The Unauthorized Full House Story Part 1

Damn, guys, I guess there’s more Full House stuff.  I’m gonna review Fuller House when that happens but in the interim there was a terrible Lifetime movie so why don’t we have a friendly little chat about that?


So, this thing is bad and everything, but it’s also pretty well suited to the quality of its subject.  I just saw Straight Outta Compton and it kind of amazed me to see an actual high-quality biopic get made for once, but imagine if they’d made a Full House movie of that caliber.  I mean, it couldn’t be done, because there’s pretty much no story to tell here, but like imagine if this movie actually looked like it cost money to make or had even one talented actor in it.  It’s kind of a zen practice to try to conjure up that image because it’s so unfathomable that it just makes your mind draw a complete blank.

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Anyway, let’s get into the point-by-point shit talking.  The “movie” opens with the actor who plays Dave Coulier backstage talking to what I wouldn’t so much call an actor as a confused child who is depicting one of the Olsen twins.  The guy who plays Coulier is pretty lousy but I was so grateful to not have to look at Uncle Joey’s actual face for any of this that he never really bothered me.

The two of them head onstage and I was going to say that they embark on a reenactment of a Full House episode but the thing they’re doing isn’t based on any episode that I remember seeing.  I know that I was stoned on pot for most of the episodes that I watched (especially the early ones.  BOY was I high all the time back then!) but I’m really certain that there was never a sleepwalking Uncle Joey episode.  I guess that this is a thing about rights. Like, the people at Lifetime must know the exact amount of stuff that you can do in a biopic without getting sued.  Probably you gotta cough up some cash to do an episode reenactment?

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And if that doesn’t throw you enough, check out this set!  That looks more like Archie Bunker’s house than the Full House.  It’s, like, inverted.  Again, I have to assume that this is a rights thing, like they changed it just exactly enough to not have to give anyone any money.

So then a bunch of no-name actors come out as various characters from the show and it kind of makes your brain reel.  It’s weird because it was already unsettling to see all those terrible people in those garish outfits deliver that intolerable dialogue when it was actually happening, but seeing a skewed reenactment of it is even more fucked up somehow.  It’s like seeing a hideous monster reflected in a funhouse mirror, and it keeps telling all these corny jokes.

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So the actors run through their crappy fake episode reenactment until the Olsen Twin shits its pants and they have to stop the scene (that’s really what happens!) and then the camera pans up and we cut to 2 years earlier.

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Wait, what?  Oh, I get it.  That was, like, the high drama moment.  Most crappy biopics start at a moment that’s supposed to pull you in, like when the guy it’s about is smoking crack in a hotel room or like getting robbed at knife point by a prostitute who’s high on crack or like skiing on a steep, dangerous mountain in the Ozarks while he’s high on crack or something, and then it cuts to when he’s young and innocent and you’re like, man, I gotta see how this hopeful young man ends up being a treacherous crack smoker, especially since he was also the writer of Alf.  The problem here is that the moment they’ve used to try to hook us with reveals that nothing at all interesting is about to take place for the entire movie.  And this isn’t just me being that cranky guy on the internet that shits all over Full House all the time, either.  There’s like zero drama in this whole thing.  The big conflict is that (spoiler alert) Bob Saget is aware that the show sucks.  Outside of that there’s really nothing controversial or even interesting here.  Nobody even hits a crack pipe, not one time.

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2 years earlier, Bob Saget was telling dirty jokes on stage.  The jokes aren’t that dirty here because this is a cheap network television movie (his bit is about tampons, which you can totally talk about on every channel) but you get the idea.  Faux-Saget heads backstage and meets up with Faux-Coulier, informing the audience that they were pals before starring on the worst sitcom of all time together.  They have a friendly exchange with Mrs. Faux-Saget before she leaves them to do guy stuff, like drink booze and trade handjobs (just like on their tv show!  Well, not the booze…).

Faux-Coulier tells Faux-Saget that he’s just been cast on Saturday Night Live and Faux-Saget congratulations him before going into a whiny diatribe about how all the comedians that they came up with are getting tv deals except for him.  I guess it would feel pretty bad to see Dave Coulier get better comedy gigs than you.

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We cut to a generic diner, where we meet Faux-Stamos, who is working for his father after quitting his role on General Hospital.  I’m just gonna assume that he’s working there to help his dad out and not because he spent all of his tv money already.  I mean, come on.  Anyway, Faux-Stamos gets ogled by a bunch of horny broads while his dad gives him a pep talk about his acting career.  Young Stamos worries that the course of his career has led him to be seen in the acting world as “damaged goods,” which is incredibly naive considering that he’ll still be getting work in 20 years after appearing in the worst thing ever filmed (including footage of actual torture) but, you know, hindsight’s 20/20.  Faux-Stamos is comforted first by his father’s reassuring words and then by sauntering over to those horny broads to tear them walls up.

