Well, love is probably too strong a word.
Fuller House was tailor-made for people to hate. Ever since Netflix announced it was bringing the show back — 21 years after it had gone off the air — people have been violently rubbing their nipples, ready to tear it apart. And with good reason, I guess. The original show was never very good, despite running for eight years and still playing something like 50 times a week in syndication. As a culture, there are very few things we can all get behind. Mad Men, live-tweeting the Oscars, and that’s about it. But we were all able to get behind the idea that this show was going to fail and fail miserably.
The reaction to the show’s first trailer was about what you’d expect. But, as I read people’s reactions online, I couldn’t help but feel like this was all part of the plan. People gleefully derided it, but were still retweeting and sharing it with all their friends. I can only imagine that, somewhere, a Netflix executive was buying himself a new BMW.
By the time the show finally dropped, I’d say the public’s expectations had turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. For months — and I was just as guilty as anyone else — we had been sharpening our forks and drafting our tweets, and would accept nothing less than for Fuller House to in actuality be the disaster we had imagined. But while the reaction to the trailer wasn’t really unexpected, the reaction to the show itself has kind of blown my mind. Take this tweet from Todd VanDerWerf, the culture editor for Vox…
Fuller House made me feel like I was an empty burlap sack shaped like a man, and I was full of bugs, and the bugs moved me around.
— Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti) January 17, 2016
Not only were the reviews bad, but critics were stumbling over each other to show the world just where on the doll Fuller House had touched them. And look, I get it. The show was never going to be one we buried deep in the Earth for the when the asteroid hit. But wth each negative review I read, I became more obsessed. The show’s siren song was calling to me, and I yearned to know what others knew.
So I watched the show. And not only did I watch it, I watched all of it. The entire first season. And what did I find? The show is surprisingly okay. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never let episodes of Better Call Saul pile up because I’ve got more Fuller House to watch. But this is not a show I hated by any stretch. As a matter of fact, I found myself chuckling at it a lot more than I ever thought I would. Taken on its own terms, Fuller House is a pretty good family show. It’s funny enough, and the performances are pretty solid, as far as these shows go (as long as you can stand all of John Stamos’ sly grinning every time the studio audience goes nuts for him).
In one of the several reviews I read, the writer asked why Fuller House should even exist in the first place. What was it adding to the conversation? Well, aside from a discussion on whether or not a 20-year-old show is still relevant today, it’s possible that it adds nothing. But, in the age of Peak Television, who can say which shows deserve to be there and which do not? The fact of the matter is that Netflix’s cup runneth over, and it has both the incentive and the opportunity to deliver content like this to every segment of its subscriber base. If X-Files fans deserve to have their day in the sun, why not fans of Full House? Maybe, in the end, the nostalgia factor is reason enough to bring a show like this back. It’s not like there aren’t other family sitcoms out there. But this is the only one I’ve taken the time to watch.