Introduction

For those of you who are just stumbling across this site for the first time, Full House Reviewed is a blog that writes scathing reviews of every shitty episode of Full House, the worst sitcom of all time.  It was written to amuse people who have boring desk jobs.  It was the bizarre hobby of a cartoonist with a little bit too much free time on his hands, although, to be fair, he probably would have quit doing it if it hadn’t accumulated such a large following.  It took about 4 years to write a review for every single episode, all of which are available to read for free in the archives.  After the project was completed, the author teamed up with another cartoonist, Carolyn Main, as well as a few more nerdy bloggers to create a podcast that reviews every episode of Saved By the Bell.  Subscribe the Saved By the Bell Reviewed Podcast on itunes, and rate and review it, please.  You can also check out the podcast on its Tumblr page and like it on Facebook.

Full House, Reviewed

Since this post is going to live at the top of the site until the end of time, I thought I should start with a disclaimer for people that are stumbling onto this page for the first time.  This is a blog that contains scathing reviews of every episode of Full House, the worst sitcom of all time.  It’s written for jokes.  This final post is a sort of retrospective/personal essay about the show and the process of writing the blog, so if you’re just seeing this for the first time, I’d start with pretty much any post other than this one.

Now that we’ve reached the end of this endeavor, I think that there are two main questions left to address.  The first is the central conundrum of the project, which is, “what the fuck was up with this shitty show?”  The other is embedded in the undertaking, which is, “what the fuck is wrong with me that I decided to spend so much time writing about a show that sucks so hard?”  Both questions are probably impossible to answer fully, but I thought that a final attempt to do so would be a proper way to wrap this thing up.

The story of how Full House came to be seems pretty simple, as near as I can tell.  Jeff Franklin, the guy who made “Summer School” and “Just One of the Guys,” two moderately entertaining movies that were on tv an awful lot when I was growing up, got a shot at creating a tv series.  He pitched a show about 3 comedians who all lived together and it got retooled into a series that was more or less a rip-off of the movie “3 Men and a Baby.”  The network was interested in preachy, moralistic, family-friendly programming at the time and that gradually overrode Franklin’s more raunchy and subversive tendencies as a creator.  As the show became successful it started to rely more and more heavily on its established conventions, including terrible catch-phrases and socially tactless characters, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.

So why was this show such a success?  Honestly I think it just hit the right note at the right time.  It was just harmless enough, friendly enough, easily digestible enough.  It’s like junk food.  You always know exactly what you’re going to get when you watch it and it presents no challenge or need to think whatsoever.  You know it’s bad for you but you still engage.  It’s an indulgence.  One thing I didn’t realize going into this project that became clear as I paid attention to the site’s demographics is that an awful lot of young girls watched the show.  That actually explains a lot, because a series about 3 little girls who have 3 doting, non-threatening father figures tending to their every whim and need is a pretty obvious little girl fantasy.  Ultimately, I think that Full House is a product of a unique time, when a combination of low-quality elements somehow came together to create a hit series that couldn’t have endured during any other period.

I think that this blog is a product of a unique time as well.  A comprehensive review of the entire run of a twenty year old tv series that wasn’t any good is something that could only exist at this precise moment (or maybe in the future, if things don’t improve).  I got hooked on reading about stupid bullshit on the internet while working at my last day job.  I found terrible trends in pop-culture from my youth to be particularly appealing for my internet time-wastes, as do many people.  My theory is that this comes from a desire to retread ones youth from a more controlled or empowered vantage point.  Most of us who are so preoccupied with our childhoods and the things that came with it are trying to make amends with all the hardship that we endured growing up.  Our generation had more frivolous stuff than any that came before (a trend that’s certainly continuing, exponentially) and things like Ninja Turtle action figures were a respite from the horrors and difficulty of being a kid.  Revisiting those things as a grown-up is an attempt to recapture that withdrawn escape from real life that was so necessary for us.  Recognizing what was sort of crappy or ridiculous about these artifacts and entertainment that we spent so much time absorbing is a method of revisiting that period in our lives from a place of heightened understanding and control that was beyond our reach at the time.  It’s also an experience we share with so many people.  Although our time spent playing Nintendo or watching crappy tv shows was often a private endeavor, there were millions of people doing the same thing at the exact same time, and the internet allows us to share those experiences in a way that’s both connected and personal but also equally private and withdrawn.

I’ve written a fair amount about how this project came about as a writing exercise, and that certainly had a lot to do with why I started it.  Writing was becoming an increasingly important element of my work and I was seeking a routine for practicing it that wasn’t too demanding, so recapping a shitty show seemed like an ideal assignment.  It was just easy enough and just challenging enough, just creative enough and just mindless enough.  But I was also using the practice as a method of managing anxiety.  When my career became an actual thing that I had to manage, I got fucking freaked out.  When you work so hard for years and years to get your shit together it can be really shocking when it finally happens.  As soon as I was in a state where I wasn’t constantly struggling to stay afloat, and when my professional ambitions became something of a reality, I had no idea what to do with myself at all.  There’s also a strange thing that happens when your creative endeavor becomes your job.  It makes a practice that was purely enjoyable start to feel like work, which is something I’ve been struggling with for some time now.  I think that a need for some new creative diversion was a major reason why I decided to invent a regular writing exercise for myself, and a need for it to be somewhat frivolous was a big part of why it was based around a sardonic revisitation of a crappy show from my childhood.  I should also add that it’s extremely cathartic to vent all your negativity towards an easy target every week, especially if it really doesn’t seem to be hurting anybody.

It’s impossible to spend so much time writing about something without finding, or at least inventing, certain connections.  At it’s core I think that Full House is just a show that strives to be about family values, or a sort of idealistic view of what a loving, morally-superior family is supposed to be like.  Although the fact that these characters are all so obnoxious and inconsiderate makes that idea become a sort of a horror show, I do think that the series’ intentions were good.  Full Houses’s greatest failing is that it features characters that are so incapable of persuasively delivering its intended messages.  When these people tell you that drinking is wrong, what you’re really hearing is that these people are a bunch of fucking squares, so maybe drinking is actually pretty cool.  When Stephanie gets to take a mulligan at the dance competition, what we’re told is that it’s ok to make mistakes and you should always try again, but the lesson in real life would be that sometimes you fuck up and humiliate yourself and that’s all there is to it.  Suck it up, kid.  Better luck next time.  That’s a pretty valuable life lesson, and one you never once hear on Full House.

Full House is, essentially, a series about non-conventional families.  I don’t think that the creators put much more thought into this than, “hey, wouldn’t it be funny if three ridiculous assholes raised some kids together?” but the idea of a unique or non-traditional family structure is still heavily rooted into the series’ foundation.  I think that another one of the series’ greatest failings is a complete disregard for this idea.  I found myself writing about this early on but it took much longer for me to consciously consider the fact that I myself was raised by my lesbian mom in the California Bay Area at pretty much the exact time that this series was on the air and, after becoming aware of that association, I did wonder how much this had to do with what a low opinion I have of this show.  To be fair, the more obvious failings of the series have to do with the poor quality of the writing, acting, set design, costume design, story ideas, etc. etc. etc., so I don’t think there’s much to be salvaged here from any vantage point.  But I also think that this series could have taken a lot more responsibility for its premise and maybe provided some validation or identification for all sorts of kids who came from a non-traditional family structure.  The fact that the homosexual tension between the dad characters is such a comical element throughout the series is a testament to how unwilling the creators were to do anything smart or subversive or even meaningful with the inherent subtext that they’d created.  I don’t think enough thought when into any of this for it to really be considered offensive, and developing a progressive undertone about gay families was probably something that network television wasn’t prepared for (and that the creators weren’t interested in doing), but I do think that all of this creates a very unusual social context for the series.

The other major theme is white privilege.  Full House is essentially a series about a large family of upper-class white people who don’t really work hard or earn anything that they have and who possess virtually no regard for any of the people around them and yet they excel at everything they do and are constantly rewarded and handed incredible opportunities at every turn.  Again, I don’t think that much thought went into this other than that it made the characters more interesting for tv, but I do think that Full House is probably the best example that exists of why people in other countries think that the U.S. is a shitty place.

