Confessions of a Sitcom Junkie: Fuller House

I didn't even watch Full House. I haven't seen a full episode of that show, only clips and snippets. Despite this fact, despite having no nostalgia for that particular series, I somehow found myself watching the entire thirteen-episode first season of Fuller House on Netflix this week with my wife. We are both still sane.

If you're unfamiliar with either show, let me give you a brief rundown: In the original series, Full House, a widower lives alone with many children until his friends all move into the House, filling the empty space in Bob Saget's heart with an Elvis aficionado and a man who speaks only through a woodchuck puppet. They later made a movie about the latter character called The Beaver, in which he was played by troubled actor Mel Gibson.

There were three children? They added more later on, stuffing the House to the gills with each one as they said aloud, "This House is Full, but it could be Fuller," foreshadowing its later resurrection in new media. Also, there was a neighbor child who was loathed by all characters but one. The hated one was cursed to return to the House each day until all occupants loved her. "Hola," she would say. "We hates you," they would reply, followed by their signature catchphrase. Only her friend, a popular D.J., would answer, "I love you, Kimmy. Oh, Mylanta!"

Another of the children appeared in one of the Star Wars as a Jamaican frog. She repeated her phrase over and over, flicking her tongue at the other stars and saying, "How Rude," until she was the winner of the Star Wars.

The D.J., having music in her blood, would rather dance with the stars than battle them, and she later had her own spin-off series in which she danced with a different star each week, never stopping until one of them bled from the feet and collapsed. She is known for never going down in a dance-off, so she was granted all of the dances, which she brought back to the House in its second incarnation.

Also, there were two babies, but they all pretended it was just one, so the House would never know which one had been marked for sacrifice. Later, when the House bulged with occupants, two more twins were born. The House could not stand under its own Fullness, and it sank back into the depths, vowing to one day return as a newer, wider, Fuller House.

Now the House's chilling prophecy has come to pass. The olden twins sought refuge in the impenetrable world of fashion, but the other children are now grown. The popular D.J. is now the widow. The Jamaican frog is now the popular D.J. The hated one is still hated, but now she dwells inside the House, and it is her husband who must return each day to seek approval. Bob Saget is the couch now. There are a new set of twins, and they performed the Flintstones chant as before, uncannily synchronized with their past selves, to cloak the twins in the illusion of oneness. The Elvis man can still find no mercy or quarter. The woodchuck man has gone to Vegas to marry his puppet.

Other children now fill the House, though it is not yet Fuller than at its peak. There is a daughter of the hated one, who we know is ethnic because she is proud of her flag. All cultures are portrayed realistically and with sensitivity on this show. There's no room for caricatures or stereotypes here. Human lives and mannerisms are also very real and good on this House. All people we see and hear look and sound like real and fleshy human ones. The studio audience (Live? Alive? Incorporeal?) confirms that the House fillers are both funny and saucy. It is good that they managed to bind the audience to their seats, keeping the same watchers at the ready for the House's inevitable return. They are the arbiters of the House's realm, signaling us with excitement when a familiar face returns to fill the House, laughing at jokes that were not visible to us, wooing saucily when something saucy happens, such as each character kissing every other character in turn, or a baseball man exposing his pizza fork.

Oh, and Macy Gray shows up at one point, only to wonder aloud what she's doing there.