by Shira Steiner |
A whole host of rebooted, revamped television shows are hitting networks and streaming services lately – from Twin Peaks to the next installment of Arrested Development, set to arise once again from its shallow grave.
Is it any wonder, then, that the beloved TGIF Tanner family of ABC’s Full House is also back for more?
With Jeff Franklin once again at the helm, Netflix’s Fuller House throws a nostalgic audience back to a gentler fiction, when group hugs were the rage and violin music accompanied every heart-to-heart. And while those who have grown accustomed to Netflix’s high caliber originals might want to steer clear of this multi-cam throwback, those of us who are willing to forgive out-of-touch moments, much like we would forgive a lovable, clueless aunt, will be comforted to see the Tanners, Gibblers, “Katsopoli” and, now, the Fullers, back in our living rooms.
Reprising her role, Candace Cameron Bure is the heart of the new series as DJ Fuller, and a joy to watch, at that. Mirroring Danny Tanner’s Full House circumstances, a newly widowed DJ must learn to balance the challenges of motherhood to three sons with a full-time job as a veterinarian and life as a single woman in the adult dating world.
Luckily for DJ, help is close at hand. Jodie Sweetin returns as DJ’s sister Stephanie, now a world-traveling musician type à la Uncle Jesse, who goes by DJ Tanner (cue canned laughter). And the charmingly unfiltered best friend-slash-outdated-stock-character, Kimmie Gibbler, is once again portrayed by a notably out-of-practice Andrea Barber, who retired from acting and virtually disappeared from the public eye after Full House went off the air in 1995. The sister and best friend agree to move in, and in doing so add a moderate-to-laughable amount of chaos comparable to the trouble Jesse and Joey wrought when they joined the Tanner household in the ‘80s.
Nearly all of the Full House cast members reunite in the pilot of the Fuller remake, and grace the Netflix series and its new core family with cameo appearances throughout the first season.
Bob Saget, of course, returns as the loving patriarch who passes on his legacy of cleanliness and avid truth telling to DJ’s middle son, Max (adorably and enthusiastically portrayed by Elias Harger). Dave Coulier’s Joey Gladstone visits from his Vegas comedy show to teach the kids, including DJ’s eldest son Jackson (Michael Campion), and Kimmie’s cunning daughter Ramona (Soni Bringas), a thing or two about old-fashioned, device-less fun.
John Stamos, handsome and smug as ever, reprises his role as Uncle Jesse Katsopolis, alongside the still gorgeous Lori Loughlin as Aunt Becky. Conspicuously missing are the Olsen twins, who together starred as the youngest Tanner sister, Michelle. Their absence is blatantly indicated with a direct to camera stare from the entire cast (to thunderous applause from the studio audience).
Perhaps one of the most successful elements of this spinoff series, already renewed for a second season, is the inclusion of self-aware moments like the one mentioned above. In accordance with a number of television comebacks, the show outright acknowledges its own outdatedness, a recognition without which the worn out tropes would be tragically uncomfortable to behold. But rarely does Fuller House take itself entirely seriously – every element, from the violins to the outdated jokes, is back with two winks and a nudge. Furthermore, a majority of references to the ‘80s and ‘90s front-end the series, as do appearances by Saget, Coulier and Stamos. This is a lucky break considering each entrance constitutes a commercial length’s worth of applause from the (presumably) live audience.
Despite an overwhelming focus on the franchise’s past, Fuller House seems poised to carry a storyline of its own. While satisfying the family reunion required of the nostalgia genre, latter episodes of the series plant the seeds of substantial story arcs for the show’s fresh additions. For those true Full House fans for whom nostalgia for this series will never die, my money’s on us seeing a more developed—fuller, shall we say—series to come.
The entire first season of Fuller House is available for your binging pleasure on Netflix.
TV HACK SCORE
- FULLER HOUSE