Beyond those observations, I think I’ve said everything I have to say about Full House.  Regardless, I really am going to miss this blog.  Although I think that the tone was fairly consistent, my relationship with it changed a lot over the course of the project and, like anyone’s does over the course of 4 years, my life changed a lot, too.  I’ll always remember struggling to keep up with weekly posts early on, before anyone was even reading the thing, especially when I moved across the country.  While I was packing up my shit I got a bunch of entries done ahead of time and during the move I scrambled to find ways to post them.  At one point I found myself standing outside of a Starbucks at 1 AM so I could bum the free wifi with my ipod so I could post the new review and I kind of had to wonder what I was doing with my life.  No one would have given a shit if I’d missed a post at that point, but I would have known, and that was enough.

One of the craziest things that happened in a life-meets-art kind of a way is that, while I was writing the episode about Danny’s mom showing up at the full house for the final time, my grandmother died in real life.  I never really wrote about anything personal in the blog but I think that reading that particular entry with that knowledge in your head makes it a pretty interesting post.

When I got about halfway through the series I was feeling like I’d gotten enough out of the project and was seriously considering packing it in.  One day a friend of mine who is particularly internet savvy called me up to tell me that FHR had been posted on something called Metafilter (I still don’t really know what that is) and so I checked the site’s stats.  Before then, the most hits I’d had in a day was about 600 when Dave Coulier accidentally retweeted the sites URL that one of my few readers had sent to him, but all of a sudden I had 30,000 hits in a day.  The site went viral and ended up getting reposted all over the internet and all of a sudden I had an actual sizeable following.  Having a popular blog is a funny thing because it doesn’t really lessen the feeling that you’re just some nerd who’s wasting a bunch of time fucking around on the internet, but it does make it feel a little more valid.

I realized that I couldn’t rent Season 5 on Netflix so I decided to quit the project if fans didn’t buy the rest of the DVD’s for me (which cost about $10 each).  There was definitely some belly-aching about this but the DVD’s were purchased within a matter of hours and I think that I needed that exchange to occur in order to make me feel sufficiently obligated to complete the project. Having a readership definitely helped but for some reason the feeling that I’d be welching on a $10 agreement I’d made with someone assured that I wouldn’t be backing out, ever.

While I was reviewing Season 5, just before I turned 30, a bunch of crazy shit happened all at once in my personal life.  I was woken up one morning and subjected to the most abrupt, uncivil break-up of my entire life.  It was the kind of break-up where you’re not given any explanation but it’s just totally over so you go stay at your friend’s house in their spare room that smells like cat pee and return to the apartment that you’re still paying for during designated times when no one’s there to pack up your shit and find all this really conspicuous evidence that some strange guy’s been having sex in your bed.  Suffice to say, I was a little fucked up for a while, and I came the closest I ever did to having to stop the blog for a while.  Ultimately I decided that I needed to keep doing it to give myself something to focus on, that the routine was good for me, and I think that this decision really changed my relationship with the project.  While I was staying in that cat pee room I watched the episode where Michelle learned how to ride a bike and I found myself cackling with sinister laughter while watching her fall into the bushes, and it was at that precise moment that I knew that everything would be ok.

After I found a new apartment and got my shit settled in I started to feel this incredible euphoria.  For the past several years I’d been trying to make a crappy relationship work and spending all my time getting high and working at home and all of a sudden I felt this wealth of possibility.  I felt like I’d just come out of a coma.  I started going out and doing stuff, I made a bunch of new friends, I started sleeping better, I worked a lot less, I went to the river, I got to be a judge in a sandwich competition, I started dating someone new and it was amazing.  It was actually this period when I found it to be most difficult to maintain the blog but, like I said, a few people had contributed those $10 DVD box sets, so what choice did I have.

Another major event was that the company I’d been doing regular contract work with offered to make me an official employee so I’d receive health benefits but in order to do so I’d be subject to random drug tests.  Just as I was turning 30, I had to make a choice between smoking weed and having health insurance.  I wouldn’t say that this was an easy decision, but I will say that the choice was obvious.  I was worried that after the fact I’d become some preachy guy about how smoking weed is shitty or something but I really don’t feel that way at all.  I think that smoking weed is pretty great.  But I was doing it, like, all the time, for years and years, and totally failing to moderate it, so quitting was probably a good idea.  I haven’t really spent much time going back and reading old entries but I’m curious about how differently the first 6 Seasons read from the last 2, which were the only ones that weren’t written when I was super high.  I will say that reviewing Full House was a lot more of a challenge without the effects of sweet, sweet reefer.

So there you have it.  This blog was the product of being in a shitty relationship and getting really high all the time.  That’s pretty much the entire behind the scenes story.

The main thing that makes this project feel like it was worth doing is the amazing community that accumulated around it.  It’s totally incredible to me that I created a place on the internet where I could be an asshole every week and vent all my hostility and yet I ended up feeling like I did something good.  As the comments section became more active, people started opening up more, and I really felt like I had somehow created a space where people could work out some stuff and find support.  I have no idea how this happened, as it seems so counter-intuitive to the tone of the project (and defies pretty much every comments section I’ve ever seen on the internet), but I do think it’s the thing I’m most proud of.  I really do want to thank every person that shared this experience with me, and who shared their own experiences as well.  We may not know each other in real life but we went through this thing together.  There’s something amazing about that.

One last thing I’ll address before I retire from this project forever is that I think I may have endured this process for one other reason that occurred to me late in the game.  For whatever reason, I was always compelled to watch Full House whenever it was on.  I think I enjoyed the visceral anger it gave me.  The process of watching and reviewing every episode is kind of like that old convention where your dad catches you smoking a cigarette when you’re a kid so he makes you smoke a whole carton, and then you get so sick that you never want to smoke again.  I’m sure that going through this process did irreparable damage to my psyche in ways that will take years to understand, but one positive effect it had was that I’ll definitely never sit through another episode.

Fuck you, Full House.  I’m never watching you ever again.

I thought a lot about what I wanted the final moment on this site to be and the answer occurred to me about a year ago, so when I went home to visit my family over the Summer I made a special field trip just for you.  Before I get to it I just wanted to say thank you one last time.  A lot of people have written to say that I made their Friday mornings better over the last few years and I want you to know that you did the same for me.  Absolutely.

Your pal,

~Billy Superstar~

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Shittiest Moments Ever on Full House

Picking the Top 10 Shittiest Moments Ever on Full House is like selecting the finest grain of sand on a beach.  There’s just so much to sift through!  There are countless moments that could have qualified for this list but I did my best to look over the series and pick the ones that really stood out as the most glaring examples of why this show sucks so hard.  I’m sure people will have their own ideas and I look forward to reading them in the comments.  I was going to write an honorable mentions list but it would have had to include like half of the episodes.

Without further adieu, here it is, my own personal list of the Top 10 Shittiest Moments Ever on Full House:

10) The Endless Dream Sequence (Season 1, Episode 19, “The Seven-Month Itch: Part 1″)

At the end of the first Season, Jesse gets fed up with all of the responsibilities that come with living in his brother-in-law’s house rent free and runs away, creating a cliff-hanger for the series’ first 2-part episode.  The catalyst for his departure is an incredibly drawn-out dream sequence that exemplifies all of his anxieties about everyone getting all up in his face and asking him for stuff all the time.  It goes on longer than you can even imagine, with almost no progression, just an endless rotation of all of the characters uttering phrases into a fisheye lens.  This is the first example of a common tactic that the show would employ for the first several Seasons, where an episode’s story would be light so there would be some extraneous dream sequence to pad it out.  What made it more of a landmark for me, though, is that this was the first time during my run of watching the series where I can distinctly remember feeling like I was actually going crazy.

9) The Forever Music Video (Season 5, Episode 26, “Captain Video: Part 2″)

Season 5 ends with Jesse making a terrible music video out of his shitty cover of a mediocre Beach Boys song.  As far as mid-90′s music videos go, it’s maybe not all that bad (it features many odd conventions of the time, like rooms filled with candles and a location that looks like an old church in the desert) except for the fact that his babies are prominently displayed throughout it in what is debatably a sexually fetishistic way.  It’s also always hard to deal with something on this show when it’s supposed to be understood that it’s a quality presentation.  I’m pretty sure that we’re supposed to think that this is a good video although nothing that’s contained within it persuades us towards that perspective.  Regardless, it’s easily one of the most iconic terrible moments in the entire series.

