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TV Series Review

Long, long ago, in a trendy San Francisco neighborhood far, far away from most of our income brackets, widowed father of three Danny Tanner invited his brother-in-law, Jesse, and best friend, Joey, to share his home, food and fatherly duties. Together, the three men, the three girls (D.J., Stephanie, Michelle) and the occasional newcomer or neighbor created a quirky family whose bonds would last forever. Or eight seasons in television time, which is pretty much the same thing.

But maybe in this case, television's familial bonds really do last forever. Because 29 years after Full House's first episode, the Tanner clan—or, at least, a good chunk of it—is back, this time on Netflix for another round of sentimental setups and corny cracks.

Family Ties

Possibly beyond even the reappearance of star John Stamos, it's the return of outspoken Christian actress Candace Cameron-Bure to her role as D.J. Tanner that has generated the most buzz. Certainly that's true in faith-based circles. She is the de facto head of the House-hold now—a widowed mom raising three sons: 13-year-old Jackson, 7-year-old Max and infant Tommy Jr. D.J.'s little sis, Stephanie, has given up her globe-galloping life as a disc jockey (using, naturally, the stage name D.J. Tanner) to chip in around the house. Oh, and longtime exasperating neighbor Kimmy Gibbler is moving in, too—along with her daughter, Ramona. Danny, Stamos' "Uncle" Jesse and Joey show up occasionally as well.

The result is a surprisingly 20th-century-feeling sitcom … that's equally surprisingly filled with 21st-century-style problems.

Cheesy family sitcoms ruled in the late 1980s, and Fuller House comes pretty close to cloning them. It proudly boasts the two-camera format. The perfectly staged house/set. The comfortable rhythm of the setup-punchline, setup-punchline. In today's Modern Family era of comedy, Fuller House feels charmingly and unusually antiquated. (The only channel that reliably puts out sitcoms like this anymore is Disney.)

But while Fuller House might feel a bit like, say, Good Luck Charlie or Austin & Ally to a traditional-sitcom newcomer, it's not. And for those who've been long anticipating a squeaky-clean reboot of this one-time family fave, get ready for a shock.

Growing Pains

The members of this extended family clearly care about one another, and it's peppered with micro-inspirational moments that get at both the value of relational bonds as well as doing the right thing. But sex becomes the unexpected center of numerous jokes (from lines about male strippers to masturbation to premarital hookups). And the show plays around with same-sex subjects, too, something that would have been unthinkable back in the heyday of Full House. (Among other scenes, guest star Macy Gray mistakes D.J. and Kimmy for a lesbian couple in Episode 3, and Stephanie and Kimmy share a goofy but prolonged full-on lip-lock in Episode 12.)

Mild profanity clutters up the dialogue on occasion. And potty jokes are injected. There are insinuations that Stephanie used or uses drugs. Hard partying and heavy drinking get nods of approval.

All that clutter makes Fuller House feel kinda … empty.


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Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Fuller House: Feb. 26, 2016 "Our Very First Show, Again"



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Candace Cameron-Bure as D.J. Tanner-Fuller; Jodie Sweetin as Stephanie Tanner; Andrea Barber as Kimmy Gibbler; Michael Campion as Jackson Fuller; Elias Harger as Max Fuller; Soni Bringas as Ramona Gibbler; Dashiell and Fox Messitt as Tommy Fuller Jr.; John Brotherton as Matt Harmon; Juan Pablo Di Pace as Fernando; Scott Weinger as Steve Hale; Ashley Liao as Lola; Bob Saget as Danny Tanner; Dave Coulier as Joey Gladstone; John Stamos as Jesse Katsopolis






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