Fuller House: Everything You Loved from the 90’s with the Progress of Today

When Fuller House (starring Candace Cameron-Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Andrea Barber and not the Olsen twins) first premiered on Netflix, I, as a former Full House fan, feeling a looming quarter-life crisis on its way and craving old comforts, absolutely loved it. And it wasn’t just the predictability of seeing my old familiar friends (the increasingly luscious John Stamos in particular) waiting just around the bend that had me hooked.

A reboot of one of the 90’s corniest family sitcoms, something that it acknowledges proudly in every episode, doesn’t seem like it would have anything fresh to offer, especially as its predecessor did a lot to redefine gender roles with fatherhood.

In contrast, a show about motherhood doesn’t seem particularly new. However, Fuller House is surprisingly “on fleek” with modern issues.

Just as Full House showed that men are capable caregivers, its sequel series shows that being a mother does not magically equip women with superhuman parental abilities. DJ is a good mother, but anyone watching the first episode can see that she had almost no chance of successfully raising three boys and continuing her work, without the help of Kimmy and Stephanie.

DJ’s dilemma is somewhat relevant, considering the upcoming election, which has raised discourse about welfare and whether or not the minimum wage should be raised. Often single motherhood comes up in these discussions. Fuller House clearly shows that single mothers do often need help, especially since most are far less privileged than DJ, do not hold as good of a job or have as warm of a support system.

Yes, Fuller House is fictitious, but the struggles that single moms face are very real. DJ’s ring of support – or as they call themselves, the She-Wolf Pack – is another thing I loved about the show.

Feminism has helped bring attention to how often women are pitted against each other, both in real life and the media. Fuller House is definitely an exception to this. The trio of women always support each other, and so far, have not been reduced to anything less than loving sisterhood.

For example, despite a mutual dislike in the past, DJ’s sister Stephanie and best friend Kimmy have reconciled out of their mutual love for DJ. It’s the kind of healthy female relationship that isn’t portrayed enough in the media.

The character of Stephanie is another revolutionary part of the show. While perpetually straight-laced DJ turns out pretty much exactly how you expect her to, Stephanie jetted off to England and became a DJ (as in disc jockey – confusing, I know). She is shown to be fun-loving and confident, unafraid to show off her body or party at clubs and Coachella.

Furthermore, a very subtle joke revealed that Stephanie is into pot brownies. As family-friendly as it was, this is still pretty shocking for a reboot of a show that occasionally felt more like a PSA than a comedy.

What’s great about Stephanie’s character is that, while she isn’t afraid to be who she is and proudly shakes up some of the wholesomeness that is the Tanners, she’s still portrayed as a good role model who loves her family. Adding to her complexity, in the show’s most emotional moment so far, a tearful Stephanie reveals to her sister that she’s infertile.

Infertility, as a plot point for female characters, has been done incorrectly in the past. Black Widow in the Avengers: Age of Ultron, compares her infertility to being a monster, for example.

This isn’t the case with Stephanie. While she is sad that she won’t have the opportunity to have her own children, she doesn’t let infertility define her. It isn’t the driving point of her actions, and it isn’t portrayed as a major character flaw. It is just a part of the dynamic person she is.

Admittedly, the character of Kimmy hasn’t changed much, but to be fair, she is trapped in the 90’s. Kimmy, like Stephanie, adds a little flair to DJ’s conventional lifestyle. Like Stephanie, she is at peace with the quirky person she is, and is very open and proud of her sexuality.

Although Kimmy’s ex-husband Fernando’s character has been criticized by some for his exaggerated Spanish accent, Kimmy’s daughter Ramona is bilingual and seems to be very proud of her heritage.

Full House featured people of color, but often just as “token” best friend characters. It’s wonderful to see a POC main character who is very proud and open about her heritage.

A final appreciation I had for Fuller House was that, in the very first episode, they made it clear that they don’t support Donald Trump. DJ’s middle son, Max, has been taught that “Trump” is a swear word.

It’s clear to me that Danny Tanner, Jesse Katsopolis and Joey Gladstone passed on valuable parenting skills, just as Full House seems to have given its successor its heart,  while allowing it to pursue a more progressive and tolerant atmosphere.

I am very excited to see where the show goes from here and am hoping to see Fuller House address more social issues in the future (I personally want a Kimmy/Stephanie romance) and to progress as the seasons go on.