A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fuller House is a sequel to Full House, which was a fan favorite in the '80s and '90s. Fans of the original show will want to tune in for the nostalgia alone as a grown-up DJ Tanner (now Tanner-Fuller) raises her three kids (boys, this time) in her childhood home with the help of two somewhat clueless family/friend housemates (women, in this case). As with the original, there are passing hints at sex that mostly will go over kids' heads and some scenes in which adults drink alcohol, but all things considered, it's a wholesome (if exceedingly corny) series. With the exception of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who shared the role of Michelle in Full House, the entire core cast and a number of recurring roles make appearances here, which makes it a fun romp down memory lane for fans.
What's the story?
FULLER HOUSE opens with DJ Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure) -- now a widowed mom raising three boys -- preparing to bid adieu to the extended family members who stepped up and helped her manage her first year as a single parent. With Danny (Bob Saget), Uncle Jesse (John Stamos), Aunt Becky (Lori Loughlin), and Joey (Dave Coulier) bound for new career opportunities and younger sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), globe-trotting for music, DJ's feeling uneasy about managing everything on her own. So in a stroke of generosity, Stephanie offers to move in and help, and longtime BFF, Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), joins the fray as well. Much to the chagrin of the oldest Fuller boy, Jackson (Michael Campion), Kimmy adds her daughter, Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), to the household, which also includes Max (Elias Harger) and baby Tommy (Dashiell and Fox Messitt).
Is it any good?
This sequel is neither clever nor groundbreaking, but it's charming, funny, and heartwarming, not to mention nostalgic. Of course, that's also the rub; it's clearly designed with Full House fans in mind, and a lot of the smarter humor will be entirely lost on viewers who didn't know and love the original's many running gags (Jesse's "Have mercy!", Stephanie's "How rude!", Joey's "Cut it out," etc.). If you're coming in cold, you can't fully appreciate the hilarity in Kimmy embracing the Tanner home as her own ("I've waited more than 20 years ... " she says), the invaluable coping mechanism of "hugging it out," or the irony of Max's cleaning obsession, for instance. Even so, as the series progresses, it relies less heavily on these references and focuses instead on the current cast and their issues, from sibling woes to hints of a new start for DJ and high school flame Steve (Scott Weinger).
For family viewing, Fuller House is a fine pick. If you grew up with the Tanners on TV, you'll get a lot of enjoyment out of watching how this show intentionally parallels the first, and your kids likely won't care that they're missing the inside jokes since the series is fairly amusing on its own merits. Like Full House, this series doesn't dwell on the serious issues it raises, most prominently the loss of a loved one and divorce, but it does leave that door open to work into the characters' experiences. Ultimately it's a decent watch that leaves a feel-good impression of what defines and binds a family.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes for good comedy. Do shows like this one with very little edginess still manage to entertain? Are you ever surprised at the content in the shows or movies you watch? To what degree do the ratings help you gauge what to expect?
In general, do you find sitcom families relatable? What issues on this show have you experienced in your family or with friends? Do you ever learn anything from how characters on TV handle the predicaments they face?
The Tanner crew is famous for banding together in a crisis. Has your family ever had to do so? Are there friends in your life you consider to be family? Is there anything you wouldn't do for any of them?
Themes & Topics
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