Fuller House: Not what you expect, exactly what you want

Fuller House

Guys, who else watched Fuller House and was delighted by it? I know it wasn’t just me because of Facebook, but I was really and truly charmed by this show.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s awkward, corny AF, totally anachronistic and nostalgic just for the sake of nostalgia. Plus, I’m pretty sure I would feel deeply satisfied by punching Candace Cameron-Bure in the face.

But overall, the thirteen episode revisit to the Tanner clan (plus Kimmy Gibbler…who is sort of a revelation…I’ll get there) was wonderful. I didn’t expect that. Honestly, I didn’t expect to enjoy it much. (or you know to try to find the good like I did with Girl Meets World, which I hear has actually deeply improved, but I haven’t been able to get back to it.) But I found myself smiling ear to ear at each episode.

The show, in case you haven’t been on the internet in the past week, is about what happens when widowed DJ Fuller (nee Tanner) decides to replicate the parenting model of her childhood by raising her three sons, Jackson, Max and Tommy with the help of an irresponsible relative, her sister Stephanie, and her whacky childhood friend Kimmy Gibler.

Extra wrenches are thrown in by Kimmy’s impending divorce and her daughter Ramona, who is the same age as Jackson. (I have not yet looked for the hashtags, but I’m sure the fanfic for these two is strong…) 

Aside from one really wonderful scene where Uncle Jesse eats burgers with Baby Tommy (John Stamos + Baby = Gold. Seriously, watch Grandfathered…) what works best about the show is when it branches out on it’s own rather than resting on pure nostalgia. Cameron-Bure eventually settles in, but I found her grating and tough to watch for the first half, as opposed to Jodi Sweetin and Andrea Barber who are straight up fantastic.

I’ve always related to Stephanie Tanner, she the extra precocious sensitive child, grown to an awkward tween, and always less flashy than her sisters. And now, I’m pretty sure that Grown Up Steph is my spirit animal, a wanna be singer, dj (she goes by DJ Tanner, which is sort of amazing) and all around mess, who’s solution to everything with the kids is to badly explain a memory from her childhood and who’s solution to everything with her co-parents is to drink tequila. (I love her.)

Kimmy meanwhile, was always a difficulty for me. I never found her funny, her friendship with DJ never made sense. But Fuller House has given grown up weird misfit kids a gift in Kimmy. Kimmy was married to a super sexy latino dude, has a really cool daughter and runs an event company. She is, by far, the most competent adult on Fuller House.

The kids are a mixed bag. I found young Soni Bringas, who played Ramona to be a breath of fresh air. She’s funny, cool and altogether a good addition to the tween scene. Michael Campion does a good job with Jackson, but his character is a rampaging asshole (can you say that about a fictional 12 year old?) so it’s hard to get on board. Elias Harger’s Max is hit or miss depending on the episode. Harger is fine as child actors go, but Max worked best in the pilot when they were pushing him as a tiny version of his grandfather.

About his grandfather, and great uncle…and uh, Joey. Plus Aunt Becky. They’re used sparingly but effectively. I particularly enjoyed Becky’s running gag of constantly trying to steal Tommy. I am familiar with this behavior in middle aged women. My mother does this. As do her sisters. And sisters in law. In January, at my cousin Robbie’s wedding, my mom took Kristi’s nephew from his parents for like half of the reception. Therefore, I had a major “it’s funny because it’s true” vibe from this gag. As for the others, Stamos wins. He always wins. He’s the best.

The lack of Michelle is glaring, but makes for some good coverage jokes. And the weird love triangle between DJ, her coworker Matt and her high school boyfriend Steve doesn’t exactly work, but it also doesn’t not work…it’s complicated. (#TeamSteve, btw. When I was little I wanted Steve to be my boyfriend. Also he’s Aladdin…literally, Scott Wagner voiced Aladdin.)

In general though, Fuller House works more than it doesn’t. It isn’t deep, it’s definitely not groundbreaking, but it’s amusing, heartwarming and fun. And in the end, it’s good to know that predictability, the milk man, the paper boy and evening TV will be there, everywhere you look.

(Sorry, I had to.)

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