Monday, May 20, 2024

Fuller House Season 5 Services its Assumed Fans

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You’ve heard of curative Star Wars fans. But the newest 9 episodes of the sequel series Fuller House have me seriously questioning the existence of curative Full House fans.

That’s right, Fuller House plunked Season 5 on us, and never fear: it’s just part 1 of 2. Which means I’m back here reviewing part 1 of 2, despite my past writing that had the audacity to point out ‘maybe gay jokes aren’t helpful, actually’ being met with a mixed reception. It’s not that I am completely sour on the premise of a Full House sequel—there’s a rather wonderful meta-enjoyment to it if you know where to look. And I’ll say this much for any fans reading this review, just as I said last year: you are guaranteed to like Season 5 if you found the past 4 seasons enjoyable.

It’s just that time and time again, this has proven to me to be a show with absolutely nothing to say. I mean there’s episodic moral lessons, it’s just that they get completely dwarfed by the humor focused on how people doing things out of the norm is *hilarious*.

Even more, the moral lessons were pretty trite this season. Steve can still surprise DJ! It’s not a good idea to catfish your own child via video games! Talk to your fiancé before investing your entire wealth into a new business, but it’s probably fine anyway! I know I’m a sucker for themes and character arcs above plot, so maybe this style of show was never going to work for me anyway, but goddamnit if Schitt’s Creek can make me love Alexa and defend her with all my heart, then Fuller House can surely dredge up some semblance of a journey for Ramona.

No, getting a boyfriend is not an arc. Same with “now a baby exists.”

Well, I suppose it’s unfair for me to say there were no journeys of which to speak. (And I should warn of spoilers ahead for anyone who mystifyingly cares about Fuller House spoilers.) Our three leading ladies in DJ, Kimmy, and Stephanie all either got engaged, or reaffirmed their engagement to their mediocre partners of choice, and ended the season with the promise of a triple wedding. As I let this milquetoast content pour over me, I found myself wondering who exactly this was for. Who is watching this show, feeling as though the one thing that needs to be resolved is the three women’s single filing status? And *who* was on shpilkes prior to this show airing to see if DJ and Steve had “made it”?

I guess I am being a bit overly critical, since Uncle Jesse, Uncle Joe, and Danny’s love lives had been in sharp focus for most of Full House. The early seasons were almost fully characterized by Jesse’s pursuit of Becky. Joey had a slew of girlfriends when an episode was in need of some levity. And of course, there was the drawn out Vicky-saga that Danny went through. So it’s natural enough that as adults, we’d be treated to the girls’ (subbing in Kimmy for the notably absent Michele) dating foibles as well.

And yet, it just takes on a different implication when it centers on the women. Even worse given that both Danny and Joe ended Full House completely single. Why was this seen as the necessary end-goal on Fuller House? Especially given that two out of three of these husbands-to-be are purely there for comic relief.

I know it’s an exercise in futility to even try and analyze those choices by the writing team. At some point someone likely pitched the idea for a triple-wedding in the final episode, and that was that. This is not a show that has an interest in doing or being anything new, or even remotely creative. It is, at its core, perhaps the purest expression of fanservice I’ve ever seen.

How can I tell? Because on this season of Fuller House, aside from the four Game of Thrones mentions that made me frown into my bowl of popcorn, all referential humor was geared around playing ‘remember when’ with Full House. It’s not even trying to be remotely subtle. Max outright begins talking about a deep collection of “home videos” that were almost like a TV show! Hahaha. Oh look, fans, it’s Rigby! Do you remember that? I sure don’t, because I was four when that episode aired.

I understand that any kind of sequel show is going to have callbacks. Hell, I dearly love The Legend of Korra, but even I admit Zuko and Toph were brought into it at the eleventh hour for pure, beautiful fanservice. It’s just that I’m unsure of what fans are really being served in this case. Are there truly people out there with a categorical knowledge of every prop on Full House? Does seeing the “Spray Guard 2001” truly stir those nostalgic feelings?

And if it is nostalgia the writers are after, then that means the target audience truly are people in their 30s who watched this show as kids? To maybe show their kids? And these hypothetical people are devoted enough fans that these callbacks are actually enjoyable, and not painful?

I’m sure someone is out there who fits that bill. For me, I just see an unenthusiastic writers’ room who very clearly binged the original show before sitting down to write the fifth season. As before, not one single thing happens that is not completely predictable. Not one single joke is set up where you don’t already know the ending. Maybe it makes these older fans feel secure, but it’s certainly not going to engage anyone new.

Besides, media doesn’t just exist to rub your back and tell you that you were correct for liking something you saw as a kid, right?

In completely unrelated news to this review, The Rise of Skywalker is released tonight. And of course, Fuller House will come out with season 5b sometime in 2020 to tuck us into bed yet again. Sleep well; nothing is being challenged.

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