Let’s get this straight: the house wasn’t really “full.” Did you see that place? It was huge! Sure, D.J. and Steph shared a bedroom, but if worse came to worse, there were probably a few spare rooms hiding in the attic somewhere. But we digress… Let’s just say the house was “fuller” (or “more full,” if you will) than it used to be.
Full House was a family sitcom about a widower who enlisted the help of his best friend and brother-in-law to help out with the raising of his three daughters. But such a simple statement can’t capture the phenomenon of this long-running series. Filled with sweetness and humor, the series lasted eight seasons, practically defined ABC’s Friday night “TGIF” lineup, and made improbable stars out of young twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
Comedian Bob Saget starred as family patriarch Danny Tanner, an incredibly nice guy who worked as a sportscaster and eventually hosted a local San Francisco talk show. Aside from raising his three girls—grade-schooler Donna Jo (a.k.a. D.J.), kindergartner Stephanie, and baby Michelle (played alternately by the Olsens)—Danny also had to keep an eye on his less responsible housemates. Dave Coulier played Danny’s comedian friend Joey Gladstone, and touring Beach Boy John Stamos played the girls’ uncle, rock n’ roller Jesse “Don’t touch the hair” Katsopolous. Joey entertained the girls with his cartoon voices (which he later used as Saturday morning host Ranger Joe), while Jesse was the cool uncle who taught the girls to love Elvis. Also popping over occasionally was D.J.’s annoying friend, Kimmy Gibbler.
You can see the fullness spreading, but there was still plenty of room left under that San Franciscan roof. In 1988, Jesse met and married Danny’s co-host Becky Donaldson. In the fall of 1991, banking on the enormous popularity of the Olsen twins, Becky gave birth to twins Nicholas and Alexander. An unusual aspect of the show was that Michelle aged in real time (as opposed to Family Ties’ Andrew Keaton and or Growing Pains’ Chrissy Seaver, who went from infants to pre-schoolers in the blink of an eye), and was always played by Mary-Kate and Ashley. Thus the girls, who were nine years old when the show ended, literally grew up on TV. Even when Michelle got older, both Olsen twins continued taking turns playing her on the show.
The whole family seemed destined for showbiz, with Jesse and Joey eventually co-hosting a radio show called “The Rush Hour Renegades.” Jesse also wrote commercial jingles, formed his own band (Jesse and the Rippers), and opened up the ultra-hip Smash Club. Meanwhile, D.J. dated a series of boys, including long-time steady Steve Hale. In the last season, she had a hard time deciding between bad boy Viper and rich-kid Nelson Burkhard. Danny also found love for a short time with Vicky Larson, and though the two were engaged, it ultimately didn’t last.
The full house eventually emptied out when the series was cancelled in 1995, but the show remains a favorite of those who grew up with the Tanner kids. Mary-Kate and Ashley went on to spawn their own mini-empire of videos, dolls, fashion and more. You’ve come a long way, baby Michelle.
2016 saw a Netflix revival called Fuller House.
USA / ABC – Warner Bros. TV / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 22 September 1987 – 29 August 1995
John Stamos as Jesse (Cochran) Katsopolis
Bob Saget as Danny Tanner
Dave Coulier as Joey Gladstone
Candace Cameron Bure as Donna Jo “D.J.” Tanner
Jodie Sweetin as Stephanie Tanner
Mary-Kate Olsen as Michelle Tanner
Ashley Olsen as Michelle Tanner
Lori Loughlin as Rebecca “Becky” Donaldson Katsopolis (1988-95)
Andrea Barber as Kimmy Gibbler
Scott Weinger as Steve Hale (1992-94)
Blake Tuomy-Wilhoit as Nicky Katsopolis (1992-95)
Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit as Alex Katsopolis (1992-95)
John Aprea as Nick Katsopolis (1988-91)
Gail Edwards as Vicky Larson (1991-93)
Blake McIver Ewing as Derek S. Boyd (1992-95)
Miko Hughes as Aaron Bailey (1990-95)
David Lipper as Viper (1994-95)
Jason Marsden as Nelson Burkhard (1994-95)
Scott Menville as Duane (1995)
Jordan Christopher Michael as Rusty (1990-91)
Felicia Michaels as Roxy (1994)
Sara Moonves as Terri (1992-95)
Tahj Mowry as Teddy (1991-95)
Richard Paul as Mr. Strowbridge (1988-95)
Daniel Renteria as Nicky Katsopolis (1991-92)
Kevin Renteria as Alex Katsopolis (1991-92)
Debra Sandlund as Cindy (1990)
Jurnee Smollett as Denise Frazer
Marla Sokoloff as Gia Mahan (1993-95)
Marcia Wallace as Mrs. Carruthers (1993-95)
Yvonne Wilder as Irene Katsopolis (1988-91)
Kathryn Zaremba as Lisa Leeper