‘Fuller House’ brings back painful memories

By Jacob Pierce |@JacobPierce1_DE |Daily Egyptian

1980s nostalgia has doomed us again.

“Fuller House,” whose showrunner is Jeff Franklin and stars Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin, tries to bring back what fans love about “Full House,” just to tear it down in scaring fashion.

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The whole Tanner clan is back, excluding Michelle, for the first time in ages. The old family home is being sold and everyone’s lives seem to be going well. Everyone, but D.J. Tanner, played by Bure, that is.

Now D.J. Tanner-Fuller, she is a recent widow taking care of three young boys as best she can. But as life keeps getting harder and harder, D.J. does not know how she is going to get through. Seeing the struggle she is going through, sister Stephanie, played by Sweetin, and best friend Kimmy Gibbler, played by Andrea Barber, come to rescue.

The two move in with D.J. and vow to help her through this tough time. Stephanie gives up her partying life style, and Kimmy brings her daughter with her. The new family has a lot of change to get used to.

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Looking at “Fuller House” and “Girl Meets World,” the two big spinoffs out now, each hit concepts the old show excelled at and each fail at points to reach the heights of their former show.

Both also represent a viewership’s need to relive favorites from his or her childhood. While “Girl Meets World” overcomes a lot of the high standards put above it, and tries to make its own name, “Fuller House” fails and gets stuck inbetween trying to be hip and being stuck in the past.

There is no emotional drive in this story.

For a series about dealing with death and blended family, this show never brings you in beyond, “Hey, these are some characters you know.” This is not to say “Full House” was the pinnacle of emotional connection — the show never got above the after school special feel. But “Fuller House” gives you even less.

A lot of this issue stems from how the revival show is set up. The 1980s/1990s sitcom feel does not work very well with how new-age comedies operate. A contemporary show like “Community” touches upon both humorous ideas and very serious character-driven problems. So when an old fashion comedy show  brings up a serious topic, just to drop it, it feels cheap and manipulative.

The biggest example of this in “Fuller House” comes with an interesting idea involving Stephanie. After a discussion with D.J., it is thrown out that Stephanie cannot have children of her own only to not be mentioned again. In a better comedy, this would come out less tactless and more heartbreaking and compelling.

The show takes an annoying and condescending Disney Channel approach.

One of the biggest faults of both “Girl Meets World” and “Fuller House” is trying to attempt the Disney Channel style of family comedies. In this way, both shows would be better to just go back and attempt to recreate the old style.

This avenue of writing causes most of the kids and comedy on the show to be loud and obnoxious. It mistakes a child yelling as a joke, and does it until you are ready to throw your TV. It also attempts to be hip by using buzzwords in place of well-written gags.

The moment the word “fleek” was said on the show, I wanted to stop watching the entire series. The “parents are out of touch” joke is completely understood, but again the show lacks any talent to perform the joke well. As it is presented, the gag feels hackney and meandering.

Each of the three main actresses’ acting ability is a bit rusty.

This point feels a bit like a low-hanging fruit critique, but it needs to be brought up. Bure, Sweetin and Barber all seemingly tried their best, but their attempts come off as stilted and unemotional.

Bure is the worst culprit of this. While Sweetin and Barber have moments where they perform well past their ability, Bure comes off as one-note and amateurish.

The actress is not given much to work with, but when given something, she serves as a distraction from the heart of the scene. The moment in which Stephanie reveals her secret is also a good example here. While Sweetin tries to make something of the scene, Bure goes back to the cheap acting of her sitcom roots and ruins it.

It is hard to imagine even the most hardcore “Full House” fans enjoying this show. The most damning quality to me is how much they have to bring back old characters just get you to care.  

If you want a good feel for the show, just go watch a video of Dave Coulier saying, ” Cut it out” on loop for 10 hours. It’s probably a better use of your time. 

Stars: 1.5 out of 5.

Jacob Pierce can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

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