Fuller House Episode Two Can't Quite Pull Off Its Old Tricks
Violin music not included.
A subtle, but significant difference between Fuller House and its predecessor is the length of the episodes. The commercial-free oasis of Netflix allowed the premiere episode to clock in at a whopping 36 minutes, when the average network sitcom runs about 22.
Clearly, there was a lot of ground to cover out of the gate. We caught up with nearly all of the cast, with even a quick nod to an absent Michelle. With that came a ton of lengthy applause breaks for intros and catchphrases alike. The elder Tanners are technically "guest stars" on the series, so it was important to get as much time and tropes with them as possible.
Now, it's time for the show stand on its own. The second episode follows that theme, with the new family making adjustments like swapping rooms, holding their curse words, and waking up early. It starts with the latter, as "DJ" Stephanie struggles to get out of bed while her nephew all but jumps on her face. How could you not be a night person "when the clubs are going off, bottles are popping, people are hooking up," she explains. Ugh, Stephanie, you're on such thin ice after that horrible British accent. Tone it down, girl.
Meanwhile, DJ has been up for hours, nervously baking in an attempt to soften the blow of telling her sons that in addition to Aunt Steph, her best friend, Kimmy, and her daughter, Ramona, will be moving in as well. One angsty teen (her son, Jackson) is already a lot, but the house may explode with two of them in competition with each other. No sooner than he starts to suspect do Kimmy and Ramona come bursting into the kitchen — and the cat's out of the bag.
They take the old attic apartment where Jesse and Becky lived for seven years. It becomes apparent that there won't be enough room for both of them, as there is only a small room extension that somehow managed to hold the Kotsopolis twins. Continuity issue: In the original show, that room was definitely on the other side of the apartment and a lot bigger ... but we digress.
It's at that point that DJ panics and offers to bunk the two oldest boys together so Ramona could have her own space. There's always one too many people living in that damn house. This, of course, was great news to the nerd prince Max, but did not sit well with the eldest. His only condition for being "okay" with this new situation was having his own space, and now that's gone. He tries to talk Max into moving in with the baby instead, but a farting Tommy Jr. sabotages that plan.
Meanwhile, Kimmy and Stephanie are doing their best at their first alone time with the kids while DJ is at work. They scramble around as Jesse and Joey had done in the early days with similar diaper-changing hijinks. Confident from her little parenting victories, Stephanie offers advice to her surly teen nephew, basically spelling out a plan for him to run away, as DJ had when they were kids. Of course, as everyone knows, this is something that
always never works.
Enter, Uncle Jesse. It's going to be difficult to keep this thing afloat without one or more of the elders popping in here and there. So, wouldn't you know, he "forgot" his favorite guitar and drove five hours from LA to get it. Jackson sees this as an opportunity to fly the coop and hides in the back seat. While doing his best to stay quiet, Jesse's singing finally cracks him and he's caught. Cue an inspirational speech about the sacrifices you make for family and the car turns right back around home. At the very least, this pushed the issue to be dealt with in the same episode instead of dragging out over several, with the family reflecting on how much they need each other right now. Commence hugging. So ... much ... hugging.
The parallels in plot straddle the fence between genius and gag-inducing. A single DJ needing support with her family is surprisingly natural, but Stephanie and Kimmy (a mother herself) being so clueless with kids isn't. It's also a bit deflating that the episode's central crisis, Jackson running away, is resolved fairly unceremoniously because he can just text his mom where he is. Realities like that make it difficult for us to believe the old Tanner tricks, even as they try to adapt them to this new family. They stand to gain much more if they stay focused on the everyday existence that made them relatable enough that this spin-off even exists.
Biggest Highlight: The idea of a breakfast milkshake sounds pretty great, even if it was a bribe.
Biggest WTF: Kimmy mentioning, once again, that Jesse was probably in love with her back in the day. That's called pedophila, Kimmy.
Most Egregious Call-Backs: Surprisingly, there weren't that many. Jesse and Stephanie's heart to heart had them force out both "have mercy" and "how rude." We get it, guys.
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