8 ) Michelle Selects a Cardboard Cut-Out As a Reward (Season 7, Episode 16, “Joey’s Funny Valentine”)

This moment is so terrible and frustrating that it actually stands out as the worst part of an episode that’s all about Joey having a girlfriend.  A parrot flies into the full house and the kids recognize that it belongs to a guy who owns an electronics store.  When the parrot is returned, the owner decides to reward them by letting them pick any item from the store.  Throughout the rest of the episode, DJ and Stephanie argue over which appliance they should get until Danny finally leaves the decision up to Michelle.  Rather than picking between her sisters’ choices, she straight up chooses a cardboard cut-out of the shop’s owner, which is clearly the most worthless and impractical thing that could possibly have been inside that whole place.  This is one of those extreme cases of Michelle being shown completely over-the-top favoritism in the full house and getting what she wants at the cost of every other character.  When I think of all the things she did that made me want to beat her to death, this moment definitely stands out. 

7) Stephanie Goes to Therapy, is Cured of Her Neurosis in Minutes (Season 3, Episode 11, “Aftershocks”)

Stephanie gets all clingy and weird towards Danny so he decides to take her ass to a shrink.  The therapist has her draw a picture and, as Stephanie describes the image, it becomes clear that the source of her behavior is anxiety that came from not knowing where Danny was during the San Francisco earthquake.  Once that’s discovered, the problem is solved.  It takes less than 3 minutes.  Not only is this quick-fix narrative a slap in the face to therapy as a profession and practice, it’s also a big fuck you to anyone who endured any lasting traumatic stress after that earthquake.  What makes it most egregious, though, is the fact that they finally got one of these assholes into a therapist’s office and neglected to deal with any of the real issues.  Why wasn’t her overwhelming sense of entitlement ever looked into, or her total disregard for other people?  All of these people need therapy so bad!

6) Michelle Forces Becky and Jesse to Stay in the Full House (Season 4, Episode 20, “Fuller House”

After Becky and Jesse get married, it makes perfect sense that he’d start mooching off of her instead of Danny, so he moves into her place.  It really wouldn’t hurt the series at all to have them live in their own house nearby but I guess the producers thought that it was really important for everyone to be crammed into this one house forever so Michelle gets all sad and cries when Jesse packs up his shit.  Jesse is so distressed by this that he is unable to enjoy his new life in his nice new house with his super hot, smart wife with an amazing career so he forces her to move into the attic with him, effectively ruining her future forever.  But, hey, at least Michelle’s happy!

5) Joey Doesn’t Quit Comedy (Season 3, Episode 6, “Star Search”)

Joey finally realizes that he’s a no-talent waste of human life but he tries to prove to himself otherwise by going on Star Search, a haven for such people.  In one of the series’ rare moments of at least partial self-awareness, Joey loses because he sucks and for one brief, shining moment, it seems like he’ll finally do the world a big favor and kill himself, or at least quit doing all those terrible impressions all the fucking time.  But no, he decides that he can’t be dissuaded and continues to be an annoying pain in the ass with the support of his shitty family. This episode is the greatest argument against a person following their dreams that I have ever seen.

4) Jesse Serenades Michelle (Season 2, Episode 16, “Baby Love”)

Michelle develops an unhealthy attachment to another baby who comes and visits the full house and then she lapses into a deep depression after he leaves.  Jesse tries to lift her spirits by singing her an awful song that he’s written about her.  It’s uncomfortable to watch for so many reasons, and the worst part is that it doesn’t even do any good, so we have to sit through that shit for no reason.

3)  Jesse’s Christmas Speech (Season 2, Episode 9, “Our Very First Christmas Show”)

The family gets trapped in an airport during Christmas and everyone’s morale is quite low until Jesse decides to get up in front of everyone, including all the other unfortunate passengers who are stuck there with them, and delivers the most contrived “inspiring” speech of all time about the meaning of Christmas or some such bullshit.  This was the first of many times where I couldn’t believe that no one from the full house was assaulted for being such a public nuisance.  He actually forces everyone to sing Christmas carols with him, as if being trapped in the airport didn’t suck hard enough already.  This is one of those interesting moments that would have actually had the opposite effect in reality than what is conveyed onscreen.  For any person that was trapped in that airport, Jesse’s speech had to have been the worst part of the whole experience.

2)  The Death of Papouli (Season 7, Episode 17, “The Last Dance”)

This one’s tricky because it’s actually one of the few enjoyable episodes, but for all the wrong reasons.  Jesse’s elderly grandfather comes to visit from the old country and, after bestowing his magical, old-world wisdom unto everyone, dies abruptly in his sleep.  The last half of the episode consists of the entire cast sitting around sobbing and delivering incredibly melodramatic speeches and it’s fucking hilarious.  Although I enjoyed this episode the most out of the entire series, I had to include it here because it had the opposite of its intended effect.  This was easily the most emotionally manipulative thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and the greatest failure of all the series’ very special moments.

1) Michelle and Her Classmates Sing Twist ‘n’ Shout (Season 4, Episode 25, “The Graduates”)

Although there are certainly more contrived or offensive moments during the series, this is definitely the hardest one to sit through, ever.  When Michelle and her little friends graduate from Preschool, Jesse has them put on a little performance of Twist ‘n’ Shout that I can only assume is supposed to be cute but, holy fuck, it’s just a horrible mess!  This is the most extreme example of the show not even qualifying as an amateur-quality production.  I cannot believe that this was on tv at all, and knowing that it was part of a successful series and that people got paid really well for it is just a fucking travesty.  This is the ultimate pull-your-hair-out infuriating moment of the entire series, and, in case you didn’t notice, that’s saying a lot!

The FHR SF Wrap-Up Party

Here it is, the video coverage of the SF FHR Wrap Party!  Thanks very much to Thom for making these!  Be sure to check out his 80′s video series!  He’s gonna make a bunch of brilliant stuff!

Part 1

For the second part I guess the camera was overheating at certain times so there are some creative edits.  Just think of it as being like a Godard movie.

Part 2

Just so you guys don’t have to worry, enough people ended up showing up so I wasn’t charged for the venue.  Thanks so much for coming out, everyone!  No one made a video of the Portland event so this is it!  I hope you enjoyed it!

Review of Dustin Diamond’s Autobiography, Behind the Bell

About 4 years ago, I found myself reading Dustin (the guy who played Screech on Saved By the Bell) Diamond’s autobiography on a lark.  After I finished it (which took about 3 hours) I thought it would be fun to write a little review so I threw something together and posted it on Facebook.  It didn’t get much of a reaction or anything but for some unknowable reason something came over me and I felt a strong urge to continue to write critiques of pop-culture’s most shameful endeavors.  I started FHR a few weeks later.  Now that it’s all over, I thought I’d share this initial article, which, to me, was the catalyst for this whole project:

I’ve never read a tell-all autobiography before but my morbid obsession with Saved By the Bell made this one irresistible. I don’t know what purpose these types of books usually serve, but this one is clearly an outlet for years of pent-up bitterness, not to mention a blatant effort to make a couple of bucks while attempting to craft a new and more marketable persona. Well, lemme tell ya, it did not work.

The main reason I wanted to read this book was to find out what it was like to work on Saved By the Bell and dish some dirt about real-life behind the scenes shenanigans, but this book provides much less of that than a sort of bizarre portrait of Dustin himself. Most of what he has to say about working on the show is focused around what a bunch of stupid jerks everyone was and how mean they were to him. He has bitter nicknames for everyone that he apparently still uses to this day, one of many features of his narrative that makes it hard to sympathize with him. Most of his behind-the-scenes gossip is made up of embarrassing moments his cast members endured while he stood idly by, snickering to himself. On one occasion, the guy who played Zack had to piss really bad during a press tour and got caught by the fuzz relieving himself behind a dumpster. Screech’s account of what a sniveling bitch Zack is when the law intervenes is clearly biased, if not entirely hyperbolic. On another occasion, Zack accidentally hit an innocent bystander in the face with a softball during a company game. I’m not really sure why this story is supposed to support an argument that Zack is a jerk, as the incident was clearly an accident, but the anecdote seems to be included with the intention to further defame the studios “golden child” that stole all of Screech’s glory.

The narrative gets kind of a Humbert Humbert thing going pretty quickly, where we see through Screech’s bullshit and clearly recognize the flaws within his own character as he desperately grasps for our empathy and attention. One incident recounted is of an extra who scored cool points with the cast by belittling Screech in front of everybody. I can see why that would sting, being the star and all and having even the lowest contributors to the show holding a higher social standing among the cast members. I might have felt bad for Screech if the climax of that story wasn’t him pissing in that extras purse backstage. You might think that he would recognize this as a petty and vindictive act all these years later, but no! The purpose of the story is to let us know what a bad motherfucker he is.