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Bob Saget’s low wage doppelganger goes home to his wife to tell her some big news and she says that she has big news, too, and then in true sitcom fashion he keeps interrupting her when she tries to talk and tells her all about how he’s got an offer to be the lame comic relief on a morning news show.  He questions whether or not he should take the job and then his wife tells him that she’s pregnant because that’s all wives ever say on tv after their big news gets interrupted over and over again.

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Phoney baloney Dave Coulier’s agent calls him and tells him that the people at Saturday Night Live realized that he’s the worst comedian of all time and his stupid fucking face would be a pox on their show so he didn’t get the gig after all and then Coulier pouts like a stupid whiny baby.  Meanwhile, Fakey Bob Saget decides to take the morning show gig.  I think that these two scenes are supposed to be visually woven together by the artful use of cordless phones.

We cut to the ABC Network, where a bunch of fancy bigwigs have a meeting.  There are some real tasty looking donuts on the table and no one is even eating them.  That always drives me nuts on tv shows when there are delicious snacks at a meeting and everyone just acts like they’re not even there.  Man, if I was at that meeting I’d be tearin’ them donuts up.

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The meeting scene is actually a pretty decent explanation of how Jeff Franklin, who wrote some actually quite watchable movies that played on cable ten millions times throughout my youth (“Summer School” and “Just One of the Guys”), wanted to pitch a show about a bunch of comedians who lived in a house together and was cajoled by the network into a series of creative compromises that led to the monstrocity that is Full House.  It all kind of makes sense from a soulless tv network perspective.  Like, let’s just throw a bunch of obnoxious kids into that mix and make it really emotionally manipulative and you’ve got yourself a series!

After a brief sequence of Bob Saget just not quite fitting in on his morning show gig, he finds out that his wife is in the hospital.  It turns out that she had an emergency c-section but is ok and then Sister Saget comes in to establish her character, which may be important later.

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As Jeff Franklin prepares for his initial casting session for the Full House pilot, he expresses concern to either Miller or Boyett about being unsure of the creative direction of the series he’s helming.  Meanwhile, Candace Cameron delivers a mediocre audition, which we know because the casting director says so to Jeff Franklin, as the actress playing Candace Cameron’s performance is pretty much on par with everything else we see in this movie.

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As the casting process continues, we learn more fun trivia about the show, like that the creators wanted Paul Reiser to audition for Danny but he’d already signed on to do My 2 Dads, which is pretty much the same show except not as shitty (and, paradoxically, not as successful).  These sorts of moments are really what this movie is all about.  You don’t get much actual dirt (seriously, not one crack rock in the whole production) but you do get a lot of useless factoids.  Anyway, Candace Cameron’s soulless show-business mom storms back into the casting office with her daughter in hand and, in true Full House fashion, they are awarded another opportunity for overstepping their boundaries.  There is a smart creative choice in this scene of playing music over Candace’s audition so we don’t evaluate her actual performance but we do get the idea that she did a much better job this time and is awarded the role.

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As the casting process continues, Dave Coulier gets a call from his agent to let him know that he’s been offered the role of Joey for some unholy reason (probably some goats got sacrificed, or maybe Dave Coulier just sucks a powerful mean dick) and then we see John Stamos fight his way through a horde of groupies to have a lunch with Jeff Franklin that leads to him being cast as Uncle Jesse.

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Even though the Olsen twins are only in the audition room because their mom is there with a friend who’s peddling her own children, Jeff Franklin can feel it at the base of his nuts that he can make those 2 ugly babies into soulless media moguls some day.

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Bob Saget gets fired from the morning news show because he’s got the second most punchable face in television.  His wife suggests that she go back to work early so he can be a stay at home dad for a while and he’s totally just like fuck that noise.  Like, super flat out.  His wife suggests that he makes an effort to get cast as Danny Tanner and, after some resistance, he agrees to go for it.  Anything’s better than being a stay at home dad!

There’s a teeny tiny flair of storytelling as the producers are shown announcing the casting of Danny and it’s revealed that John Posey has received the role.  Jeff Franklin watches the pilot in his office and expresses his feeling that John Posey’s face just isn’t begging to be punched enough for his terrible abomination of a tv series.  Franklin insists to the producer that Bob Saget is the only man for the job and then they both wonder how they’ll break the news to John Posey.  We never actually see the scene where John Posey is let go, or hear any mention of him ever again in this movie.  Man, I’d give anything to know how John Posey feels about being let go from Full House.  Is it a bummer or a total relief?  Oh, wait, I just googled “john posey full hosue interview” and found all the answers… maybe I’ll read it later.

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And with that, the cast of Full House is assembled, which seems like a good stopping point for the first review.  Man, I’m totally not used to writing this kind of crap anymore.  How did I ever have time to do this?  Anyway, I’m guessing it’ll take 3-4 weeks to review this whole thing.  I hope people keep reading it.  If  you want to hear more of my dumb thoughts about shitty pop culture, be sure the check out the Saved By the Bell Reviewed Podcast, where I chat about that show with a regular cast of depraved weirdos (and an occasional special guest!) each week.

