Season 4 of the truly terrible Fuller House has just been released, just in time for my 11-year-old to binge it over winter break. In, uh, honor (?) of this event, I’m sharing a post I originally shared at Any Good Thing. I don’t know if Season 4 supports what I said in this post previously, so if you dare watch the newest season, let me know.
I’ve actually not watched TV regularly since about when Full House went off the air in the mid-199os. But, thanks to Netflix and a very persistent 9 year old daughter, I caught an episode of Fuller House, the “Velveeta reboot” of the show that hid the truth about Bob Saget’s comedic genius from me for years. The show is as terrible as reviews say–not just terrible in itself but “a new low in the current culture’s inability to leave behind the blankies, binkies and wubbies of one’s youth.” And while I’m generally not one for nostalgia (I own almost nothing from my own 1987-1995 years.), I relented. I’ve not watched enough episodes to say much except to share Vanity Fair writer Richard Lawson’s comment that
the show is not new or edgy enough to be . . . new, or edgy. It’s just Full House with an added naughtiness, even though the whole point of Full House was that it resisted naughtiness. It was the antidote to naughtiness, which is what made people make fun of it, which is what made people nostalgic for it, which is what led us to this.
Interestingly, Christian reviewers are in general agreement with the secular haters–not so much about what the resurrection of this show says about our impious obsession with our own youth but about the naughtiness.
The stories in Fuller House tend to revolve around the adults–the child stars of the original–but that only makes sense, given that the original audience of kids is now all grown up, too, and are the ones with the marketing pull to make this show not just possible but also possibly the #1 show on Netflix. The result is all the same cheesy jokes and belabored catch-phrases with off-key jokes about lesbians, breasts, sex positions, kisses between women (on purpose) and men (on accident), drinking, and semen, plus super-short skirts, exposed midriffs, and mild swearing. Most of them will probably go over younger kids’ heads, but they also aren’t funny enough to engage adults. Candace Cameron Bure, little sister to conservative Christianity’s favorite terrible actor, Kirk Cameron, has come under fire in particular because she is an avowed Christian (and Republican) who is frequently drinking, swearing, and locking lips with more than one man, generally in teeny-tiny clothes.
Above, some of the images from Fuller House that have raised the ire of critics, both because they are too sexualized for a “family” show and because they aren’t funny.
But, all that aside, I want to share one highlight of the show. While Fuller House‘s not-infrequent references to LGB people, love, and sex are not-very-funny punchlines, the show does have its lone elementary-schooler–Max, DJ Tanner’s middle child–attending Harvey Milk Elementary School, which is revealed early in the first season. In a later episode, Max hosts his class at his home so that they can see his organic garden. In that episode, the kids pull up in a schoolbus clearly marked “Harvey Milk Elementary School”–probably not a reference to the real Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy in San Francisco, but still a recognition of the legacy of Milk, San Francisco’s gay civil rights leader, murdered nearly 40 years ago.
Fuller House is set in San Francisco, one of the nation’s most queer-friendly towns and is based on a show about three men working together to raise children (granted, not exactly gay men, but perhaps the original show’s only interesting conceit and a little jab at the heteropatriarchy). So it’s not much, but I was heartened to see that little bus pull up to the Tanner-Fuller home.