Whatever happened to predictability? Whether intentional or not, that’s the line that viewers will take away from this second season of FULLER HOUSE. While the first season of the show was very much a 90’s wet dream of nostalgia – a delight for viewers who watch TV like people eat comfort food, and a massive disappointment for viewers who didn’t remember what the original Full House was – the second season keeps the cheesy antics of the first season and the heart of the original show, and slips into something a little more comfortable (with itself).
The adjustment between the first and the second seasons of the show is pretty drastic, but not in a way that should alarm fans of the first season or Full House. Viewers will be pleasantly surprised to discover that the second season feels much less like an obsolete style of sitcom sitting awkwardly in the realm of modernity and serialization. No longer burdened with the necessary task of reintroducing characters and filling in backstory, or the challenge of carving a voice out of a constant barrage of 90’s nostalgia, awkward catchphrases, and Full House references, season two embraces itself as its own show, separate from Full House, but still connected, channeling the comfy, sugar-coated idealism of reality while making a successful effort to play into modern themes and ideals that makes this season surprisingly relatable.
The key to this successful transition seems to be due to a number of small changes, most noticeable being the serious cut back on forcing catchphrases into every conversation. DJ seems to be the most guilty of throwing her “Oh Mylanta!” out there, particularly in Episode 10, “New Kids in the House,” when, in true Full House tradition, celebrity music group (not The Beach Boys) New Kids on the Block, pay a visit to the Fuller House.
Surprisingly, though, it’s not just a scaling back on the corny 90’s sitcom dialogue that makes this season an improvement on the show. Season one spent a lot of time flexing its muscles and testing the waters of the Netflix wild west, so-to-speak. Where Full House fans tuned into to a surprising onslaught of crude sex jokes and adult storylines in season one that felt very out of vein with the original show and very much like a forced attempt at modernization, season two settles into a nice middle, acknowledging that this show lives in a world where women talk about sex, date, and have just as much sexual need as men, but it isn’t the show’s center. Instead, season two pulls the focus back around to the family, parenting, and what it means to be a mother, a sister, and a friend.
There is a juicy, modern angle in season two to the love triangle season one established. While it’s no longer simply Matt and Steve fighting over DJ, the question of who DJ will end up with is still there, hooking us into every episode over the season arc. And while it’s not the most unexpected or fresh take on the classic Dawson’s Creek/Rory Gilmore/Bridget Jones/etc dilemma, it’s still compelling, in the wholesome, nostalgic-esque way, and the ending of the season arc might surprise you.
Season two begins at the end of the summer, a few months after the end of season one. DJ has had time to get to know herself, and has made a decision as to who she wants to date: Matt or Steve. She makes the mistake of thinking Matt and Steve would just be waiting around for her decide between the two of them, though, and is blindsided when Steve and Matt rightfully confess that they didn’t wait around for her. Though, to be fair to DJ, they thought she had told them to move on, and they honestly probably would have waited around for her, had she asked them to. Now both men have found other girlfriends – Matt with a ridiculously young twenty-something who is incredibly into fitness, and Steve – in typical unrealistic sitcom fashion – with a woman named CJ who is DJ’s double in almost every way.
It doesn’t take more than a few episodes, however, before the chemistry between Matt and DJ takes center stage, and in a whirlwind development, Matt breaks it off with his new girlfriend and gets together with DJ. Steve is obviously taken aback by this, but gracefully accepts that DJ is now with Matt, and maturely remains friends with both DJ and Matt. However, throughout the entirety of the season, it remains clear that Steve isn’t over DJ, and DJ still has feelings for Steve as well. But, despite this obvious spark, DJ is with Matt, so Steve stays with CJ, and since Steve is with CJ, so DJ stays with Matt. These two clearly have intimacy issues being single.
Speaking of intimacy issues, Stephanie is dating a Gibbler. Jimmy Gibbler, to be specific. The until-now non-existent younger brother of Kimmy. Or perhaps he did exist in verbal reference and I’m just not up-to-date on my Full House trivia knowledge? He’s a hunky ditz, somewhere in the realm of Ashton Kutcher’s Michael Kelso hunky ditz, but he’s somehow a perfect fit for Stephanie. And things are more than just a fling between the two – with an episode devoted to Stephanie realizing her hang ups about being vulnerable and getting close to people, the two exchange “I love you”s and later Stephanie reveals to Jimmy that she can’t have kids, news to which – also in typical ‘we’re not going to dive into this complicated issue’ sitcom fashion – he’s surprisingly fine. He doesn’t seem like quite the catch – besides his questionable intelligence and the fact that he’s a Gibbler, he lives out of an RV. But what the show takes in comical character quirks, it gives back in sensitivity and artistic ability. Jimmy is a very talented photographer, and considering Stephanie’s own flaws as a broke but talented DJ living in her childhood home with her older sister, the two connect over these similar life situations.
Meanwhile, things are smooth sailing with Kimmy and Fernando, but what is new is Uncle Jesse and Becky’s decision to adopt a baby – an interesting story development for characters who only make guest appearances in the new show. In fact, adoption becomes a strong underlying theme over the course of the season, with the show following Uncle Jesse and Becky’s decision to adopt straight through to the actual adoption – another typically unrealistic sitcom depiction, as the time from application to adopt and actual adoption is a much longer process than what the show would have you believe.
Overall, season two of Fuller House is the matured sitcom we were all hoping for. Viewers will be happy with the direction and voice the show has taken, and delighted to discover some true laugh-out-loud moments that aren’t drowned out by the overwhelmingly cheesy banter and corny dance-throwbacks that this season still boasts, but in moderation. The only disappointment is that we only get thirteen episodes of story. Here’s to hoping for a season three renewal, and a short wait.
Season 2, Episodes 1-13 (S02E01-13)
Fuller House debuted Dec. 9th on Netflix
Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor