When I hear the “Full House” theme song on my television these days, I admit my eye gets a little twitchy.
“Everywhere you look, there’s a channel (there’s a channel) that really need changing.”
As a grown up, I find the Tanner family a bit too earnest, and it’s hard to see the adorable toddler Olsen twins and not think of the bizarre, sunken-eyed, controversy-plagued young adults they’ve become.
But that’s now. Back in 1987, when the show about three guys raising three girls in a San Francisco row house first hit the air, I was 14 years old, and I loved its easy laughs, likeable characters and simple, hug-it-out resolutions to life issues ranging from the death of a grandparent to sibling rivalry to eating disorders.
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I also liked dippy Kimmy Gibbler. A lot.
Still, I likely wouldn’t be paying much attention to the approaching “Fuller House,” a sequel series set to debut on Netflix on Friday, except for one thing: My 10-year-old daughter is now a “Full House” super-fan.
A couple of years ago, she started watching reruns on Nickelodon’s Nick at Night, which runs four back-to-back episodes each evening. If I try to interrupt her in the middle of a “Full House” episode, things can get ugly. (“How rude,” I will tell her, using my best Stephanie Tanner voice.)
I always enjoy when Alexis is entertained by shows that entertained me when I was her age. She loved “Back to the Future,” “E.T.,” “Ghostbusters” and “Adventures in Babysitting” just as much as I did. But she showed only a mild interest in “Saved by the Bell,” and “The Brady Bunch” is just plain boring in her estimation. The Disney Channel is filled with much slicker programs starring much more sophisticated youngsters who lead lives as pre-teen rock stars and have dogs who blog.
By comparison, “Full House” is downright wholesome, so I didn’t mind when she started watching. Recently, I asked her to explain the appeal of the Tanners and was surprised by her answer. They’re a normal family, she said. They live in a normal house and do normal things. Alexis can see herself in the Tanners’ spring cleaning dramas more than she can in “Austin & Ally’s” pop star problems.
Interestingly, Alexis doesn’t seem to find a household lead by three males to be the least bit odd. (In the show, dad Danny Tanner was widowed when the girls’ mom died in a car accident, so he moved his brother and best friend in to help him raise the girls.) But then, in 2016, Alexis’s friends’ families are a lot different than my friends’ families were. Their households are less often lead by moms and dads and more often lead by single moms, two moms, moms and grandmas living together, stepparents. To her, that’s normal.
The other night, I sat down to watch “Full House” with her, and I accidentally laughed out loud. In the episode, Danny Tanner is neat-freaking his family to death with his demanding spring cleaning schedule. He overhears them complaining about him and, feelings hurt, drives to the mountains to think. He meets a donkey and begins questioning his own obsession with cleanliness but is distracted by just how dirt-covered nature is. Snort.
“Fuller House” sounds like a bit of a buzz kill, honestly. The plot will revolve around a now-grown D.J. Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure) who’s just been widowed, just like her father was. Really? That’s an excessively cruel twist of fate, but it sets up a plot reprise. D.J. has three boys, so she asks her sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweeten), and best friend, Kimmy (Andrea Barber), to move in and help her with them.
Though the Olsen twins opted not to participate in the show, John Stamos, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier and Lori Loughlin all agreed to return. Although they’re not in the main cast, they’ll have recurring roles.
Alexis says she’s most excited to see what’s become of Stephanie, her uncle Joey and her Golden Retriever, Comet. I haven’t had the heart yet to point out that it’s been 20 years since we last saw Comet, so we likely won’t be seeing him again.
But I hope, for Alexis’ sake and theirs, that D.J. and Stephanie and dippy Kimmy Gibbler will be able to build a life as as simple, uncomplicated and sweetly cheesy for their own “Full House” this time around.