All right, it is “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.
Today, Joe Brown and I review episodes seven and eight of “Fuller House.”
Episode 7: “Ramona’s Not-So-Epic Party”
(Steve tries setting up DJ’s handsome coworker with Kimmy, and Ramona’s much-anticipated 13th birthday party doesn’t turn out as planned for anyone.)
Brown: Before we delve into this episode, I got a quick question we need to address: What are your thoughts on the new “Fuller House” theme, sung by Carly Rae Jepson of “Call Me Maybe” fame?
Froemming: Of all the things that bother me with this show, the theme song is not really one of them. Plus, when I remember it is Jepson singing it, I remember that “It’s Always Sunny” episode where the song “Call Me Maybe” is played at that popular bar The Gang tries to duplicate. Those are usually the last happy thoughts I have before the show starts. You?
Brown: It’s very Disney Channel, which is the thing that I’ve taken away from “Fuller House” now that we’re past the halfway point: “Full House” is the archetype of the modern-day Disney Channel sitcom. As an uncle to seven nieces, I’m more familiar with these kind of shows than I care to admit. And I think that’s why I have been SO salty towards this show.
Not to get sidetracked any further, let’s get into episode seven and your typical Disney Channel show plot: It’s Ramona’s 13th birthday!
Froemming: And in typical fashion, the foundation of her party already is cracking, because her father Fernando (who is really a weird combination of Fez from “That 70s Show” and Balki from “Perfect Strangers”) brings the cake, which is a retirement cake for a priest. Ramona just wants her parents to get along for one day. She also wants a kickass birthday party. In short, she wants what she can’t have.
Brown: Speaking of people who want what they can’t have, we are reintroduced to Steve, who was a character in “Full House” and was brought into this run in episode one. And from the onset, he wants to date DJ. But because her husband died and she’s not ready to date quite yet, our Scott Hamilton-looking bachelor is left being passive-aggressive about them being together. Steven can see that Matt, DJ’s co-worker at the pet clinic, has chemistry with her. And for the first time in seven episodes, “Fuller House” makes a gay joke — because San Francisco.
Froemming: “Drinking with other people, that’s a refreshing change of pace,” Matt tells DJ. He also shows up to a child’s birthday party with Hawaiian Punch and a bottle of tequila. DJ has hit the jackpot here.
Brown: I feel like Hawaiian Punch and tequila is a favorite cocktail of Uncle Joey.
Something we need to mention here before we get too far is the show makes another Olsen twins dig in this episode, and this one seems mean-spirited. Ramona buys a dress that’s designed by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. And Kimmy’s response: “At these prices, no wonder they don’t need to act anymore.” We get it, show. You’re bitter they didn’t come back. Get over it.
Froemming: Yeah, but after getting this far, I sense the Olsen Twins dodged a bullet by not coming on the show.
Brown: No argument here. I mean, who doesn’t want to be in a show where Jackson soaks himself in Axe body spray in hopes of attracting a classmate? Or, where Matt tries to woo DJ as a broke man’s Joel McHale without the sarcasm or laughs?
Froemming: For a brief moment, I thought Jackson in that ridiculous outfit was Bud Bundy’s alter ego in “Married With Children” Grandmaster B. Turns out, just a cheap rip-off.
Brown: I must say, I did enjoy Jackson’s Run-DMC chains he was wearing with his outfit. I would think that is cool to wear while trying to make a girl your girlfriend. … I think that explains my lack of dates in high school.
So let’s fast-forward to Ramona’s birthday party, where because Kimmy has to plan the thing and Stephanie needs work, Ramona’s party is the nuclear family version of a rave. And because they’re doing this in a residential neighborhood, the power goes out.
Froemming: This party was so 80s looking that I wrote in my notes that it must have been inspired by a drug-fueled fever dream from Bret Easton Ellis. And when the power goes out, DJ somehow finds an electrician at night who shows up really quick. I’m sorry, that was just not believable — but at this point, reality and logic are not the show’s strong suits.
