Full House is a terrible show.
Everything about it totally sucks. The writing is bad, the characters are all shallow and annoying, and the production is lousy. And yet somehow it became a cultural phenomenon that influenced the ABC Networks sitcom aesthetic for over a decade. What the fuck?
The worst thing about watching Season 1 is realizing that it’s probably the best of the series. As 1-dimensional as the characters appear so far, we’ve barely even scratched the surface of the relentless catch phrase spewing and heavy-handed morality that comes later on. Even though these first episodes seem totally half assed and uninspired, they at least have some newness to them. I guess the creators were still figuring out how to phone it in at this point.
The truly painful thing about Full House is that, as the show progressed, it seemed to embrace and even exploit its most obnoxious aspects, abandoning any granule of integrity along the way. After watching Season 1 you might say that Uncle Joey is the most annoying character in the history of television, but then you remember that the Olsen twins haven’t started talking yet. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and instead take a minute to discuss the cast as they appear when it all began:
Danny Tanner is the world’s corniest sportscaster. After his wife mysteriously dies he enlists his greasy, womanizing brother-in-law and his totally worthless fuckhead of a best friend to help raise his three young daughters. John Stamos, who plays the brother-in-law, somehow manages to occasionally squeeze blood from a stone and display an inkling of natural charisma onscreen. Although he fails to perform the impossible task of transcending this shows totally abysmal aesthetic, he at least makes it understandable why he’s the only cast member who went on to do anything remotely respectable in the acting world. Dave Coulier’s performance as Uncle Joey is just so excruciatingly awful that I don’t even want to elaborate on it. On that topic, however, I think here’s as good a place as any to share a little Dave Coulier trivia: Did you know that he’s the guy that Alanis Morissette is singing about in that scorned ex-girlfriend song, “You Oughtta Know.” I’m not even kidding. He kicked her to the curb and she wrote a revenge song about it that became a huge hit. Can you imagine getting dumped by Uncle Joey? I’d keep that shit on the hush hush if it happened to me. But, like all things relating to Uncle Joey, the heartbreak he inspired had to become inexplicably successful in the most obnoxious way possible.
The oldest daughter, DJ, is the closest thing to a straight man on the show. She’s pretty unoffensive and is easily the most relatable character in the cast. Stephanie, the middle sister, is actually pretty cute in the first season and occasionally delivers some pretty funny lines. As for Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s duel role as the baby, Michelle, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: That is an ugly baby.
The only reoccurring supporting cast member is Kimmy Gibbler, DJ’s wacky school chum who lives next door and is totally amazing. Oh, Kimmy Gibbler, you’re too good for this show!
There’s not much to say about the arch of the season itself because Full House has just about the most negligent continuity I’ve ever seen on a tv show. I guess if there’s any sort of running narrative, it’s the family sort of settling into itself and the Uncles transitioning from total incompetence to mild incompetence. One thing that really bugged the hell out of me this season is the constant introduction of new characters and elements that would never be used again. Danny’s Mom is made out to be a major reoccurring character in early episodes and then fades away entirely, the oddest aspect of which is that she’s often referred to and even appears off-screen occasionally. Danny, Jesse and Joey all pursue love interests that seem to form into solid relationships at the end of the episode they’re introduced in but then they’re never mentioned again. The most tragic of all the Season 1 casualties is Bubba the Turtle, a woe-begotten creature that Jesse finds on the side of the road and proclaims his undying love for, who only appears in a single episode. Oh, Bubba, what became of you???
I guess if I had to lay down just one more gripe in this review it’s that I have a real problem with Full House’s overtly gay content that totally forsakes any sort of support or even acknowledgement of gay families. It’s like the shows creators think that gay people are just a joke that somebody made up or something. I guess the show tries to be pretty apolitical, but even still, having a bunch of touchy feely dad’s raising three girls in San Francisco seems like a premise that just has to recognize gay culture in some way.
So, yeah, Season 1 sucked hard but this show went on for 8 seasons and it only got worse, so hold on to your hats. This blog has a long way to go.