by Billy Nilles | Sat., Feb. 27, 2016 9:00 AM
It was all anybody could talk about when Fuller House was announced: Where were Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen? The two weren't coming back to play, depriving the world of the Michelle Tanner update they so desperately wanted.
Knowing they couldn't just pretend Michelle didn't exist, the show's producers had to put a plan into motion to explain her absence, co-opting the Olsen twins real-life fashion endeavors in New York City. But beyond that explanation, would the series return to the Michelle well? That was the question. And now that the full 13-episode first season is available, we've got the answer.
Surprisingly, the show didn't mention the absent Tanner all too often. Naturally, there was the necessary mention in the pilot (that maaaaaybe acted as a little shade to the Olsens in the process) where a returning Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) asks where her little sis is. Dad Danny (Bob Saget) replies, "Well, Michelle sends her love, but she's busy in New York running her fashion empire." And with that, the entire cast (including John Stamos, Lori Loughlin, Candace Cameron-Bure, and Dave Coulier) turn and stare straight into the camera for a full 13 seconds. Like we said, maaaaaaybe some shade there.
The next reference doesn't come until episode seven, when Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) and her daughter Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas) return home to get ready for Ramona's birthday party—and it completely wrinkled our brains. D.J. asks them, "Hey! How was the birthday shopping spree?"
Ramona replies, "Amazing. I got my first designer dress for the party. It's an Elizabeth and James by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen." Kimmy, staring at receipts, adds, "At these prices, no wonder they don't need to act anymore." More shade? You betcha.
The third and final reference doesn't come until the last episode of the season. After a night out partying with Aunt Becky, D.J., Stephanie, and Kimmy head down to Steph's room and decide to call ol' Michelle. What follows is a brief walk down Michelle catchphrase memory lane.
Stephanie: "Oh, let's call Michelle"
D.J.: "It's five in the morning in New York."
Stephanie: "Ah, perfect. Aw, voicemail."
Kimmy: "Why you not come to my wedding? You're in big trouble mister."
D.J.: "No way, Jose!"
Stephanie: "Awww, nuts."
All: "You got it dude!"
Michelle Tanner: Gone, but not forgotten.
Season one of Fuller House is available to stream on Netflix now.