All right, it is officially “Fuller House” week here at the JOE-DOWN, where we will review two episodes of the Netflix revival of “Full House.” This will run until Saturday.
Froemming: Now, when Brown first floated the idea past me, my initial reaction was hell no. I grew up with “Full House,” and was not all that excited to revisit one of the blandest TV shows I watched as a child. Then I realized this would actually be perfect for the JOE-DOWN as something new. Brown, I’ll let you take it from here.
Brown: Do I have to?
A brief touching on my experience with this show: With an older sister, I watched this show because she had control of the remote. That is also the reason why I watched “Saved By the Bell,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” the movie “Clueless” and the scene in “Dirty Dancing” where Patrick Swayze breaks open the car window with a roadside post.
With that out of the way, let’s hop into
this unrelenting hell episode 1.
Episode 1: “Our Very First Show, Again”
(The entire Tanner clan comes together for a final reunion before the family home is sold, but parting turns out to be tougher than expected.)
Froemming: OK, so I am kind of glad they got the whole “gang is all together” moment at the start. And I’m not going to be a totally jaded bastard here, I did get hit with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Granted, those somewhat good feelings evaporated pretty quickly, but they were there for a brief, shiny moment.
Brown: Nostalgia can be great, but they beat you over the head with it in this episode.
Something that threw me off was the laugh track, which has really fallen out in a lot of comedies. Granted, I don’t watch “Big Bang Theory” or “Two Broke Girls,” but on some of the more highly-regarded TV comedies, they don’t use the laugh track. It was a weird adjustment from a forgotten time.
Froemming: I am with you on that, the laugh track just seemed odd for a Netflix show. Also, we see in a lot of the episodes that the characters on “Fuller House” have become self-aware — to an extent — that they are living in a 90s sitcom. What threw me was the use of the original opening, which was nice, but didn’t they use a new opening later in the episode? I could be wrong on that.
Brown: No, they did use another intro. The old “classic” intro was the cold open to get those nostalgia wheels turning.
As for the self-awareness, I feel like Jesse (John Stamos) exited the Matrix or something because he’s the most self-aware one. The first laugh I got was the cast breaking the fourth wall by explaining why Michelle wasn’t at the house because of her fashion design career. Then the whole cast stares into the camera as like a united F-you to the Olsen twins.
Froemming: I think that was the only time I kinda giggled in this episode, but it was really cringe-worthy, and not in a funny “The Office” sort of way. It just felt weird. But hey, the gang’s all here for one last get-together before Danny, Rebecca and Uncle Jesse all move to LA for a new TV show gig. Uncle Joey, it turns out, is living in Las Vegas and I imagine (because my mind will go to dark places with all this sunshine and happiness) he has a crippling gambling addiction and once appeared on NBC’s “To Catch A Predator.”
Brown: Oh, I’m convinced that Joey drives a windowless white van with “Candy” written on the side, but I’ll save that argument for episode three.
Not only are we introduced to the entire Tanner clan, including DJ and her three sons, but Kimmy decides to barge in to see her old neighbors. She’s like Kramer without the charm or the comedy.
Froemming: OK, I will say it: I really like Kimmy Gibbler in this show. I like her quirkiness, and I think she adds some humor to a show that would probably have been rancid garbage without her presence.
Brown: No. Just, no. Kimmy drove me insane the moment she came on screen. I will be that jaded adult you didn’t want to be earlier. You know what, Kimmy is not Kramer: That is an insult to Kramer and too much praise for Kimmy Gibbler. No, she is Jar-Jar Binks. She is a garbage person who will not leave the Tanner family alone.
Froemming: Yes, yes, let the hate flow through you.
Brown: And if Kimmy’s presence wasn’t enough to annoy me, Joey breaks out Mr. Woodchuck to try and entertain Tommy, DJ’s baby. And what did the baby do? He started crying. That infant is the embodiment of my inner child.
Froemming: It was pretty terrifying when he brought Mr. Woodchuck out; that was some serial killer, Ted Bundy stuff right there.
Anyway, DJ is struggling with all these changes going on in her life. She has the Tanner Curse that some evil carnie must have doomed the family with: After the birth of the third child, the significant other of the Tanner bloodline has to perish.
Brown: I’m convinced a gypsy cursed us and this is why we’re watching the show. No, that’s because of my co-worker and our college friend Kyle Stevens. This will be a daily thing that happens in these reviews: I hate you, Kyle.
As for DJ, did they explain why her husband died? I think he was smothered to death by DJ’s co-dependency. That’s the reason she’s clinging onto this 90s sitcom life, because she’s a scared single mother. OK, I get that, that’s a sad premise, but everyone hears her lamenting over everyone leaving for Los Angeles over the baby monitor. So, Kimmy and Stephanie (who is now a DJ that hints at doing some lurid things like the actress who plays Steph, Jodie Sweetin) decide they should stay with DJ and help her raise her family.
Froemming: It is also set up with the very same character premise of the original run: Kimmy is now Joey, Stephanie is now Jesse and DJ is doomed like her father: Trapped forever with people who will drive her insane.
Brown: Did you get the sense in Bob Saget’s brief appearance that he hated everyone there and was ready to down some Wild Turkey? I thought he would go full Christian Bale in “Terminator: Salvation” on them.
