Time and time again, we hear casts of TV and film describe themselves as family. Not everyone in Hollywood can get along, but we nod and smile at the claims anyway because, well, they’re easier to accept than calling b.s. on every red carpet or awards show stage.
And yet when the cast of “Fuller House” says they’re family, we know they really mean it. Nobody films eight seasons of a hugely popular sitcom only to return decades later for a revival if they don’t genuinely enjoy being with one another. That sentiment is more than evident in the third season of the sequel series, which hits Netflix exactly 30 years after the pilot premiered. Yes, three decades have passed since we welcomed the Tanner family into our homes and hearts and, have mercy, we’re getting nostalgic.
“It’s like getting all of your crazy family together,” Jodi Sweetin told HuffPost during a Build Series interview. “We speak in this language that we’ve known for 30 years of ridiculous inside jokes, silliness, laughter and love.”
“There’s something that stands the test of time,” she continued. “To be able to do this 30 years later and have ‘Fuller House’ be such a success and do it with people we love. And to really have so much fun with it and create a whole new generation of fans has really been a huge compliment and a huge testament to the show.”
The revival hasn’t exactly been a critical darling ― the original series was never well-received, either ― but the franchise continues to have an undeniable resonance with audiences around the world. Netflix is famously secretive when it comes to viewership, but it’s rumored that “Fuller House” is one of the most watched programs on streaming services and traditional TV networks.
Fan service alone cannot sustain a series for more than a season, so “Fuller House” has taken a cue from its Netflix brothers and sisters and committed to more serialized storytelling, setting it apart from the original series. Whereas “Full House” centered around Danny, Joey and Jesse, the revival showcases the female-perspective on stories of love, family and raising kids, which cast members Candice Cameron Bure, Jodi Sweetin and Andrea Barber agreed was “refreshing.” The third season picks up where the finale left off, after D.J. (Bure) witnessed her childhood sweetheart Steve propose to another woman (unfortunately named C.J.), while she recommitted to boyfriend Matt.
Steve’s wedding eventually takes the family to Japan in the back half of the season, premiering in December, but expect plenty of love triangle-related hijinks before then. Stephanie (Sweetin) is still trying to get her life together, now with a broken leg from a real-life accident, while growing closer to boyfriend Jimmy, who happens to be the brother to everyone’s favorite Gibbler, Kimmy (Barber).
Other exciting tidbits from the season include an inventive opening musical number we can’t stop humming along to and, of course, guest appearances by “Full House” favorites Bob Saget, Dave Coulier and John Stamos, who show up for a handful of episodes each season.
The real draw of a series like “Fuller House” is what exists between the lines. Whenever original cast members share a scene together there’s an unspoken connection that the audience is also privy to ― the three leads wear matching friendship rings on and off camera ― and that “true love,” as Saget puts it, is why people keep coming back for more.
“It was just like they were our kids. We were very protective and we were together for a long time and we went through a lot together,” Dave Coulier said during the same Build Series interview. “When you do 192 episodes of any show, you’re together with the people you work with a lot more than your own family … I still feel that way.”
“The show mirrored [my life],” Saget added. “I have three daughters. My oldest was one when the show started and I didn’t know I was going to have three.”
The same kind of mentorship has been passed down to a new generation of “Fuller House” child actors, who now populate the famous Tanner household, including Michael Campion, Elias Harger and twins Dashiell and Fox Messitt, taking the baton from Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.
“We give them more advice as moms than actors,” Bure said of her TV children. “They don’t need that many acting tips from us, but there’s a lot of value in the fact that we experienced that. We have probably more compassion and understanding than people on set or people that haven’t worked with kids because we went through that. Juggling school full time and then your work schedule full time … it’s a lot.”
Like most families, not every member of the clan is keen on coming to the reunions or showing up for the holiday card. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, who both played the third Tanner daughter, Michelle, have famously abstained from appearing on the revival series. Don’t expect them to change their minds anytime soon.
“They have their life. They don’t want to act.” Saget explained. “They have love for everybody and it is what is. People go on and do what they want with their lives.”
With or without the Olsen twins, something special still happens when the cast convenes in the same room, be it on set or the times they’ve spent supporting one another after the cameras stopped rolling all those years ago.
“We’ve been friends for 30 years. When we started ‘Fuller House,’ it wasn’t like we all saw each other for the first time after 20 years,” Bure said. “We’ve remained friends and the spark has always been there, because when you love someone in real life, you always want to be with them, feel joyful and hang out with them. And that’s how we’ve always felt.”
“Fuller House” Season 3 is currently airing on Netflix.