Reboots, remakes and spinoffs of cherished media are a tricky thing; especially when they arrive 21 years after the original. It's a delicate balance between proper homage and unique contemporary continuation. The smallest detail could cause a total failure or the tarnishing of a brand. Because of this, some 80's and 90's lovers were thrilled, but nervously speculative, about a Full House (1987-1995) sequel coming to the streaming service, Netflix. Would it get across the thin reincarnation ice?
Cutely coined with a double entendre, Fuller House catches us up with DJ Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron-Bure), who's recently widowed and enlisting the help of her sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and kooky BFF Kimmy (Andrea Barber) to take care of her 3 boys. Yes, that's a tweaked version of the previous premise, but the reminiscent material wholly is applied in a contextual, astute and witty way so you can really indulge in the #ThrowbackThursday feels without a sense of it being forced, campy, dated or recycled. For example, they poke fun at their cheesy past: Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) says they used to have moments so sweet, you could hear violins playing, DJ's son argues that hugging it out isn't a full-proof trick, and Kimmy mentions Michelle's clock-work appearances to say "You got it dude." The updates (which include Carly Rae Jepsen singing the theme) are handled just as incisively, going for natural and boldly "in touch." It's realistic that DJ and Kimmy (now parents who are roughly 37 years old) would struggle to properly use "fleek" and sync an IPhone to an IPad, the kids would be unenthused by Uncle Joey's (Dave Coulier) comedy and he'd have to sell them on super-soakers and silly-string to pull them away from their devices, and that when a phone goes off in a full house (see what I did there), everyone jumps in unison to see who's being contacted. Kimmy's 13-year-old, Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), is proudly part-Argentine: she's fluent in Spanish, loves Latin music and picked her room colors based on the "flag of her people." She complains about moving in with "the whitest family," whom she describes as "albino polar bears drinking milk in a snow storm watching Frozen." DJ's highly-intelligent middle child, Max (the irresistibly precious Elias Harger), has "Donald Trump" on a list of "bad words" he shouldn't say. Also, get this...there's sexual innuendo. Lines like "That ship [having kids] has sailed; in fact, it sunk...all seamen lost" are tastefully veiled to where younger viewers won't necessarily catch it. These kinds of cheeky additions allow the adults who grew up with show to enjoy it in a new way, while their own kids can soak up the family-friendly parts that made it a childhood staple in the first place.