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Friday, May 04, 2012

The Tanner-Gibbler Connection

Today is Friday, and it also happens to be the final day of BEST FRIENDS WEEK.  I hope all of you have enjoyed this theme week.  I know I enjoyed this week.  It’s always nice to talk about the subject of friendship, and I managed to find a friendship theme in each theme day.

But, all good things have to come to an end. 

For the final day of BEST FRIENDS WEEK, I thought I’d put the focus on a pair of teenage girls who happened to be next door neighbours, and who were largely inseparable.

These two girls appeared on the television sitcom “Full House” for its entire eight season run.  One of the girls was a regular from the very beginning, while the other ended up becoming a regular character in 1991.  These two girls might have had some misunderstandings and fights over the years, but despite that, their friendship was absolutely genuine.

It’s just a shame that one girl’s family found the other girl to be the very definition of annoying.

Today’s subject is about the friendship of “Full House” characters Donna Jo “D.J.” Tanner and Kimberly “Kimmy” Gibbler, played by Candace Cameron Bure and Andrea Barber.

D.J. and Kimmy became friends with each other ever since D.J.’s family moved onto Gerard Street in the city of San Francisco, California.  When “Full House” debuted in September 1987, D.J. and Kimmy were both in the fifth grade.  It was a particularly rough time for D.J. Tanner when the series first started.  Her mother, Pam, was killed by a drunk driver earlier that year, and she was still trying to adjust to the loss.  To make matters worse, D.J. found that she was having difficulty adjusting to the new changes in her life.  Her uncle Jesse and Joey had moved in to help her father Danny out with taking care of the house, and as a result of this, D.J. was forced to share her room with her younger sister, Stephanie.

Somehow, D.J. managed to get through it.  And, I think a part of that came from her friendship with Kimmy Gibbler.  Although we never did get an episode of “Full House” that showed D.J. meeting Kimmy for the first time, I’d like to think that Kimmy was right by D.J.’s side when she had to grieve the loss of her mother.  In fact, it very well could have been Kimmy’s support of D.J. through the terrible time in her life that changed their relationship status from neighbours to best friends forever.

Now, you’d think that D.J.’s family would be absolutely supportive of her friendship with Kimmy.  Unfortunately for Kimmy, the opposite ended up happening.  Kimmy was seen as a thorn in the side of the entire Tanner family household, and at some point, Kimmy would end up offending almost everybody in the household.

Danny always saw Kimmy as a slob who kept popping over unannounced.  Joey seemed to be indifferent to Kimmy’s presence, but he too was annoyed by her in certain circumstances.  Jesse and Kimmy had a bit of a love-hate relationship.  Sometimes they aggravated each other, but they also respected each other.  And D.J.’s sisters, Stephanie and Michelle often made fun of Kimmy, and the three of them would usually end up fighting more than anything.  Really, only D.J.’s aunt Becky was the only member of the family to show any kind of respect towards Kimmy.  Not that Kimmy really noticed either way.

And, you know, I can see why they might be annoyed by Kimmy.  Kimmy seemed to spend more time at the Tanner residence than she did her own home.  She ate their food, watched their television, and could clear a room with the offensive odour of her sock feet.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.

But that’s the beauty of their friendship.  D.J. knew that Kimmy Gibbler had her obvious faults, but that didn’t affect their friendship one iota.  D.J. loved Kimmy for who she was, and Kimmy, in turn, did exactly the same for D.J.

Of course, the friendship between Kimmy and D.J. wasn’t exactly perfect all of the time.  These two ended up having quite a few conflicts with each other that could have potentially ended their friendship forever.

Birthdays were a particular sore spot in the friendship of D.J. and Kimmy.  One time, D.J. threw Kimmy a birthday party with the intention of giving her a day to remember.  But when Kimmy brought a couple of junior high girls to the party who didn’t really appreciate her at all, D.J. spoke out against them, and Kimmy ended up leaving her own party, ending the friendship with D.J.  The very next day, Kimmy realized that her new “friends” were only using her, and she and D.J. made up again.

Just a few years later, D.J. was so involved with her new boyfriend that she actually forgot all about Kimmy’s birthday that year.  Knowing that Kimmy had expected D.J. to do something special for her birthday (it was her sixteenth), D.J. managed to throw together a party with the help of her family in just a couple of hours.  Sure, the decorations were from Christmas and Halloween, and the birthday cake was made of ketchup and hash browns, but Kimmy was completely touched, and D.J. would have gotten away with it, had loose lips not been flapping and Kimmy discovered the truth.  Kimmy was deeply hurt, and she fled the party in tears, and D.J. was upset that Kimmy didn’t see the effort she put in.  But after a talk with Danny, D.J. realized that she could have treated Kimmy a little better, and again, they made up.

And then there was the time that D.J. tried to help Kimmy out by making her the sports editor of their high school newspaper with some rather mixed results.  Click HERE to watch a clip.

You mean people DON’T use napkins for word processing?  Who knew?

But, again, you know the drill.  D.J. and Kimmy never stayed mad at each other for long, and they made up.

And, that was always a good thing, because Kimmy and D.J. ended up bailing each other out of some really tricky situations.

Take D.J. for example.  Kimmy Gibbler should count her lucky stars that she had a friend like D.J. to help her out when she needed her.

Some examples include the following;

Kimmy was trying to get a good grade in her Spanish class so she could go to Spain for the summer with D.J., D.J. worked with her to make it happen. 

When Kimmy ended up getting drunk at a fraternity party that she and D.J. were invited to, D.J. took Kimmy home and let her sober up in her bedroom while she slept on the sofa.  Kimmy was initially angry with D.J., but later understood that D.J. saved her life. 

And when Kimmy was depressed about not getting into college and decided to elope with her boyfriend to Nevada, D.J. got her ex-boyfriend to drive her down so she could prevent Kimmy from making the biggest mistake of her life.  Now THAT’S friendship.

And, don’t think that the friendship between D.J. and Kimmy was completely one sided either.  Kimmy ended up being a guardian angel of sorts to D.J. as well.  D.J. and Kimmy teamed up together to deal with a situation involving a bratty kid and a staircase banister.

(Okay, maybe not the best example.)

But Kimmy helped D.J. hook up with her first boyfriend, Steve.  Kimmy helped D.J. with the “Stay in School” campaign that she started up.  When D.J. and Steve broke up, Kimmy was there for her.  And, when it came time for D.J.’s senior prom, and D.J. ended up without a date, Kimmy stepped in and helped her out in a huge way by convincing Steve to be D.J.’s escort.

D.J. and Kimmy’s friendship on the surface was not much different than friendships between other sitcom characters.  But if you dig a little deeper, you notice that D.J. and Kimmy’s bond was probably one of the strongest friendships on “Full House”.  It was stronger than the bond that Michelle shared with her friends.  It was stronger than the bond that Stephanie had with her friend, Gia.

No, what D.J. and Kimmy had was one hundred per cent genuine friendship.  It didn’t matter to either one of them that they were absolute opposites.  D.J. was quiet and shy while Kimmy was loud and boisterous.  D.J. dressed sensibly and appropriately, while Kimmy’s wardrobe looked as if a box of Crayola crayons barfed all over it.  D.J. was a good student whose grades were almost always stellar, while Kimmy only got good grades by looking off of D.J.’s test papers and homework assignments.

But who knows?  Maybe those differences were the very things that helped cement the friendship.

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