American television and cinema have a weird obsession with the revival. At best, these revivals are disappointing, if not mildly nostalgic. At worst, these revivals are a terrifying glimpse into the monster machine of cultural production and pastiche. “Fuller House,” undoubtedly, touches upon the worst.
There was never a need for a “Full House” revival. Some revivals make sense – “Twin Peaks” has always had unfinished business, and the “X-Files” seems appropriate given a continued cultural obsession with aliens and the show’s open-plot structure. Fandoms for both of these shows have persisted on the internet for years, and thus a demand is being met.
But who was out there calling for a “Full House” revival? Certainly there wasn’t some underground clique of young people on the Internet looking for answers to the 90s-era sitcom’s countless remaining mysteries, and it seems unlikely that those who watched the show then were really missing it too much given the frequency of reruns played on TV.
“Full House” aired its final episode before I was even born, but I had seen nearly every episode by the time I turned 12. It wasn’t even something I particularly enjoyed, it just happened to always be on cable and I just happened to always be watching.
I consumed the entire “Full House” mythology with no emotional ties in the end. The only thing I really took from the show was a slight fondness for Bob Saget and John Stamos and an interest in the fact that Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” is allegedly about Dave Coulier.
But “Fuller House” could not even fulfill my nostalgia for them, because they only appear in the first damn episode.
That’s right. The plot of “Fuller House” is contingent on their absence, with Candace Cameron (DJ), Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie), and Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibler) replacing the three-uncle dynamic of raising a house of kids.
Maybe, in some world, this could be forgivable. Maybe if the dialogue of the show wasn’t obviously edited and replaced in certain scenes to suit pop culture better (for example, one of the children says “Trump” is a bad word, but given the movement of his mouth it’s clear that was not what was filmed.) Maybe if there wasn’t a nauseating dance number to New Kidz on the Block.
I tried to get through the show, but couldn’t. It’s unwatchable. But I have to wonder – would “Full House” be watchable today? Could I sit through a few original episodes, even with John Stamos at his prime?
“Fuller House” isn’t good – but “Full House” wasn’t good, either. Ultimately though, it goes beyond that.
Much of television is bad, but we’re still able to derive some kind of “guilty pleasure” from watching it. “Fuller House” does not have any of this outside of the first episode, where you might at least enjoy the presence of Saget, Coulier and Stamos, who does a rendition of his song from Full House, “Forever.” “Fuller House” really reveals all its cards right away, and it isn’t even carrying a good hand. Once you’ve derived any sort of pleasure from seeing what the cast looks like 20 years later, hearing Uncle Joey say “cut it out” and Stephanie say “how rude,” there’s nothing left.
The show is just a regurgitation of things you never asked for, but are forced to reconsume by the dominant forces of culture.
What is most unnerving, however, is that the show has already been renewed for a second season.