Great, a fucking Christmas episode. The last bunch of reviews have been a little easier to get through because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but then shit like this has to come up and kick me right in the nuts. It’s pretty much a sitcom standard that Christmas episodes are sappier and less entertaining than most, and boy oh boy is that no exception here. I’m still traumatized by Uncle Jesse’s inspiring Christmas speech in that early episode where they were stuck in an airport for the holidays.
This episode was actually instrumental in the formation of this blog. One Christmas, just a few months before FHR started, I was blessed with the holiday miracle of both BET and Nick at Night running hella Christmas episodes of Family Matters over the course of several days during my winter downtime and I couldn’t get enough of that shit (except for maybe the one where Carl and Urkel get stuck on a train on Christmas. That one kind of sucked), especially how they kept alternating which family member got to sing a soulful Christmas ballad at the end of the episode. It’s like everyone wanted to try to score an album deal so bad that they had to take turns. Anyway, I was so into Family Matters Christmas episodes that I even settled for watching a Full House one (being another TGIF show, it was close enough) when this very episode came on. I only caught the last half of it and assumed that it would make more sense when I saw the whole thing, which I was totally wrong about (more on that later). Anyway, the point is that, even though the experience reminded me that Full House is a way shittier show that brings none of the so-bad-it’s-good joy that Family Matters does, it’s probably why I ended up picking Full House after deciding to write a Family Matters review blog and then learning that the series wasn’t available on DVD. Up to that point it had been a pretty long time since I’d watched Full House so happening upon this episode had a lot to do with putting it back on my radar. You might even say it was a Christmas miracle.
I know that I usually just get right to the review but I just had to regale y’all with that little anecdote first.
Pre-Credits Gag: Michelle tells everyone that she got Danny a store-bought gift for Christmas and they’re all surprised because she usually makes her gifts for everyone. They then spend about a full minute discussing all of the types of cereal that she’s used to craft their previous gifts and even recite some slogans for said cereals. Eventually the check from the Kelloggs people clears so they move on. Michelle pulls out Danny’s gift, which is a big plank of wood that’s shaped like a tie that you can hang a drink on while you wear it and everyone pretends that it’s not terrible because they’re pretty used to appeasing her all the time.
Danny and Becky soak in the Christmas cheer around the full house until Jesse storms in and starts yelling at Joey for making him go to the dry cleaners with him so they could pick up his Santa suit. Jesse rants for a while about how crowded and stressful shopping is right before Christmas, which is actually a pretty relatable complaint. Just as Michelle comes downstairs, Becky pulls out the same novelty tie that Michelle bought for Danny, explaining that she’s bought it for Joey as a gag gift. Everyone takes a minute to talk about what a gaudy piece of shit the tie is as Michelle comes to realize that it’s a crappy present. It’s always interesting to me how necessary it if for the characters to express their opinions about things like this in order for the audience to understand how we’re supposed to relate to it. Like, if they all thought that the novelty tie was amazing I wouldn’t even question it because these assholes have the worst taste in everything all the time anyway, so it really helps when they spell out their opinions for us.
After Michelle excuses herself, Becky asks Jesse if he remembered to buy mistletoe and he says that he did and complains about how expensive it was. When he shows it to her she tells him that he was sold parsley and he’s like, “well, it’s not like I ever did anything right before this. What’d you expect? Also, fuck Christmas.”
Jesse walks into the living room and discovers Michelle throwing her gift for Danny right into the fire, which is kind of intense. He stops her and asks her what the fuck she’s doing and she tells him that she’s burning her gift for Danny because they were all talking hella shit about it not 2 minutes earlier. She asks him to take her to the store so she can exchange it but he’s like, “fuck no, I’m hella sick of this Christmas shopping bullshit. Don’t you remember? That’s like my whole thing this episode.” but then he ends up taking her anyway because how else was that ever gonna play out? I wish that conventional media would just give up already on people initially refusing to do things and then coming around. It’s such a waste of time. Every action movie is like that. It’s like, no one ever just agrees right away to go to outer space or a dinosaur island or whatever, they always outright refuse to go and then make you wait an extra ten minutes before they change their mind and you get to see all the cool shit you went to the movie for. If I ever write a movie I’m gonna make sure that the scientist agrees to go to the dinosaur island right away, with no hesitation.
DJ, Stephanie and Joey all groan excessively as they try to fit Joey into his Santa Suit. They come to realize that the dry cleaner gave him someone else’s suit, which is much smaller, but they are all dedicated towards squeezing him into it so he can perform as Santa for the twins. As they continue to moan and groan melodramatically while trying to stuff him into the suit, the twins, who are wandering around the full house unsupervised, stumble onto the scene and decide that Santa must be hurting their cousins (and/or sexually abusing them). Declaring that Santa is a monster, they flee in terror.
The owner of the novelty shop that Michelle bought Danny’s terrible tie from is played by Mickey Rooney, who gets one hell of an applause from the audience when he shows up onscreen. Just as Jesse and Michelle walk up to the door, Mickey Rooney flips the open sign, declaring the store closed, but that doesn’t stop Michelle and Jesse from barging in on account of they don’t give a fuck about other people’s time or personal space. Jesse insists on returning the tie before the store can close but Michelle is unable to provide a receipt for it. Jesse, once again disregarding rules and regulations whenever they’re inconvenient for him, decides to grab an item of equal value and demands an exchange. Mickey Rooney tells him to put the item down and get the fuck out of his store so he can go home and then when Jesse refuses, Mickey Rooney locks the store from the inside and presses the silent alarm, informing Jesse and Michelle that they’ll be spending the holidays in jail. Wait, really? I don’t know how to feel about this. I mean, Jesse definitely deserves some comeuppance for being such a pushy, inconsiderate asshole, but locking them inside the store and calling the cops is pretty over the top. I really can’t say who’s the bigger asshole here. When I saw this episode before, I came in right after the commercial break that follows this scene so I didn’t really know why he was locking them in there and now that I do know I find it quite baffling. It’s like the people from the full house have finally met their match or something.
