Mr. TV: A Full House

As a parent of three children, it has been fascinating to watch the progression of what they have watched on TV over the years. After all, they are the offspring of Mr. TV. When they’re babies, you rely heavily on TV shows like Sesame Street and Barney and Friends to get you through those often challenging and chaotic years. As preschoolers and 6-11-year-olds, they start to really discover the world and those magical Disney and Nickelodeon comfort zones.

However, the life of a teenager is so much more complex, with mood swings at every turn and peer pressure applied at full force. Once they head to college and hit young adulthood, that suddenly angry teen begins to realize you are not as stupid as he or she might think. At least I hope that is true since my two oldest think everything dear old Dad says is just plain idiotic.

As a parent with two girls (8 and 18) and one almost 16-year-old boy, it often amazes me how different my children are. Sometimes, in fact, I often wonder if they are all being raised in the same household.

But one of the few interests they have shared was their early fascination in silly little 1987-95 ABC sitcom Full House, the sweet story (now in heavy rotation on Teen Nick) of a widowed father Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) with three young daughters (including the Olsen twins) who grow up in San Francisco with the help of their cool Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) and Dad’s goofy friend Joey (David Coulier). Factor in Jesse’s eventual wife Rebecca (Lori Loughlin), their cute-as-a-button twin boys Alex and Nicky, oldest daughter D.J.’s (Candace Cameron Bure) smarmy friend Kimmy Gibler (Andrea Barber) and family dog Comet, and you have all the makings of a timeless comedy.

Although my two older kids have graduated to shows like Entourage and The Sopranos, Full House is alive and well in the Berman abode now thanks to my eight-year-old daughter Morgan’s growing fascination. And I imagine the eventual grandchildren will follow the same path. There is just something about this show that sucks in anyone under the age of 12.

Emmys were never bestowed on Full House and its cast, but I credit this innocent comedy with actually making me look like the man with my kids, not once, but twice. The first time was in the summer of 2004 when Lori Loughlin was headlining an Aaron Spelling drama for The WB called Summerland, which focused on three children who move in with their Aunt Ava (Loughlin) after their parents die tragically.  Unlike the critics who either panned or completely ignored this show, I liked it and praised it to the hilt. After receiving a call out of the blue from Loughlin thanking me, I saved the message and played it to my two older children who were actually, um, pretty impressed: “Wow, Jesse’s wife called you!”

Last December at the ABC Family Holiday party at Rockefeller Center, my two daughters posed for a picture with Candace Cameron Bure. That’s right, my 18-year old actually stood next to my little one to take a picture without incident or complaint. Recently, when my youngest had her posse of friends over for a sleepover party, the subject of her actually meeting Candace made her one cool little second grader.

Unlike the critics who dismiss a show like Full House as nothing more than bubble gum, I recognize its value. I understand the importance of family love and support. I appreciate the gooey sentimentality. And I remember all too well how the similarly themed The Brady Bunch had the same impact on me when I was a kid, and even now.

One of the those stages you see as a parent is the sad realization that your kids have come to  understand that the world is an unstable and scary place—anything can happen at anytime. So it’s nice to have a comedy that adds a balm to the sting of growing up. It makes you feel safe.

It makes you feel at home. And it’s always welcome in my full house.