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DVD Review: Full House – The Complete Sixth Season

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According to Barry Williams's book Growing Up Brady, Sherwood Schwarz was upset with CBS's decision to air The Bradys on Fridays at 8:00PM against Full House, anchor of ABC's successful "TGIF" lineup of family-friendly sitcoms. "Full House is what we were," he told network executives, to no avail.

Indeed, the similarities between Full House and The Brady Bunch are quite striking: both sitcoms were about unusual blended families, and both made liberal use of cute children, corny plots, and a "heartwarming" lesson – with hugs all around – learned at the end of each half-hour.  (The fashions on Full House haven't aged so badly – Kimmy Gibbler's wardrobe notwithstanding – but give it another twenty or thirty years.)

The show starred Bob Saget as a recently-widowed father who got his cool brother-in-law (John Stamos) and goofy best friend (Dave Coulier) to move into his San Francisco townhouse to help raise his three young daughters (the youngest played by the Olsen twins, billed as "Mary Kate Ashley Olsen"). By the sixth season even the Olsens were getting up there in years, so the producers threw in the twin sons of Stamos and wife Lori Loughlin – the hottest sitcom mom of the era, hands down – and also a young homeless boy played by Leonardo DiCaprio. (Or was that Growing Pains?)  The Full House studio audience, which could always be counted on to go "Awwwwww" and "Whooooo!" at the slightest provocation, almost counted as a character in its own right.

Let's face it: you've all seen at least a few episodes of Full House, so you already know whether you like it or not. It is what it is: a hokey, child-friendly sitcom from the Miller-Boyett hit factory, which also gave us Step by Step, Family Matters, and The Hogan Family.  I have no nostalgic, Brady Bunch-style fondness for the show, but if you're a child of the late 1980s, I can understand if you do. Unfortunately, Warner couldn't be bothered to add any special features to this DVD set, so I suspect even Full House fanatics may be disappointed not to have audio commentaries or a making-of documentary.

For the rest of us, old episodes of Full House can become somewhat watchable when you forget the plot and start looking for signs of Dave Coulier's relationship with a young Alanis Morrisette during production (note his maple-leaf jacket in some scenes). And some have suggested that Bob Saget – whose stand-up comedy was notoriously raunchy long before Full House came along – used his role as an elaborate joke on the audience. (This clip would seem to lend some credence to that theory.)

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