When I was in Pasadena last month at the Netflix TCA Panels, we got to have an exclusive panel with the cast members and executive producers of Fuller House.
Fuller House is now streaming on Netflix.
About Fuller House:
In the spinoff series, Fuller House, the adventures that began in 1987 on Full House continue, with veterinarian D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron-Bure) recently widowed and living in San Francisco. D.J.’s younger sister/aspiring musician Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin) and D.J.’s lifelong best friend/fellow single mother Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), along with Kimmy’s feisty teenage daughter Ramona, all move in to help take care of D.J.’s three boys — the rebellious 12-year-old Jackson, neurotic 7-year-old Max and her newborn baby, Tommy Jr.
I’ve streamed the first two episodes and loved them. I thought they were done very creatively. If you liked Full House, you’ll like Fuller House. While I don’t want to spoil it, I was squealing with glee when I was watching it.
We were lucky enough to get a private panel with Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Andrea Barber, executive producers Jeff Franklin, Bob Boyett, and Bryan Wright, senior executive at Netflix.
Q & A with Fuller House’s Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Andrea Barber, Jeff Franklin, Bob Boyett, and Bryan Wright
Check out my video or read the transcript below.
Q: What was it like to step back into the set?
Jodie Sweetin: “Definitely not anything that I think we ever expected when we left that set, you know, 20 years ago. I think we all, it’s like when you move out of your childhood home, you look around and you take this mental snapshot and you say, ‘This is what it was, and this is what it will always be in my mind and now it doesn’t exist anymore.’ So when we walked back in and saw that thing that we had left 20 years ago existing again, I think that was–for me, a really mind-blowing, wonderful, warm experience. I just remember thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I get to do this again,’ I said goodbye to this space and this sort of family being together 20 years ago, and here we are getting to come back so it was wonderful.”
Candace Cameron Bure: “Yeah it was really overwhelming the first day, walking on the set, I walked with Jeff he took me through the soundstage, and to see this sets–and they weren’t even finished at the time–but to see the living room and the kitchen I was so overwhelmed by emotion, I started crying. I just had to stop and was like ‘You gotta give me a minute,’ the memories flooded back and I never thought that I would see that again. And then there were moments within the first few weeks of being with them and John Stamos, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier and Lori Loughlin where it’s like deja vu, i just had to stop and go, ‘Oh my gosh I can’t believe we’re doing this again!’ I mean it’s really a childhood dream come true to be back there.”
Andrea Barber: “It was overwhelming. I walked through, around the same time Candace did, when the set wasn’t painted or even dressed yet so it was almost like walking through an archeological site that had been dug up 20 years later, and it was all dusty and I’m just like ‘Oh my gosh did they find the Full House set?’ They did a remarkable job recreating the set. I think it was almost rebuilt from scratch with the exception of the couch, the couch is the original couch, and maybe a couple of other items. But it was great, and I just felt very grateful to get to do this again.”
Q: You had the middle ground age range of the show, you weren’t the babies, you weren’t the grown-ups, how does it feel now to step into the big kids, the parents? Does that change what you think the actual experience may have been like for the grown-ups at the time?
Jodie Sweetin: “I mean I think our experience–you know we have an incredibly unique perspective that we bring to this, which is we know what the kids on our series are going through. When I see Elias who’s 8 having a moment on set where he’s just ‘I’m tired’ or ‘I’m this,’ or whatever it is, we have the ability to look at them and go, ‘Dude I get it.’ That’s not something – as amazing and wonderful and compassionate and as much of a family as we were on that show – none of the adults had been child actors. They had never gone through missing a field trip you really wanted to go on because you were working, and all those sorts of kid moments that you have and I think we had this level of compassion and understanding for these kids and what that experience is like to really go through. And that’s kind of awesome to be the adults on the set, we have more input, we don’t have to go to school, I can go lay in my trailer and take a nap for 20 minutes and not have a teacher chasing me around, so those sorts of things are nice.”
Bob Boyett: “I also think that all three of these ladies have children and are great mothers. They have wonderful kids, and they’ve been able to have careers and also be great mothers. They have a whole different perspective now.”
