys courtesy of Stephanie and Kimmy Gibbler), you’ll realize that Fuller House has the exact cheesy tone and digestible storylines that made the original TGIF series a mainstay on Friday nights. Jeff Franklin is a genius because he knew what worked and created a pitch-perfect knock-off of the original. The plot allows for returning favorites (Steve!), references to the first series (remember when DJ ran away from home?), and the opportunity for guest stars/babysitters (like Dave Coulier who reprises his role as Joey).
But of course, not everyone feels this way. Despite getting picked up for a second season, Fuller House has been called everything but a nerdbomber by reviewers.
The AV Club said: “There’s no better argument against Fuller House than its own pilot, which acts as the indulgent, diehards-only series finale never granted to Full House when it was abruptly canceled in its eighth season.”
Vulture’s Margaret Lyons wrote: “As far as revivals go, Fuller House achieves the dream of being very much like its original but a little bit better overall, while cycling in familiar faces and including those ‘remember the old days?’ moments.”
Jeff Jensen at Entertainment Weekly described the show having “Winks at genre conventions and celeb cameos, some of which are shockingly sad.”
When reading these reviews, I couldn’t help but notice how what these critics were saying about Fuller House was just what they had deemed commendable for another monster reboot—Star Wars: The Force Awakens. TFA introduced new characters before retiring old ones, included random celebrity cameos, and was described as being a Band-Aid for a previous lackluster finale—all in an effort to pivot the franchise into a new future. Plus, it also has almost the exact plot of the original.
I actually didn’t care for the new Star Wars film because of these reasons. I had seen Star Wars: A New Hope and already loved it. I didn’t need to see it again with new characters. Granted, my expectations were a little higher for The Force Awakens, but after watching Fuller House, I realized why audiences were so taken with J.J. Abrams’ reboot. He and Jeff Franklin are both geniuses because they gave their audiences exactly what they wanted. So many people described feeling like a kid again while watching TFA, and that’s how I (and I believe many people) felt about Fuller House.
Maybe Fuller House isn’t as influential on the pop culture spectrum as Star Wars, but let’s lay off all the hate for a show that was already terrible (in a fun way!). It’s giving fans what they want. I’ll lay down my light saber if you lay down yours.