Fuller House Gets More Fuller-er
by Jack Delea on Thursday, March 10th, 2016
The recent premieres of Fuller House and the Friends reunion aired towards the end of last February, both lacking a strong reception. These programs aimed to resurrect previous elements of their original shows, Full House (1987-1995) and Friends (1994-2004). Fuller House is a follow up series to the original show, following the next generation of the cast members. The Friends reunion brought the cast, minus a few, of the original series back together to discuss the show and celebrate the show’s director, James Burrows.
Fuller House takes place in the same house in San Francisco, California but jumps ahead to what the family would be today. DJ Tanner-Fuller, once the eldest daughter on the show Full House, is now the main character and the widow mother of three boys. DJ’s younger sister, Stephanie, now works as as a DJ—ironic, right?—and Michelle, the youngest of the siblings, does not appear on the show. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, who both played Michelle, declined the offer to join the cast. Both felt busy with their fashion line, which the show happened to ridicule in the first episode, and neither of them felt very comfortable reappearing in front of the camera.
While the show does reference past episodes and the previous plot, in which a single parent takes care of three children in a house with his or her best friends, it pales in comparison with the original. Now with a 2000s Disney show-style opening sequence and a seemingly forced relationship between the children, the show doesn’t have the same vibe, causing viewers to have a hard time connecting in the same way as they did to the original characters. As stated by Avery Lack(IV), the show is “kind of cliché,” relying too heavily on previous ideas and not enough on interesting, original plot developments. The Full Season Recap describes the show as “empty, sad and haunted,” filled with half hearted acting from the older characters and a longing for the old days hanging in the air.
Even though the show fails to impress much of its audience, many people still find themselves drawn into watching it, even if they admit it’s not executed very well. Olayeni Oladipo (IV) explains the show’s odd pull, stating “I don’t like it but I can’t stop watching it for some reason.” People are satisfied by the memories that the show’s, signature catchphrases, and antics of the characters bring back. In other words, the Fuller House is dependent on familiarity and previous successes to captivate viewers.
The Friends reunion, a celebration of James Burrows’ thousandth episode of television, brought back most of the cast (Matthew Perry was absent) for a two hour talk show about their favorite moments on the show and their lives after Friends. The Guardian called it “one of the most intensely boring two hours…ever endured.” The segment was filled with stale jokes and irrelevant backstage moments that left most who watched it with a bad aftertaste in their mouth.
Many people were upset by the lack of humor in the program, because Friends was a such a humorous show. The reunion opened with a dull introduction by Mathew Perry and the cast then jumped into a staged “chronic sitcom name confusion syndrome” joke, followed by a cringe-inducing fake public service announcement. The program generally lacked the humor that Friends was known for, almost disrespecting the show itself.
While both of the original series were loved, the reboot or reunion of Full House and Friends disappointed viewers and drew out already worn through plots. Fuller House is a forced extension of a plot that was already maximized during its airing on television. The Friends reunion was an attempt to reunite cast members that have long since gone their separate ways, and simply reminded everyone that the series had ended.
When dealing with groundbreaking shows that hold a place in many people’s hearts, rebooting may provide wanted memories but rarely will it match the power of the original series. A firm ending eliminates the risk of dragging out a plot that can’t be drawn out anymore since the series ended for a reason. Perhaps Fuller House and the Friends reunion interest some people, but, to be honest, I’m fine with watching re-runs.
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