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Saturday, February 27, 2016

The "Fuller House" Review - Sans Spoilers

So, this could be one of the few times in this blog that I talk about a current show, but it's definitely something that I want to cover.

As you may have already guessed from the numerous talk show appearances of the cast members as well as the promotions surrounding it that a "Full House" spinoff or reboot or whatever you want to call it was coming.

On February 26, 2016, that show "Fuller House" debuted on Netflix.

And I have watched all thirteen episodes of it and feel comfortable enough to do up a review of the series and whether I think it will get a second season.

Okay, so here's the set-up of the plot, in case you didn't know...and for people who haven't seen the series, I'll try not to spoil it too much.  The gist of it is this.  At some point between the birth of D.J.'s youngest child and the time the show debuts, D.J.'s husband Tommy gets killed while fighting a fire.  D.J. has moved herself and her three boys, Jackson, Max, and Tommy Jr. into her dad's house.  Danny plans on selling the house because he and Becky's talk show has become nationally syndicated and they are moving to Los Angeles.  Jesse has also gotten a composing job in Los Angeles, and Joey has gotten a comedy gig engagement in Las Vegas.  Stephanie has become a DJ under the name of "DJ Tanner", and Kimmy has become an event planner and is raising a thirteen-year-old girl named Ramona.

But when D.J. has trouble trying to take care of everything and everyone, and is upset that everyone is leaving her, Stephanie and Kimmy make the decision to move in with D.J., and so D.J., Stephanie, Kimmy, Ramona, Jackson, Max, and Tommy become a blended family.

It's essentially the same plot, just with a gender swap.

So, what do I think about the show itself?  Well, obviously, it's not for everyone.  The first series was sugary sweet and could be corny.  The new series is just as glucose laden - but I will say that there is a little bit of spice in the mix as there are some subtle and not-so-subtle adult references mixed into the various episodes.  Let's just say that you won't look at a volcano quite the same way again.

But for people who watched the original show, it's a nice nostalgic look at the past as well as a great hope for the future - even though the reunion episode would have been a lot better had it been expanded to a full hour.  And for new fans, it's a show that still provides classic laughs and humour while giving off a nice warm glow. 

Now, having said that, there are some characters who seem to have made the transition well, and others who have become as dumb as a box of rocks.  And while we won't be discussing the character of Michelle as the Olsen twins declined to participate (a point that the cast of the show seems to poke fun at a LOT), we will talk about the people who were credited in the first show.

Now, D.J. Tanner-Fuller has become a veterinarian, which I have to say is a fairly good choice of career for her, as she always took care of everyone and everything around her.  What's interesting is that she has essentially become a female version of her father, which is ironic given how she was annoyed by him a lot when she was a teenager!  But, I suppose she could have had worse role models.  As a mother, I think D.J. has done well, and I think that she really does love her children a lot.  But she also finds herself the object of two men's affections during season one.  One is her partner, Matt Harmon (played by John Brotherton), and the other we'll talk about later.

Stephanie is one of the characters who seemingly has devolved in the show.  At first, I was wondering how a clean cut straight A student like Stephanie could become a party girl who goes by the name of "DJ Tanner" at work.  But in episode five of the series, we learn a secret about Stephanie that not only explains why she is the way she is, but also breaks your heart.  Easily the most emotional moment of the series so far.  I think as the show progresses, Stephanie's love for her nephews becomes solid, and I expect that as season two progresses, she will find her path.

Kimmy Gibbler is Kimmy Gibbler, and we wouldn't want her any other way.  She was one of my favourite characters on the original show, and she is still very well liked on this show.  Somehow, Kimmy has started up a successful party planning business entitled "Do It Gibbler Style", and even Danny admitted that she is great at her job.  She seems to have conflicting feelings for her ex-husband Fernando (Juan Pablo DiPace), and she is trying to be more of a mother and less of a friend to daughter Ramona.  She's not nearly the perfect mother, and sometimes she has disagreements with D.J. and Stephanie.  But you know, it's really good to see the three women getting along so well and creating the "She-Wolf Pack".

