Fuller House falls flat, relies on nostalgia

In the past year or so, reunions and revivals of people’s favorite cancelled TV shows have filled everyone with nostalgia. The first one I remember was the “Veronica Mars” movie in 2014. From there, different reboots inundated us–from “Twin Peaks” to “Gilmore Girls” to “The X Files.” Hearing about a “Gilmore Girls” revival more or less made my entire year, since it’s my favorite show of all time. The finale also left me unsatisfied and wanting more. I thought it was great that shows that ended prematurely got a chance to wrap up loose ends and get the closure they deserved.

“Full House,” however, had absolutely no reason to get a revival; the show ran from 1987 to 1995, with 8 seasons, 192 episodes and a good ending that left its viewers content. When the sequel series, “Fuller House,” was announced, I was immediately filled with dread, expecting the very worst. I had “Girl Meets World” as precedent, which is a decent enough show on its own, but screwed up a lot of things for the original characters we know and love. “Fuller House,” though, ended up being even worse than I thought; not only did it tarnish all the things I loved about “Full House” but there was also nothing about the show that was enjoyable or unique.

A wave of nostalgia hit me when I started the first episode, but the writers of “Fuller House” seemed to think nostalgia could carry a show on its own. Three of the “Full House” charac­ters return to the reboot as regulars–D.J. Tan­ner (who is now D.J. Fuller), Stephanie Tanner and Kimmy Gibbler–which was its first mis­take. Most of the other original cast members star as recurring or guest characters; the only ones who refused to come back were the Olsen twins, a fact to which the show refers multi­ple times. The writers seem to be bitter about it, but considering the travesty that “Fuller House” ended up being, the Olsen twins made the smart decision.

The premise of “Fuller House” is exactly like its parent show, but flipped–after the death of D.J.’s husband, Stephanie and Kimmy move in with her to help take care of her three sons, as well as Kimmy’s daughter. The plotlines in the 13-episode season are repetitive and mundane; neither the adults’ love lives nor the children’s adventures are particularly interesting. They feel especially forced because of how heavi­ly they rely on recycling everything from the original show. It was bad enough that D.J. had to be widowed, but then, towards the end of the season, she gets a new love interest–who is none other than Steve Hale, D.J.’s first real boyfriend, because apparently everything is just the same as it was in high school.

The show’s insistence on packing in as many references as it possibly can to “Full House” makes it appear as if nothing has changed since the ’90s. The writers didn’t seem to know how much nostalgia is too much, and the end result is that the characters seem to be totally static. They haven’t changed since they were teenagers, and neither has the world around them. The show uses the same jokes, the same famous lines and the same tired storylines. Everything about it is predictable and it tries too hard to be funny, making it contrived and cringe-worthy.

In addition to the overload of “Full House” reminiscence, which really fills the majority of the show, the newer characters are not well written or captivating at all. The four children in the house add nothing to the show and I found myself bored during most of their indi­vidual scenes. The dynamics between the kids and the adults at least could have been endear­ing, but the series falls flat even on that. I did like some of the scenes between the three adult women–for a few moments, the original ap­peal of D.J., Stephanie and Kimmy’s friendship returned, but those scenes were rare and not enough to override the embarrassment of the rest.

There were also things about it that were downright offensive–such as a random Bol­lywood dance number with all white people, and having Stephanie and Kimmy kiss simply to get Kimmy back with her boyfriend. The show does have slightly more diversity than “Full House” did. Kimmy’s daughter is biracial, but I would argue that this one character is not nearly enough. The content that wasn’t offen­sive was simply ridiculous, and it was a chore to watch the season to the very end.

For many of us, “Full House” was a big part of our childhood. Even casual fans of the show fondly remember it. Though I never watched all the episodes religiously, the reruns were frequently on in the background, making them hard to avoid for anyone with a TV. “Fuller House” will do nothing but corrupt any fond memories you may have of the show, making the characters you used to love unbearable and milking its nostalgia aspect for all its worth un­til you never want to hear a reference to “Full House” ever again. For the first few minutes, your heart might warm up in seeing all the fa­miliar faces, but that won’t last long. The se­ries is available on Netflix to stream, but I rec­ommend skipping it altogether and watching reruns of the much superior original if you’re truly feeling sentimental.

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