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March 7, 2016

‘Have Mercy!’ Full(er) House Is Back

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Full House is back! Kind of. Fuller House, the modern day spin-off of the sitcom Full House, was released in full on Feb. 26 as a Netflix original series. The original cast members, with the exception of the Olsen twins, returned to reprise their roles. Additionally, Full House creator Jeff Franklin has remained at the helm for the new series. The revival of Fuller House is comparable to the slightly disappointing 2015 spin-off Girl Meets World, a follow-up to the 1990s sitcom Boy Meets World.

Fuller House appealed to me because of its similarity to Full House; at the end of the day, both are family shows. Unlike Girl Meets World, a children’s show on Disney Channel that covered themes and topics that younger audiences could relate to, Fuller House displays wider appeal in its subject matter, and attracts a multi-generational audience, just like Full House did.

The pilot episode of Fuller House is a nostalgic ode to its valiant predecessor. I enjoyed the show’s up to date version of “Everywhere You Look,” redone by Carly Rae Jepsen, and opening sequence that showed the progression of each main character as they aged. In the opening minutes of Fuller House, the main cast trooped in with the roar of the studio audience behind them. Although the main cast was noticeably older, their characters remained the same.

Courtesy of Netflix

Courtesy of Netflix

I was incredibly excited to hear Uncle Jesse’s usual “Have mercy!” Stephanie’s “How rude!” and to see Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) put her feet on the kitchen table in her usual lovable fashion.  Noticeably absent was Michelle, whose character on Full House was played by twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Michelle’s absence was explained by her recent success as a fashion mogul. In one of the episode’s most memorable moments, the whole cast followed this statement with a 10-second deadpan.

As the show progressed, it became evident that Fuller House would now focus on D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure) — a recent widow — Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and Kimmy, who come together in order to help D.J. adapt to life as a single mom of three boys. Although the protagonists’ genders are flipped from Full House, Fuller House‘s plot is still reminiscent of its predecessor. Although Fuller House’s spirit did not disappoint for those nostalgic for the 1990s of Full House, the show does have some pitfalls.

Fuller House itself is entirely built on nostalgia.Although some of the characters, like D.J.’s new love interest Matt (John Brotherton), Kimmy’s husband (Juan Pablo Di Pace) and Kimmy’s daughter Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas) are new, the characters of the original cast members have barely been developed. Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) is still a cleaning fanatic, Kimmie Gibbler still makes poor fashion choices and barges in unannounced and Stephanie is well … Stephanie. One could even argue that that plot itself hasn’t changed. The premise of both the original and the spin-off are the same: friends and family of a widow(er) come together to help raise three kids. They even name the family dog Comet in both shows.

Courtesy of Netflix

Courtesy of Netflix

Although I initially found myself annoyed at the lack of change between the two shows, I soon began to appreciate the endless number of references to the ’90s hit. The not-so-subtle references to Full House were awkwardly funny, and I found myself feeling more comfortable with the show.  What has changed between the two shows is the chemistry between the cast members. Full House just worked. The relationships that the cast executed on the screen seemed organic and real.

As of now, the main cast lacks some of the chemistry that they once had, which might be a result of the guest-only appearances of Bob Saget, John Stamos and Dave Coulier. Hopefully, in time, the Fuller House cast will develop the same easy chemistry that their predecessors had.

Although Full House has been off the air since before I was born, I feel like I have grown up with Tanner Family through endless reruns. I watched as D.J., Stephanie and Michelle grew from childhood into adolescence, dealing with the struggles of middle school and high school, friendship troubles and bad breakups. In addition, I watched the love and support that Danny Tanner, Uncle Jesse and Joey had for them in building their own unique type of family. As a fan of the original show, I was overjoyed to see that the same theme crossed over in this modern take. Although the show, as of yet, does not feel as organic as its predecessor, the same spirit of unconditional love, family and friendship can still be found, and in the end, I truly enjoyed the show.

Kyla Brathwaite is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at knb56@cornell.edu.

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