Netflix's 'Fuller House' Gets Panned by Critics

"It's doubtful that there will be a more painful 2016 TV episode than the 'Fuller House' pilot," writes THR's Daniel Fienberg, one of many critics who disliked the Netflix reboot.
Michael Yarish/Netflix
'Fuller House'

Fuller House isn't necessarily full of critical praise.

The Netflix reboot — which debuted in full on Feb. 26 and stars Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin and Andrea Barber — has been torn apart by critics. This is despite the series' many cameos by John Stamos, Bob Saget, David Coulier and Lori Loughlin, who starred in the ABC sitcom that aired from 1987 to 1995.

As of midday Friday, the show scored a 35 on Metacritic and 39 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. See a handful of the critics' distaste below.

The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg says, "It's doubtful that there will be a more painful 2016 TV episode than the Fuller House pilot, which takes an inexcusable 35 minutes to establish a plot that is just an inversion of the original Full House premise." Amid many, many references to the original series, "there's also something either unseemly or unsettling about copying and calling back so consciously to Full House, while also sexualizing the main female characters of Fuller House. This hasn't suddenly become an adult franchise, but it's apparently impossible not to make repeated references to Sweetin's chest and it will surely be up to Full House fans to decide if knowing that Kimmy is a demon in the sack is something that they're prepared for."

Judging from the episodes' in-studio laughter, "the appetite for this show from the studio audience is such that the laziest of puns, misused slang or winks-and-nods is guaranteed full marks and with the writers knowing they can leave a child talking to a pen of puppies for three scenes and it isn't even necessary to write words to get a consistent response. Probably more so than with any of the other recent television reboots, every reaction to Fuller House from both the studio audience and probably the home audience will be nigh on Pavlovian, and it's a study in how little needs to be done to produce drool."

The New York Times' James Poniewozik says the series "begins as a sitcom family reunion. It becomes a self-conscious, dated and maudlin reminder of the ceaseless march of time and your inevitable demise. ... The good news is, contrary to nostalgia’s things-were-better-back-then plaint, TV in 2016 already has plenty of more-inventive, less-generic broadcast family sitcoms: black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat and Bob’s Burgers, to name a few. Whatever happened to predictability? It’s having a hard time these days. The rest of us are much better off for it."

Washington Post's Hank Stuever writes, "There’s a point where nostalgia becomes more like necrophilia, and Fuller House immediately crosses that line. ... [It] shows that multi-cam/studio-audience sitcoms are just too old-fashioned for commercial-free, vanguard Netflix. Too dopey, too boring, not worth the price." Plus, the absence of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen "is a devastating absence that throws volumes of deserved shade at the whole endeavor."

The Boston Globe's Isaac Feldberg notes, "Fuller House never justifies its own existence, let alone why the uninitiated should give it a chance." But because of its nostalgic fanbase, "Netflix has created its first critic-proof series. It’s easy to wish everyone involved with this revival had been concerned with something more honorable than narcissistic self-celebration."

Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Jensen gave the pilot a rare "F" grade and was far more generous to the series overall, which received a "C-," and noted the series' "execution is terribly thoughtless." "Spirited performances are wasted on subpar famcom treacle. The women are caricatures. The dead-spouse tragedy and divorce turmoil are barely explored. The broad, womp-womp “comedy” is a catalogue of sentimental effects, sanded edges, and dusty scenarios. Icky diapers. Irresponsible babysitting. Farts. Goofy dancing. Puppies. Skunks and tomato soup baths. Winks at genre conventions and celeb cameos, some of which are shockingly sad."

The AV Club's Joshua Alston said the series is "like a porn parody without the porn," and graded it a "D+." "The show isn’t just bad, it borders on the obscene, as much an affront to those bemused by a reboot of the sitcom that anchored ABC’s once-mighty T.G.I.F. comedy block as those receptive to it."  

Nearly all but a few critics panned the revival, and the Los Angeles Times' Robert Lloyd mostly gave it a thumbs-up. "As revivals go it is more than usually successful and true to the spirit of its predecessor. And there are lovely performances from the new adults in the room, Sweetin especially." Plus, "that the older characters can recall childhood events that, in fact, played out on television in those characters' childhoods is interesting and even a little radical — it's like a mainstream sitcom version of Richard Linklater's Boyhood, not as sophisticated, certainly, but, in its way, no less deep."


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