During all the lead-up to tonight's premiere of Fuller House, fans have been so interested in where the new series would find the Tanners—Who is DJ married to? Did Jesse and Becky ever move out? Where the heck is Michelle?—that many have seemingly forgotten where the show actually left off.
And it's really a shame, because half the fun of a reboot is comparing the brand new versions of the characters with the ones we have in our memories. Like the fact that Joey (probably) still carries that creepy woodchuck around. Or how Kimmy Gibbler literally hasn't updated her wardrobe or her lingo in 20 years.
But since today is the big day (we're sure you already have your Netflix night all planned out), let's take a walk down memory lane back to 1995. Bill Clinton was holding court in the White House. Starbucks had just invented a little drink called the Frappucino. Beanie babies were the hottest toy. And Full House was about to wrap up its 8th and final season.
The show's final episode chose not to give everyone the super tidy wrap-up of Friends, with some characters off to the suburbs and others embarking on marriages or new relationships. That could be due partly to the fact that half of the stars were still kids, but also because the finale chose to honor a Full House favorite tradition of the dramatic twist. Cue emotional music.
Michelle, like a typical elementary school kid, has chosen yet another flavor of the day activity. This time it's horseback riding (or should we say equestrianism?), which calls for expensive outfits, lots of time at the stable, and of course the requisite snobby and overly competitive parent who causes Danny and Michelle to enroll in a jumping contest that is way out of her league. She blows it off to horse around with a friend on the trails, but falls during a jump and...gets amnesia. Cue emotional music yet again.
Stephanie, for her part, is a ripe-old middle schooler practicing a school play and figuring out how to get a crush to kiss her. Yadda yadda, she's got chapped lips that look like two dried-up gummy bears, and that's all you need to know. DJ is a washed-up old maid because she is a senior in college and no one wants to go to the prom with her. But who cares because she's off to Berkeley in the fall, right? Wrong. But never fear, DJ, your true prince Steve is going to come back to reconnect, save you from having to hang out with Kimmy's boyfriend's cousin (or something), and bizarrely fit right back in with the Tanner gang despite having been gone for years.
As for the elders of the clan, the final episode mostly just sees them spending their time looking after Michelle during her amnesia and asking super helpful questions like, Michelle, remember this room? Michelle, remember this dog? But when they're not badgering her about her memory, they're basking in the glow of a recent promotion to producer of Wake Up, San Francisco (Becky), festering in the glow of jealousy (Danny) and focusing incredibly hard on picking up yet another career (Jesse and Joey) while not focusing at all on finding a more adult appropriate place to live.
Perhaps the best memory to take away from the show's final run was the way the writer's were able to finagle a dual Mary-Kate and Ashley onscreen appearance—one of them as the real Michelle, and the other as her "memory" returning to the party. Sparks flew, the audience shrieked, and a generation of girls saw their dreams play out on television.
The lights went down on the family as they celebrated not only Michelle's renewed sense of self (literally and figuratively) but DJ's not having to attend a dance by herself like some kind of feminist pauper.
"It was like a part of us was missing, but we stuck it out and we got through it," says Jesse of Michelle's injury. "Just like we always do."
"Just like we always will," adds Danny as the music swells, the cast gathers in a group hug, and the final credits roll to the last trumpet notes we'll ever hear (until tonight).