Posted in Bonus Material | 46 Comments


For those of you who are just stumbling across this site for the first time, Full House Reviewed is a blog that writes scathing reviews of every episode of Full House, the worst sitcom of all time.  It was written to amuse people who have boring desk jobs.  It was the bizarre hobby of a cartoonist with a little bit too much free time on his hands, although, to be fair, he probably would have quit doing it if it hadn’t accumulated such a large following.  It took about 4 years to review every single episode and every entry is available to read for free in the archives.  After the project was completed, the author teamed up with another cartoonist, Carolyn Main, as well as a few more nerdy bloggers to create a podcast that reviews every episode of Saved By the Bell.  Subscribe to the Saved By the Bell Reviewed Podcast on itunes, and rate and review it, please.  You can also check out the podcast on its Tumblr page and like it on Facebook.

Posted in Introduction | 31 Comments

Full House, Reviewed

Since this post is going to live at the top of the site until the end of time, I thought I should start with a disclaimer for people that are stumbling onto this page for the first time.  This is a blog that contains scathing reviews of every episode of Full House, the worst sitcom of all time.  It’s written for jokes.  This final post is a sort of retrospective/personal essay about the show and the process of writing the blog, so if you’re just seeing this for the first time, I’d start with pretty much any post other than this one.

Now that we’ve reached the end of this endeavor, I think that there are two main questions left to address.  The first is the central conundrum of the project, which is, “what the fuck was up with this shitty show?”  The other is embedded in the undertaking, which is, “what the fuck is wrong with me that I decided to spend so much time writing about a show that sucks so hard?”  Both questions are probably impossible to answer fully, but I thought that a final attempt to do so would be a proper way to wrap this thing up.

The story of how Full House came to be seems pretty simple, as near as I can tell.  Jeff Franklin, the guy who made “Summer School” and “Just One of the Guys,” two moderately entertaining movies that were on tv an awful lot when I was growing up, got a shot at creating a tv series.  He pitched a show about 3 comedians who all lived together and it got retooled into a series that was more or less a rip-off of the movie “3 Men and a Baby.”  The network was interested in preachy, moralistic, family-friendly programming at the time and that gradually overrode Franklin’s more raunchy and subversive tendencies as a creator.  As the show became successful it started to rely more and more heavily on its established conventions, including terrible catch-phrases and socially tactless characters, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.

So why was this show such a success?  Honestly I think it just hit the right note at the right time.  It was just harmless enough, friendly enough, easily digestible enough.  It’s like junk food.  You always know exactly what you’re going to get when you watch it and it presents no challenge or need to think whatsoever.  You know it’s bad for you but you still engage.  It’s an indulgence.  One thing I didn’t realize going into this project that became clear as I paid attention to the site’s demographics is that an awful lot of young girls watched the show.  That actually explains a lot, because a series about 3 little girls who have 3 doting, non-threatening father figures tending to their every whim and need is a pretty obvious little girl fantasy.  Ultimately, I think that Full House is a product of a unique time, when a combination of low-quality elements somehow came together to create a hit series that couldn’t have endured during any other period.

I think that this blog is a product of a unique time as well.  A comprehensive review of the entire run of a twenty year old tv series that wasn’t any good is something that could only exist at this precise moment (or maybe in the future, if things don’t improve).  I got hooked on reading about stupid bullshit on the internet while working at my last day job.  I found terrible trends in pop-culture from my youth to be particularly appealing for my internet time-wastes, as do many people.  My theory is that this comes from a desire to retread ones youth from a more controlled or empowered vantage point.  Most of us who are so preoccupied with our childhoods and the things that came with it are trying to make amends with all the hardship that we endured growing up.  Our generation had more frivolous stuff than any that came before (a trend that’s certainly continuing, exponentially) and things like Ninja Turtle action figures were a respite from the horrors and difficulty of being a kid.  Revisiting those things as a grown-up is an attempt to recapture that withdrawn escape from real life that was so necessary for us.  Recognizing what was sort of crappy or ridiculous about these artifacts and entertainment that we spent so much time absorbing is a method of revisiting that period in our lives from a place of heightened understanding and control that was beyond our reach at the time.  It’s also an experience we share with so many people.  Although our time spent playing Nintendo or watching crappy tv shows was often a private endeavor, there were millions of people doing the same thing at the exact same time, and the internet allows us to share those experiences in a way that’s both connected and personal but also equally private and withdrawn.

