Fuller House wanted to recapture the massive popularity of Full House but unfortunately, it learned the wrong lessons from its parent series.
Fuller House tried to recapture the popularity of Full House by copying its premise, but it learned the wrong key elements from the original show. After years in development, Netflix officially premiered the spin-off in 2016 and despite criticisms, it was popular enough to be renewed four more times. Fuller House wrapped up in 2020 after five seasons, three years fewer than Full House.
With original series creator Jeff Franklin back for the offshoot, the creative team made it a point to capitalize on the already established fan base from Full House. Fuller House essentially copied the premise of its predecessor with DJ being in the same predicament as Danny: suddenly widowed and left to raise three young kids on their own. Stephanie and Kimmy, like Jesse and Joey, moved into the iconic San Francisco home to help the eldest Tanner child to raise her sons.
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This may sound like a great idea as it would evoke nostalgia for fans of Full House, but this wasn’t the right way to honor the show’s legacy. Instead of being a tribute, being a carbon copy made Fuller House more of a parody, emphasizing that the offshoot didn’t fully understand what made Full House work. While the sitcom wasn’t a critical darling, it resonated with a lot of people because it tackled realistic storylines. That includes the joys and struggles of parenting, especially in an unconventional home. On the flip side, it also explored plot lines from the kids’ perspectives. DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle’s ages were also spread out enough that each one was faced with their unique issues making the series, appealing to a broader demographic. Overall, Full House‘s main storytelling principle had always been focused on the kids — something that Fuller House failed to do.
Understandably, the Netflix spin-off wanted to put much of the focus on the familiar characters. This could’ve worked in the long run, after all, Full House did have arcs for Danny, Jesse, and Joey. Despite this, however, the original sitcom never lost sight of the fact that the show’s beating heart is their bond with the kids. Fuller House‘s young cast members, on the other hand, were merely used as plot devices. Granted that there were episodes that focused on their own journeys, they’re not nearly enough to make them established characters that viewers could get invested on. As a glaring example, after Stephanie’s surrogacy story ended with the birth of baby Danielle through Kimmy in season 4, the kid was barely featured in the subsequent year.
Interestingly, John Stamos suggested a different approach to Fuller House; the actor reprised his role as Uncle Jesse in the spin-off, as well as, served as an executive producer. Instead of essentially copying Full House‘s premise, he wanted a contemporary story that’s fresh but without losing the original sitcom’s core message. Unfortunately, Franklin didn’t want to go down that route. It’s curious what the spin-off would’ve been like had they listened to Stamos with regard to how to move forward with the Netflix show.
More: How Fuller House’s DJ Was Originally Different (& Why She Changed)
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