YOU DON’T GOT IT, DUDE
FULL SEASON SPOILERS BELOW
The main difficulty with doing a follow up is balancing the nostalgia value with a fresh story. The more time that passes between sequels, the harder it is to pick up with the characters. You have to indicate some growth has happened since the last time we saw them, but you also have to make sure they are familiar enough to the fans, that we are reminded why their stories interested us in the first place. Unfortunately Fuller House fails at this.
Initially, the opening scene with Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) in the kitchen as Joey Gladstone (David Gouler) and Jesse Kastopolis (John Stamos) wake up in the morning brings up a familiar warm feeling. But that quickly fades as they spout off their old catchphrases and fall into their old routines, making it very obvious that they have not changed in the slightest since the last time we saw them twenty five years ago.
While the main cast of DJ Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure), Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweeten) and Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) can be endearing, it still feels like they simply copy pasted the three leads from the original series with a gender swap. You have the straight laced responsible parent in DJ, the cool struggling musician aunt in Stephanie, and the eccentric colorful best friend in Kimmy. The show doesn’t shy away from references to the original so much so at times you feel like they are simply recreating the episode in a modern setting.
The kids are somewhat better as you see them baring little resemblance to the original counterparts. But they are largely flat and clichéd with notable traits, be it the “too cool girl” Ramona Gibbler (Sonia Briggs), complete with the once again ruined birthday party. The not too bright and lazy older brother Jackson Fuller (Michael Campion) with the nerdy younger brother Max Fuller (Elias Harger), who even comes with an annoying catchphrase.
Perhaps this is unfair though, as the show does seem to be geared towards the same family audience who would have watched the original. However, even there it fails to live up to the expectation. At times they are so sugary sweet that one could catch diabetes from binging the series, but those are peppered with moments such as Stephanie’s fan service outfits in the pilot (admittedly this seemed to relax after the initial episode) or the brief touches on DJ’s struggle as widower, or Kimmy’s allusions to her sex life. It is almost like the show can’t decide if it wants to edge off the G rating or stick to family friendly. Not that either option is a bad one, but you do need to choose which side of the fence to fall on.
When the show does have the opportunity to show growth for the characters, it fails to commit, such as with DJ’s inability to decide between her high school boyfriend Steve (Scott Weinger) and new love interest Matt Harmon (John Brotherton). Initially it seems that they are setting up more that DJ has grown since high school, since her date with Steve attempting to recreate their memories from twenty five years ago falls flat, but even then in the finale she decides she can’t choose between the two. The show ignores the idea that maybe having two guys chasing her constantly when she is still unsure if she is ready to start dating again after her husband’s death, might be unfortunate implications, or that maybe she is not the same person she was in high school. This combined with the annoying caricature of Latino stereotypes that is Kimmy’s ex-husband Fernando (Juan Pablo Di Pace) really only helps to drive home that nothing has changed for the writers since twenty five years ago.
I was hopeful for Fuller House, and on occasion I could even enjoy reliving the feelings of when I was five years old, watching the Tanner extended family. Unfortunately, these nostalgia feelings are not enough to make the show memorable or even particularly good.
+The kids are very different from the prior generation
-Rife with unfortunate implications
-Too much of a rehash
-Make the catchphrases stop
Nicholas Ramirez is The Geekiverse’s Marvel connoisseur. You can finally catch him on Twitter!
Fuller House Season 1 is available currently on Netflix.
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