I’ve written a fair amount about how this project came about as a writing exercise, and that certainly had a lot to do with why I started it.  Writing was becoming an increasingly important element of my work and I was seeking a routine for practicing it that wasn’t too demanding, so recapping a shitty show seemed like an ideal assignment.  It was just easy enough and just challenging enough, just creative enough and just mindless enough.  But I was also using the practice as a method of managing anxiety.  When my career became an actual thing that I had to manage, I got fucking freaked out.  When you work so hard for years and years to get your shit together it can be really shocking when it finally happens.  As soon as I was in a state where I wasn’t constantly struggling to stay afloat, and when my professional ambitions became something of a reality, I had no idea what to do with myself at all.  There’s also a strange thing that happens when your creative endeavor becomes your job.  It makes a practice that was purely enjoyable start to feel like work, which is something I’ve been struggling with for some time now.  I think that a need for some new creative diversion was a major reason why I decided to invent a regular writing exercise for myself, and a need for it to be somewhat frivolous was a big part of why it was based around a sardonic revisitation of a crappy show from my childhood.  I should also add that it’s extremely cathartic to vent all your negativity towards an easy target every week, especially if it really doesn’t seem to be hurting anybody.

It’s impossible to spend so much time writing about something without finding, or at least inventing, certain connections.  At it’s core I think that Full House is just a show that strives to be about family values, or a sort of idealistic view of what a loving, morally-superior family is supposed to be like.  Although the fact that these characters are all so obnoxious and inconsiderate makes that idea become a sort of a horror show, I do think that the series’ intentions were good.  Full Houses’s greatest failing is that it features characters that are so incapable of persuasively delivering its intended messages.  When these people tell you that drinking is wrong, what you’re really hearing is that these people are a bunch of fucking squares, so maybe drinking is actually pretty cool.  When Stephanie gets to take a mulligan at the dance competition, what we’re told is that it’s ok to make mistakes and you should always try again, but the lesson in real life would be that sometimes you fuck up and humiliate yourself and that’s all there is to it.  Suck it up, kid.  Better luck next time.  That’s a pretty valuable life lesson, and one you never once hear on Full House.

Full House is, essentially, a series about non-conventional families.  I don’t think that the creators put much more thought into this than, “hey, wouldn’t it be funny if three ridiculous assholes raised some kids together?” but the idea of a unique or non-traditional family structure is still heavily rooted into the series’ foundation.  I think that another one of the series’ greatest failings is a complete disregard for this idea.  I found myself writing about this early on but it took much longer for me to consciously consider the fact that I myself was raised by my lesbian mom in the California Bay Area at pretty much the exact time that this series was on the air and, after becoming aware of that association, I did wonder how much this had to do with what a low opinion I have of this show.  To be fair, the more obvious failings of the series have to do with the poor quality of the writing, acting, set design, costume design, story ideas, etc. etc. etc., so I don’t think there’s much to be salvaged here from any vantage point.  But I also think that this series could have taken a lot more responsibility for its premise and maybe provided some validation or identification for all sorts of kids who came from a non-traditional family structure.  The fact that the homosexual tension between the dad characters is such a comical element throughout the series is a testament to how unwilling the creators were to do anything smart or subversive or even meaningful with the inherent subtext that they’d created.  I don’t think enough thought when into any of this for it to really be considered offensive, and developing a progressive undertone about gay families was probably something that network television wasn’t prepared for (and that the creators weren’t interested in doing), but I do think that all of this creates a very unusual social context for the series.

The other major theme is white privilege.  Full House is essentially a series about a large family of upper-class white people who don’t really work hard or earn anything that they have and who possess virtually no regard for any of the people around them and yet they excel at everything they do and are constantly rewarded and handed incredible opportunities at every turn.  Again, I don’t think that much thought went into this other than that it made the characters more interesting for tv, but I do think that Full House is probably the best example that exists of why people in other countries think that the U.S. is a shitty place.

Beyond those observations, I think I’ve said everything I have to say about Full House.  Regardless, I really am going to miss this blog.  Although I think that the tone was fairly consistent, my relationship with it changed a lot over the course of the project and, like anyone’s does over the course of 4 years, my life changed a lot, too.  I’ll always remember struggling to keep up with weekly posts early on, before anyone was even reading the thing, especially when I moved across the country.  While I was packing up my shit I got a bunch of entries done ahead of time and during the move I scrambled to find ways to post them.  At one point I found myself standing outside of a Starbucks at 1 AM so I could bum the free wifi with my ipod so I could post the new review and I kind of had to wonder what I was doing with my life.  No one would have given a shit if I’d missed a post at that point, but I would have known, and that was enough.

One of the craziest things that happened in a life-meets-art kind of a way is that, while I was writing the episode about Danny’s mom showing up at the full house for the final time, my grandmother died in real life.  I never really wrote about anything personal in the blog but I think that reading that particular entry with that knowledge in your head makes it a pretty interesting post.