Q: The fun innuendos that are hilarious as adults, did you get that when you were a kid? Was that in the original show, those kind of adult things that only grown-ups would get, and did you guys notice them?
Candace Cameron Bure: “I would notice–I mean I knew some of the jokes. I think we were all a little advanced in that area, growing up with the guys that we grew up with. Lots of things that were said on set that we as mothers would be horrified if our children were listening to– JS: and our mothers were horrified! We just kind of kept silent because it’s fun to be in with the adults and part of the crowd, but I actually have gone back and watched some of the Full House episodes and have now seen ‘Oh I didn’t realize that as a kid,’ or ‘Wow! Uncle Jesse, he had a lot of girls coming in.’ I didn’t think about that.”
Jeff Franklin: “Well, I have to say producing Full House all of those years, I had almost a weekly meeting with somebody’s mother complaining about Bob Saget or John or Dave, and I would go to the guys and I would have a talk with them and they would go ‘You’re absolutely right, we’ll clean it up no problem,’ and that would last for about an hour. The nice thing about this show is we did a whole season and there wasn’t one meeting —
Interjection from CCB, JS & AB: “We’re moms! We know how to get away with that, when you become a mom you become excellent at that.”
Bob Boyett: “I remember at the tables they would laugh as loud as anyone if something was said, but many times they would come up to us later and say, ‘What did that mean?’ They wanted to be a part of it, and that’s happening on the current show with the kids that work on the show now. If there’s something slightly off-color thing that is said at a table reading or something they laugh like everyone, but particularly Elias who’s only 7 will lean over later and say, ‘What does that mean?’
Jodie Sweetin: “Oh yeah I laughed at a lot of things I had no idea what they meant.”
Q: The topics that you guys dealt with as characters when the show was first on are wildly different from the issues they face now, and as producers and writers, how are you going to balance that — keeping it a wholesome show — but yet still addressing some of the more prevalent topics that kids are going through today?
Jeff Franklin: “That’s always been the challenge of this series, we try to entertain kids at the same time we entertain adults, it’s a balancing act, we’re doing it all over again. We’re trying to figure out where the line is, and the line has moved since 1987. So this show feels a little bit more adult than the previous show, but we still think it’s great for kids, it’s fun for adults to watch, it’s something that families can watch together and that was one of my main reasons for trying to bring this show back. This kind of show had disappeared, we felt like there was a need for this kind of programming and wanted to see if this group could be reassembled, and bring back that kind of show.
Bob Boyett: “I think a lot of the themes are universal, because back in the day we might have been talking about restricting the amount of time that one of the kids could watch television and today it’s about their use of electronic device or taking away their telephone for a period of time. A lot of things are constant but they are contemporized: kids still have the responsibility for school, homework and things like that, the approach now is a more contemporary approach to get them to do those things than it was 25 years ago. But you’re right, it is really necessary now for us to address a whole new set of problems.”
Jodie Sweetin: “I think us being moms now too–Candace’s kids are high school and middle school–Andrea and I both have daughters who are about 8 years old and my youngest is 5. I think we’ve been able to bring a lot of those experiences to Bob and Jeff and to the writers, and they’ve been really wonderful in taking our input as moms and as dealing with these issues like social media and pictures, and what you say… all those kinds of things and bullying, and things I think we’ve had to go through with our own kids and what that looks like. They’ve been wonderful really listening to us and if we ever wind up coming back for more seasons I think that’s something that they’ll be wonderful at incorporating and we definitely have a voice and an input.”
Bob Boyett: “Well we’re now going to put recording devices in all of your homes.”
Candace Cameron Bure: “Trust me we’re all at home and I’m like when anything happens to my kids, ‘It’s a good episode idea!”
Q: How many shows are you looking to rollout that are family oriented and do they hinge on the reception of Fuller House?
Brian Wright: “They don’t hinge on the reception of Fuller House, we already have a full slate in development. I can’t, unfortunately, talk about quite a bit of it because it is still in various forms of deal making. But for example, this last week we announced Haters Back Off which is going to be a zany family comedy based off Miranda Sings, a YouTube personality. And again, a very different show than Fuller House. That sort of goes to the notion of different types of shows for different types of families. But yeah there’s a really robust slate that we’re building right now and we’re very excited.”
