Fuller House is starting to burn out its nostalgic fuel

Netflix

I’ve finally caught up on some of my holiday-derailed viewing, including the second half of Season 3 of Fuller House on Netflix. In my previous post, I criticized DJ Tanner-Fuller for being a selfish bitch intent upon breaking up Steve’s wedding to CJ, so I’ll try not to harp about that too much. The way it all went down did little to restore my love for the character, and as much I hate to admit it, I think the show itself is finally in jeopardy of burning out its nostalgic fuel. When their big idea is to re-open Uncle Jesse’s Smash Club, I think it’s safe to say they’re running on fumes at best. Spoilers ahead.

The big day finally arrived, and everyone was in Japan to celebrate Steve and CJ’s nuptials. Matt proposed to DJ in a romantic rooftop setting the night before the wedding and she said yes (with Steve lurking in the shadows, too timid to come forward with the knowledge that he overheard DJ say she had feelings for him during the flight). Everything that followed was a disaster of not-even-remotely-funny proportions. CJ’s wedding dress got ruined by a talking toilet. DJ dropped Steve’s wedding ring into a koi pond and a fish swallowed it. Then, DJ jumped into the pond to retrieve the ring, going over a dangerous-looking waterfall before Steve jumped in to try and save the woman he really loved.

As if all of that wasn’t unbelievable enough, DJ also gave the fish a Heimlich-type maneuver to get it to regurgitate the ring. And, predictably, right after Steve left CJ jilted at the altar, DJ was quick to tell Matt that she didn’t want to marry him after all (also right in front of everyone at the wedding). Needless to say, I think the entire thing could’ve been handled better. I realize neither Full House nor Fuller House has ever featured the most compelling TV writing, but surely they could be doing better than this.

Do I like DJ and Steve together? Of course I do. I was rooting for them during the first season! However, once Steve popped the question to CJ, he should’ve been considered off-limits. I fail to understand why DJ chose the flight to his wedding to come out and admit she still had feelings for him … what good did she possibly think would come of that? Whether uttered as a confidence to Kimmy Gibbler or not, it was a selfish action. And it was an even bigger selfish action on his part to call off his wedding mid-ceremony. I don’t root for selfish people to get together. I think their rekindled relationship is now doomed to fail. It was certainly having its ups and downs the remainder of the season, especially when Steve revealed he was offered a job as the LA Lakers’ podiatrist that was too good to pass up. Will they continue to weather the storms ahead? Probably, but I think it was karma!

What I did enjoy was the secondary plot involving Stephanie’s quest to conceive a child with Jimmy, and searching for the right surrogate mother to help them. It was kismet that Kimmy Gibbler ended up being their perfect match. I was really happy for both characters! Stephanie will make a wonderful mother and Kimmy has always wanted to be part of the Tanner family and now she’s finally reached a place of love and acceptance, cementing her bond with Stephanie and the rest of the clan by carrying her future niece or nephew. I recently read an interview with actress Andrea Barber about what it’s been like playing Kimmy all these years and how during her formative teen years, it was especially difficult to be the character nobody liked and wear all the outlandish outfits while DJ got to always wear the best outfits and date the cutest stars on the show. And the more I reflect after reading said article, the more I have to agree with Andrea that it wasn’t always in the best taste for the adults on the show to be as cruel to Kimmy as the other kids. What sort of mixed message were they sending to the millions of kids who watched the show? The more I think about it, it was perhaps wrong that my best friend’s dad used to call me Gibbler because “my name is Kim and I was always at their house …”

Speaking of which, the kids on Fuller House are growing up too fast! Ramona and Jackson are already in high school with homecomings and make-out sessions, Tommy’s looking into prestigious preschools and Max spent this half going on about how he and his love Rose are like “Romeo & Juliet” with feuding families and a forbidden love after CJ felt uncomfortable bringing Rose around as much. Which I have to give CJ kudos for bringing Rose to the ‘80s party at all! And while we’re on the subject, I also thought Matt handled the situation remarkably well. He’s still pals with Steve and says he wishes no ill will upon DJ for making her choice, although he does plan to open a rival pet clinic.

The best cameo of the season award goes to Vicki Larson (played by Gail Edwards), although her reunion with Danny was a little anti-climactic. I hope the two get back together! The two episodes I enjoyed the most this half of the season were “Happily Ever After” and “Fullers in a Fog,” although I found it a bit strange that my favorite moment involving the cast recreating the infamous intro scene cruising San Francisco in Danny’s red convertible should come so late in the season. There were several wonderful homages to the show’s first season that probably would have been more effective at celebrating the show’s 30th anniversary earlier on. I thoroughly enjoyed the fairy tale-themed Homecoming Dance and seeing DJ, Stephanie, Kimmy and Gia dressed as fairy godmothers on stage! That was memorable, whereas most of the episodes this season were forgettable, and there are several that I’d like to forget altogether (“Say Yes to the Dress” and “My Best Friend’s Japanese Wedding”).

This season of Fuller House felt a bit forced. However, I think it could still last another season or two. By the end, everyone announced they were moving back to San Francisco – Joey with his four kids, Aunt Becky and Uncle Jesse with their newly adopted daughter Pamela, and even the now jobless Danny, who has a strange notion of moving back into his over-crowded house and making DJ and Stephanie share a room again. The show’s producers need to do something to rekindle my waning interest. Perhaps having more of the original cast around next season will work in their favor because the dynamics and nostalgic charm they bring was noticeably missing this time around. Is a light still waiting to carry me home?

Netflix

 

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