Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Problem With: "Full House"

By now I'm sure you've heard the news that Netflix is close to ordering 13 episodes of a Full House spin-off that would reunite Candace Cameron Bure and Andrea Barber as D.J. Tanner and her best friend, Kimmy Gibbler. This was my initial reaction:

Far be it from me to tell John Stamos, who will produce and guest star in the update, what he should or shouldn't do with a show that has brought joy to millions of fans since 1987. But I have a nagging suspicion that the spin-off will tarnish my memories of the original.

Full House is on my list of my top-ten favorite TV programs of my lifetime. Maybe top five, if I'm feeling generous. I've seen every episode dozens of times -- nay, hundreds of times. The show was the perfect answer to the question, "What would happen if a broadcaster, a Bullwinkle impressionist, and an exterminator-turned-advertising professional-turned-radio DJ-turned-nightclub owner who moonlights as a musician were to raise three girls in San Francisco?" 

As fondly as we remember the children on the show -- and their adorable catchphrases, like "How rude!" and "You got it, dude!" -- I was more interested in their dad and uncles. Uncle Jesse, especially. He was my generation's Fonzie. (This was all but confirmed in a season-three episode that guest starred Scott Baio as an old friend of Jesse's.) He wore a leather jacket, had lustrous hair, had sexy girlfriends, was a frontman for a rock band, and was friendly with Tommy Page and the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys were even nice enough to grant Jesse permission to record their song "Forever," resulting in the single greatest moment in the show's eight seasons:

How can the spin-off possibly attempt to recreate this kind of Full House magic? In my opinion, it makes little sense to try.

Some things are better left in the past. Full House is one of those things. I don't want to relive the show; I want to leave it exactly as I remember it. A Full House comeback feels a bit like my first true love re-entering my life and telling me, "Shane, let's get back together, but only for a limited run. The chemistry won't be the same, and the dialogue won't be as entertaining, but there will be plenty of nostalgia! What do you say?" I'd say no.

Incidentally, the spin-off, Fuller House, shares the title of an episode from the original series. In the episode, Jesse prepares to move out of the Tanner household following his wedding with Rebecca. But Michelle become emotional, then Jesse becomes emotional, and eventually his bride decides that they should both live in the Tanners' attic.

Here's a timeline of how this unfolded:

- Jesse and Rebecca return from their amazing honeymoon.
- Jesse packs his belongings for the big move.
- Michelle doesn't understand the concept of marriage, and so mistakenly believes her entire family is moving with Jesse.
- Michelle's family sets her straight, and she throws a temper tantrum.
- Jesse and Michelle have a heart-to-heart talk.
- Michelle gives Jesse a pink pig doll.
- Jesse gives Michelle a framed picture of a pink bunny from a wall in his bedroom.
- Michelle cries.
- Jesse cries.
- Rebecca suggests to Jesse that, instead of starting a new life together in a home they can call their own, they live in the attic of a residence overrun by children who attempt to ruin marriages by refusing to let anyone leave.
- Everyone lives happily ever after in the fuller house.

Even by early-1990s sitcom standards, this was a stretch. I am willing to suspend disbelief for a TV show. I've watched Saved by the Bell, The Hills, The Bachelor, Monday Night Raw and Mets baseball over the past 20 years. I am an expert at suspending disbelief. But an attractive woman voluntarily offering to move into an attic with her new husband, above her co-worker, a struggling stand-up comic and three kids who can't mind their own business? I don't think so.

I speak from personal experience. I've asked five women over the past 10 years to move in to my family's attic with me. They all said no. They were not swayed by Jesse and Rebecca's story. It's just not realistic!

Knowing that Stamos will make appearances on Fuller House, the spin-off, I'd be interested in learning whether Jesse is still living in the attic. If he is, after 20+ years, we'll know for sure he failed as a musician.

Unless he can somehow convince the Beach Boys to make another music video with him, in which case I will most definitely watch the spin-off.

In case you missed it:

The Problem With: "Back To The Future"
The Problem With: "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving"
The Problem With: "Family Matters"
The Problem With: "The Wonder Years"  
The Problem With: 2015 Oscars Edition 
The Problem With: 2014 Oscars Edition