Posted on Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 by Angie Han
The original Full House was never really that good. It was cheesy and corny, relied heavily on catchphrases and cutesy kid mugging, and never touched any topic that couldn’t be wrapped up in 22 minutes. So what are we to make of Fuller House, its 21-years-later sequel premiering this week at Netflix? If it successfully recaptures the spirit of the original, it’s going to be sentimental and mushy. But is that a bad thing, really, when that’s exactly what audiences want out of this property?
That’s the question a lot of critics are grappling with in the first Fuller House reviews. No one is arguing that this is great TV, really, but some are satisfied with its recreation of that classic Full House formula, sickly-sweet as it is, while others suggest Fuller House needs something more to justify its existence. Read the first Fuller House reviews below.
Fuller House is nostalgia about the concept of nostalgia itself — the multi-cam equivalent of Midnight in Paris, pure fan service that doubles as a fascinating hall of mirrors. And it’s also a show about good, likable people who love each other, where no matter what happens, at the end of 30 minutes, everything turns out OK.
Fuller House scrambles the normal critical circuitry. It is bad, but in a manner so in keeping with the original that to harp on its badness feels like meanness, akin to insulting a three-legged dog for not having four. […] Fuller House is so in keeping with the spirit of the original, so unabashedly cheesy and canned, so well-meaning and gentle, that though it is bad and has no reason to exist, on its own terms it is also surprisingly good.
The show isn’t just bad, it borders on the obscene, as much an affront to those bemused by a reboot of the sitcom that anchored ABC’s once-mighty T.G.I.F. comedy block as those receptive to it. But to attack Fuller House on conceptual grounds is wrongheaded, considering the same blindfolded nostalgia led the deep-pocketed streaming service to order a Wet Hot American Summer series, reconstitute Mr. Show as With Bob And David, and green-light four new Gilmore Girls movies. Netflix’s reboot magnanimity has been such a blessing, it’s heartbreaking to see Fuller House emerge as the perverse result.
Still, given the array of multicam classics potentially worth reviving, it’s a little deflating to know that this is the old sitcom Netflix chose to bring back. Sure, thanks to the rise of streaming services, it’s now possible via weaponized nostalgia to get attention by bringing back programs people liked in the past (see also “The X-Files,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Twin Peaks,” etc.). But ideally, every reboot should prove its worth by offering substantial reasons for the program’s renewed existence. Despite Cameron-Bure’s charm and the occasional well-timed zinger, “Fuller House” doesn’t pass that test.
It would be foolish to expect Fuller House, the punnily titled Netflix revival of Full House, to be something its predecessor never was. The hardly-original original was a very vanilla Three Men and a Baby rip powered by cuteness, cornball, and the varied charms of Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, and that dreamy, well-preserved human Twinkie, John Stamos. It was sweet. A generation raised on ABC’s TGIF adored it. But was it good? However you answer, you would expect a reboot to offer nostalgia, knowing irony, or even a shrewdly tweaked reformulation like Girl Meets World, Disney Channel’s gender-flipped take on Boy Meets World. Fuller House wants to entertain with all these strategies, but it fails. Badly. It’s lazily constructed kitsch that isn’t worth your time or affection.
“They don’t make shows like this anymore,” fans often claim. But how does Netflix’s rebooted Fuller House look in a world in which shows such as Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, The Middle, Black-ish and Modern Family all deliver family values, cute kids and life lessons along with quality and diversity of perspective?
To me, it looks even more egregious, but people likely to disagree really ought not to bother reading reviews anyway. What? You’re reading a review to see if Fuller House recaptures the magic of the original? It absolutely does, if you remember that Voldemort practiced magic, too.
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