From 1987 to 1995, one family appointed themselves as the moral guideline for the entire nation. That family? The Tanners, of San Francisco.
The TV show Full House was an incredibly important part of the televised upbringing of my entire generation. The program was known for a polite, clean and very white 192 episodes of pure sweetness.
Or was it?
I would argue that the perfection of the Tanner family was nothing more than illusion. An illusion made up of seemingly sweet children with a seemingly sweet relationship with their seemingly sweet father and co-father figures.
The frequent watcher will tell you this was not the case.
Exhibit A: Donna Jo “DJ” Tanner
DJ was the eldest Tanner daughter. A clingy, self-involved shrew, she at various points refused to let her father date, she throws tantrums every time anyone in her life acts like a parent, she tackled Kirk Cameron because he wouldn’t play with her and she had really awful half flip-up, half flip-down bangs for far longer than acceptable.
She has a horrible time with boys. She dates perfectly nice, super-rich Nelson and two-times him with a doober named Viper and then dumps them both. She dates Steve, and that goes well, but then she climbs a mountain and dumps him. That’s pretty much how it happens. Also, Danny catches them having what he thinks is sex (which was ridiculous as they were on separate sides of the couch and very obviously asleep) and instead of doing the sensible thing and a) calmly telling her father that they were not doing such a thing, and/or b) just having sex with him (the guy was Aladdin, COME ON) she has another tantrum and forces her dad to apologize to her for her staying over at a guy’s house. My dad would have slapped me.
Exhibit B: Stephanie Judith Tanner
Stephanie is the classic middle child. Desperate for attention, shrill and exhibiting all signs that she will one day become a meth-head, Stephanie is the worst of the Tanner children. Mean to her classmates such as Walter the Duckface, a nosy eavesdropper, and insistent upon having not one, but multiple catchphrases, Stephanie is basically a tiny blonde nightmare who happens to be quite proficient at the Running Man.
Stephanie drove a car into the fucking kitchen. She does not get in trouble. She also runs away, gets herself on a plane to Auckland, turns her house into absolute chaos because she can’t find her teddy bear when she is well into her teens and befriends Marla Sokoloff, which you really shouldn’t do.
Also, she drove the car into the fucking kitchen.
Exhibit C: Michelle Elizabeth Tanner
Michelle was a really ugly baby. That is not her fault. She didn’t do it. But she looked exactly like her stuffed monkey and that cannot be ignored. Not content to let her sister get all the string-pull doll glory, Michelle also insisted upon having a catchphrase. This catchphrase was “You got it, dude.” This is barely a catchphrase. It’s no “Did I do that?”
In fairness to Michelle, she was the only Tanner who acknowledged that black people are real and deserving of friendship. One of her black friends was a Mowry, as in Tia and Tamara, and the other one was revealed to be the niece of Little Richard, because it was very important to Full House to point out that all black people are related.
Michelle fell off a horse, lost her memory, split into two and talked to herself, then ended the series that way. This was stupid.
Exhibit D: Danny Tanner
Danny was severely obsessive compulsive and in serious need of psychiatric care. He also hugged people a lot, often inappropriately. I think we have another Belding situation on our hands.
Exhibit E: Jesse Katsopolis
If that’s even his real name. Jesse Katsopolis entered the television world with the far less ethnic name Jesse Cochran. Inexplicably, his name became Katsopolis in the second season. Theory: his attempt at a false name was an effort to hide that he was totally not the mom’s brother. Jesse was the Greekest man alive. His sister produced three incredibly Aryan daughters. Basically he read the obit and moved in.
At the beginning of the series, he didn’t just have a mullet; he had a Kate Jackson layered shag.
He plays a lot with the Beach Boys, but subscribes to the belief that Mike Love, not Brian Wilson, is the true genius of the band. This is ridiculous.
In the research of this piece, I discovered that his wife could fuck you up.
Exhibit F: Joey Gladstone
First and foremost, his name was not “Uncle” Joey. He was never called “Uncle” Joey. If I hear anyone call him “Uncle” Joey, I will call you out for being stupid.
Maligned nomenclature is the lease of Joey’s worries. Joey never dates much the entire series, choosing instead to spend his longest televised relationship with a beaver puppet. Okay, it was actually a woodchuck, but the Mel Gibson similarities just seemed so timely. He is a failed comedian, then a failed advertising man. He was basically a giant lump of fail, and much like Screech before him, was alternately perfectly intelligent and mostly retarded.
For spending seven years making our families seem inferior, the House of Tanner was built on shaky ground. The three girls were bratty disasters, the three men were overreacting messes who I wouldn’t trust to lead a parade.
The only person who escapes unscathed and was largely normal and okay? Kimmy Gibler. They should have been nicer to her.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.