When people think of corny family sitcoms, “Full House” immediately comes to mind. For over 190 episodes, the lovable Tanner family provided tired jokes, predictable plot lines and lots of hugs. Still, its appeal came from its simplicity — viewers always knew they were going to get a half hour of clean family-friendly fare. The four-disc first season DVD set reflects this idea, setting the stage for eight seasons of harmless entertainment.
The first season’s plot is simple: Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) is now a single father trying to raise three girls, so he recruits his brother-in-law Jesse (John Stamos) and best friend Joey (Dave Coulier) to help him. The three grown ups, when not making fools of themselves with the ladies, are clearly out of their league when it comes to watching over their younger charges. Ten-year-old DJ (Candace Cameron) is a frustrated pre-teen girl who spends most of her time being annoyed at her younger sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), who valiantly tries to be the cute kindergartner that baby Michelle (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) would perfect years later.
Since Michelle, the show’s real breakout star, is an infant in the first season, there isn’t one “You got it, dude!” to be heard. Instead, “Full House” relies on the cartoon impressions of wiseguy Joey and the PG-rated rock-star exploits of Jesse to generate the laughs. Fortunately for audiences, Michelle grew up, Danny became a neat freak and Joey and Jesse learned to become real parents, as the first season’s characters were bound to grow tiresome.
The extras on the DVD set are acceptable for a television show, but they could have been so much more. Executive producer Jeff Franklin provides commentary on two episodes, and an additional episode has trivia facts that scroll along the bottom of the screen. However, other than a unique unaired pilot with John Posey playing Danny, the special features are nonexistent. Commentary by Saget, Stamos and the rest of the gang would have certainly made the set more appealing.
Even though today’s viewers may shake their heads in disgust over the show’s silliness, “Full House” still has that likable quality that’s impossible to ignore. Whether it was the adults’ childish actions, the sappy conflict resolution sequences or just the bad jokes, everybody can get a laugh out of it. And sometimes, that’s all a show needs to do.
Show: 3 out of 5 stars
Picture/Sound: 4 out of 5 stars
Features: 2 out of 5 stars