Full House redux

Posted: October 18, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

That song. It’s stuck in my head again.

“Whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV?”

The funny thing is that as my oldest daughter has discovered Full House via reruns on Nickelodeon, I have found myself asking those very questions. OK, maybe not those exact questions. But watching a good, old-fashioned late 1980s-to-mid-1990s sitcom does have me wondering if such shows still exist.

The verdict: They probably do. (I’m too lazy to check.) It’s just that they’re not the only primetime options anymore and many of us are too cynical to buy into such shows. Take one of my faves: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It’s essentially an ensemble sitcom and some of the main players are related. Except the humor is twisted instead of wholesome, the plots putting screwball slants on the classics. Many of the shows on Disney Channel are sort of in old-school vein, but not really.

Those wacky Tanners were a San Francisco institution.

In my mind, Full House was part of a golden era for family sitcoms: Family Matters, Home Improvement, Boy Meets World, Step-by-Step, The Cosby Show, etc. And I fully admit that may be entirely incorrect – how many items are there in a golden era? – and more a product of my age at the time than historical reality. That theory is being enforced in my retro viewings.

A couple weeks ago, a middle-school aged D.J. Tanner was exposed to alcohol, her baby-faced boyfriend getting hammered at a party. More recently, the same Ms. Tanner wound up in the back of a van with the lead singer of a rock band who “never hears no.” Uh oh. The lesson-based subject matter seems inappropriately or awkwardly heavy considering how many people tuned in to watch toddler twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen say, “You got it, dude.” (In hindsight, they may have been referring to mountains of money.) Even the premise of the show was meaty – Mama Tanner died. Nothing says laughs like death. Also, Kimmy Gibbler was full of cringe-worthy phrases.

Of course, there is an alternative – that I view the airing of these issues differently as the parent of a whole mess of kids, many of them girls; I’d prefer to avoid reality as long as possible. Enter Disney Channel, which is making a living off the family friendly sitcom thing without delving into social issues. Yes, Hannah Montana lost her mom, but there were very few references to that (and I may or may not have seen every single episode).

Regardless, it’s been interesting to watch my 8-year-old – who is fairly sophisticated for her age – get into the show. And I’ve followed suit. She seems to appreciate the three age groups represented by the Tanner girls without paying much mind to the cheesy dialogue and goofy dress of the era. I’m all in because of the nostalgia.

I had forgotten that the dreamy John Stamos was introduced first in the opening credits, making him (in my mind) the lead. I also had forgotten about the high-waist jeans. I take great joy in watching Bob Saget as the neat-freak dad after seeing him take on far bluer roles (ahem, Half Baked) later in his career – it adds a cheeky layer to the performance. The other day, I was taken aback when Stephanie Tanner – going through a dance phase – performed a routine to a Boyz II Men song. There’s no way that would happen today – using real top-40 music in a scene would cost too much. In hindsight, it seems utterly bizarre how many episodes were based around some sort of inter-family scheme, too. I’m not sure I’ve hatched so much as a single plot in my post-college life, let alone one a week – the amount necessary to fuel Full House.

According to its Wikipedia page, the show ran for eight seasons. Eight. Seasons. Now, it’s in syndication and seemingly in heavy rotation, at that. So people must be watching, although it’s unclear if they’re doing so for the quality – is it possible Full House is respectable on a critical level? – or the memories.

For me, it’s become a sociological study.

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Comments
  1. My cousins, 15 years my junior, spotted an old Full House VHS in my cupboard a few years back and it started a full house friday night marathon tradition between us – I loved reminiscing over it with them but was amazed that they barely noticed how dated it was! Unlce Jesse was still dreamy to them and the Olsen twins were still super cute – the only thing they thought was strange was the poster of George Michael on Djs wall..’why does she like Wham?! Eww my Dad likes Wham!’

  2. mrussell0928 says:

    I am a big Full House fan myself. Even though I was just a little girl in the 90’s, I still highly enjoy the 80s-90s feel of it. I almost with I would have grown up with that tv family who had a heart to heart almost every night.

  3. My daughter LOVES this show. And I must say, I find it a welcome relief from other shows like iCarly, where there are no parents, but there is a lot of screaming. I like it that my daughter likes family shows. Who would have ever suspected that ‘Full House’ would turn out to be timeless, in a sense?

  4. Kimberly says:

    I found Full House reruns at the “making dinner” hour so the Tanner family kept me company while I cooked. Surprisingly entertaining. What a wicked TGIF line-up you listed. I remember when four half-hour sitcoms in a row on Friday night with the fam was the way to spend it. Oh, Nostagia.

  5. I grew up watcing Full House, Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Step-By-Step etc. I thought at the time, that some of the concepts these sitcoms covered were risky, but now that I think about it, they weren’t really. Even if they did cover risky topics it was was okay, because it was educational. There was also a moral at the end of each show…..Did it seem like these shows were sometimes a little too fake and peachy clean? Possibly, but it was still realistic for the most part and touched on issues that most families faced. If you ask me, I’d take that anyday over the raunchiness (swearing and sexuality) that seems commonplace in some shows today.

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  7. Memories… I loved that show. I think shows in the 80’s and 90’s did a decent job of breaching subjects in a way that could open doors for parents to discuss tough subjects with their children. Today’s shows just have children doing all the things only parents did back then.

  8. foreigninput says:

    i love the fact that good comedy knows no time (except the clothes like you mentioned)…my mother got a DVD box set of a 90’s British sitcom called ‘Keeping up Appearances’ and she’d laugh to tears..and we’d watch with her and also laugh to tears..your little one has good taste!!