Overall the book contains surprisingly few noteworthy stories about the cast. There’s a few funny bits about Mario Lopez, who Screech clearly hated the most. I actually laughed out loud when he recalled what it was like to do promo interviews with Lopez, who would constantly talk over anyone else who tried to reply to questioning and redirect the conversation back to himself. The books overall biggest nugget of gossip is about Lopez as well, who Screech alleges narrowly avoided rape charges that NBC settled out of court while SBTB was still on the air. As with all the books allegations, it’s hard to know how to filter what is stated as we’re dealing with such a dubious narrator. It’s also questionable because it’s so clear that Screech was pretty far out of the casts social loop, which is probably why most of his behind-the-scenes content is filled with prank wars between himself and prop guys or the shows head carpenter. Not exactly the Saved By the Bell untold story I was hoping for…

Most of the book is filled with self-indulgent tripe that only serves to further prove that Screech is an even more obnoxious idiot in real life than on tv. He goes on and on about how many chicks he banged, recounting with great sentimentality his many trips to Disneyland to get his mack on. If that’s not vomit-inducing enough, there’s also a lengthy narrative (with foreshadowing and everything!) about a long-developing romance with an older NBC executive. If the image of Screech getting it on with some teenage hussy at the Magic Kingdom isn’t disturbing enough, how do some post-coital snuggles with a woman in her forties sound? Oh, man… it’s just… it’s just awful. There’s a few other hilarious tidbits, like when he claims to be the catalyst for the live action Scoobie Doo movie (despite a valiant effort, he was not selected to play Shaggy on screen) or provides his 2 cents about Urkel (“the primetime Screech”), but most of his exploits just involve him hanging out with his lame friends that you’ve never heard of.

I’m not even sure if this qualifies as a real book. It doesn’t seem to adhere to any publishing standards whatsoever. I’m not even talking about the total lack of production design or the easy-reader sized font (which was actually a nice relief for my crappy eyesight). Early in the text there are some weird spelling errors and commas for no reason, but as the book progresses I found a few paragraphs that ran twice in a row and sentences randomly cut and pasted into adjoining paragraphs. It’s possible that Screech was trying to pull off a William S. Burroughs thing, but it’s more probable that nobody bothered to read the text before printing it up. It’s all kind of appropriate, though. The whole appeal of Saved By the Bell is how mind-bogglingly half-assed and ridiculous it is, so this quality-control-free publication does faithfully mirror the shows aesthetic. Whenever I watch SBTB, I find myself less interested in the characters and situations than I am compelled to speculate as to just what the hell the shows writers and producers were thinking when they put the whole mess together. In behind the Bell, the creators intention is glaringly obvious, and like the tv series itself, it fails to make a genuine connection with its audience. The audience finds themselves laughing at it, not with it.

It’s impossible to say whether I’d actually recommend this book to anyone. The only people who would even consider reading it are hopeless fanatics like myself, who don’t really have a choice. I knew this book was a piece of garbage before I picked it up and I read the whole thing anyway. I’m a slave to this shit. As far as mindless drivel goes, at least it was pretty undemanding. The whole thing reads like an enormous sidebar to an US magazine article. What a stupid waste of time!

Season 8 Reviewed

It’s generally regarded as fact that the universe is expanding at a rate beyond our comprehension.  It’s theorized that it may someday snap back onto itself like a giant rubber band, condensing for a period only to begin the process of expansion all over again.  An auxiliary theory is that, instead of condensing, the universe will continue to expand until eventually all matter will become so spread out that reality as we know it will dissipate into what we could only perceive as nothingness.  It reaches well beyond my realm of knowledge to verify or deny any of these concepts because, honestly, I barely understand this shit, but the latter theory was what came to mind when I tried to think of a way to describe the final Season of Full House.  There’s no dramatic conclusion or worthwhile resolve, just a bland dissolution as the series dissolves into nonexistence.

Nothing remotely important occurred during this Season.  To be fair, trying to create some sort of satisfying conclusion to a show that was never really going anywhere isn’t a realistic expectation.  There were points of the series where noteworthy events occurred, though, and this Season featured almost none of them.  DJ gets into college but the series concludes before she even graduates from high school, and that’s really the most remarkable thing that goes down.

The only thing that can really be taken away from this final Season is that none of these people are going to change or improve in any way and that they’re all just going to live in that house together forever, acting like assholes until the end of their days.  It would have been nice to think that there could ever be some hope for any of these people to come out from the bubble of privileged existence that is the full house and learn to contribute to society in some way, or at least acquire some fucking manners, but now we can be sure that it’s never going to happen.

There’s a bit of a continuing storyline where Danny is dating Gia’s mom, Claire, but it never goes anywhere and is eventually dropped altogether.  This reminds me that neither Danny or Joey really manage to have any sort of noteworthy romantic life throughout the entire series.  They tried to make Vicky work for a few Seasons but eventually gave up and Danny never really got much action after that.  Joey never had a love interest for more than a few episodes, but I can understand why.  The idea of his character having any sort of a sex life is just so creepy and unfeasible.  It’s interesting that even the people who worked on the show seemed aware of this.  That makes it even more strange that he did have so many short lived relationships throughout the series, though.  It would have been better for everyone if he’d just been completely asexual the whole time.

Becky gets promoted over Danny (and rightfully so) but they both continue their jobs on Wake Up, San Francisco.  Jesse continues to run the Smash Club, which doesn’t seem to take up very much of his time, plus he and Joey also maintain their radio DJ jobs.

DJ continues to be the only tolerable character on the show, or at least the only one who seems at all like an actual human being, plus she sports some pretty cute hairstyles and outfits this Season.  I feel glad for her that she’ll be escaping the full house soon.  It’s possible that she ends up being forced to stay, like because Michelle starts crying or whatever, but I really like to think that she gets out of there and makes a better life for herself.  It really does make sense that she would be the only one to escape and lead some semblance of a normal life.

Stephanie gets into her teen years and there seems to be an increased focus on her poor choices and budding sexuality (often both at the same time).  I think she got a little more screen time this Season but we all know that she was lined up to be the star of the show early on when she was an adorable, precocious 5-year old, and boy did that not work out.

Michelle continues to be a terrible person.  She really is the most detestable child in all of television.  I don’t know why they had to make her such a sassy asshole all the time.  Couldn’t she have had any endearing traits?  Ever?  One of the more interesting elements of this show is seeing what a kid will turn out like if you make them a tv star before they’re even cognizant, and the answer is that they’ll become a snotty piece of shit.  It’s interesting to me that this show had a sociological experiment built right into it, but not so interesting that I’m glad that I watched it.

The twins were a really odd addition to the show that never really amounted to much.  They might be the series’ greatest failure, actually.  They really weren’t cute and were totally unable to deliver any coherent lines at any point.  At least the focus on them was pretty minimal.

Although this final Season was fairly unremarkable overall, it definitely featured the worst story lines ever.  I still have to say that the dumbest premise of all time belongs to the episode in Season 6 where Michelle knocks over a dinosaur skeleton, but this Season hosted an incredible quantity of mind-blowingly shitty stories. The one where Michelle gets all obsessed with the rate at which her feet are growing stands out as the champion of awful ideas, but let’s not forget the one where she buys a donkey, or the Christmas episode where Mickey Rooney imprisons Jesse and Michelle in his store until they invite him to the full house to spend the holidays with them.  As the series ran out of sitcom cliches to recycle after having racked up so many episodes, they didn’t really come up with creative solutions, just weirdly hackneyed ones.

The question that always comes to mind during these Season Reviews is whether or not the one at hand was the worst so far.  Did Full House manage to get progressively worse throughout the series?  It’s hard to say.  Aside from Michelle becoming more and more detestable as she got older, I think that this final Season might have been less offensively terrible than the previous one, if for no other reason than the obvious lack of effort that was put into it.  One of the things that made Full House so grating and awful was the smug sense of self-confidence that was ever-present throughout most of its run, but this last Season felt less like it thought that it was great and more like nobody gave a shit at all.  So at least the lack of effort was more apparent, which makes it more ok for some reason.

I wish I could fall off a horse and forget everything that ever happened on this shitty show but unfortunately I’m stuck with it.  Well, at least it’s over.

