Uncle Jesse was my first TV crush and be advised, the love was real.
One Christmas in the late 80s, I got a cool plastic Smurf camera and spent an entire roll of film* trying to take a picture of Uncle Jesse, a k a John Stamos on my TV.** (Note: This did not work and I settled with a hand drawing, which I still have in a box somewhere and it is signed "Kristin Katsopolis.")
My sister and I watched Full House like it was a religion. We knew all the catchphrases, we laughed every single time Uncle Jesse did his Elvis impression or baby Michelle quipped "You got it, dude!" We even thought John Stamos' mullet, which basically looked like a raccoon landed backwards on his head, was the most glorious hairstyle ever to have existed.
It wasn't until a few weeks ago, while preparing to watch Netflix's reboot FullerHouse, that I watched an old episode of the original Full House, which I hadn't seen in two decades, that the realization hit me:
FULL HOUSE WAS ACTUALLY A TERRIBLE SHOW.
No, really. Somehow, our entire generation who grew up watching TGIF was Jedi mind-tricked into believing that the Tanner family was quality entertainment, when it turns out, Full House was cheesy as all hell, about as funny as toast, and alarmingly predictable. "What ever happened to predictability?" the song asks, but it's RIGHT THERE, BUDDY. You don't have to look any further than your own front door!
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? HOW WERE WE SO BAMBOOZLED?
I'll tell you how, and it's the same reason Netflix's rebooted version, Fuller House, is actually—wait for the real big surprise here—so very weird but also wonderful at the same time. It's just sentimental good fun. You may have seen that the reviews for Fuller House have been mostly negative (some piercingly so), but the show does have it strong points, particularly if you are a former (hoodwinked) fan of the original.
Fuller House, even more so than the original, is completely aware of how ridiculous it actually is. It isn't trying to be anything other than cute, mindless, heartwarming entertainment. And it's lack of trying so hard is somehow strangely endearing, in an age where shows like Mr. Robot or How to Get Away With Murder make you question your own sanity because you looked down to answer one email and suddenly nothing makes sense. Fuller House is...easy.
It also must be said that Candace Cameron Bure (DJ Tanner) is charming and charismatic in her grown-up role, as a widowed mother of three—and also physically kills it with some Dirty Dancing-inspired dance scenes and a Mexican wrestling routine that I still can't believe is actually her. (And it is.) Her chemistry with Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), who move into the old Tanner house to help her, is undeniable. Are these ladies going to win Emmys? Nope. But they deliver their ridonkulous lines with a nod and a wink that makes it clear they are in on the joke.
For me, my relationship with Full/Fuller House has come full circle. I loved it as a kid because of all the playful moments—what kind of cool-ass uncles sing the Flintstones and do wacky impressions? And now, two decades later, I appreciate it on an entirely different level as a mom. DJ's plight as a working mother trying to balance ear infections and soccer practice and career really speak to me—however simplistic the messages may be. And there's something really sweet about the idea of family—whether by birth (Stephanie) or by choice (Kimmy)—stepping in to help raise little ones and creating a makeshift village, something so many moms these days crave in our fractured society.
And newsflash: Kids still love this show. Like, an insane amount.
A few weeks ago, I was in the middle of a screener for Fuller House when my 4-year-old and 6-year-old boys walked into the room and I immediately hit pause (as usually I'm watching stuff like, you know, Scandal or Game of Thrones).
"Mama, that's funny! Can I watch?" the youngest one doe-eyed as any cunning preschooler knows to do.
The scene was Uncle Joey (Dave Coulier) using a leaf-blower to cover his nephews in toilet paper after he had green-slimed them in their living room.
It was the first time my kids watched one of "my shows" with me, and the sound of their laughter—The 4-year-old legitimately rolled back and forth on the floor while giggling "my funny parts hurt!"—made me realize how my parents must have felt when I watched it as a kid: What. Is. This. Weird. Show??! And why do my kids love it? And who cares because look at their faces!
Fuller House is equal parts terrible and wonderful. It isn't cool or edgy but, if you watched the original back in the day, it may make you feel oddly happy. Especially now if you have kids of your own.
I've watched 6 episodes, most of them with my boys. And I can you tell, if you are one of the Bamboozled TGIF Generation, Fuller House is worth your time. It's just harmless and sometimes sweet and sentimental good fun.
And bonus: This time around, no animals were harmed in the making of John Stamos' hair. And he's still swoon-worthy.
*"Film" was something they used to put into a "camera" before iPhones and selfie sticks.
**A TV set is something people used to watch shows on, in their living rooms, live, without the ability to record. Like, once it was over, you couldn't see it again until the following week. Somehow, and I'm not quite sure how, we survived.