When Full House debuted, I was almost six years old. I was never the biggest Full House fan, but I grew up on ABC's Friday night comedy block, and have seen practically every episode (because, some days, Full House was the lesser of two–or twenty–evils). There were things I could latch on to, like the Steve Urkel cameos or Stephanie Tanner dance routines, or just the idea of these bumbling bachelors trying to manage a ridiculously large household in the late '80s/early '90s. It didn't relate to me at ALL, but I got it, as did the rest of America. Full House became an institution, a world where White America could laugh at all of the quirks of everyday life, where most problems were settled before the end credits rolled.
We knew what we were getting, and those kids were so darn cute that we ate it up, warts and all.
When I caught word of Full House getting picked up for Netflix, I was skeptical. How the hell does one even attempt to revisit an institution like Full House in 2016? Will the entire cast be back for the (canned) laughs? And most importantly, would anyone care? (Those answers are "sort of pick up where they left off," "mostly," and "definitely.") '90s nostalgia goes a long way these days, and while the Olsen Twins have stayed as far away from this series as they can, Fuller House—the Netflix series that finds the Tanner daughters (and Kimmy Gibbler) taking over the huge house on 1882 Gerrard to re-teach the same lessons Danny, Jesse, and Joey taught us as children.
Things have changed a bit: Stephanie is the new "DJ Tanner," hitting the international club circuit as a DJ, while (the real) Donna Jo is a veterinarian and a widowed mother of three (the "Fuller" is actually her married last name). D.J.'s best friend Kimmy is divorced and has a half-Hispanic daughter, making the three of them the Jesse, Danny, and Joey of Fuller House. The kids are dropping jokes about Donald Trump and everyone has smartphones, but the song practically remains the same (even down to a damn-near shot-for-shot remake of the family singing the theme song to The Flinstones in Episode 1). And you know, that's OK.
Criticize the show for being corny, or how white it is (Kimmy's daughter Ramona makes a crack in the second episode about living with "the whitest family in America," going as far as to likening the Fullers to "albino polar bears drinking milk in a snowstorm watching Frozen"), but for Netflix to continue to be a serious alternative to regular television, it needs something like Fuller House. The streaming network is one of the mediums that's changing the way people consume television, but its original programming can't continue to be thirtysomething ennui comedies (Master of None, Love), dark Marvel properties (Daredevil, Jessica Jones), or takes on politics (House of Cards), women in prison (Orange is the New Black), and cocaine (Narcos). Those shows are mostly great, but if you have kids, the extent of Netflix original programming is limited to properties like The Croods and Puss In Boots. Those definitely work, but if we're being real, most of the programming that has been working for Nickelodeon in primetime has been sitcoms (think iCarly, Sam & Cat, or any of the current crop of Saturday night programs), a demographic that Fuller House taps into quite easily.
That might sound like a weird demo to hit (because who's actually paying for the service—the parents), but there are way more adult-oriented original series that Netflix has commissioned compared to the programming that's geared for kids...which is fairly weak. Outside of Fuller House, there are only two "kid/teen" live action shows: Richie Rich and Project Mc2; the rest are cartoons. Not only does Fuller House tap into a more broad demographic, but it isn't some random property: this is name recognition for a show that has technically never left television screens since the late-'80s. Family fun with a rich history.
That's not to say that Fuller House is without flaws—I'm not sure what the deal is with Bob Saget, but he did something weird with his voice as Danny Tanner that confused me in episode one, like he decided to just play Danny Tanner as an old(er) nerd in 2016. The jokes are still corny, and the show leans on subtle winks to Full House a bit too often. And while Ramona is in the house, painting her bedroom the color of her people and adding a bit of non-whiteness to the series, the show is still as white as can be. And again, that's OK.
The beauty of the age we're in now is that you should know exactly what you're in for. If you loved Full House, warts and all, you'll get a kick out of the nostalgic feel, and how they decided to pick up the story almost 30 years later as opposed to truly rebooting. You'll have to be OK with dreaded sitcom tropes being redesigned for 2016. Truthfully, this isn't a show that grown Full House fans will need to watch on their own. It's something to share with their kids—just the kind of programming that Netflix needs to further establish itself as a go-to brand for all TV viewers.