Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fuller House Season 1 Review (SPOILERS)

The first season of Fuller House was released on Netlfix on Friday, February 26th, at midnight pacific time. That was 1 a.m. for me. And yes, my roommate and I sat down and watched the first several episodes within the first half hour of it being released. After taking some breaks for things like sleep and life, we were back on it and within 24 hours of it's debut, we were finished. It was a blast! Normally I don't review sitcoms like this simply because there usually isn't much to say. Did the episode make me laugh? Yup. Okay, that's a positive review! Get my vibe? But this one is different because there definitely is a lot to say with Fuller House. And yes, I am throwing the spoiler tag up there because the non-spoiler review for this season would be really short. Do you like Full House? If so, then check out Fuller House. If you don't like Full House, then don't waste your time. There's literally hundreds of T.V. shows out there. Find the genre you like. Fuller House is made for the fans of Full House and for these fans, it pays off in a huge way. There. That's my non-spoiler review. Now if you haven't seen it, go watch the 13 short episodes and come back and read the rest of this!

I didn't actually read any reviews of the show before jumping in. For this show, I felt that was completely unnecessary. I do like seeing reactions from fellow fans and for that I went to the only place that I think people should go for reviews. IMDb. Call it untrustworthy if you want, but you can go to the episode listings and look at the average score that fans who watched the episodes gave it. Looking at this, I was pleased to see that fellow Full House fans like myself were enjoying the show. I think it wasn't until after I was already finished that I noticed that the critics on Rotten Tomatoes completely and utterly hated the show, which shocked me actually. But who cares about them. Rotten Tomatoes is actually a good site to look at what critics thought of movies. Recently they added T.V. shows to Rotten Tomatoes and that was the dumbest thing ever. I could go into detail about why it is so bad, but now is not the time for that. Yet I do want to throw it out there that I really hope none of you actually trust the T.V. side of Rotten Tomatoes when looking at shows you want to watch because it is a very flawed system.

With all that out of the way, let's dive into this show! To start things off, we have a song to talk about. Take a listen:

Yeah I know. It took me a while to get used to theme song with Carly Rae singing it. It's much better with the original singer. But I've gotten used to it and now I kinda like it. Some might find this hard to believe, but I actually like Carly Rae. Yes, "Call Me Maybe" drove me up the wall a few years back when it was all over the radio, the internet, and my life in general. It just wouldn't go away. But now that it's been a couple of years since then, I've actually learned to like the song for what it is. And Carly Rae does have a lot of good music. She's a talented girl. When you think about Fuller House, it's essentially a modern, updated version of Full House. They do pay tribute to the original series, but they don't spend the whole show reminiscing in the past. They are enjoying the present and looking forward to the future. And such, it's fitting to take the old song and update it with a modern pop singer. Yes, the old version is still better, but the more I think about, the more I realize that the old song as is wouldn't fit Fuller House. This isn't Full House. This is Fuller House.

But I am glad they kept this song as their theme, because the lyrics of the song fully encompass why I love Full House and why I also love Fuller House. I embedded the full, extended version of the song up there for you to listen to and so I won't quote the whole thing. Instead I will quote for you the minute-long edited version that they use for the opening credits. Here it is:

"Whatever happened to predictability?
The milkman, the paperboy, the evening T.V.?

"Everybody eventually
Says that they're as lost as you.
So everybody shout it together
'Hey, don't sell your dreams so soon!'

"Everywhere you look, everywhere you go
There's a heart, there's a heart, a hand to hold on to.
Everywhere you look, everywhere you go
There's a face, there's a face, of somebody who needs you.
Everywhere you look.

"When you're lost out there and you're all alone,
A light is waiting to carry you home.
Everywhere you look."

That's such an inspiring message. Everywhere you look and everywhere you go, there's a hand to hold onto and a face of somebody who needs you. Life is going to get tough. You may feel lost. You may feel depressed. But if you look around you, people care. Your friends care. Your family cares. Everyone's situation in life is different, but life is something to hang onto because it's great! When you look at the heart of this show, that's what it's all about. Yes, there's a lot of well-written characters with great story arcs and genuinely funny humor, but in the end this is all about the feels. Each episode usually focuses on a different person who is going through a different challenge. These challenges are very real challenges that normal people and families have to go through, thus the show is very relatable and you honestly feel inspired and touched watching these problems work themselves out with the help of the other people around them. These are great lessons that teach important family values and I love it! Am I referring to Full House or Fuller House when I talk about all this? Both. Fuller House season 1 captures the magic of full house and this it feels more like Full House season 9 instead of Fuller House season 1. It's not really a new show. It's essentially just the same show.

The very first episode of this season is fantastic! In order to introduce us to this new show, we bring in all of our old characters that we know and love from Full House. Each gets their own introduction and a deserving round of applause from the studio audience. And by all, I mean almost all. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen aren't back as Michelle for season 1. But I loved how they handled it. "Where's Michelle?" "Oh she's off in New York working on her fashion line." *the whole cast then stares at the camera for several seconds* Yes! That was played so well! They were essentially breaking the fourth wall there telling these girls that they are wanted back on this show, even if it's for a brief guest appearance. This breaking of the fourth wall happened again in the birthday party episode when Romana states that she bought her stuff from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Kimmie looks at the receipt and says, "With prices like these, no wonder they don't need to act anymore." I busted up laughing at that! Yes, I know the nearly 30-year-old twins are living very different lives right now than they were. But I want them back. And so does everyone in the cast. In fact, I read somewhere that John Stamos is going to be begging them to do season 2. I hope he is successful.