Jesse and Michele try to reason with Mickey Rooney so he’ll let them go but he aint havin’ it. He then subjects Jesse to a series of pranks using novelty items and he and Michelle seem to find it quite amusing. It’s almost like he’s trapping them in there just so he can subject Jesse to dribble glasses and dirty handkerchiefs for his own entertainment. It’s also weird that Michelle and Mickey Rooney are getting along so well considering that he’s trapping them in there and everything.
Danny has a talk with the twins about Santa. He’s unaware of their burgeoning fear of ol’ Saint Nick but even so, he should know better than to make Santa sound so creepy when he talks about him. He tells them about how there’s no way to keep Santa out of your house and how he sees you all the time, whether you’re sleeping or awake, and yet somehow he is puzzled when the twins run away fearfully. I mean, really, he couldn’t have made it sound more like Santa was going to come into their bedroom at night to touch their buttholes.
Mickey Rooney continues to collaborate with Michelle on practical jokes that they subject Jesse to until Jesse finally gets fed up and declares that he’s gonna bust out of the novelty store, which is pretty understandable, really. I mean, seriously, how long can Mickey Rooney hold them there? And he really does seem to be doing it strictly for his own amusement. Verifying that theory, Mickey Rooney tells Jesse that he called the cops 20 minutes earlier and told them not to come (how nobody heard this phone call is a question that will never be addressed) and agrees to let them go. Jesse gets all up in arms and rounds up Michelle so they can get the fuck out of there but then she theorizes that Mickey Rooney was just holding them there so he wouldn’t be alone on Christmas Eve. Rather than recognizing that as sociopathic behavior, Michelle decides that it’s a good reason to invite him to the full house for Christmas. Hey, sure, why not? Being such a pushy asshole that makes jokes at the expense of others, he does come off as something of a kindred spirit.
Being the gruff, guarded character that he is, Mickey Rooney tells them to get the fuck up out his store, but when Jesse suggests that Mickey Rooney should spend the evening with his own family, he replies, “which family are you talking about? The one that doesn’t write me, or the one that never phones me?” Wait, so he has two families? Anyway, this heavy-handed, self-pitying line from a guy who just held our protagonists captive for hours for no good reason causes the audience to go, “aww,” so gentle music comes on and they are prompted to continue to investigate the situation. Mickey Rooney says fuck his family because they all moved up to Oregon and didn’t invite him to go with them. Jesse says that he should swallow his pride and get back in touch with his family because family is the most important thing on account of they’ll let you live in their attic and don’t make you pay rent or have a real job and they even make up for your complete inability to raise your own children. Mickey Rooney tells him to fuck off and get out of his store but as Jesse turns to go, Michelle asks Jesse if they can invite Mickey Rooney to the full house for Christmas dinner. Mickey Rooney’s like, “what the fuck would I want to do some shit like that for?” but Jesse calls him out on being a lonely old weirdo who has nowhere better to be. They beg him to come to the full house and he eventually agrees, but first he says he has to run off camera to do something that he’s been waiting to do for a long time. Jesse and Michelle have no problem waiting since it’s not like they’ve been trapped in that store against their will for a bunch of hours or anything. While they wait, the music comes on again as Jesse says that he had lost his Christmas spirit before, and that the problem with Christmas wasn’t the stress and rampant consumerism but only his inability to deal with it.
The family all work together to convince the twins that Santa isn’t scary. Danny gives them Santa shaped cookies and then DJ and Stephanie give them a stuffed Santa which they hug, causing the audience to go, “aww.” After those two brief efforts, the problem is solved.
Joey comes out dressed as a bunny because he didn’t want to frighten the twins with his Santa suit (so a bunny suit was a natural replacement, of course) and they fucking hate it because Joey in a bunny suit is pretty goddamn unsettling.
The twins start shouting about how they want Santa and then Michelle and Jesse come home and say that they’ve brought a surprise. Mickey Rooney comes in after them dressed as Santa and shouting “ho ho ho!”
No one seems to think it’s strange at all that Michelle and Jesse have brought home some wayward old man. Danny asks Michelle where they were and she says that she bought him a shitty ass gift and had to replace it. He says that she didn’t have to do that because it’s the thought that counts and it’s not like little kids ever get their parents good gifts anyway. He opens the replacement gift that she got him and it’s a candy cane toothbrush, proving how completely not worthwhile that entire endeavor was.
Jesse tells Mickey Rooney that he has a gift for him and then he hands him a phone and tells him to call his family. He dials their number and his granddaughter answers so Mickey Rooney gets all choked up and wishes her a merry Christmas, which isn’t like completely contrived or anything. The family all start singing “Deck the Halls” and then Mickey Rooney walks over and holds the phone out to them because if your estranged grandfather called you for the first time ever during the holidays I’m sure you’d really want to spend that call listening to a bunch of strangers that he’s spending the holidays with instead of you while they sing Christmas carols. Maybe if it was Eddie Winslow’s sweet, soulful voice it might make sense, but these fucks? Forget it.