Written by Muchacha Motorista
Remember TGIF on ABC back in the late '80s and early '90s? You had Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, and for most of those years, it was kicked off by Full House. Now, I should admit right off the bat that I was a big Full House fan back in the day. It was in fact my #1 favorite show for many years. And when I got the First Season on DVD last year as a gift, it was a welcome bit of nostalgia for me. Even as Sombrero Grande (who I dragged into watching it with me) rolled his eyes from under that big orange hat, I didn’t mind the cheesiness. It was good, clean fun.
So did I find myself continuing to defend the show while watching Full House: The Complete Eighth Season, or was I rolling my eyes right along side Sombrero? Well, there were some episodes that withstood the test of time–especially the final two episodes, which were touching–but otherwise, eh…this season was mostly the latter. For one, it didn’t hold the same nostalgia, and I think by this point (1994) in the series I caught an episode here and there, but I’d moved on to Beverly Hills 90210, so I couldn’t automatically overlook some of the cheesiness. And there is a heck of a lot of cheese in this season, such as the episode “Comet’s Excellent Adventure” when the golden retriever Comet hooks up with a saucy Collie and spends a day riding the trolleys and taking in the view from Coit Tower. Oh, and when Kareem-Abdul Jabbar helps Uncle Jessie learn how to play basketball so he can impress his kids and win the big game (in “Air Jesse”).
Then there is the repetition. I was in serious danger of developing a bad twitch when Uncle Jesse sang the Three’s Company theme song for the 30th time to keep Shorty, Michelle’s donkey, quiet for the night (in “You Pet It, You Bought It”). Yikes.
Can’t leave out the good, honest sap of course; like when Uncle Joey fills in as substitute teacher and has to send Michelle to the office for talking during lessons, and she accuses him, “give a guy a textbook with the answers and he forgets who his friends are.” Oh no! Don’t worry, though; Michelle learns to respect him as a teacher, and Joey learns to mix humor with learning. Oops–should I have added a spoiler alert? To heck with it, I’ll tell you right now that every episode ends with the warm fuzzies.
I wouldn’t be a caring person without warning the reader about the overacting and the awkward pauses while letting the laugh tracks run their course. I can’t completely blame the actors for this though, because it isn’t their fault we now have Lost, Heroes, and The Office, and most of us have come to expect scenes to pass in a semi-realistic way, and we’ve been weaned off laugh tracks.
I really can’t fault the show much at all. It isn’t Rome for goodness sake, it's Full House. You can watch it with your mom and not be embarrassed, or with your kids and not have to explain anything afterwards. You don’t need an adult to pre-screen it, or to press mute at certain times. When the Tanner family’s biggest problem is that 14-year-old Stephanie has let her friends influence her so much that she tries to–gasp–wear a shirt that shows her belly button to school, you’ve got one darn family-friendly show. And when every episode contains someone expressing their love for another…well, not many shows have that going for them. And you could do much worse.
(By the way, if you get this DVD set, get it for these heart-warming episodes alone, because you won’t find a DVD extra anywhere in sight.)