When I got about halfway through the series I was feeling like I’d gotten enough out of the project and was seriously considering packing it in.  One day a friend of mine who is particularly internet savvy called me up to tell me that FHR had been posted on something called Metafilter (I still don’t really know what that is) and so I checked the site’s stats.  Before then, the most hits I’d had in a day was about 600 when Dave Coulier accidentally retweeted the sites URL that one of my few readers had sent to him, but all of a sudden I had 30,000 hits in a day.  The site went viral and ended up getting reposted all over the internet and all of a sudden I had an actual sizeable following.  Having a popular blog is a funny thing because it doesn’t really lessen the feeling that you’re just some nerd who’s wasting a bunch of time fucking around on the internet, but it does make it feel a little more valid.

I realized that I couldn’t rent Season 5 on Netflix so I decided to quit the project if fans didn’t buy the rest of the DVD’s for me (which cost about $10 each).  There was definitely some belly-aching about this but the DVD’s were purchased within a matter of hours and I think that I needed that exchange to occur in order to make me feel sufficiently obligated to complete the project. Having a readership definitely helped but for some reason the feeling that I’d be welching on a $10 agreement I’d made with someone assured that I wouldn’t be backing out, ever.

While I was reviewing Season 5, just before I turned 30, a bunch of crazy shit happened all at once in my personal life.  I was woken up one morning and subjected to the most abrupt, uncivil break-up of my entire life.  It was the kind of break-up where you’re not given any explanation but it’s just totally over so you go stay at your friend’s house in their spare room that smells like cat pee and return to the apartment that you’re still paying for during designated times when no one’s there to pack up your shit and find all this really conspicuous evidence that some strange guy’s been having sex in your bed.  Suffice to say, I was a little fucked up for a while, and I came the closest I ever did to having to stop the blog for a while.  Ultimately I decided that I needed to keep doing it to give myself something to focus on, that the routine was good for me, and I think that this decision really changed my relationship with the project.  While I was staying in that cat pee room I watched the episode where Michelle learned how to ride a bike and I found myself cackling with sinister laughter while watching her fall into the bushes, and it was at that precise moment that I knew that everything would be ok.

After I found a new apartment and got my shit settled in I started to feel this incredible euphoria.  For the past several years I’d been trying to make a crappy relationship work and spending all my time getting high and working at home and all of a sudden I felt this wealth of possibility.  I felt like I’d just come out of a coma.  I started going out and doing stuff, I made a bunch of new friends, I started sleeping better, I worked a lot less, I went to the river, I got to be a judge in a sandwich competition, I started dating someone new and it was amazing.  It was actually this period when I found it to be most difficult to maintain the blog but, like I said, a few people had contributed those $10 DVD box sets, so what choice did I have.

Another major event was that the company I’d been doing regular contract work with offered to make me an official employee so I’d receive health benefits but in order to do so I’d be subject to random drug tests.  Just as I was turning 30, I had to make a choice between smoking weed and having health insurance.  I wouldn’t say that this was an easy decision, but I will say that the choice was obvious.  I was worried that after the fact I’d become some preachy guy about how smoking weed is shitty or something but I really don’t feel that way at all.  I think that smoking weed is pretty great.  But I was doing it, like, all the time, for years and years, and totally failing to moderate it, so quitting was probably a good idea.  I haven’t really spent much time going back and reading old entries but I’m curious about how differently the first 6 Seasons read from the last 2, which were the only ones that weren’t written when I was super high.  I will say that reviewing Full House was a lot more of a challenge without the effects of sweet, sweet reefer.

So there you have it.  This blog was the product of being in a shitty relationship and getting really high all the time.  That’s pretty much the entire behind the scenes story.

The main thing that makes this project feel like it was worth doing is the amazing community that accumulated around it.  It’s totally incredible to me that I created a place on the internet where I could be an asshole every week and vent all my hostility and yet I ended up feeling like I did something good.  As the comments section became more active, people started opening up more, and I really felt like I had somehow created a space where people could work out some stuff and find support.  I have no idea how this happened, as it seems so counter-intuitive to the tone of the project (and defies pretty much every comments section I’ve ever seen on the internet), but I do think it’s the thing I’m most proud of.  I really do want to thank every person that shared this experience with me, and who shared their own experiences as well.  We may not know each other in real life but we went through this thing together.  There’s something amazing about that.

One last thing I’ll address before I retire from this project forever is that I think I may have endured this process for one other reason that occurred to me late in the game.  For whatever reason, I was always compelled to watch Full House whenever it was on.  I think I enjoyed the visceral anger it gave me.  The process of watching and reviewing every episode is kind of like that old convention where your dad catches you smoking a cigarette when you’re a kid so he makes you smoke a whole carton, and then you get so sick that you never want to smoke again.  I’m sure that going through this process did irreparable damage to my psyche in ways that will take years to understand, but one positive effect it had was that I’ll definitely never sit through another episode.

Fuck you, Full House.  I’m never watching you ever again.

I thought a lot about what I wanted the final moment on this site to be and the answer occurred to me about a year ago, so when I went home to visit my family over the Summer I made a special field trip just for you.  Before I get to it I just wanted to say thank you one last time.  A lot of people have written to say that I made their Friday mornings better over the last few years and I want you to know that you did the same for me.  Absolutely.

