It has been four days since Fuller House premiered on Netflix, and three days since I began (and finished) streaming the entire first season. Since the official announcement was made almost a full year ago that a Full House spin-off would be in development, fans across multiple generations – myself included – intensely anticipated more news regarding the new upcoming series. Since the show premiered last Friday, mixed reviews circulated the internet, some criticizing the “recycled storylines,” others praising the self-awareness of the show. Having been a fan of the original series since I was a child, and finished watching the available season of the reboot, I’ve had some time to really put some thought into my opinion on Fuller House, and where I think the series should go from here.
For those new to the Full House universe, here is a quick rundown of the premise of the original sitcom and the premise of the new series –
Full House revolved around a newly widowed Danny Tanner who enlists the help of his brother-in-law and best friend to help him raise his three young daughters. Twenty years after the show wrapped, Fuller House now focuses on the oldest of the three daughters, DJ Tanner, who is now widowed with three sons of her own, who recruits her younger sister and best friend to help raise her children.
When the premise of the spin-off series was revealed, many fans criticized its supposed “lack of creativity” and it essentially being a regurgitation of the premise of the original series. Although the plot of Fuller House proves to be strikingly similar to that of Full House, it takes the premise of Full House to an entirely different dimension. The fact that the new series revolves around three women raising three young boys – as opposed to three men raising three young girls – opens up many windows of opportunity for different storylines that weren’t taken on in the original. In any family, it can be seen that the dynamic between a father and his daughter is very different than that between a mother and her son. We are also now living during a time where female empowerment is becoming more prevalent in society than it was 20 years ago, a theme that is addressed in a few episodes of Fuller House.
What’s more, it’s an ongoing theme for all reboots to serve some recycled form of its original predecessor. Case in point: Beverly Hills, 90210 began with the original premise of Midwestern siblings navigating their way through high school in Beverly Hills. When the series came back after almost ten years as 90210, the premise of the new series was literally the same as the original – the only difference was that Brandon and Brenda Walsh moved to the 90210 zip code from Minnesota (BH90210), whereas Dixon and Annie Wilson moved to the West Coast from Kansas (90210). But because 90210 takes place almost a full two decades after the original show premiered, trends, technology and society in general underwent a tremendous facelift, enabling writers to create brand new storylines for these brand new characters. Although I will say that the new 90210 pales in comparison to the original – but that’s a different blog post I may get into later on.
As children, and maybe even still today, when we finish a book, movie, television show, we would often wonder what happens to the characters after the credits are done rolling. Did Cinderella and Prince Charming stay married (after knowing each other for only a few days)? What became of the seven dwarves after the Prince rescued Snow White? Did Kelly end up with Brandon or Dylan? We will never know! And thus we are left to create our own fanfiction of what’s to happen to these characters in order to gain some closure.
With Fuller House, we finally get to see what happened after the final curtain call – twenty years later. DJ became a veterinarian, Stephanie became a world renowned DJ (aptly under the pseudonym DJ Tanner), Kimmy Gibbler started her own business as an event planner. But beneath the surface-level things, we also get the gift of being able to discover who these characters are as parents and adults, and compare their actions to how they were as teenagers in high school. Given that we are currently living during a time that technology is so prevalent, we also get to pair modern society as we know it with characters from a time when smartphones weren’t a thing, and watch the two worlds collide.
Fuller House also successfully made reference to its original series with little to no effort at all. From the opening credits to the appearances made by the original cast to the allusions to previous story lines, each of these attempts pay homage to the Full House parent series while avoiding straddling the line between gimmick and sincerity. Each mention of the Olsen twins was smart, and each appearance of prior cast members flowed with the storyline. The nostalgia was enough to grab the attention of original Full House fans, while simultaneously drawing them into the modernized storylines of Fuller House.
The Future of Fuller House
With all of these things being said, it’s very easy for the show to veer into trite territory. A handful of fans were put off by the familiar storylines and the use of old catchphrases, but I can still see that Fuller House has the potential to be just as great, if not better, as Full House. The return of original characters was a great move to draw in the older fans, but the nostalgia factor shouldn’t be overused for the sake of ratings – even the most devout of fans can grow tired of such tactics. From here, the return of old characters should be few and far between so as to not distract from the development of the new characters. We are also living in a different time than when the original series was on the air – the writers and producers should take advantage of the apparent passage of time and incorporate current events into future storylines of the show. Also, with the principal cast being predominantly female, less attention should be given to their love lives and should instead be poured into their empowerment through their relationships with each other and how that will translate to their kids.
Just as Full House has resonated with fans across multiple generations, Fuller House has the potential to accomplish the same things its predecessor did. Just like the fans of the show, the writers and producers need to keep in mind that Fuller House is a brand new series and shouldn’t be pushed forward with the original series being the driving force.
If you haven’t already, be sure to give Fuller House a watch – just remember to keep an open mind and try not to hold it to the same standards as Full House. Netflix has definitely been killing the game with their original programming, and I’m sure Fuller House will be just as lucrative as the other Netflix shows. While I wait for news about whether or not the show will be renewed, I’ll be binging Fuller House over and over again while my inner ten year old blacks out from pure happiness.