Thanks to FHR reader Rustu for buying me the Season 8 DVD set!  And thanks so much to every single person who ever read this site, especially those of you who left comments!  I can’t say how happy I am to have accumulated such an active and positive community around this angry, fucked up project.  I am in awe of you all!

I hope to see a whole lot of you at The Waypost tonight for the final FHR close-out party!  I’m gonna do live readings of a few episodes and get real drunk!

Stay tuned throughout the week for a whole lot of bonus content!  I’m gonna post some Top 10 lists and video from the event in San Francisco and some other neat bonus stuff.  There should be a new post each day of the week unless something gets all fucked up.  Next Friday, January 31st, I’ll post a final wrap-up entry and then we’ll all have to say goodbye for reals.  Until then, I remain,

Billy Superstar

Season 8, Episode 24, “Michelle Rides Again Part 2″

Pre-Credits Gag:  Last week’s episode is recapped.  The most important thing to remember is that Michelle got hurt, and it was awesome.

At the hospital, the dads all gather around Michelle, who, tragically, is not dead.  She’s unable to identify Danny and then the doctor takes the dads aside and explains that she’s experiencing memory loss, which, according to him, is very common with head injuries.  I guess that’s true if you’re a doctor on tv.  He tells them that an injured person’s memory usually returns in these cases and that the best thing to do would be to take her home and surround her with familiar things.

Stephanie’s acting partner comes over to the full house to rehearse their scene from Romeo and Juliet.  He talks to her about Michelle for a minute, because everything has to always be about Michelle all the time, and then they agree to rehearse the scene.  He immediately starts smoochin’ on her and she’s like, “whaaaaaaaat?” and he explains that Michelle blurting out that Stephanie has a crush on him last episode gave him the courage to kiss her, which he’d been avoiding before because he was too big of a pussy, then they start making out in the kitchen until DJ comes in and interrupts them.

As long as DJ’s there to salt Stephanie’s game, there may as well be more people, too, so Kimmie Gibbler comes in with Dwayne.  Ooh!  I wonder if he’s gonna say, “whatever”???  Do you think he will?!!?

Stephanie’s scene partner tells Dwayne that it’s nice to meet him and he replies, “whatever.”  Yes!  He said it!  I really wasn’t sure if he was going to!  Best catch phrase ever!  It makes “have mercy” seem like a big piece of shit!

Kimmie Gibbler tells DJ that Dwayne’s cousin has agreed to go to the prom with her but DJ says that, as great is it is to go with her friend’s dipshit boyfriend’s cousin who she’s never met because she can’t find a date, she doesn’t think she’s going to be attending the prom because she’s too worried about Michelle. Kimmie Gibbler says that Dwayne’s cousin is willing to wait on the sidelines so she can change her mind later if she wants.  Wow, this guy sounds like a real catch!

Stephanie tells everyone to shut the fuck up and get out because she’s trying to rehearse a Shakespearen scene and then Kimmie Gibbler points out that Dwayne is a Shakespeare enthusiast.  Everyone’s like, “for reals?” and then Dwayne launches into a lengthy Shakespearean rendition.

I have to give them credit here.  This was actually a halfway decent bit.  As well as I can recall, Dwayne was only in 3 or 4 episodes and they got about as much out of that “whatever” schtick as they could, but bringing it to a conclusion like this was actually not bad.  It’s not as built up or unexpected as when Darryl and Darryl yelled, “quiet!” in the Newhart finale, but, for Full House, it was a pretty impressive move.  File that under moments that actually weren’t that terrible in your Full House scrapbook.  I haven’t kept track very well but I’d say there was a total of about 5 of them throughout the entire series.

Michelle comes home from the hospital and everyone is quite concerned about her amnesia.  So, is it fair to say that they saved the absolute worst premise for last?  I mean, amnesia?  Really?  Even for this show, that seems pretty far-fetched and ridiculous.  But, then again, there was that episode when she knocked over a dinosaur skeleton at the museum, and just a few episodes back there was a whole storyline about her obsession with the size of her feet, so maybe it’s just par for the course by this point.  This might be the ultimate writers room “fuck it” of the entire series, but it’s hard to say.

Michelle seems perturbed by the sheer quantity of people who live in the full house and then her sisters decide to show her around the place.  They take her to her room, where they clarify who all of the people that live in the house are.  Michelle asks how many bathrooms there are in the house and DJ tells her, “Not enough.”  It seems like Michelle’s amnesia is a weak attempt for the show to express some self-awareness and provide a little tongue-in-cheek meta-commentary in its final moments.  By not remembering anything, Michelle is coming into the full house as a sort of outsider who is seeing everything for the first time, so she’s pointing out how strange certain elements of the show are.  This could have actually been a really great way to wrap up the series if the creators had utilized any substantial self-awareness, but Michelle’s observations are pretty tame.  She’s not like, “why are you guys such pushy, entitled pieces of shit?  And why am I such a despicable asshole?  And what the fuck is wrong with Joey?  Seriously, why does that guy even live here???” she just makes like light jabs at some of the series’ conventions, like how all of the Mr. Woodchuck jokes are wood puns, or all the hugging that goes on in the full house.  Like with so many of Full House’s attempted efforts that don’t quite work, I’m having trouble deciding if it’s better than nothing.

The dads all perform the teddy bear song that they used to sing to Michelle when she was a baby and the audience loses their fucking minds.  The performance does nothing to jog Michelle’s memory and then she asks where her moms is at.  Gentle music comes on as Danny explains that her mom died horribly in a violent car crash 8 years ago, so her corpse has got to be pretty rotten and chewed up by now, especially since it was already all twisted and broken when they put her in the ground.  But that’s not even the fucked up part.  Her mom was replaced by her greasy, do-nothing uncle and some stunted weirdo, neither of whom are remotely qualified to take care of her or her sisters.  That’s been the basis of her whole life as we know it, and it’s nothing sort of a goddamn tragedy.

Michelle realizes that even if she does get her memory back at the end of this episode, she wont remember her mom, which makes her hella sad.  The dads let her know that they’ll tell her anything that she wants to find out about her mom and Michelle asks if she was pretty, which is all that she cares about because of what a shallow, awful person she is.  The uncles assure her that, yes, her mom was pretty, and Joey gives this creepy nod that clearly says, “I used to beat off to her all the time.  As a matter of fact, I still do.”

Michelle continues to feel upset and I kept getting distracted by the way that Danny is petting her finger in the corner of the screen.  It’s really unsettling.

Michelle gets all frustrated about having amnesia so she lays in Stephanie’s bed and pouts while the sad music reaches a crescendo.  Stephanie almost points out that she’s in the wrong bed but Becky stops her and it’s really unclear whether it’s supposed to be a moment of levity or not.

The twins wake Michelle up and when she asks what they want, one of them says, “dyuyu…benumber yet?” and Michelle tells them that even if she wasn’t suffering from the after-effects of a head injury she still wouldn’t be able to tell what the fuck they were saying.

Stephanie goes over to Michelle and tells her that she feels bad about the argument that they had last episode.  She apologizes for getting mad at Michelle for disrespecting her privacy and humiliating her in front of a guy that she likes and tells her that her shitty, invasive behavior was actually beneficial in the end.

As Michelle tries to mind her own business in the kitchen, Jesse calls her over and makes her sit on his lap while he talks about what a special relationship they have.  Before he can score some unsettling kisses on the mouth like he usually does, she gets up and walks away, which Jesse finds quite troubling.

Joey takes Jesse aside and tells him that they need to talk about their tv audition because his heart’s just not in it.  Jesse agrees and says that, since Michelle’s accident, he’s been really rethinking his priorities.  They both concur that family is most important, which is kind of a way of them saying that they’re permanently dedicated to being shiftless do-nothings who mooch off of Danny.  That’s pretty much the final word on these guys.  This exchange is an assurance that they’ll be living in that house forever, never advancing in any significant way or attempting to move out.  There’s even a moment where Jesse says that he’s sure that Joey will have kids of his own one day, which seems to suggest that, should that horrifying event ever occur, Joey will still be livin’ it up in the full house with his unfortunate bride and hideous offspring.

Danny and Becky try to persuade DJ to go the prom at the last minute but she’s hesitant because of Michelle’s condition.  Michelle comes in and convinces DJ that she’s not doing anyone any good by missing the prom but then DJ says that it’s probably too late to go, which makes a lot of sense because you have to buy an expensive ticket and a bunch of other pricey shit to go to the prom.  It’s not exactly a thing that you decide to attend a few hours ahead of time.  Regardless, Becky says that she’s a whiz at speed shopping and whisks DJ off.