Your pal,

~Billy Superstar~






Posted in Bonus Material, Conclusion | 140 Comments

Top 10 Shittiest Moments Ever on Full House

Picking the Top 10 Shittiest Moments Ever on Full House is like selecting the finest grain of sand on a beach.  There’s just so much to sift through!  There are countless moments that could have qualified for this list but I did my best to look over the series and pick the ones that really stood out as the most glaring examples of why this show sucks so hard.  I’m sure people will have their own ideas and I look forward to reading them in the comments.  I was going to write an honorable mentions list but it would have had to include like half of the episodes.

Without further adieu, here it is, my own personal list of the Top 10 Shittiest Moments Ever on Full House:

10) The Endless Dream Sequence (Season 1, Episode 19, “The Seven-Month Itch: Part 1”)

At the end of the first Season, Jesse gets fed up with all of the responsibilities that come with living in his brother-in-law’s house rent free and runs away, creating a cliff-hanger for the series’ first 2-part episode.  The catalyst for his departure is an incredibly drawn-out dream sequence that exemplifies all of his anxieties about everyone getting all up in his face and asking him for stuff all the time.  It goes on longer than you can even imagine, with almost no progression, just an endless rotation of all of the characters uttering phrases into a fisheye lens.  This is the first example of a common tactic that the show would employ for the first several Seasons, where an episode’s story would be light so there would be some extraneous dream sequence to pad it out.  What made it more of a landmark for me, though, is that this was the first time during my run of watching the series where I can distinctly remember feeling like I was actually going crazy.

9) The Forever Music Video (Season 5, Episode 26, “Captain Video: Part 2”)

Season 5 ends with Jesse making a terrible music video out of his shitty cover of a mediocre Beach Boys song.  As far as mid-90’s music videos go, it’s maybe not all that bad (it features many odd conventions of the time, like rooms filled with candles and a location that looks like an old church in the desert) except for the fact that his babies are prominently displayed throughout it in what is debatably a sexually fetishistic way.  It’s also always hard to deal with something on this show when it’s supposed to be understood that it’s a quality presentation.  I’m pretty sure that we’re supposed to think that this is a good video although nothing that’s contained within it persuades us towards that perspective.  Regardless, it’s easily one of the most iconic terrible moments in the entire series.

8 ) Michelle Selects a Cardboard Cut-Out As a Reward (Season 7, Episode 16, “Joey’s Funny Valentine”)

This moment is so terrible and frustrating that it actually stands out as the worst part of an episode that’s all about Joey having a girlfriend.  A parrot flies into the full house and the kids recognize that it belongs to a guy who owns an electronics store.  When the parrot is returned, the owner decides to reward them by letting them pick any item from the store.  Throughout the rest of the episode, DJ and Stephanie argue over which appliance they should get until Danny finally leaves the decision up to Michelle.  Rather than picking between her sisters’ choices, she straight up chooses a cardboard cut-out of the shop’s owner, which is clearly the most worthless and impractical thing that could possibly have been inside that whole place.  This is one of those extreme cases of Michelle being shown completely over-the-top favoritism in the full house and getting what she wants at the cost of every other character.  When I think of all the things she did that made me want to beat her to death, this moment definitely stands out. 

7) Stephanie Goes to Therapy, is Cured of Her Neurosis in Minutes (Season 3, Episode 11, “Aftershocks”)

Stephanie gets all clingy and weird towards Danny so he decides to take her ass to a shrink.  The therapist has her draw a picture and, as Stephanie describes the image, it becomes clear that the source of her behavior is anxiety that came from not knowing where Danny was during the San Francisco earthquake.  Once that’s discovered, the problem is solved.  It takes less than 3 minutes.  Not only is this quick-fix narrative a slap in the face to therapy as a profession and practice, it’s also a big fuck you to anyone who endured any lasting traumatic stress after that earthquake.  What makes it most egregious, though, is the fact that they finally got one of these assholes into a therapist’s office and neglected to deal with any of the real issues.  Why wasn’t her overwhelming sense of entitlement ever looked into, or her total disregard for other people?  All of these people need therapy so bad!

6) Michelle Forces Becky and Jesse to Stay in the Full House (Season 4, Episode 20, “Fuller House”

After Becky and Jesse get married, it makes perfect sense that he’d start mooching off of her instead of Danny, so he moves into her place.  It really wouldn’t hurt the series at all to have them live in their own house nearby but I guess the producers thought that it was really important for everyone to be crammed into this one house forever so Michelle gets all sad and cries when Jesse packs up his shit.  Jesse is so distressed by this that he is unable to enjoy his new life in his nice new house with his super hot, smart wife with an amazing career so he forces her to move into the attic with him, effectively ruining her future forever.  But, hey, at least Michelle’s happy!

