Fuller House disappoints again
New season has just enough crudeness to spoil the family fun
Fuller House Season 2, released Friday on Netflix, largely mimics Season 1: Three women and a constellation of friends, extended family, and live-in boyfriends raise a bunch of kids in that famous San Francisco row house. Season 2 also suffers from the same identity crisis as Season 1. Is Fuller House the raunchier older version of the original Full House, meant for fans who grew up with sisters D.J. Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure) and Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin), or is it a Disney Channel–esque tween show featuring the next generation of kids growing up in the Tanner-Fuller household?
Fuller House tries to be both, but separately—and fails. A large number of storylines happen outside the house in special settings, mainly involving the dating antics of D.J., Stephanie, and their housemate Kimmy Gibler (Andrea Barber). The show still has a few teachable, after-school special moments between parents and kids, but they’re secondary to splashy events like an episode at a San Francisco Giants game (Season 1) or a New Kids on the Block concert (Season 2).
When the focus is outside of the house involving only the adults, there’s less of the interplay between family members that made the original show so good. (Think D.J. and Stephanie crashing a wedding and ‘outing’ a gay man to his family vs. dad Danny Tanner questioning teen D.J.’s latest boyfriend in the kitchen.)
On a show literally named after the house they live in, these women spend a lot more time out on the town than most single (or married) moms I know. Great for them for figuring out such an easy childcare system. Bad for us because some funny characters get left at home without much screen time.
Season 1 faced criticism both for its poor writing and failure to provide the wholesomeness many families expected. It wasn’t full of “all out debauchery,” as one reviewer complained, but there was enough sexual innuendo to make parents squirm.
That shortcoming persists in the new season despite comments by Bure, a professing Christian. Bure said the tone of Fuller House in general has been “updated” since the original show, but it’s “very much the same … I’m sure a few of the jokes are a little bit racier now than they would have been in the ’90s, but it’s still nothing that’s inappropriate or that you would feel uncomfortable watching with your kids.” Bure has addressed other criticisms about her faith on her blog.
With all the bad publicity, viewers may wonder how and why the show got renewed for a second season so quickly since Season 1 came out late last winter.
In the “old” TV model, a network would wait week after week to see how a show was faring in the ratings to make a decision about renewing it. Because Netflix releases most original content all at once, fans have the opportunity to watch episodes back-to-back in a short span of time, like a single weekend.
And Netflix also has all the viewership information it wants from its own statistics and social media, so it must be convinced that Fuller House is making money. (As with Season 1, there’s also a good deal of not-so-subtle product placement in the show.)
Speculation about a third season has already begun.
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