In Defense of the 'Full House' Reboot on Netflix
John Stamos announced last night on Jimmy Kimmel that Netflix’s deal to reboot Full House is official. Apparently, the idea has been in the works for years, and according to Stamos, Netflix has picked up 13 episodes, so far. The series will begin as a kind of reunion between all the cast members and then spin-off into Fuller House and focus on D.J., Stephanie, and Kimmy Gibbler raising their kids in the old house.
When the rumors of a Full House reboot began percolating last week, the Internet responded as it is apt to do when reboots are announced: With a chorus of boos. Mike
Ryan over on Uproxx, for instance, wrote that it was a terrible show in the first place, and nothing that any one of us want to relive.
I have a hard time believing that any adult who says they like Full House actually enjoys watching Full House as either a subjectively “good” show or even as some sort of guilty pleasure comfort food. Seriously, go watch an episode, a full episode. I tried this the other day, and I lasted about eight minutes.
He’s not wrong. Full House is not a good show. It never was. And why would any adult want to watch it now when there are shows like Better Call Saul or Daredevil or Game of Thrones?
But that’s the thing about Full House. Adults didn’t watch it when it originally aired, and adults didn’t watch it when it was in heavy reruns. Kids watched it, and here’s the thing about kids: They like dumb shows. I know this because I have a kid. He’s 7. He’s brilliant, and inquisitive, and clever, and funny, and sometimes way, way too existential for his age.
But he likes dumb shows. Because he’s 7. He watched the entire series of a show called Lab Rats on Netflix, and then a show called Good Luck Charlie. I’ve watched a few minutes of them, and they made my brain bleed. They reminded me a lot of Full House: Simple laugh-track sitcoms with broad gags, pratfalls, the occasional double entendre that probably went over his head, and simple moral lessons. Don’t lie to your parents. Be kind. Be helpful, and generous, and thoughtful, and most importantly, be yourself, which for my son apparently means repeatedly asking about the meaning of life and, if there is a God, who created him/her? And if I don’t know, why don’t I just look up the creator of God on the Internet? “JUST GOOGLE IT, DAD!”
He also watched the Richie Rich reboot on Netflix last week. Have you seen the trailer? It’s awful.
But my kid liked the show. Because he’s 7, and because there isn’t a Breaking Bad or Mad Men for 7 year olds (although there is Avatar: The Last Airbender, and though I have literally tried to pay him to watch it, he refuses because he thinks he’s too old to watch cartoons). And while I wouldn’t watch Richie Rich, at least I knew what he was talking about. I had a frame of reference. I know who Richie Rich is, so I could talk to him about the show — and this is important — without actually watching the terrible show.
That’s what’s great about Fuller House. I know who the characters are! I’m not going to watch it, because adults should not watch dumb shows made for kids. But now, when I peek over his shoulder to see what he’s watching on the iPad, I’ll at least recognize some of the people. I will think, “Wow! I had the hugest crush on Candace Cameron when I was a kid!” And then I will look away and continue making dinner and never give Full House another thought. But when my kid talks about the show, certain parts of my brain will light up with recognition, unlike when he talks about Minecraft, when my brain completely shuts down and I go into a kind of nodding comatose state.
There are much better shows than Full House or Fuller House. Unfortunately, he’s not allowed to watch them. Because he’s 7, and they don’t really make better shows for seven year olds. I know this, because I’ve scoured Common Sense Media for age appropriate live-action shows, and they are all crap. At least with Full House, it’s the crap I know.
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