Danny sits Michelle down and shows her a photo album to try to help bring her memory back and for a minute it’s almost like a clips show but with still images.  Eventually Michelle gets frustrated and is all, “fuck this shit” and then she goes upstairs to rest.

What’s worse than one Olsen twin?  Both Olsen twins!  As an excuse to get them both onscreen at the same time, one of them appears before the other one as “Michelle’s memory.”

Michelle’s like, “damn, bitch, where you been?” and her memory’s like, “sorry, I cut out for a minute when you fell off that horse.  My bad.”  Her memory says that they have to hug to rejoin but it would have been way cooler if Michelle had to devour her.  Oh well, at least we get to see some really shit overlay effects when they merge.

As DJ comes downstairs to model her prom dress for the family, Danny walks in front of her, taking pictures and saying stuff like, “come on, baby.  Come to poppa.  Work the camera.”  That’s not sardonic paraphrasing, that’s what he says, verbatim.  It’s really disturbing.

Michelle comes downstairs and jumps at one last opportunity to all of the attention that someone else is getting by alluding to the fact that her memory has returned.  Stephanie is the first one to realize that she’s recovered and picks her up and swings her around out of joy and there’s a really weird moment where Michelle sounds all pissed off while yelling, “put me down!”  Why is that in there?  Everyone quizzes Michelle to verify that her memory has returned and then when they’re sure that it has, gentle music comes on and everyone rejoices.

Kimmie Gibbler shows up and models her final amazing outfit, a prom dress with alternating lights.

Kimmie Gibbler calls in DJ’s date and, oh shit!  it’s Steve!

Wow, Steve’s back!  And on prom night, too!  I guess this show really is going to have a climactic conclusion, because who doesn’t fuck on prom night?  Well, at least it will be climactic for Steve, and after about 30 seconds, too.  That’s what happens when you make a guy wait 3 years.

Aw, who am I kidding?  There’s no way that guy’s getting laid.  Anticlimactic as ever, Full House.

Steve asks how Michelle is doing, because even his unexpected return during the final scene of the whole series comes second to whatever’s going on with her, and then the music comes on as acquires about her recently concluded condition.  Jesse explains how scary it was for everyone and how worried they were but that they stuck it out and persevered, and then Danny picks her up and says that they’ll always be a corny family of obnoxious assholes that manages to overcome every obstacle in 22 minutes, until the end of muthafuckin’ time.

That’s it.  I’m done.  I reviewed every episode of Full House in chronological order. There are no more.  I did it.

So what now?  Some announcements!

If you’d like to celebrate this achievement, I thought it would be really amazing if everyone would donate $1 (there’s a button up top) as a commencement of this project reaching its conclusion.  If you’ve been reading this site for any amount of time and feel as though you got $1′s worth of entertainment out of it, now’s the time to show it.  One thing I’ve learned as an internet blogger guy is that people seem to get really bent out of shape if you ask for donations or help with paying for web hosting and stuff, so if you’re one of those people, just don’t give me a dollar.  It’s not that big a deal.  The project’s done so it’s not like anything will happen if you don’t contribute.  But one thing I really feel like I failed at with this project is figuring out how to monetize it, so this is my last little effort to change that.  I’m not exactly a starving artist but, truthfully, given how much traffic this site gets, if everyone who reads this post contributed $1 it would have actually make this entire project turn out to be a pretty decent paying gig.  Also, feel free to contribute more than $1 to make up for all the people who wont cough one up!

So what’s next?  There will be the final FHR wrap-up party at the Waypost in Portland, OR next Friday.  RSVP for that shit!  It should be a real good time.  Next week I’ll post Season 8 Reviewed, and then throughout the following week I’m planning on posting a bunch of bonus content, possibly one thing each day.  The Friday after that I’m going to post a final write-up, which is a sort of retrospective look back at this whole thing, and that’ll be the end of it.

I’m gonna miss you guys!  But even though this site’s done, I wont be leaving you.  Here’s the link to the Tumblr site where we’ll be posting Saved By the Bell Reviewed.  It’s going to be a regular podcast by me, the guys at the Gentlemen of Leisure site and Portland cartoonist Carolyn Main.  We’re also going to have regular guests, so more on that soon.  The details are still coming together but I think it’ll be a weekly thing.  It’s not going to start for a while because I really need a break from pop-culture reviews but I’d suggest following the tumblr site now to stay posted.  I’d wager that the podcasts will start popping up around March.  (P.S. I just spent a shitload of time getting the header done but then Tumblr fucked up and I’m too tired to figure out why.  It’ll look presentable soon…)

Oh yeah also someone requested on Facebook that I do a casual AMA on Reddit so here it is.  I guess I’ll maintain it throughout the week?  I owe Reddit a lot for all the readers I’ve gotten through them!  Reddit 4EVA!!!

I’ve always been pretty set on staying anonymous as the author of this site, for several reasons.  The main one, I think, is that I thought it was more fun and engaging if the author existed entirely as a reviewer of Full House, with no outside presence or influence.  As long as we agree that Full House is a crappy show, there’s not much difference for us to find with one another, and I can be whoever you imagine me to be outside of that.  I was also scared of getting trolled, which did happen, but actually much less than I thought it would. But at least people couldn’t really attack me personally, because they didn’t know who they were trolling.

I started this project as a fun thing to do on the side after my career started to work out and I never really planned on trying to use one thing to promote the other.  However, years later, I’ve accidentally accumulated an audience on here that completely dwarfs my presence as a working professional guy, so I thought I’d at least give you guys a chance to check out what I do in real life.  So here’s my website, if you’re interested.  The main thing I’m planning on doing with the spare time that’ll be freed up by not doing these goofy ass reviews every week is posting more content on my tumblr site.  You can also follow me on twitter.  I don’t really use twitter very much but I probably will if I get a bunch of followers all of a sudden.  In my line of work you’re supposed to use social media all the damn time and I’ve totally failed at that over the past few years because I’ve been maxing out all my waste-your-time-on-the-internet hours on this project, but that’s all over now.

And now it’s Thursday night at a little after 1 AM and I’m getting ready to post this entry after proof-reading it one last time, just like I’ve done every week for about 4 years, and I have to admit that I’m feeling kind of emotional.  So much has changed in my life during these years but this has project been a constant, and I think I may be only beginning to realize how  much it meant to me.  Thanks so much to all of your for being there to experience it with me.  I can’t think of a stranger way to bring a bunch of people together than shitting on a crappy tv show, but I think that it was actually pretty effective.  All of you are a part of my life.  Thank you.

Your pal,

The Artist Formerly Known as Billy Superstar

 

Season 8, Episode 23, “Michelle Rides Again Part 1″

Pre-Credits Gag:  DJ doesn’t have a date to the prom so Kimmie Gibbler decides to make it her mission to find her one.

Danny sits on the sidelines during Michelle’s horse riding practice.  I wonder if that’s DJ’s horse from one of the earlier Seasons?  I can totally see Michelle deciding to claim it for herself one day with no resistance from anyone.  The weird thing about this scene is that it’s about 30 seconds long and doesn’t contain any information that isn’t immediately conveyed through dialogue in the next scene, when Michelle and Danny come back to the full house and discuss her horseback riding lesson.  I guess that since they use this location later in the episode they wanted to get their moneys worth out of it or something.

Back at the full house, Michelle and Danny discuss Michelle’s riding lesson with Becky and then Stephanie comes in and tells everyone that she’s been rehearsing a scene from Romeo and Juliet.  Even though nobody has given a shit about anything that Stephanie has said or done since like the second Season, the family humor her as she complains about how her scene partner always cuts it short when they’re supposed to practice the kissing scene.  Michelle, always eager to jump at any opportunity to make some cutty, asshole remark, says that Stephanie’s partner wont kiss her because she has hella dry ass lips.  Becky attempts to reassure Stephanie but then she stops when she gets near her and is like, “damn, you do have some dry ass lips,” so Stephanie runs off to get some chap stick.  You have to assume that the storyline ends there, right?  Stephanie has dry lips and then she puts on some chap stick.  Where else is there for this to go?