5) Joey Doesn’t Quit Comedy (Season 3, Episode 6, “Star Search”)

Joey finally realizes that he’s a no-talent waste of human life but he tries to prove to himself otherwise by going on Star Search, a haven for such people.  In one of the series’ rare moments of at least partial self-awareness, Joey loses because he sucks and for one brief, shining moment, it seems like he’ll finally do the world a big favor and kill himself, or at least quit doing all those terrible impressions all the fucking time.  But no, he decides that he can’t be dissuaded and continues to be an annoying pain in the ass with the support of his shitty family. This episode is the greatest argument against a person following their dreams that I have ever seen.

4) Jesse Serenades Michelle (Season 2, Episode 16, “Baby Love”)

Michelle develops an unhealthy attachment to another baby who comes and visits the full house and then she lapses into a deep depression after he leaves.  Jesse tries to lift her spirits by singing her an awful song that he’s written about her.  It’s uncomfortable to watch for so many reasons, and the worst part is that it doesn’t even do any good, so we have to sit through that shit for no reason.

3)  Jesse’s Christmas Speech (Season 2, Episode 9, “Our Very First Christmas Show”)

The family gets trapped in an airport during Christmas and everyone’s morale is quite low until Jesse decides to get up in front of everyone, including all the other unfortunate passengers who are stuck there with them, and delivers the most contrived “inspiring” speech of all time about the meaning of Christmas or some such bullshit.  This was the first of many times where I couldn’t believe that no one from the full house was assaulted for being such a public nuisance.  He actually forces everyone to sing Christmas carols with him, as if being trapped in the airport didn’t suck hard enough already.  This is one of those interesting moments that would have actually had the opposite effect in reality than what is conveyed onscreen.  For any person that was trapped in that airport, Jesse’s speech had to have been the worst part of the whole experience.

2)  The Death of Papouli (Season 7, Episode 17, “The Last Dance”)

This one’s tricky because it’s actually one of the few enjoyable episodes, but for all the wrong reasons.  Jesse’s elderly grandfather comes to visit from the old country and, after bestowing his magical, old-world wisdom unto everyone, dies abruptly in his sleep.  The last half of the episode consists of the entire cast sitting around sobbing and delivering incredibly melodramatic speeches and it’s fucking hilarious.  Although I enjoyed this episode the most out of the entire series, I had to include it here because it had the opposite of its intended effect.  This was easily the most emotionally manipulative thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and the greatest failure of all the series’ very special moments.

1) Michelle and Her Classmates Sing Twist ‘n’ Shout (Season 4, Episode 25, “The Graduates”)

Although there are certainly more contrived or offensive moments during the series, this is definitely the hardest one to sit through, ever.  When Michelle and her little friends graduate from Preschool, Jesse has them put on a little performance of Twist ‘n’ Shout that I can only assume is supposed to be cute but, holy fuck, it’s just a horrible mess!  This is the most extreme example of the show not even qualifying as an amateur-quality production.  I cannot believe that this was on tv at all, and knowing that it was part of a successful series and that people got paid really well for it is just a fucking travesty.  This is the ultimate pull-your-hair-out infuriating moment of the entire series, and, in case you didn’t notice, that’s saying a lot!

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Montage: The Most Disturbing Images To Come Out of the Full House

For such a wholesome series, Full House sure did present an awful lot of disturbing images, many of them of a sexual nature.  Here are the best ones!

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The FHR SF Wrap-Up Party

Here it is, the video coverage of the SF FHR Wrap Party!  Thanks very much to Thom for making these!  Be sure to check out his 80’s video series!  He’s gonna make a bunch of brilliant stuff!

Part 1

For the second part I guess the camera was overheating at certain times so there are some creative edits.  Just think of it as being like a Godard movie.

Part 2

Just so you guys don’t have to worry, enough people ended up showing up so I wasn’t charged for the venue.  Thanks so much for coming out, everyone!  No one made a video of the Portland event so this is it!  I hope you enjoyed it!

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Review of Dustin Diamond’s Autobiography, Behind the Bell

About 4 years ago, I found myself reading Dustin (the guy who played Screech on Saved By the Bell) Diamond’s autobiography on a lark.  After I finished it (which took about 3 hours) I thought it would be fun to write a little review so I threw something together and posted it on Facebook.  It didn’t get much of a reaction or anything but for some unknowable reason something came over me and I felt a strong urge to continue to write critiques of pop-culture’s most shameful endeavors.  I started FHR a few weeks later.  Now that it’s all over, I thought I’d share this initial article, which, to me, was the catalyst for this whole project:

I’ve never read a tell-all autobiography before but my morbid obsession with Saved By the Bell made this one irresistible. I don’t know what purpose these types of books usually serve, but this one is clearly an outlet for years of pent-up bitterness, not to mention a blatant effort to make a couple of bucks while attempting to craft a new and more marketable persona. Well, lemme tell ya, it did not work.

