By: Jordan Brandes
Fuller House is an interesting experiment in unnecessary nostalgia. It’s not necessarily a bad show, there are far worse, there’s just no reason to exist outside of its first episode.
The show, which a direct continuation of the late 80s and early 90s sitcom staple Full House, brings the audience back into the lives of the Tanner household nearly 30 years later. This isn’t a bad idea and in fact rather fascinating since the finale back in 1995 was unsatisfying to so many fans. For those that don’t remember the show was essentially cut off mid-storyline and while it was still sweet and heartfelt seemed to be missing a satisfying conclusion.
That conclusion comes during the first episode of Fuller House. Suddenly all back in the same house all the main characters are ready to start their new lives in Los Angeles leaving the children (who are now in their 30s and have children of their own) behind.
The first 10 minutes or so of the first episode is almost entirely the original characters introducing themselves to the camera and essentially catching everyone up. It would be awkward if the original show weren’t kind of tailored to that kind of fourth wall breaking silliness.
By halfway through the first episode the writers seem to be going through their nostalgia checklist. Everyone says their famous catch phrase, John Stamos sings his famous song and the audience is now up-to-date on the lives of the Tanner family. It would have been an immensely satisfying conclusion if it had ended there but the show continues for a full 12 more episodes.
Let’s get one thing straight, nostalgia isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes reviving old shows can be amazing and a great way to satisfy fans both old and new. Other times, such in the case of Fuller House, it just repeats a tired formula and adds nothing to the landscape.
Part of the charm of the original Full House was that it was a product of its era. It was intensely sweet and essentially harmless. The show led a large block of the TGIF lineup that ruled Friday nights in the 90s. But the forced laugh track and neutered world of the Reagan/Bush-era doesn’t hold up well under the modern microscope. That is not to say it was a more innocent time but television wasn’t nearly as daring.
Unfortunately it doesn’t really matter what modern critics say because Fuller House is critic-proof. With a gigantic built in fanbase the show is guaranteed at least three more seasons on Netflix. Hopefully in that time it will evolve some and step out of the shadow of its predecessor.