The Good

The Bad

I am a sucker for certain things and sadly, I must admit that Full House: Season One is one of them. I have watched this show on Nick at Nite Reruns for I don’t know how long.

Why?

Well, it’s just enjoyable. There is something about sitcoms from the Late 80s to Mid 90s that are just easy to watch. I don’t know if it’s a mix of nostalgia, the writing, the look of the shows but there is something intangible about them makes it easy to just put them on TV(and now DVD) and just watch episode after episode.

Full House is about Danny Tanner(Bob Saget) and his 3 girls D.J., Stephanie and Michelle. Danny is a widower and he has his brother Jesse(John Stamos) and his friend Joey(Dave Coulier) move in with him to help him with the girls. What follows are 22 shows that mean to be funny, sometimes are funny, but at all times are very sincere in their goal to provide enjoyable entertainment. Basically, how can I not like this? I watched the show when it originally aired, I watch it on the re-runs on Nick At Nite, so why wouldn’t I want to own and enjoy them on the forever format of DVD? This is a no brainer.

I often have questions as I watch the show that I would like to bring into the discussion. Was the “rocker” look that John Stamos had ever really cool? Was Dave Coulier ever funny on the show? Is it true that Bob Saget’s stand-up comedy routine is quite vulgar? Does D.J. just seem like an early pregnancy waiting to happen?

The show goes through the typical growing pains of having Jesse and Joey change a diaper, the guys mothers threatening to move in because the house isn’t clean, Michelle calling her Uncle Jesse “Da-Da”, the two brothers using the kids to get dates, etc. What I think impresses me the most about this show, is that they took the whole Three Men and Baby motif and they carried out not just for the first 22 shows that this DVD boxset covers...they carried it out for 8 seasons!!! That is an amazing run.

I think why this probably happened was the fact that this show is nothing if not good natured. The subject matter, while serious, is always dealt with a slight hand. For instance, when Danny tries to date and has to explain things to his kids. Or, seeing Jesse and Joey trying to get their lives together. Add to this that you have 3 little girls(all at various stages of development) growing up and you have a show that while in many aspects it is sugarcoated, it does deliver that spoonful with a nice touch of vinegar. Things are almost always lighthearted, but they are lighthearted only in the sense that this show is a sitcom. It is on television so the parameters of the medium are clearly defined. However, when you do add reality to it, it actually ends up turning the whole formula on it’s ear.

What also works is because the show ran so long, we as viewers actually did get to see these characters grow. As a connoisseur of this show, I know that in the later years the girls really stopped obeying their “parents”, I know that other adult female characters entered the show and the whole dynamic of the Full House world changed. Yet, throughout all of the changes, the show still managed to keep it’s earnest, cheery, all problems solved in 30 minutes or less format. The fact of the matter is that what keeps shows like this on the air, is that they work. They work on us. They speak to a certain part of our psyche that wants to see how others deal with these problems.

In fact, while this show might not play so well now, the idea of appealing the youth/middle age market, really might better explain this shows enduring appeal and popularity. Like much of TV, there is something for everyone but at the same time, there is a lot of universal issues dealt with that make this show special in it’s own way.

Features

Original Unaired Pilot with John Posey in the Bob Saget Role

What?!?!?

How in the world could the creators of this show have even thought for a moment they could do anything, that they could burn a single frame of video, without Bob Saget running the show? From the opening title sequence when you see John Posey where Bob Saget should be, something just feels off. It’s like you’re watching Being John Malkovich in the sitcom world. This episode should have been retitled Being Full House for the DVD. It’s not that John Posey is bad, it’s not that he doesn’t have acting chops...he just doesn’t seem right here. Bob Saget is this character. This was the part he was born to play. He is a great TV dad. If not in the top 10 of the all time greatest TV Dad’s he is certainly right up there.

I did a quick search of IMDB to see what Mr. Posey did after his stint on this show and it was great to see that he was in Manhunter(actually he did this the year before he did the show), he continued to do a lot of TV and he was even in Robocop 3. So all things considered it wasn’t like not doing this show put him in the dumper. In fact, in keeping with the show his career has very much had a happy ending.

Commentary with Executive Producer Jeff Franklin

Listening to a commentary track over anything related to Full House is just weird. I mean, not that this show isn’t good...but a commentary track is just for a different type of show. It’s for something like Boogie Nights. I just don’t see it for a show like this. However, I didn’t know that this producer had done “Laverne and Shirley” or had written Summer School. I didn’t know that for the San Francisco scenes doubles were used. I didn’t know that Uncle Jesse was really Uncle Adam at first. There were just a bunch of things about this show that I didn’t know about. I wish I had, I just didn’t. Also, did you know that Paul Reiser was up for the Danny Tanner role? He instead did “My Two Dads”. Basically, there are only commentaries for “Our Very First Show” and “Mad Money House”. Before you start calling the DVD creators cheap, I don’t think they needed to have a commentary track for all 22 episodes.

