Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Full House


Sometimes you sort of have to wish your real life was anything like the TV shows you grew up with. After all, it's pretty tough to pinpoint those social and nonverbal cues of learning a moral lesson in our own lives. It's so much easier when they put in slow, thoughtful theme music to punctuate the moment exactly five minutes before the end of a thirty minute episode arc. Without those clear-cut auditory guidelines, how are we ever supposed to know when we're gaining moral aptitude? We don't even have a live studio audience to awww for us.

Yes, Full House had the eleventh hour moral-of-the-story moment down to a near-perfect science. It was good, wholesome fun at its finest. Though some of the characters may have briefly flirted with unseemly behavior, their nanosecond-long foray into rebellion was always conveniently quelled by the end of the episode. All a character had to do was consider making a mistake and there was a sturdy trustworthy authority figure at their service to swoop in and give them a bit o' wisdom. Its simplicity was reassuring at the very least; no matter how close anyone veered toward making a poor life choice, it was inevitable that by the end of the episode, the slate would once again be wiped clean.

Though certainly a bit on the hackneyed side, the show was ripe with charm. The premise gave us a wealth of quirky characters, allowing plot lines to shift amongst many key players. We had our hero, squeaky-clean and distinctly un-Bob Sagetlike Danny Tanner, a widower with three young girls to raise. It was all sort of Brady Bunch-esque, only instead of Danny bringing in another half family for reinforcement, he supplemented his parenting skills with two live-in father stand-ins. Yes, that's right: three men raising three little girls. I know, I know. I'll give you a moment to compose yourself as the shock wears off.

This clip from the first episode does a lot of explaining and blank filling-in on major plot points, so I'll let it speak for itself. It also for some reason features Dutch subtitles. Don't ask me why.



In the first episode, we get our first glimpses of a bemulleted Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) and wacky Hawaiian shirt-sporting sidekick Uncle Joey (Dave Coulier). That's right, we've got an OCD talk show host, a struggling rock musician, and a stand-up comedian raising these girls. Can you say hilarious antics? If you can't, maybe you should stick with those Dutch subtitles.

Like any long-running family sitcom, the young stars literally grew up onscreen. I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I'd like my awkward phase forever preserved in TV history for posterity. Just ask Candace Cameron. Sure, she's a knockout now, but we all got to watch her chubby-cheeked side-ponytailed adolescence unfold. Jodie Sweetin, on the other hand, started young enough that she was still adorable when the show began but got to live out her bang-haired preteen years in front of millions. If anything, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen seriously lucked out. Those monkey-faced little babies remarkably morphed into cute little girls. It was a pretty close call there for awhile in their diaper days.


Seriously, observe this Michelle montage. Would you ever believe these girls could become homeless people style icons and straight-to-video media moguls? Me neither.


As you can imagine, all sorts of hilarious hijinks ensued as these three clueless men tried to bring up three growing girls. The wide array of character personalities and ages allowed us a never-ending supply of varied storylines. We had typical parenting dilemmas, dating antics, sibling rivalries, first days of school, peer pressure, growing-up issues, and every sort of minor moral dilemma you can conjure. The best part of the show was that no one ever seemed to get into any real trouble. They tended to hover dangerously close to temptation only to be quickly reeled in by their dependable family. The formula never failed.


DJ and Stephanie's first day of school in the first season showcases some of the clean-fun shenanigans that characterized this extremely full house.


With the inception of the TGIF Friday night lineup in the late 80s, Full House carved out a great time slot for itself that was conducive to family viewing. The show had not initially been a runaway success, but its new timeslot brought with it a serious following of fans. Suddenly, people couldn't get enough of this show. And could you blame them? It had something for everyone.

For young women ages 12-25, we had John Stamos. For people who liked unfunny stand-up, cut-rate cartoon impressions, and had a lurking interest in seeing about whom Alanis Morisette wrote "You Outta Know", we had Dave Coulier. For anyone seeking out a guiding moral light, we had Bob Saget. Well, Danny Tanner, that is. If you've ever seen any Bob Saget stand-up it's pretty clear that isn't the case for his real life persona.