Froemming: He doesn’t look happy being there, and of the four episodes I’ve watched at this point, this is the only one with him in it. I blame this all on Stamos, because the world was not asking for a revival of “Full House,” and he went out and made it happen.
John Stamos hates life, ladies and gentlemen, it is the only explanation.
Brown: A quick point: How weird was it to see the cast, especially the insufferable child Max, make topical jokes. He said that Donald Trump was a bad word… OK, that got a chuckle. Then they reference Shark Week. Are you a throwback to the 90s sitcom or are you a modern-day show? Make your mind up.
Froemming: Yeah, there were two Trump jokes in this episode. Which is fine, I guess, but it doesn’t fit the atmosphere of the show. And the kids, man, they just annoyed the hell out of me.
Brown: The final point I want to bring up (because Spoiler Alert, Danny gives DJ, Stephanie and Kimmy the house and this sets up the premise of this series) is the going-away party. The night before Danny and Rebecca leave for LA to host “Wake Up, USA” *insert groan here*, Kimmy throws them a party. Apparently she’s good at this?
Froemming: Danny doesn’t even try to hide his raging hatred of Kimmy Gibbler here. It is pretty awkward that a grown man has held this kind of anger toward his daughter’s childhood friend for so long.
Brown: Let’s be fair: I just went on a rant about Kimmy 20-plus years after the show ended and I’m almost 30. So I don’t blame Danny.
Just to touch quick on the party, Jesse and the Rippers make an appearance because we need MORE nostalgia out of this show. And I swear, the Rippers look exactly like Smash Mouth. That got the biggest laugh out of me, thinking that Smash Mouth had fallen this low. Come episode three, we’ll see a musician that has sunk that low.
Froemming: Unlike this show, let us look toward the future and get into episode two now.
Episode 2: “Moving Day”
(When the big day comes for Stephanie and Kimmy to join the Fuller house, Jackson feels outnumbered and takes drastic action.)
Brown: Now that the Tanners are out of the house and DJ, Stephanie and eventually Kimmy move in, we get the weird feeling-out process of the new surroundings. And because DJ won’t just tell her kids that the Gibblers are moving in, she’s overcompensating to her oldest son, Jackson. I mean, we all love our traditional pre-breakfast milkshake, right? How about telling your son the truth instead of giving him diabetes as a teenager?
Froemming: I wrote in my notes: DJ, you are killing your son with calories! Yeah, as we see throughout this show, DJ — even though she already has a pre-teen child — has no idea how to raise kids. And Kimmy doesn’t even deny she is a crappy parent at times (she tells Ramona in episode four that she didn’t leave her in a ballpit as a child, she forgot her there). Also, we have Uncle Jesse pop in for no real reason beyond John Stamos probably doesn’t have a job.
Brown: I have in my notes: Hey Jesse, call before you come over, maybe?
Something I want to mention briefly is we are getting beaten over the head early in this episode by Max, who throws out cultural references constantly and dresses like a Republican. The kid is such a hammy actor that William Shatner would tell him to tone it down. Yes, this character is so grating that I’m being critical of a child.
Froemming: This episode had one joke in it that I really enjoyed. Kimmy’s daughter, Ramona, wonders why they are “moving in with the whitest family in America. Like polar bears drinking milk in a snow storm watching ‘Frozen,’” That pretty much summed up the whole run of “Full House” right there.
Brown: I agreed with the point, not necessarily the phrasing by Ramona. Then again, knowing that Kimmy Gibbler procreated has really thrown me for a loop.
Froemming: So Ramona is offered a room upstairs next to Kimmy’s (Jesse’s old room) and it is literally a crawl space. In an effort to be friendly, DJ gives Ramona Jackson’s room, and Jackson and Max will have to share one now, and they keep talking about how this happened on “Full House” nearly three decades prior with DJ and Stephanie. It drove me crazy. I GET IT!
Brown: And because Stephanie is trying to be the new Jesse (complete with Jesse encouraging this), she gives Jackson that anecdote about when her and DJ didn’t get along and DJ ran away to the garage. Jackson does the sensible thing and tries to run away, hiding in the backseat of Jesse’s truck.
Froemming: If I were trapped in a hellish situation like this at his age, I would have done the same thing.
Brown: I was more agitated with Jackson being a sexist baby. Oh, I can’t live with all these girls, Uncle Jesse… boo hoo, kid. Get over yourself and deal with it. Though that did set up one of my favorite jokes of the show where Jesse accidently leaves a message to his wife about how terrible a cook she is as Jesse tries to cool the situation off with Jackson.
Also, I pray the Elvis references end with this episode.
Froemming: What, Jesse listening to “Burning Love” for six-to-eight hours straight isn’t normal? The man loves Elvis so much, he dresses babies like the King in this show.
Brown: So, Jesse turns around and brings Jackson home and we end the episode with him accepting the fact he has to live with his nerd right-wing brother. And we hug it out at the end, because “Full House,” guys!
Froemming: Another example of Jesse escaping the Matrix happens at the very end, when the score starts playing after the group hug and he asks everyone if they hear violins playing. Either he escaped from the Matrix, or this show is about him having a stroke.
Brown: He’s the family friendly version of Deadpool with all the fourth-wall breaks. Like I wrote in my notes three times this episode: STOP WITH THE FOURTH WALL JOKES!
Reviews for episodes 3 and 4 will be up tomorrow, March 1.