“Fuller House” on Netflix
 Alibi V.25 No.9 • March 3-9, 2016 

Idiot Box

No, seriously: Cut. It. Out.

“Fuller House” on Netflix

Perhaps it’s the fact that Easter is in the air. But lately, I’ve had the urge to help out my fellow man. Unlike Jesus, who merely sacrificed his life to cleanse away the sins of all mankind, I watched “Fuller House” so you don’t have to. I think that makes me the bigger man.

The corny-cute family sitcom “Full House” was the flagship of ABC’s “TGIF” lineup from 1987 to 1995. It probably holds a special place in the hearts and minds of certain people who watched it when they were 10 years old. But in all brutal honesty, the show was never any good and doesn’t exactly stand the test of time. It trafficked in the most vanilla of storylines, the most cliché of punchlines and the silliest of catchphrases.

But now Netflix has brought it back—if not bigger and better, then of the exact same proportions and of equal mediocre quality. The nostalgia-riffic plot for “Fuller House” picks up precisely 20 years after the original and finds the Tanner/Katsiopolis/Gladstone families finally moving out of their overcrowded San Francisco home. This leaves D.J. Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure) alone to raise her baby son. (Like her father in the original pilot, she’s suddenly been widowed.) Stepping in to save the day and drive the plot, younger sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend Kimmy Gibler (Andrea Barber) move in to help her raise her three sons. As far as ideas go, switching from three men raising three young girls to three women raising three young boys ... well, that could charitably be categorized as “an idea.”

For better or worse, most of the original cast drops by. In fact, the show’s pilot consists of little more than an unending string of barely recognizable character actors walking onto the set, causing the audience to emit a collective “Wooooo!” John Stamos, Bob Saget and Dave Coulier hang around for the first episode, but are relegated to occasional phoned-in cameos in later episodes. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have declined to appear, forcing the cast to issue its most groan-inducing joke early on. Asked where young Michelle is, dad explains that she’s off in New York “working on her fashion empire”—at which point the entire cast turns their heads and stares at the studio audience, holding their gaze for what feels like a full minute. The only thing missing from this show’s punchlines is the “womp womp” sound of a sad trombone.

Here’s another sample of the show’s witty writing: Entering the house, Kimmy announces, “Whoa, I’m having an acid flashback. But I’ve never dropped acid. I did take an antacid once. So I must be having an antacid flashback!” Fortunately, someone saved those old laughtrack tapes so we know when to guffaw.

“Fuller House” is like a greatest hits package that serves only to remind you those bygone “hits” were actually kind of awful. In the pilot alone, everybody hugs each other at least 10 times. The audience moans “aww” every time the camera cuts to a close-up of a baby (which happens often). There’s a New Kids On The Block dance party. Puppies freaking show up. Puppies! Dave Coulier breaks out his Bullwinkle impression. John Stamos sings a song. Stephanie resurrects her old catchphrase “How rude!” Remember when she used to say “How rude!” and then the audience would howl with laughter and recognition? “How rude!” It’s as funny now as it was then. Which is to say: Not at all.

The entire first season of “Fuller House” is available now on Neflix. It’s a trap. Don’t do it.