Brown: Oh, part of the plot of this episode is DJ trying to set Matt up with the recently-separated Kimmy. But, because Fernando is Pepe Le Pew in human form, he’s instantly jealous and confrontational toward anyone who makes a pass at his ex-wife. We even get a glove slap because Fernando has to do some Zorro stuff, which every Spanish person is inclined to do.
Froemming: And the party is going downhill for Ramona. Stephanie even tells ghost stories and strangers are mocking it on Instagram. Then Ramona sees her parents — who are separated — fighting in the kitchen, thus ruining her hope that they would get along for one day. Ramona, life is tough. Get used to it.
Brown: Matt isn’t too upset by this because he’s clearly attracted to DJ. Hey dude, you work together. Your dad is the owner of the pet clinic. You are sexually harassing DJ every day at work. That is grounds for a lawsuit, but because you’re low-rent Joel McHale, this is somehow acceptable.
Froemming: The episode comes to an end with Kimmy doing what she does best in life: Making horrible decisions. She and Fernando kiss. Welcome back to the hell you once escaped, Kimmy Gibbler.
Brown: Hey now, this is what Ramona wanted when she blew out her birthday candles. Even when her party goes off the rails, Ramona’s friends stay and support their friend because it’s “Fuller House” and we need a happy ending.
One point: All Kimmy and Fernando do is kiss. And yet, Max sees them and says they’re making out. There is a difference, Max. Your eight-year-old brain needs to figure stuff out, because making out all of a sudden becomes a thing in the next episode.
Episode 8: “Secrets, Lies and Firetrucks”
(When Max learns to lie, he also learns that lies can backfire. Meanwhile, the ladies of the house fall in love with secrets.)
Froemming: This episode picks up on Kimmy’s bad life choices, with her and Fernando spending the night together — watching movies.
And if that isn’t enough, Max’s dog Cosmo Jr. Jr. has torn up the couch — a couch that we come to understand later that Danny Tanner has a very disturbing attachment to.
Brown: Oh yeah, Danny Tanner is in love with that couch like Bud is in love with the mechanical bull in “Urban Cowboy.”
While Cosmo chews up the couch, Jackson decides to bestow brotherly advice to Max: Lie to get out of trouble. Max makes the claim that Tommy tore up the couch… Max, you are dumb. The dog is chewing up the couch when DJ walks into the room. How did you possibly think your lie would hold water? Are your sweater vests cutting off the circulation to your brain, Max?
Froemming: Max, as we have learned over the course of this show, is an insufferable monster who dresses like Alex P. Keaton from “Family Ties.”
But we have Danny show up, because we already have had an Uncle Jesse episode and a disturbing Uncle Joey episode. So, Bob Saget is up at bat here.
And much like the first episode, Danny Tanner looks like he’d rather be anywhere else than this house again. And when Kimmy makes a joke about people showing up unannounced, I swear to god Danny looked like he was going to strangle her.
Brown: Oh yeah, Danny Tanner wanted to straight-up Superman punch Kimmy Gibbler. He absolutely hates her. Danny Tanner is my avatar.
And for some reason, Danny goes on this weird monologue about the couch (which is the only thing he loves in this house, his children and grandkids included) and how you love something old and familiar. Kimmy uses it as an allegory that she and Fernando should get back together. I think it’s an allegory for their terrible marriage. Kimmy and Fernando do not belong with each other. They are insufferable together.
Froemming: We have Max in a dad-off with his friends. And because Max has no grip on reality, he boasts that because his father was a firefighter, he can summon a fire truck whenever he wants. This, naturally, blows up in his face when he is called out.
Also, Danny is taking selfies of himself and the couch. I’m starting to think he stores dead bodies in there, like you suggested to me, Brown, the other night,.
Brown: It would explain why Danny is so against getting that couch reupholstered.
Something I want to make brief mention of: When Max and his bowl-cut friend are having that dad-off, Max says to his “friend” that at least his dad isn’t a boozer. You’re eight and you have a grasp of what a boozer is? That’s unfathomable and just sad for both you, your friend and his chemically-challenged dad.
