In the opening scene of Fuller House - Netflix's reboot, premiering Friday, of the popular ABC series Full House - Danny Tanner (Philadelphia's own Bob Saget) and Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) share a knowing look. The camera lingers on their smiling faces too long for the look not to say something.
For their sake, I hope the sound of that look is ka-ching!
Danny and Uncle Jesse have less to do in this version of the family sitcom than they did in the original, which ran from 1987 to 1995. The parental trifecta of Danny-Jesse-Joey (Dave Coulier) are more like guest stars this time around. Instead, eldest Tanner daughter DJ (Candace Cameron Bure) is left to care for her three boys after the death of her firefighter husband. Middle sis Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), best friend Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), and Kimmy's daughter, Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), decide to move in with DJ at their gorgeous childhood San Francisco home to help out.
(Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who played breakout star Michelle, declined to participate in the series. There's a wink-and-nod reference to that in the pilot: Asked about Michelle's absence, Danny says, "She's busy in New York running her fashion empire," referring to the Olsens' successful clothing line. Cue the cast looking directly at the camera with a certain degree of 'tude. (Hey, at least they don't have to be here.)
There's no reason for Fuller House to exist, except to feed into the constant nostalgia loop in which we seem to be stuck. One of the downsides of constant television outlets is that a show doesn't really need a reason to exist to be seen.
But the weird thing about Fuller House is that it's not a disappointment - like, say, Netflix's Arrested Development reboot. It accomplishes what it sets out to do - be a bland family sitcom playing to a nostalgic audience that really wanted to give Coulier a paycheck again.
But that doesn't mean it's any good.
I'm one of the target audiences for Fuller House. I'm a millennial who watched the show in its original run and incessantly in repeats. I can sing the theme song, and I can repeat all the catchphrases. Watching Fuller House made my head hurt, and not just because I dedicated a portion of my young life to watching something like the original Full House when I should have been, you know, outside. It's also because the nostalgia loop I so eagerly participate in - don't get me started on how excited I am about Netflix's Gilmore Girls reboot, or how quickly I binged on its Wet Hot American Summer sequel - has wrought this.
But I guess with the good comes the mind-numbingly bland. Watching these three actresses - Bure, Sweetin, and Barber - play the same shtick they played as kids is disheartening. I've grown, but they are forced to stay the same. The same goes for Saget, who has spent his post-Full House career trying to muss up his squeaky-clean dad image (see: Half Baked, The Aristocrats, and his entire stand-up career). His partner-in-crime Stamos, on the other hand, has made a career out of playing off the nostalgia for Uncle Jesse, reminding millennial women he was one of their first crushes. He even got a sitcom out of it: Fox's Grandfathered.
Or maybe I'm not the target audience for this at all. Instead, is Netflix trying to grab the attention of the kids of my generation and the one before mine? Will they get or care about the frequent nods to the past? Will they see a family sitcom that always had a special lesson - accompanied by a plaintive score, of course - and think it's simply too retro?
There won't be the warmth of nostalgia to keep those kids coming back. And it even left me pretty cold.
All Season 1 episodes available Friday on Netflix.