Review Fuller House Season 2 As the first review from my new post in IGN’s San Francisco office, I found it fitting that the Fuller family should welcome me to their city.
With thirteen new episodes primed and ready to binge on Netflix, Season 2 was a particularly easy watch for this fan of the 90’s original series.
The first season of Fuller House was enjoyed at Casa Varner, so expectations were high this past weekend, as Season 2 made its debut.
Leaning into the most severe sitcom tropes,
Fuller House is certainly a love-it or leave-it
kind of show.
Many modern family sitcoms have
left behind most of the more exaggerated approaches
to comedy (i.e. laugh tracks) but Fuller House does
not set out to be a modern example.
Nothing is left on the table — from breaking the fourth wall to dream sequences, Fuller House takes what the original series created and turns it up to 11.
Season 2 kicks off reuniting the characters back at the iconic Tanner family household, citing various summer activities for their departures.
While it made sense for the kids to be gone all summer,
watching the adults reunite as if they had been gone as
well is a little jarring.
This isn’t the last time
the kids are upstaged by the adults. DJ and Kimmy are
notorious in living vicariously through their children;
Kimmy going as far as attending 5 of the 6 weeks of Ramona’s dance camp.
The series struggles in finding comedic moments between
parent and child, and it’s not like Aunt Stephanie is
running around with a woodchuck puppet to lighten the mood.
The most welcomed addition to the family is Fernando, played by series regular Juan Pablo Di Pace.
We met Fernando at the end of season one as Kimmy’s
racecar driver fiancee and estranged father to Ramona.
Fernando’s enthusiastic assertion back into their lives
creates the first major arc of the season;
as he insists on moving into the Tanner/Gibbler household
while working things out with Kimmy. (Remember those bad
tropes? Bending over in a short pink robe, the family is
exposed to Fernando’s… pixelated parts. Actually pixelated.)
In spite of his nonsensical nature, Fernando’s presence
this season is seriously necessary.
With two moms
(plus non-parent, too-cool-to-be-fun Aunt Stephanie)
in the house, Fuller House goes against every other
90’s sitcom that consciously omitted the “buzzkill”
(including its predecessor!) Season 1
tried to break that stereotype by showing our leading
ladies as everyday working women, but that doesn’t
necessarily add up to laughs.
Fernando’s over-the-top characteristics push
beyond any normal parenting trope, and allows
the writers to use him in “Uncle Joey”
moments, even if he is a parent himself.
Antiquated television politics aside, the scenes between
Fernando and DJ’s son Max (Elias Harger) were some of
the most heartwarming moments of the season, as they
ultimately parent each other…and you better believe
they hugged it out!
People love this show for its heart, and the stories that feel like a warm hug by the end of the episode. In Season 1, viewers learned that Stephanie is unable to have children.
This season, her cheeseball romance with neighbor Jimmy Gibbler (yes, really) takes on a new level as she looks at their long-term future with a different lens.
The highlight of the season is the Halloween episode.
Not only do you get a great moment for Stephanie and
Jimmy to bond over pranking kids in a haunted house,
but viewers are also treated to a throwback homage to
I Love Lucy.
Kimmy and Fernando dress up as the iconic
duo, and even perform Babalu and a scene in black and
white that contributes to the best classic reference
of the season.
Attempting to list every guest star this season would be near impossible.
We get three episodes with various members of the classic
“Full House” cast, including Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit
reprising their roles as Nicky and Alex Katsopolis.
We also meet Joey’s magician wife, his four talented kids, as well as an adopted baby for Jesse and Becky. We also get cameos from the likes of Alan Thicke, Dancing With the Stars’ Bruno Tonioli, and NKOTB.
Can you tell which one would pull a golden “10” paddle out of his pants?
Keep in mind this is a 2016 sitcom that wants to be a 90’s sitcom. As uneven as that statement reads, the pop culture references are worse.
In one scene the viewer is expected to laugh at DJ using the fake name “Sinead O’Connor” at an Irish wedding, and the next Kimmy is catching a Pokemon on her phone on live TV.
Given my personal knowledge of Sinead extends to her tearing up a picture on SNL, it doesn’t seem like a reference that hits the Netflix demographic.
The character moments are what work– not the 2016 references or the talking dog gags (yes, REALLY.)
The absence of Michelle at the Tanner family Thanksgiving
shouldn’t be felt at all, given the wealth of characters
already on screen. Breaking the fourth wall to call out
the Olsen twins’ absence is not only insulting to the actors
inhabiting the scene, but also to the passive viewer trying
to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with one of their favorite families.
There is a time and a place for side-eyes and subtweeting, and it isn’t in an episode.
To that end, there were more than enough cool callbacks to the original series. My personal favorite is DJ’s high school boyfriend Viper, a washed up rocker that considered DJ “the one that got away.”
It serves a humorous break in the nonsense that is DJ’s love life this season — an overdrawn Season 1 plotline that also extends the full length of Season 2.
It doesn’t matter who DJ choses in the end, as long as she makes up her damn mind.
Fuller House Season 2 brings a fuller cast, a fuller plot, and a lot more cringe-worthy pop culture jokes. Love it or hate it, the staying power of this heartwarming Netflix staple is stronger than ever.