Froemming: Well, Stephanie does admit she has pot brownies in the house this episode. I kid you not, she makes a reference to them.
Brown: Because we’re watching “Fuller House,” I have to put aside the laughs and ask a serious question: How angry is the actress that plays Stephanie for all these drug references? In real life, Jodie Sweetin had a legit drug problem, doing meth among other things. And this whole show, your characters is painted as a drugged-out party girl.
Froemming: I just think it goes with the show’s attempt at meta humor. I think since she is sober now, she can laugh it off. Otherwise she probably wouldn’t have done the show.
Brown: Another serious thing that gets played up for chuckles in this show (we’re getting back to the funny now) is how non-chalant Jackson and Max are about their dad’s death. In an attempt to help Max weasel his way out of lying about the fire truck, they go to the fire hall where their dad worked to see if someone will drive a truck to the birthday party. This is met with resistance by the new fire chief, who holds a grudge over Danny for turning down his singing fireman act on “Good Morning, San Francisco” back on July 13, 1991.
You may be thinking, “Hey Brown, who cares about the date?” I care. Because that was my fifth birthday. “Fuller House” found a way to retroactively ruin my fifth birthday.
Froemming: Well, if it wasn’t “Fuller House,” it would have been something else, like a Jimmy Buffet song or something that ruined your fifth birthday.
Anyway, we also have DJ and Matt flirting with one another this episode, as well as Kimmy and Fernando hooking up. Lost in the mix of their love lives is the fact they both have children they are not raising. Kimmy leaves her daughter with Fernando, who takes her race car driving and DJ has serial killer Danny Tanner, who we saw had crushed the soul of the new fire chief nearly three decades before, now playing poker with the children.
Brown: Because after EIGHT episodes, we finally get a “Full House” turned into “Fuller House” joke during the card game. And I rolled my eyes so hard I’m convinced I saw my frontal cortex.
I want to revisit DJ and Matt’s budding love, because they start making out after they did inventory at the pet clinic. When I think of places I want to have a passionate moment with someone from the opposite sex, I think the same place where dogs get cones put on their heads. I did write in my notes: Please, someone needs to spay and neuter these two.
Froemming: DJ just jumps the guy too. It was very out of character. But to be honest, DJ really hasn’t been much of a character in this show, she is more just kind of there.
Brown: But she has a catchphrase: “Oh Mylanta!” If Taco Bell gets to have a child say “Holy Chalupas,” there may as well be someone there with an antacid catchphrase. Smart marketing, I must admit.
Froemming: Like King Dorito? Man, I’d rather they just show the products in this.
Brown: They could have a whole aisle of a grocery store full of Doritos and Jell-o like when we reviewed “Manhunter.”
Froemming: OK, so Steph has the couch reupholstered and and to sooth Danny’s inner rage, she makes him a jacket from the material of the old couch — and Danny wears it like Leatherface wears the skin of his victims.
Brown: If I can be honest for a second here… of the eight episodes we’ve watched so far, this has been my favorite, just because of Bob Saget. For some reason, he brings me into it because he’s based enough in reality to know that Kimmy is terrible and some of the stuff the family does is down-right dumb. But, Danny Tanner still has some heart without being a parody of the 90s character.
Froemming: I agree, and if anything, he really doesn’t resemble much of how the character was during the show’s heyday. Like he has evolved or something.
But to speed this toward the end, Danny gives the fire chief his moment to shine: Singing before a camera. In exchange, Max gets a fire truck to the birthday party. Because if there is an important lesson for Max here, it is this: There are no consequences in lying to people.
Brown: Max is just a straight-up jerk for showing up his friend (with a boozy dad, mind you) on his birthday.
A quick throwback moment I want to hit on before we wrap things up: DJ and her kids have a day where they remember their father. And she decides to make the dad’s favorite breakfast: Pancakes and milkshakes. I now know how the dad died… diabetic coma.
Froemming: And with that, I think this is a wrap.
Reviews for episodes 9 and 10 will be up tomorrow, March 4.