But anyways, after we introduce all our old characters again and successfully usher in this new series, we then have a passing of the torch. This show isn't about Danny, Jesse, and Joey all helping raise Danny's three girls. This is about D.J., Stephanie, and Kimmy all helping raise D.J.'s three boys. Because we start off learning that D.J.'s husband has passed away and D.J. is really having a hard time with the idea of having to do it all on her own, so Stephanie and Kimmy volunteer to move in and help her. No they don't invent the wheel with this show. But they didn't need to. There's a formula that made Full House successful, so there's no need for Fuller House to go away from that. I talked about this a lot with my Star Wars: The Force Awakens review. Many people were mad at that movie for being too much like A New Hope. That didn't bother me. It wasn't an outright copy of the original movie, but it followed the same, successful formula that made the original a big hit. And do you know what, $2 billion later it appears that this was a very good move for The Force Awakens. Had they done something completely different, they may not have earned nearly as much money.

This principle applies to Full House and Fuller House. If Fuller House had decided to be a completely different show than Full House and follow nothing that made that original series so successful, this may not have worked. Screw what the critics had to say about this movie. I didn't even read why they hated it. Fuller House knew what it was that made people like Full House and they followed that formula and it worked. Yes, I love this new role reversal. We watched D.J., Stephanie, and Kimmy grow up before our eyes on Full House and now it's great seeing those three as adults trying to complete the circle of life by raising kids of their own. Or in Stephanie's case, helping raise her sister's kids because as we tragically learn later on, she can't have kids. That was heartbreaking! That's probably the moment in this season that gave me the most feels. Speaking of the kids, I was hoping our new kids would be as likable as the young girls in Full House. Turns out they were. Kimmy's daughter Ramona was my favorite new kid, but D.J.'s two oldest boys, Jackson and Max were fantastic as well. Ramona and Jackson did an excellent job at playing young teenagers go through teenage problems and max was hilarious as the annoying little brother. And of course baby Tommy was adorable!

Yes this show was episodic in nature. The focus was on each individual episode, which is how it should be. But of course there was an over-arching story and in this case it was the romance between Kimmy and her husband/ex-husband Fernando as well as D.J. and her newly found love-triangle that she has to deal with. I'm not always completely into the romance in shows, but for whatever reason I was fully invested in the romance on this show this season. First off, it was good seeing Kimmy get some spotlight from the writers. She's always been the weird, goofy character that everyone always makes fun of and she still is that in this season, but she also gets some moments of feels and a lot of those come with Fernando. He did feel very exaggerated, but it kinda grew on me because Kimmy is also an exaggerated character, so it worked. Then we have The Bachelor-style love triangle between D.J. and her two guys, Steve (aka Aladdin) and Matt. I totally dug this! Aladdin was D.J.'s high school sweetheart and so I'm glad he got such a big role. It makes sense to have them be together in the end, right? But I'm glad they didn't rush it and I'm also equally torn because the new guy Matt is super cool. Who did she choose? Neither. She wasn't ready. What a great finale! Meanwhile, Matt and Aladdin go off for pizza and beer together in such a guy-like way, both holding out hope that D.J. will choose one of them in the near future when she is ready.

Finally, before I end this review, I want to give a shout-out to the humor in this show! Personally I'm very picky with my comedy, especially when it comes to sit-coms. I hate most modern sit-coms. It's not that I'm a Grinch who doesn't like to laugh. It's just that I don't find them funny. Most sit-coms these days are so focused on sex humor and it drives me up the wall. I don't like this. Non-stop sex humor and toilet humor just isn't funny to me. I like clean humor that's genuinely funny. At one point a while back I wondered if I just didn't like sit-coms. Nope. That's wrong. I do like sit-coms. But it's those 80's and 90's sit-coms that I loved. There was Full House, Saved By the Bell, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Home Improvement, and Everybody Loves Raymond just to name a few. These were amazing sit-coms that I loved to watch growing up and still enjoy watching re-runs of on occasion. I don't know if I can accurately describe the humor in these shows and why they made me laugh so much, but you'll notice if you think about all of them that there is definitely a formula they follow with their humor that just works. I was crossing my fingers that Fuller House would stick to this style of humor as opposed to following the style from modern sit-coms. Thankfully they did. Fuller House feels like a 90's sit-com which is probably why I love it so much.

In the end, Full House is a show that I've loved for a long time. I didn't actually watch the show live on T.V. when it was around being that I was born when they were already on their third season and the show ended when I was six. But there were a lot of these sit-coms from the 80's and 90's that I absolutely loved watching re-runs of in my growing up years and Full House was definitely one of them. When they announced that they were doing Fuller House, I was immediately stoked. In fact, I was so stoked that I watched it with my roommate within the first half hour of Netflix releasing it and was finished with the season withing 24 hours. So yes, I loved it. My expectations were very simple with this show. I wanted them to capture the magic of the original series and they did. I laughed. I got the feels. I was inspired. I was entertained. I acted like a teenage girl watching all the romance play out. It was just plain out great seeing this cast back at it again as well as seeing some new cast members fit right in with all the old cast. No, a bunch of grumpy old critics who probably hated Full House can't hold this back. If you didn't get the memo, Fuller House has already been renewed for season 2 and I can't wait!

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