For the kids we had three distinct age groups of characters with whom to relate as girls and to fall in love with as boys. I personally fell within the Michelle age range category and almost immediately found myself knee-deep in Mary Kate and Ashley promotional merchandise and "Brother for Sale" cassette tapes. I grew up jealous that their everyday lives were an adventure full of strange but endearing adult role models. I'm pretty sure I was not alone in coveting all of Rebecca Donaldson's swingy vests and flowered housedresses, either. I figured it was only a matter of time before I somehow manuevered Becky out of the picture and could claim my rightful place in the Katsopolis family and corresponding closet.

Regardless of my own Full House plotting, the most satisfying part to me remained the predictability. No matter what happened, unless it was a two-part episode you just knew that sappy music was coming on at 7:25. It didn't matter whether they were trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner or taking a trip to Hawaii, by the end of it we were going to learn something and that was that. The characters were flawed in simple, easily remediable ways that lent themselves well to 30 minute segments.

No one ever took hard drugs or committed a felony. There was no danger of taking a sharp left into dangerous territory. It was more like DJ secretly applying Madonna-grade makeup to fit in in junior high, only to learn a lesson about growing up at your own pace. If you weren't feeling even the slightest urge to "aww", you probably weren't watching it right.


Just in case you were curious, here's the aforementioned DJ makeup snafu.

24 comments:

Nic said...

I've heard of this show but never seen it. I don't even think it was aired over here!

Red said...

Oh my gosh, I LOVED full house, and now i must go and buy the dvds.

My children will be forced to watch every episode.

Mrs EyeCanSee said...

It's quite possible I've seen every episode of Full House 100 times. Sad? Perhaps.

Moonjava said...

I love Full House! I used to think Uncle Jesse was a cutie!

Mrs. Newlywed said...

Greatest show ever.

Hands down.

Lauren Kelly said...

I absolutely LOVED this show and still watch the reruns to this day!!! :)

Deeps!! said...

O My God!! I loved full house.. I have seen all the seasons atleast 4 times(obviously including the repeat telecasts).. I loved each and every character.. for me DJ was someone i felt as my very own friend.. and Steve-her boxer boyfriend was the best.. also.. Jesse's marriage.. and the song "Forever" is my alll time favorite.. Thank you for letting me go back to those days!! HUGS

Warren said...

Classic show. Uncle Jesse was the coolest. The man was friends with the Beach Boys for god's sake!

Carrie said...

This was my sister favorite show ever!

Gwen said...

I love Full House!!! And my daughter watches it now. It really is timeless!!! XOXO

Carol said...

Best show ever! I totally wanted to live with them!

Emily said...

I LOVED the episode when DJ and Kimmy dress like hookers to fit in at school! I can't believe they let 12 year olds dress like that on a family tv show. Full House is also responsible for one of my biggest "holy cow, I'm getting old" moments. I was watching an early episode on DVD, and it was Uncle Jesse's birthday. DJ asks him how it feels to be 26....which was my age at the time. The fact that I was now as old as the grown ups on the show just blew my mind...

Heather Taylor said...

One summer I watched every episode of Full House. It was amazing. Thanks for posting this!

Badass Geek said...

The only good thing about this show was the theme song.

"Zoobede bop ba dow!"

Hanako66 said...

LOVED that show!!! I once saw Kimmy Gibbler at planet hollywood lol

Miss I "Dew" said...

LOVE Full House. I still watch it on ABC Family when it's on.

Andhari said...

I love love love Full House. I think Mary-Kate and Ashley are most tolerable here :D

Shoshanah said...

I definitely now have the brother for sale song stuck in my head... "only fifty cents"

for the love of pictures said...

I loved Full House when it was originally on the air, but it gets re-aired so often that I almost can't stand to watch it anymore. I feel like I'm supersaturated with Full House :)

John Stamos was (and is) a cutie though. I'm a big Bob Saget fan as well - he's hilarious.

Cheryl said...

I hate how Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen turned out but I LOVED THIS SHOW.

Also, had the biggest crush on Uncle Jesse. I'm guessing it was the hair. You know, it was all hip back that.

..Not so hip now.

Lil' Woman said...

Ohh TGIF Fridays, that was good times right there!
Too bad MK & Ashley turned out to be homeless looking witches and Stephanie (Jodie) turned out to me a meth head! So sad.

surfing pizza said...

"homeless people style icons" in every post, there is comic gold.

Lisa said...

I loved this show growing up!

ok..I still love it!

floreta said...

i was totally OBSESSED with full house. and especially stephanie tanner (aka jodie sweetin). too bad she had to be a meth addict. :P

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