The main reason I wanted to read this book was to find out what it was like to work on Saved By the Bell and dish some dirt about real-life behind the scenes shenanigans, but this book provides much less of that than a sort of bizarre portrait of Dustin himself. Most of what he has to say about working on the show is focused around what a bunch of stupid jerks everyone was and how mean they were to him. He has bitter nicknames for everyone that he apparently still uses to this day, one of many features of his narrative that makes it hard to sympathize with him. Most of his behind-the-scenes gossip is made up of embarrassing moments his cast members endured while he stood idly by, snickering to himself. On one occasion, the guy who played Zack had to piss really bad during a press tour and got caught by the fuzz relieving himself behind a dumpster. Screech’s account of what a sniveling bitch Zack is when the law intervenes is clearly biased, if not entirely hyperbolic. On another occasion, Zack accidentally hit an innocent bystander in the face with a softball during a company game. I’m not really sure why this story is supposed to support an argument that Zack is a jerk, as the incident was clearly an accident, but the anecdote seems to be included with the intention to further defame the studios “golden child” that stole all of Screech’s glory.

The narrative gets kind of a Humbert Humbert thing going pretty quickly, where we see through Screech’s bullshit and clearly recognize the flaws within his own character as he desperately grasps for our empathy and attention. One incident recounted is of an extra who scored cool points with the cast by belittling Screech in front of everybody. I can see why that would sting, being the star and all and having even the lowest contributors to the show holding a higher social standing among the cast members. I might have felt bad for Screech if the climax of that story wasn’t him pissing in that extras purse backstage. You might think that he would recognize this as a petty and vindictive act all these years later, but no! The purpose of the story is to let us know what a bad motherfucker he is.

Overall the book contains surprisingly few noteworthy stories about the cast. There’s a few funny bits about Mario Lopez, who Screech clearly hated the most. I actually laughed out loud when he recalled what it was like to do promo interviews with Lopez, who would constantly talk over anyone else who tried to reply to questioning and redirect the conversation back to himself. The books overall biggest nugget of gossip is about Lopez as well, who Screech alleges narrowly avoided rape charges that NBC settled out of court while SBTB was still on the air. As with all the books allegations, it’s hard to know how to filter what is stated as we’re dealing with such a dubious narrator. It’s also questionable because it’s so clear that Screech was pretty far out of the casts social loop, which is probably why most of his behind-the-scenes content is filled with prank wars between himself and prop guys or the shows head carpenter. Not exactly the Saved By the Bell untold story I was hoping for…

Most of the book is filled with self-indulgent tripe that only serves to further prove that Screech is an even more obnoxious idiot in real life than on tv. He goes on and on about how many chicks he banged, recounting with great sentimentality his many trips to Disneyland to get his mack on. If that’s not vomit-inducing enough, there’s also a lengthy narrative (with foreshadowing and everything!) about a long-developing romance with an older NBC executive. If the image of Screech getting it on with some teenage hussy at the Magic Kingdom isn’t disturbing enough, how do some post-coital snuggles with a woman in her forties sound? Oh, man… it’s just… it’s just awful. There’s a few other hilarious tidbits, like when he claims to be the catalyst for the live action Scoobie Doo movie (despite a valiant effort, he was not selected to play Shaggy on screen) or provides his 2 cents about Urkel (“the primetime Screech”), but most of his exploits just involve him hanging out with his lame friends that you’ve never heard of.

I’m not even sure if this qualifies as a real book. It doesn’t seem to adhere to any publishing standards whatsoever. I’m not even talking about the total lack of production design or the easy-reader sized font (which was actually a nice relief for my crappy eyesight). Early in the text there are some weird spelling errors and commas for no reason, but as the book progresses I found a few paragraphs that ran twice in a row and sentences randomly cut and pasted into adjoining paragraphs. It’s possible that Screech was trying to pull off a William S. Burroughs thing, but it’s more probable that nobody bothered to read the text before printing it up. It’s all kind of appropriate, though. The whole appeal of Saved By the Bell is how mind-bogglingly half-assed and ridiculous it is, so this quality-control-free publication does faithfully mirror the shows aesthetic. Whenever I watch SBTB, I find myself less interested in the characters and situations than I am compelled to speculate as to just what the hell the shows writers and producers were thinking when they put the whole mess together. In behind the Bell, the creators intention is glaringly obvious, and like the tv series itself, it fails to make a genuine connection with its audience. The audience finds themselves laughing at it, not with it.

It’s impossible to say whether I’d actually recommend this book to anyone. The only people who would even consider reading it are hopeless fanatics like myself, who don’t really have a choice. I knew this book was a piece of garbage before I picked it up and I read the whole thing anyway. I’m a slave to this shit. As far as mindless drivel goes, at least it was pretty undemanding. The whole thing reads like an enormous sidebar to an US magazine article. What a stupid waste of time!

Posted in Bonus Material | 31 Comments