  9. shawnfury says:

    Emailed with Terry about this. Never liked Full House (although if, like Terry, I had a house filled with girls it’d be a much more interesting viewing today). Was a Family Ties guy (‘what would we do, baby? Without Us? Sha la la la’). Perfect Strangers, Cosby, Too Close for Comfort. My favorite Full House thing is Dave Coullier being rumored to be a possibility for the nameless man who wronged Alanis Morrissette, which led to “You Oughta Know.”

  10. rachelocal says:

    I think the “drama” Parenthood would be a close match to Full House, although it’s an hour long and more “edgy.” I use quotes because most of the time the ending is always happy and everything works out, so maybe edgy isn’t the best word.

    I was wondering, just how many is “a whole mess of kids”?

  11. Urban Diva says:

    I used to love this show. I caught the reruns a few times and now that I’m a 30-something (cough cough) adult, I wonder what on earth I liked. The dad is annoying, Joey is a dufus, and Jessi was just so full of himself it was nauseating. I guess though, looking back now, DJ was the kind of girl that many pre-teen girls wanted to be, myself included.
    I gotta say that watching it now, I find it gets corny when towards the end of every episode, the music gets soft and the “moral of the story” plays out. Cracks me up everytime.
    hahahahha

  12. At our house, we watch a whole lot of Disney. There have been days I actually look forward to seeing some of those shows because they are relaxing in their predictable ways with engaging characters. As for the dead mom in Hannah Montana, they did deal with that issue in which Brooke Shields played the mom in a dream sequence. It was very sweet and touching.

  13. Nice trip down memory lane! I’m getting the box sets now. What about Lori Laughlin? Man, was she hot! I think one of the facts that certify the impact of the show is that none of the cast members ever made anything else that was up to FH.
    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  14. segmation says:

    I wander if they will do a Full House remake? What do you think?

  15. I MISS “THE WONDER YEARS”.

  16. This show brings me back to my childhood!! No new show beats Full House. Great post thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  17. […] Full House redux. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Uncategorized by birdmanps. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  18. mirrormon says:

    I loved full house!!…u reminded me of it, I think I might just start watching again… uncle jesse and stephenie were my absolute favourites

  19. Same thing is going on at my house, and I must say I look forward to watching with my little one. And yes, I forgot how dreamy John Stamos was. Love laughing at Joey’s stone-washed jeans and mullet. The whole cast is adorable and there is a life-lesson in each episode.

  20. dunkdad says:

    Dude, I still love watching the show on TV. The reruns are still good, no matter how many times I’ve seen them!! Loved all the characters and story lines. Jokes were also crazy funny!

    Great post!

    Liked and followed..

    PS: Keep up the Full House stories!

  21. dunkdad says:

    Other great shows of that era are also on.. The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, which wasn’t as family friendly but still was up in the ratings of Full House.. These Family Friendly comedies never get old and I still watch each show everyday on CTS.

  22. Joanna says:

    I’ve been watching the reruns of Full House too! I love it! Some of the dialog is actually laugh-out-loud funny which I feel is hard to find in shows now. I’ve also been watching reruns of Boy Meets World on MTV!

  23. sittingpugs says:

    Ah, the good ‘ol days of TGIF on ABC.

    Have you introduced your daughter to Punky Brewster ? Or anything starring Lucille Ball?

  24. I love Full House when it aired before. There are still sitcoms that are worth watching today, though they have generated a new way of story telling like How I Met Your Mother.

  25. ellyche says:

    Full house was ruined for me when Bob Saget tackled the aristocrats joke

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  27. PFN News says:

    This is a great post. It sounds like you’ve been watching TV at my house recently. Small children ROFLing at ever-present Mary Kate/Ashley cuteness, and Bullwinkle impressions, and Mom and Dad taking a trip down TV memory lane. Maybe I’m overstating this but, John Stamos may have been the Henry Winkler of our generation; he was the epitome of cool in 1993. Watching the show now, I think, “I stopped being cool a long time ago, but I know black, tapered-leg jeans with bulky white tennis shoes do not portray the domesticated, wanton, rebellious, rock star persona he was going for.”

  28. Rajini Kumar says:

    Reblogged this on Rajnie's Blog and commented:
    I have spent considerable amount of time watching all seasons of Full House. Even today, me and my wife don’t miss any rerun of it. 🙂

  29. What a coincidence, I just remembered this TV show last week and I downloaded first season. Since last saturday I don’t go to sleep without watching at least one chapter. Apart of being funny, it can teach us a lot about the family matters and the importance of being together. I love to cry and laugh at the time while watching it 🙂

  30. lexiesnana says:

    Loved Full House and now my grandkids watch it.I love old shows that I don’t have to worry about the content if I leave the room for a minute.Great post.

  31. Megy says:

    You know, as many times as I’ve seen EVERY episode of “Full House”, I never could figure out what that word was in the song. “Predictability”. Even to this day when I watch it, and I do, I just couldn’t get it. It’s one of those words that I always just mumbled when I sang along.
    Thank you for that. I suppose I could have googled it but obviously, I did not. I do still love the show, though.

  32. Chels says:

    Loved that show!

  33. Maddie says:

    I loved that show and I still do!! I think Full house, The Cosby show are all way better than the tv shows now.

  34. nikilee30 says:

    Great show, great read! Thanks!

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