Also, John Posey was only chosen because Bob Saget wasn’t available. Then, they ended up selling the show based on Posey’s pilot episode, and Saget suddenly was available and wanted to do the show. Producer Jeff Franklin talks about what an awful decision this was to have to make but as you can see he eventually made the decision he felt was best.

House of Trivia

This is a fast fact subtitle track on “The Miracle of Thanksgiving” episode. What this basically is a fact track that plays throughout the entire episode. For instance it says “Danny’s Mustang is named Bullit”, or “Some shots of the opening sequence were shot in LA”, or “This character is a Capricorn”, etc. You get the general idea. I really like these fact tracks. I saw that they did one for the Animal House DVD, and I remember laughing out loud at some of the things that were written. I didn’t laugh outloud as much for this fact track, but then again I think the worlds of Full House and Animal House are entirely different. This is a neat little fact sheet that fans of the show can put on and enjoy as they are reminiscing about their early days.

Video

Standard Version presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of it’s original television exhibition. I personally would have been mad if those was made widescreen for the DVD release. I honestly don’t think that something like that is needed. This show looks great. I mean, it’s TV. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. The stuff is shot like Doris Day movies. There isn’t crazy lighting, it isn’t moody like some shows, it’s a light sitcom that deals with very important issues that relate to everyone. See, in this case, I don’t mind the whole “made for the lowest common denominator” thing because that’s what this show is. It doesn’t aspire to make these grand statements. It’s a TV product designed to get people to watch. The compression on all the disks and the way the quality of the shows have been preserved is quite good. If you flipped on Nick at Nite, I am willing to bet that the DVD quality would be even better. And that’s coming from a compressed format.

Audio

Dolby Digital, Enlish:Mono. What did you expect? To be able to watch the show in Cantonese? I mean, this is Full House for crying out loud. It isn’t going to be this amazing DVD document. And why should it be? On my crappy set up this stuff sounded just fine. They also turned the sound down very low on the commentary tracks, so that we could just hear the person talking. I am a very big fan of that. I also didn’t have to adjust the sound on my TV once the DVDs started playing. In fact, when I started watching regular TV I found that the sound didn’t measure up to what I had heard on the DVDs. Granted, I was watching a different station and a very old show but I think you get my point. I honestly, don’t think I have ever watched a DVD with poor sound. Well maybe that isn’t entirely true...

Package

Nothing too special here. All the main players are featured on the cover with an eye catching blue and green background. On the back is Saget, Stamos and Coulier standing by a crib as if they are trying to curry the favor of a baby. Sliding the set out of it’s box we see all 4 disks, with the guys getting their faces on each one and the 3 girls getting one disk to themselves. The disks are green and the background(what a surprise) is a picture of the entire cast again. I don’t expect there to be a great a layout for a sitcom from 1987. This layout does what it needs to do. It holds the DVDs and it’s not difficult to negotiate. The type and fonts are easy to read, and they really give a rather comprehensive thumbnail of what’s inside the boxset. Nothing too great, nothing too bad. Just what there needs to be.

Final Word

What can I say? Maybe I am a sucker. A sap. Someone who likes everything. These reviews that I write aren’t supposed to be a dictate for society. They are simply my opinion upon viewing these DVD boxsets. I make no claims to know everything and I certainly don’t have all the answers. All I know is what I like. And Full House: Season One is nothing if not a way for me to vicariously live through my youth again. Sure it, is only for 22 episodes, but when this show came out, I was 14. I was no longer a little boy. I was a teenager. As I grew, the characters grew and this show in some way enabled me to learn just a little more about myself. It wasn’t my favorite show. It was actually a few steps below something like Saved By the Bell(which is a show I LOVE!!!), but at the end of the day it spoke to me, it made an impression and this is why I highly recommend that you purchase this DVD. I love this boxset and I am proud and honored to have it be a part of my ever growing collection.

And look at that..., I didn’t mention the Olsen Twins once. However, on the commentary and on the Fact Track for the Thanksgiving Episode we find out that the Director didn’t want people to know that the twins were two people so he credited them as “Mary Kate Ashley Olsen” and that is how they became known as “Mary Kate and Ashley”. Interesting.

Full House was released .