I just got back from a trip I went on, and one of my stops along the way was San Francisco, which essentially reminds me of three things: Brandon Walsh’s rebel love interest, Emily Valentine, psychedelic songs of the ’60s, and Bob Saget.
Back in the late ’80s/early ’90s, Friday nights were still alive. Families sat together and ate popcorn while enjoying classic American television to kick start the weekend. ABC had a long running programming block called TGIF, which does universally stand for, “Thank God it’s Friday,” but in the case of primetime comedy, translated to, “Thank goodness it’s funny.” You might remember Cousin Belky from Perfect Strangers or Family Matters and its iconic Steve Urkel. You may even recall that one show with Suzanne Somers and that guy from Dallas. And if your really stuck around for the long haul, you’re familiar with Topanga, Salem the cat, and a horrible spin off that Alicia Silverstone wouldn’t set foot near. But one show reigns over all others.
If you’ve ever seen an episode of Full House, lingering images of the Tanners frolicking down a hill, setting up a picnic, and cruising across the Golden Gate Bridge are in your head for life. The continuing plot throughout the series unknotted fundamental issues, such as: knowing when to give and when to take, being yourself, and understanding the people around you. One of my favorite episodes was in season 3 when D.J. Tanner starts Junior High. The first day of school, D.J. discovers she is wearing the same outfit as one of the teachers, a hideous pleated khakis and vest ensemble. Definitely not hip, Deej. The popular girls laugh at her, and she spends her lunch time sitting in a phone booth listening to the operator. The next morning, her best friend Kimmy Gibler and her decide to take it up a notch. D.J.’s bedroom looks like the backstage of a Pat Benatar concert. The girls are caking on dark makeup, fishnet, Aqua Net hair to the sky, and a sassy attitude to go along. D.J.’s dad figures out what’s going on, but this is the job for a woman’s advice. Aunt Becky steps in with a few makeup pointers, and many a young girl across America learned that less is more that night. Cue the sappy music, audience clapping, go credits.
What’s important to note about this show was how much everyone had some growing up to do, not just the three girls: D.J., Michelle and Stephanie. Uncle Jesse had to trim back his mullet and come to grips with the fact that The King (Elvis) was dead. Danny had to get out there and date women again, and tone down the OCD. Joey had to part ways with some of those Hawaiian button downs and find a job. Full House was about being the best person you could be. A sit-down pep talk on the gingham couch for one of Danny Tanner’s, “What you did was wrong” lessons, was the modern day Mike Brady, “There’s a lesson to be learned here” speech. Long before the Saget jokes, meth addictions and rehab, there was Full House.
Whatever happened to predictability…?