Jackson Fuller - or J-Money - is a wild card character for me.  I think the actor cast for his part is perfect, and honestly, I think the casting director got it right with all of the kids, because they are all very talented.  But, I think Jackson suffers from "It's Not Fair" disease, because he seems to feel this way quite a lot.  But, Jackson's personality is supposed to be designed after Jesse's, and I have to admit it took me two seasons before I started to like Jesse, so I'll give it time with Jackson.  But I will say this...he is a great older brother.

But Max, on the other hand...he has absolutely become the show's scene stealer, and I think that's great.  He's definitely got a charming personality and great charisma that is sure to work for him - at least for now.  I think I even read in an article that Jodie Sweetin who plays Stephanie said that she'd adopt him if she could!  I think Max is an absolute delight, and even though he seems to be designed after Danny, it's hard to resist his catchphrase of "Holy chalupas!"

Ramona is definitely a Gibbler.  Even though she's at that age where Kimmy starts to embarrass her, she definitely has Kimmy's wild style and biting wit.  And, while she and Jackson sometimes have arguments with each other, Ramona knows that deep down inside, they will always be friends.  Certainly Ramona found it hard to move into the home at first - she referred to the Fuller family as the whitest family in America.  But by episode 13, she wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Not much to say about Tommy Jr.  He's just a few months old.  Michelle wasn't very impressive her first year either.

Jesse appears in a total of four episodes during the series, and I think that his character remains true to form.  He still has great hair, loves Elvis, and sticks his foot in his mouth on occasion in front of his wife.  But you'll be happy to know that he and Becky have stayed married, and in the final episode of season one, they renew their wedding vows.  Or, at least they TRY to.  Either way, Jesse doesn't change much at all through this second go around, and I'm kind of relieved.

Danny, on the other hand, seems to have made quite a few changes.  While he's still a neat freak, I get the impression that he doesn't seem to care about cleaning nearly as much as he used to.  Maybe the fact that he married a younger woman named Teri (Eva LaRue) that did it to him.  To Danny's credit, I think he's actually improved since "Full House".  He's not as goofy and Care Bear like.  Sure, he still loves giving hugs to people, but he's also not nearly as OCD as we initially thought.  He appears in only two episodes of the series though.  I would have thought he'd have done more.

Joey makes an appearance in three episodes, and honestly, I think his character has become increasingly pathetic.  I think Joey started Full House being semi-interesting, devolved into village idiot by series end, and now he's just basically given up on trying to be an adult.  Though, I will say this.  In episode three, when he's babysitting the kids, he does do one thing that I wholeheartedly agree with when it comes to spending family time together.  And for once, it doesn't involve Mr. Woodchuck.

Oh, Becky...what the hell happened to you?  You used to be one of my favourite characters on the original series because you actually had a brain and knew how to use it.  But on this series, you seem like you've donated your brain to science and have become a mess of a character whose biological clock is ticking away its last seconds.  We get it!  Your twins ended up being complete screw-ups and you want another child...but seriously lady, you have a national show and are married to Jesse!  Give it up already.  Of course it doesn't help that in the three episodes that Becky appears in, one of them was my least favourite one.  Seriously, I stopped caring who got sent a thousand roses after the roses arrived.

I had such high hopes for Nicky and Alex, but all they seem to want to do is run a fish taco stand and surf.  Jesse and Becky would be proud.  But, at least you can say that Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit grew up very well.

In an interesting twist, Steve Hale comes back into the scene.  And he appears in six of the thirteen episodes.  And he still has feelings for D.J.!  And he likes to eat!

And for some reason, his dog happens to be Comet's granddaughter.  Yes, Comet the dog crossed the Rainbow Bridge long ago, but Steve's dog had puppies in the very first episode and Max got the chance to take home one of the dogs as his pet (the dog's name also happens to be space themed).  And I think that dog ended up being the gateway for D.J. to spend some time with Steve again.  Will these former lovebirds become a couple?  Well, not if Matt has anything to say about it.

Of course, the show still has a few unanswered mysteries to solve.  Will D.J. find love again?  Will Stephanie settle down?  What will Tommy's first word be?  Will Danny, Joey, Jesse, and Becky return?  How did Danny meet his new wife?  And will Michelle ever come back to the series?

Well, if my prediction is true, I suspect the show will be renewed for a second year.  The question is...will you watch? 

I admit...I might give a second season a whirl...but only if I get to drink as much tequila as the girls did throughout the season!

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