Yesterday, the world learned that Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier – who respectively portrayed men-children Danny Tanner, Jesse Katsopolis, and Joey Gladstone on uber-popular ‘90s sitcom “Full House” – are reuniting to hawk Dannon Oikos yogurt in a Super Bowl ad. Huzzah.
Dannon Oikos is wise to spend millions for space among the swankest advertising real estate that exists for a brief “Full House” retread. The family-focused sitcom occupies a fuzzy place in the blood-pumps of many middle-to-upper-middle class white people who came of age during the Clinton administration. Plenty of those people have since become middle-to-upper-middle class adults who either worry about getting fat or hope to become less fat than they already are. Nostalgic for “Full House”? If so, you either buy lots of yogurt or you’re thinking about starting. Might as well give Dannon Oikos a shot.
You also need to realize that nostalgia for “Full House” is your age demographic’s answer to your grandma’s nostalgia for a time when black people weren’t allowed at her favorite restaurant. “Full House” isn’t anywhere near as bad as Jim Crow laws, but it’s still quite bad. (See: FullHouseReviewed.com)
“Full House” isn’t funny, or at least it should only be funny once. Each character has one joke they tell over and over on each of the 192 episodes – Joey does Popeye’s voice, Danny is a neat freak, Michelle says, “You got it dude,” etc. The plots manage total implausibility when they’re not crushingly formulaic. But in fairness, none of that sets “Full House” too far apart from the rest of the ol’ “TGIF” lineup. It might even be superior to “Step by Step” and possibly pre-Urkel “Family Matters.”
My biggest problem with “Full House” is, despite its squeaky-clean reputation, it doesn’t really teach wholesome morals, or at least not consistently. Kimmy Gibbler is eccentric, therefore everyone is cruel to her, and we’re meant to laugh at this. Because she’s supposedly cute, Michelle Tanner is constantly rewarded for doing whatever she wants – breaking things, treating people badly, etc. WTF kind of message is any of that sending?
Not that it’s anyone’s fault if they enjoyed “FH” before they could’ve possibly known better. For those of us whose parents kept a stern, maybe even kind of fascist watch over their offspring’s media diet, the adventures of the Tanner household might’ve been one of the only things on TV banal enough to make it past the censors. Furthermore, it was an easy sell for girls who identified with D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle Tanner, in much the same way I identified with Michelangelo from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cartoons of the same era. (Michelangelo didn’t look like me, but never concerned himself with anything aside from eating things, yelling things, and destruction – the pillars of my life at the time.)
But I’ll be the first to admit that the original “TMNT” cartoons don’t hold up particularly well, either.
As annoying as it is, “Full House” is just the tip of a far more irksome iceberg – one that’s not specific to children of the ‘90s. Every time we get excited about a crappy thing that just so happened to be on TV when we were younger and dumber, whenever anyone forgets that the decade that gave us Kurt Cobain followed up with Woodstock ‘94 and insists the ‘90s were a golden era for rock music, whenever anyone clicks the obligatory “You Know You’re a ‘90s Kid if You Remember One of These 136 Things” list on Buzzfeed, they are slowly but surely turning into their parents, who extol the relevant popular culture of their youth but can’t understand kids today with their newfangled dancing and strange music and, goodness, so many shocking things on the Internet…