In this era we live in, it’s becoming quite a trend to revitalize a show that’s since gone off the air. Heroes. Arrested Development. The X-Files. The latest revival to arrive is Fuller House, continuing the story started in Full House (1987-1995).
In the original series, we followed three brothers (Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier) who were raising Saget’s three daughters (Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, and Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen). In this revival, the oldest daughter (Candace Cameron Bure) needs some help around the house raising her three sons, so her sister as well as her best friend Kimmy (Andrea Barber) move in to help.
We have some other fan favorites returning including Lori Loughlin and Steve Hale, as well as new kid additions of Michael Campion, Elias Harger, and Soni Bringas. We have a few new love interests as well, most notably veterinarian John Brotherton and Kimmy’s Argentinian husband played by Juan Pablo Di Pace.
The reason anyone is going to watch this show is because they had some sort of fondness for the original. And luckily the nostalgia kicks in strong and mostly works. The first episode is a little overbearing, including applause breaks for every single character that enters, but the show finds a nice pace after that episode.
The three female leads carry the show and luckily they all have decent acting chops. Decent. Kimmy especially can be a little off-putting but mostly they pull it off. The three new kids also get a lot of screentime, which is a blessing and a curse. The highlight for me was young Elias Harger as the middle son Max. That kid nailed it.
Smartly, the show also holds back some of the original cast for key moments and episodes. Bob Saget might appear for an episode and then leave, while John Stamos shows up in a later episode. They come in, do their magic, and leave without disrupting the flow too substantially.
What doesn’t work?
Here’s the problem. The dialogue for this show is literally “Where can we insert all those old catchphrases?” At first, it works. “Oh yeah, Uncle Jessie did used to say that!” Quickly, that becomes tiring. Especially towards the last few episodes, these self-referential moments or inside jokes become too much. There’s one episode where they prank call their youngest sister Michelle (Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen, absent from this series), they literally rattle off every one of her catchphrases to her over the phone.
For me, it was the two oldest kids (Michael Campion and Soni Bringas). I don’t mind kid actors but these verge-of-teenage actors are really painful to watch and they unfortunately get entire subplots throughout the series.
Another case of this is Kimmy’s on-and-off-again husband Fernando (Juan Pablo Di Pace). This guy… I wanted to strangle him. I blame it partially on the writing, which makes use of every flamboyant Central American stereotype they could conjure up, but the directors also let him go 110%, which made for a very grating and annoying experience.
This is a mixed bag. It’s a fun return but I’m not really excited about any more from this. I’d be content with this being the end of the road. It was great to relive moments and see how characters grew up but it also reminded me that the genre of “sitcom” has come a long way and things have changed. The one-liners and audience applause breaks and self-referential humor eventually became a deterrent and annoyance. At only 13 episodes, you can crank them out in an afternoon but I expect you won’t ever revisit these episodes again.