Jesse and Joey come home and tell Becky that they’re auditioning for their own late night tv show.  I guess that since they’ve both managed to stumble onto several show business jobs already without any talent or work ethic, they might as well go after this next opportunity, too.  Their plan is to host a show where they go and interview people with unusual jobs and their first subject is a team of wrestlers.  Becky wonders if Jesse isn’t over-committing himself, as he’s already got 2 careers that he’s terrible at, plus he’s a terrible husband and father, but Jesse assure her that he’ll still be able to maintain the low standard that he’s provided for so many years.

Kimmie Gibbler brings over the first crop of potential prom dates for DJ and they’re all a bunch of sorry ass nerds.

DJ asks Kimmie Gibbler why she has such a low opinion of her as to bring over an unworthy gathering of pathetic nerds but Kimmie Gibbler tells her that this is all she could scrape together since DJ is so notorious for not putting out.  DJ tells Kimmie Gibbler to round up the nerds and fuck off.

Down at the horse stables, Michelle makes friends with another young horse rider named Elizabeth.  Elizabeth tells her about the upcoming jumping competition, which Michelle decides that she’d like to be a part of.  Danny shows up and is dissed by Elizabeth’s mom, who mistakes Danny for stable help as a way of showing us how bourgeois and unlikeable she is.  Michelle tells Danny that she wants to enter the jumping competition but he’s not into it because he’d have to buy her a bunch of expensive riding equipment.  I think that might be the first time ever that expense was a prohibitive factor for anyone on this show.  Usually they all seem to have magical unlimited money all the time.  Anyway, Danny changes his mind when Elizabeth’s mom starts talking hella shit about how her kid’s gonna win the competition, at which point he makes pitting his own kid against hers his top priority.

As Stephanie reads over her lines and applies chap stick, Danny comes in with a new saddle that he’s bought for Michelle.  Stephanie asks what it’s for and Danny ushers Michelle in, who was apparently waiting outside until Danny prompted her to come in and model her new riding outfit.  The audience get really excited over Michelle’s gear for some reason, probably because they don’t get out much.

Michelle expresses her concern about not winning the competition, which is successfully conveyed by her outstretched arms with palms facing upward, but Danny tells her that he doesn’t care if she wins as long as she beats Elizabeth.  But isn’t Elizabeth the kid who always wins?  So really what he’s telling her is that winning isn’t everything, but she has to do better than the best kid.  Well, ok.

Stephanie’s acting partner comes over to rehearse and Michelle refuses to leave the room while they practice their scene.  They get to the kiss and Stephanie’s partner hesitates, at which point Michelle starts making a bunch of shitty remarks about how dry Stephanie’s lips are.

Stephanie chases Michelle around, who continues to mock her, and then Stephanie’s scene partner rushes out of the house.  Man, he was only there for like a minute and a half.  I guess that’s about as much time as I’d be able to stand it in that house, too.  Stephanie’s like, “I can’t believe you’d be such a fucking asshole,” and storms out of the room but Michelle is totally without remorse.  All she says is, “I guess dry lips make people cranky,” which is an amazing way of deflecting any responsibility for totally humiliating her sister.

Michelle approaches Jesse to discuss her concerns about her upcoming jumping competition.  He tells her that he’s hella busy with all of his responsibilities because he’s actually taking them seriously for the first time in his life so he doesn’t really have time to listen to her stupid trivial problems, plus he can’t make it to her competition.  He tells her that she’ll do fine and then shoos her away before Joey approaches him to practice wrestling moves for their upcoming tv audition.

You know, as this series has approached the finale, I’ve felt nothing but relief.  I can’t say I’ll miss watching this terrible garbage one bit.  That’s why I was so caught off guard by the wave of emotion that overtook me as I watched Joey and Jesse wrestle during this scene.  It suddenly occurred to me that this might be the last overtly homosexual exchange that occurs between these two worthless assholes.  As I watched them writhe around on the floor together, moaning and grunting, I thought back to all the times that I’ve watched them grope and manhandle one another, and I felt like a whole chapter of my life was coming to a close.  Here’s to you, overtly gay uncles.  I like to think that you’re both still out there somewhere, coming up with feeble excuses to press your bodies together so the rest of the family can still pretend that they don’t know that you’re totally doin’ it.

Michelle and Elizabeth wish each other luck before the race, exemplifying their good sportsmanship.  Danny and Elizabeth’s mom come in and start prompting the girls to beat each other, exemplifying their poor sportsmanship, and the girls are clearly perturbed.  Their parents walk off towards the matte painting in the background and then the girls lament how much riding sucks dick now that their parents are being all shitty and putting so much pressure on them to win.  They decide to skip the contest and go riding on their own, which no one stops them from doing for some reason.

The family all sit by the sidelines waiting for the show to start and the twins tell Becky that they want a horse but it really sound like they say “whores.” This makes the exchange that follows pretty interesting.  They say, “momma, we wanna whores,” and then Becky says, “ok, I’ll get you one when you’re older.”  They ask, “how old,” and she says, “old enough to carry a shovel,” because I guess that Nicky and Alex’s future whores are doomed to the same fate that all of the mysteriously disappeared love interests that have entered the full house have fallen victim to.

As the competition begins, Danny notices that his hideous demon of a daughter isn’t there and so he and Joey rush off to find out why.  As they search for her, they run into Jesse, who’s like, “I decided to come because I remembered that Michelle is more important than my job and responsibilities.  Also, it’s convenient, story-wise.”  They ask some weird ranch hand if he saw where Michelle went and he directs them to the trail she went to but they never ask him why he let two little girls ride off unsupervised like that.  The ranch hand shows even more negligence as he sits idly by as all of the dads appropriate some horses so they can go after her.  Is this guy supposed to work there?  What’s his story?

As Elizabeth and Michelle whimsically stride through the countryside on their beautiful horses, Elizabeth decides to jump over a log and does it with minimal effort because it’s just a tiny ass log.  She urges Michelle to follow suit but then Michelle fucks it up and falls off her horse when she tries to make the jump.

YES!  Take that, you evil piece of shit!  I honestly hope that you die!  I am no more ashamed for wanting this than I am for being able to say that it’s justified by having watched and reviewed over 190 episodes of this terrible garbage.

It seems like it would make more sense for Michelle to have gotten hurt in the jumping competition, which she clearly couldn’t be more unqualified for, than during her scenic horseback riding tour.  Given how desperate this show is to teach us a heavy-handed lesson, you’d think that point would be that Danny shouldn’t have pressured her to compete in the competition just so he could show up some shitty mom, and the music could come on as he realized that Michelle’s safety was more important than winning, or some such bullshit.  But this is pretty much just a freak accident.  I guess maybe the lesson is not to go off horseback riding unsupervised?

The dads all show up and crowd around Michelle’s unconscious body as sad music plays and then the words “To Be Continued…” appear.  It’s too bad that this show didn’t get cancelled on a cliff-hanger Season finale, like ALF, or Soap, because if the series ended at this moment it kind of would have all been worth it.  But I guess there is a lot to resolve here.  Will the Uncles get yet another undeserved job in show business?  Who will DJ go to the prom with?  Is Stephanie gonna kiss that kid in that scene?  I know that none of the real questions will be addressed, like what the fuck is wrong with all of these people and why do they all still live in that cramped ass house. but maybe they’ll at least wrap up these dumb story lines.  But the real question is, “is Michelle dead?”  Man, that would just be the best.  What a great ending that would make.  Like she finally dies and then whatever evil hypnotism she’s been using would wear off and all these people could start living normal lives where they learn to wait their turn and stop getting in people’s faces all the time.  But even if their lives weren’t magically fixed, I’d settle for her just being dead.  Seriously, I’d take back every shitty thing I ever said about this show if it would just do me this one solid.  Oh please oh please oh please…

FHR Wrap Party Update:  I hope to see a whole bunch of you guys at the Waypost in Portland, Oregon on Friday, January 24th at 9 PM for the final celebration of this project coming to a close.  I’ll make a Facebook event page for it and link to it next week.  For those of you who are curious about how the San Francisco party went, some super rad fans filmed the whole thing and I’ll be posting videos here soonish.  I’m planning on posting a lot of extra content during the final week of the blog so it’ll most likely go up then.

Like I did at the SF event, I’ll be reading a few posts from the site and then doing a Q and A.  Does anyone wanna suggest which reviews they’d like me to read?  At the first event I read “DJ’s Very First Horse” and “The Last Dance” (which is totally the best review ever) but I kinda think I should pick 2 different ones for this next one.  What do you guys think?