Q: Have your kids watched Full House?
Candace Cameron Bure: “My kids have watched Full House over the years, my kids are teenagers, they’re 17, 15 and 14. I asked them because they came to mostly every taping of Fuller House, “So which one do you like better?” and they’re like “Oh Fuller House hands down.” But they’re also older so they can relate a little bit more because it’s their current themes. When they have seen Full House it’s just perfect breeding ground to make fun of their mom, they love it, it’s the best thing. It’s like “Your clothes, your hair, you’re ridiculous.” And I’m like “Yeah I know, but you’re still walking into Forever 21 trying to dress like DJ Tanner right now. That’s the style!”
Jodie Sweetin: “My daughters love the show, my 8 year old has the whole season 1 on her tablet, she loves it. My little one–my 5 year old–quotes the show, they came to every taping of Fuller House, they were thoroughly entertained and now want to be on the show.”
Andrea Barber: “My kids, I have an 11 year old and an 8 year old, and they are equal parts impressed and embarrassed about my history on Full House. “Mom why did you wear such weird clothes on that show?” And now with the new show, they’re super excited they came to a few tapings, great response from them, they responded really well to the kids on the show who are fantastic. And now they’re like, “Mom you got to get a season two, because I’m starting middle school next year and I want to be the cool kid, keep the show going.” I’ll try, I’ll try.
Q: Are we going to see any off-screen extensions of Fuller House. Stephanie’s books from years ago were brought up.
Bob Boyett: “I think so, I think Jeff and I certainly want to do that, it requires a great deal of time. We’ve been trying to get the show established and we’ll really be continuing the development of the show in the second season. But, when we did the original show, we did have to clear every single story for every single book and it’s very time consuming, and we didn’t want to rush into that until we can have some assurance of quality. We take that seriously and there are a lot of people who put out any form of merchandising and I think particularly if it’s reading material, it takes time for us to have some kind of creative control over it.
Q: There’s a lot of calling back to the original series, especially in the pilot, does that continue throughout? Just the tongue in cheek way you’re acknowledging the show in the past continue throughout the season?
Jodie Sweetin: “One of the things that we did when we went into doing Fuller House was, we know what Full House is, we know the sort of level of nostalgia and 80s family sitcom and what that is, and I think the writers did a great job of balancing out this great creative new show but also not taking ourselves too seriously at some point, and sort of acknowledging, we know we’re Full House. We know that there are catchphrases, and we know that there’s going to be a hug at the end of every show, and those are the things that the fans sort of expect. The callbacks and being able to see the old with the new, there’s not a lot of shows–I can’t think of any other show that gets to have those moments with a split screen with the original cast members from the old show that people loved, with the new cast that people are falling in love with, and get to see those things side by side. We wanted to give that to fans.”
Jeff Franklin: “That image, you’re talking about the last image in the first episode? That was really–I had that image in my head from the first moment I thought about doing this show. That was what I wanted to see, we’ve had a big reason to do this show. For me, it was the fans that have kept this show going for 20 some years, they’ve watched the same 192 episodes over and over and over, they know that show probably as well if not better than I do. The reason for doing this was also a thank you to all the fans who really allowed the show to become such an iconic part of the culture now. Creating especially the first episode and connecting the old show to the new show, I wanted to give the fans something they would really enjoy. Because they get the jokes, they know everything about these characters and what they’ve been through for 8 years way back when. In a way, this was really a culmination of the last episode of Full House, which was never really done, the show never had a farewell episode, so combining that sort of last episode we never got to see with a launching pad for a whole new series for our next generation. That was a big part of the fun for me as well, peppering the show, not just the first one but all thirteen, with some playfulness with not only the old show but everybody knows these actors so well at the same time they’ve become almost a part of their character, so we have a little fun. We did a joke about The View for example, because everybody knows Candace is hosting The View, we have those kinds of fun moments as well.”
Thank you to Netflix for arranging my trip to California and covering my expenses. I am a member of Netflix’s Stream Team. I receive forms of compensation (ie. product and free membership and other opps) for my participation. As always, all opinions are my own.
Have Mercy! Fuller House Premieres on Netflix