Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pilot Review: Fuller House

Fuller House (Netflix)
Premiered February 26

I have only fond memories of “Full House.” I don’t know it as well as, say, “Friends,” and I definitely haven’t seen every episode, but it’s a fun comedy from my childhood. When I heard that Netflix was rebooting it, I wasn’t as ecstatic as everyone I know, but I did plan to watch it. My first overwhelming observation is that this show is all about harking back to what it used to be, with characters given enormous welcomes just for walking into the frame. I get it - people are excited. But there’s not too much to be excited about thus far in this pilot that can’t get past rehashing what the original series used to be. The opening credits revealed something I didn’t know, which is that Danny, Joey, Jesse, and Becky are not full-time cast members. In fact, this show is a lot like a relaunch of another popular ABC series, “Girl Meets World,” which took the younger generation from “Boy Meets World” and promoted them to being the adults. That show has found success for a younger audience on the Disney Channel, and Netflix doesn’t have a particular age demographic, so this could well work too. Celebrating the fact that the Tanner family is back has to be the premise of the show rather than what defines it if it’s going to work at all. Hearing a laugh track is also jarring these days, and the jokes have to be funny. The notion of two DJ Tanners is a great example of solid humor and writing, while just about everything else, particularly involving Kimmy, is more of a throwback than an actual joke. I’m not sure what I was hoping for, but this wasn't it.

How will it work as a series? I’m actually interested in watching the second episode to see if it manages to break away from what the pilot was all about and get down to what this new generation will offer. The departure of the previous adults is a positive sign, and though I can’t imagine I’ll like it, I feel like it is possible that this show could make its own name for itself if it seizes the opportunity.
How long will it last? Who cares if I’ll be watching? Netflix renewed this show less than a week after it premiered, which I have to think is the quickest pickup this network has ever made, especially since it doesn’t share its user and viewership data. If it was popular enough to earn a second season that fast, there’s no reason this couldn’t go for eight years just like the original.

Pilot grade: C

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