I hope to meet a lot of you then!  My big dream is that Teebore will come!  Fingers crossed!

Season 8, Episode 22, “All Stood Up”

I feel like I’m a senior in high school and I already took the SATs and got into college and all that shit and now I’m just waiting for the year to be over because I’m so close and it pretty much doesn’t even matter anymore.  Senioritis, they call it.  After this episode there are only two more…  can’t we just say I reviewed them all? Do we really have to go through these last ones?  Haven’t I done enough???

Oh, ok, fine.

Pre-Credits Gag:  Michelle refuses to help DJ do the dishes but then DJ hustles her in a game of jacks so Michelle has to do them all herself.

Stephanie walks into DJ’s room and tells her about how her vag is all moist for this guy named Ryan at her school.  Guys named Ryan are known for their virility and dashing good looks, after all.  Stephanie says that she’s too lame and pathetic to talk to him but DJ urges her to invite him to the dance that’s coming up.

Danny walks in with a big box of Spam that he’s found in Joey’s room and is planning to donate to the food drive at Stephanie’s school later, which may or may not be a convenient plot device.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Speaking of convenient plot devices, Jesse gets a medical check-up in the dining room for some reason.  I guess no one could be bothered to build a doctors office set.  The doctor tells Jesse that his blood pressure is high and asks if he’s been under a lot of stress lately.  For reals?  That motherfucker is the no-workingest, responsibility-shirkingest piece of shit who ever lived, and he’s got high blood pressure?  Maybe that’s why he’s never put any effort into anything his entire life, because he’d drop dead of a heart attack the second a single bead of hard-earned sweat was produced from his greasy brow.  Anyway, the doctor tells him that his insurance premium is gonna go up if he can’t get his blood pressure down in the next week so Jesse has to learn to relax before then.  Thanks, Obama!

Gia and Stephanie spot Ryan in the hallways and Stephanie’s all, “I want that schlong so bad.”  Stephanie gathers up her courage and asks him out and he’s like, “I don’t even know who you are but, yeah, sure, why not?” and then Stephanie b-lines it outta there before he’s able to learn more about her personality. Good move!

Jesse sets up a hammock in the backyard because laying in a hammock is totally a textbook method for lowering one’s blood pressure.  It’s in all the medical journals!  Just as he’s settling into being even less productive than he usually is, he is startled by the sound of bagpipes emanating from Kimmie Gibbler’s yard.  He investigates and quickly learns that Kimmei Gibbler is practicing bagpipes for an upcoming Scottish music festival.

He orders her to stop practicing but she just tells him to go fuck himself so he decides to start a noise battle with her.  He has Joey help him set up a sound system and plans to bombard Kimmie Gibbler with obnoxious sampled sounds that he’s programmed into his keyboard.

Joey, once again stepping in as the voice of reason (which has been happening more and more lately, and is something that always makes me feel uneasy), tells Jesse that this conflict can’t possibly be good for his blood pressure.  He then suggests that Jesse should try eating Ho Hos instead and mentions that sucking out the cream filling is always relaxing for him and it’s pretty clear that he’s offering Jesse a blowjob.  I guess that it would be a better method for lowering his blood pressure than this whole noise battle thing.

Jesse’s ignores Joey fellatious solution and instead begins his noise battle with Kimmie Gibbler, who seems prepared to retaliate after the initial onslaught occurs.

Michelle challenges DJ to a hula hooping competition and wagers more chores but then DJ’s like, “bitch, I’m the hula hoop muthafuckin master!”

Stephanie comes downstairs and waits for her date to show up and then there’s a time lapse of her building with blocks to show how long she’s waiting, which is probably the most clever bit of visual storytelling that’s ever occurred on the series.  That’s not to say that it’s very clever but rather that the bar has been set pretty goddamn low.

Eventually Danny comes in and checks on her and she says that she’s been stood up and then sad music plays as they hug.  Ha ha, what a stupid loser!  I’m glad that, even at the end of the series, this show can deliver pretty good laughs on occasion.

At school, Stephanie bitches to Gia about getting stood up.  She spots Ryan in the hallway and prepares to tell him off but then she punks out and runs into the bathroom.  While she’s in there, crying and shitting, Danny walks through the hallways carrying the box of Spam that he just happens to be donating to the school’s food drive at that very moment.  If that isn’t already a big enough coincidence, Ryan is approached right then by one of his friends, who addresses him by name and reminds him about their track practice later, which is exactly enough information to allow Danny to identify him.

Danny approaches Ryan and tells him that he’s Stephanie’s dad.  Ryan explains that he and his friends decided to go to the movies instead of the dance, which is a lot nicer than admitting that he backed out because Stephanie’s face looks like the inside of a dog’s asshole (which is clearly the real explanation), but that doesn’t stop Danny from telling Ryan that Stephanie sat on the couch all night, waiting for him and crying.  Oh my goodness, this shit is unbelievable!  As if getting stood up isn’t humiliating enough, having your dad come to your school and give the guy who stood you up a stern talking to while he describes how sad and pathetic you were is some shit that you would never recover from.  You’d have to change school districts after some shit like that.

Jesse hears more horrible noises emanating from Kimmie Gibbler’s back yard and she pops up and tells him that she borrowed an ostrich from her uncle and, since it’s mating season, the creature will be making guttural sounds of unrequited lust for the next 8 weeks.  Jesse rants about the situation while he stands next to the fence and then he’s bitten by an ostrich puppet.  The puppet’s actually not half bad.  That’s not to say that it’s a great effect but rather that the bar has been set pretty goddamn low.

Michelle confronts DJ with a double-or-nothing challenge to settle all the bets that she’d lost previously.  DJ agrees without even knowing what the challenge is and then it turns out to be a limbo competition.  DJ claims that the challenge is unfair and then one of the twins says, “how low can you go,” which is a pretty good mantra for this whole final Season, or, really, the entire series.  Anyway, Michelle wins the challenge.

Stephanie comes home and she’s all excited because Ryan apologized to her and offered to buy her a pizza at the mall.  Danny alludes to being responsible for Ryan’s change of behavior but doesn’t overtly take credit. Just then, Gia barges into the house without knocking or anything and tells Stephanie that the whole school knows that Danny confronted Ryan and made him apologize to Stephanie.  There’s also a game-of-telephone-esque exaggeration of how the scene played out that’s accumulated, but it doesn’t nullify the fact that Danny’s intervention is straight up humiliating for Stephanie.  The girls all chastise Danny, who defends himself by apologizing pathetically and then walking away all hangdog style, which makes the audience go, “aww.”  Well, I’m glad that they actually acknowledged how fucked up it was for Danny to get involved like that.  You can never tell how things are going to play out on this shitty, backwards-ass show.

Stephanie wonders how to handle her scheduled pizza date with Ryan and Gia suggests that she stand him up since he allegedly doesn’t want to meet up with her anyway.

As Jesse begins to plan construction of a large soundproof wall in the back yard, he is pulled over the fence by the ostrich, who starts raping him.

Becky comes into the backyard in time to see Jesse being rescued by Joey and she decides to intervene.  She explains to Kimmie Gibbler that Jesse needs it to be quiet because he’s got high blood pressure and Kimmie Gibbler’s like, “well why the fuck didn’t he ever just say that?  He just started yelling at me and then bombarded me with obnoxious prerecorded sounds.  Maybe the reason that he has high blood pressure is because he attempts to resolve any given situation with an over-the-top conflict rather than a simple straightforward exchange of words.” Kimmie Gibbler agrees to end the conflict if Jesse will give him a hug, which Jesse begrudgingly agrees to because he resents Kimmie Gibbler for being the only tolerable character on this entire show.

Ryan comes by the full house and tells Danny that Stephanie stood him up.  Stephanie comes downstairs and engages Ryan in conversation while Danny stands there, listening in and making shitty jokes.

Ryan explains that he asked her out for pizza because he felt like an asshole, not because Danny made him.  Stephanie realizes that she was just as big a piece of shit as Ryan was and then they agree to start over by going out for pizza with a clean slate.

Immediately after they leave, Stephanie walks back into the house and hugs Danny.  He asks why she’s hugging him and she says it’s for being an “involved, loving father who sticks up for his daughter.”  So I guess the lesson here is that it’s ok to walk into your child’s school and fight their battles for them, even if it’s going to totally humiliate them and cost them the respect of their peers?  What the fuck kind of lesson is that?