Tuned in: ‘Fuller House’ comes to Netflix; 'Real O’Neals’ on ABC
February 26, 2016 12:00 AM
John Stamos makes a cameo appearance in "Fuller House" on Netflix. But actors such as Jodie Sweetin, right, will set the course for the new show.
The cast of the '90s sitcom, including Bob Saget, Lori Loughlin, John Stamos and Dave Coulier, reunites for "Fuller House."
"The Real O'Neals" stars Bebe Wood as Shannon, Matt Shively as Jimmy, Noah Galvin as Kenny, Jay R. Ferguson as Pat and Martha Plimpton as Eileen.
By Rob Owen / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The next week offers viewers two new family shows: One’s entirely a throwback; the other offers a more contemporary look at family life while still adhering to TV comedy conventions.
Even for fans of’ ’90s TGIF staple “Full House,” watching Netflix’s “Fuller House” (debuting on the streaming service today) is akin to downing a whole bag of candy in one sitting. Just because you crave sweets doesn’t mean they’ll sit well when you indulge. And “Fuller House” is nothing if not indulgent. And pandering.
The jokes are exactly as funny and the acting exactly as good as both were on the original series 29 years ago. For fans of “Full House,” that’s probably just fine.
The nostalgic appeal of junk food TV is strong and understandable. I watched all iterations of “The Brady Bunch” and enjoyed them no matter how awful (here’s looking at you, “The Bradys,” circa 1990, CBS).
But Netflix’s looser-than-broadcast parameters do “Fuller House” no favors, especially when the premiere episode runs 35 minutes. Does anyone really deserve more “Fuller House” than the network standard 21 minutes? (Episode two is a more reasonable 25 minutes.)
While original series stars John Stamos, Bob Saget, Lori Loughlin and Dave Coulier return for the premiere, episode two sets the show’s real future course, focusing on D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and former neighbor Kimmy Gibler (Andrea Barber), who end up living together in the old house with D.J.’s sons and Kimmy’s daughter. (Mr. Stamos, a producer on “Fuller House,” makes a cameo in episode two.) Whether that’s enough of the original series cast for longtime fans remains to be seen.
The premiere features huge audience applause anytime a returning cast member enters a scene. There are nods to catchphrases from “Full House” (big laughs for Stephanie saying “How rude!”) and the cast breaks the fourth wall to raise their eyebrows at the absence of the Olsen twins, who declined to return.
The first episode does a nice enough job juxtaposing scenes from the original with parallel scenes in the present, but enjoying “Fuller House” will require a high tolerance for laugh tracks and corny sitcom humor.
‘The Real O’Neals’
In contrast, ABC’s “The Real O’Neals” (8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday before moving to its regular time slot, 8:30 p.m. Tuesday starting March 8) is funnier and smarter even as it plays within the bounds of audience expectations for a single-camera broadcast network comedy.
Inspired loosely by the coming-of-age of syndicated alternative weekly newspaper sex advice columnist Dan Savage, “The Real O’Neals” tells the story of a contemporary Irish-Catholic Chicago family coping with crises on multiple fronts.
The marriage of Eileen (Martha Plimpton, “Raising Hope”) and Pat (Jay R. Ferguson, “Mad Men”) is on the rocks, oldest son Jimmy (Matt Shively) has an eating disorder, youngest child Shannon (Bebe Wood) is a thief, and 16-year-old middle child Kenny (Noah Galvin) comes out as gay despite fears about how his devoutly religious mother will react.
What makes “The Real O’Neals” so much fun is that it’s entirely recognizable in its depiction of people who are most concerned about what others think of them, which is judgmental Eileen’s primary preoccupation. Kenny says a church fellowship event “combined two of the things my mom loved the most: serving the church and having others watch her do it.”
In an episode after the family’s secrets are revealed, Eileen decries all the well-meaning friends from church who drop off food, including a ham that Eileen calls “pity pork.”
“ ’Cause that’s what people send when you have a gay in the family,” Kenny deadpans.
Funny enough and real enough, “The Real O’Neals” fits in well with ABC’s established Wednesday night comedies.
ABC’s latest serialized drama is so on-brand it often feels like last season’s “Secrets & Lies,” but instead of a murder, this one focuses on a mysterious kidnapping.
About 10 years ago, rising Maine politician Claire Warren (Joan Allen) found her world shattered when her 9-year-old son, Adam, went missing. A creepy neighbor (Andrew McCarthy) was convicted of kidnapping and presumably killing the boy until 10 years later, when Adam (Liam James) waltzes into a police station and introduces himself to the detective (Pittsburgh native Margot Bingham) who thought she had solved the case.
In the interim, the Warren family unraveled with father John (Rupert Graves) having an affair and son Danny (Zach Gilford, “Friday Night Lights”) falling into substance abuse.
But is the returned Adam the real Adam? And what is daughter Willa (Alison Pill, “The Newroom”) asking forgiveness for during confession?
Although it feels overly familiar, “The Family” kicks off with a strong pilot at 9 p.m. Thursday before moving to its regular 9 p.m. Sunday time slot March 6. But like many series, the question is, will it keep viewers hooked? And will the “is this the real Adam or a fake” question linger so long viewers get annoyed with the tease?
Cable’s H2 channel becomes Viceland Monday, an extension of the Vice media empire. Series at launch include music documentary show “Noisey” (10 p.m. Tuesday), marijuana show “Weediquette” (11:00 p.m. Tuesday) and worldwide LGBT culture docuseries “Gaycation” (10 p.m. Wednesday).
Locally, Viceland will show up on Comcast Channel 116 and 876-HD; Verizon FiOS TV’s Channel 127, Armstrong’s Channel 424 and 191-HD, DirecTV’s Channel 271 and DISH Network’s Channel 121.
NBC renewed comedy “Superstore” for a second season. … Fox renewed “Bones” for a 12-episode, 12th and final season. ... FX renewed comedy “Baskets” for a second season. … “America’s Next Top Model,” which ended its run on The CW last year, will return without host Tyra Banks for a new season on VH1. … PBS will launch a 24/7 kids channel and live stream on digital platforms later this year, but at this point WQED has no plans to carry the TV channel. … Esquire Network’s “Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country,” a docuseries following teams in the Beaver County Youth Football League, will premiere at 10 p.m. March 22.
Tuned In online
Today’s TV Q&A column responds to questions about “The X-Files,” “Hindsight” and “Aquarius.” This week’s Tuned In Journal includes posts on “Outsiders,” “Downton Abbey” and “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.” Read online-only TV content at http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in.
This week’s podcast includes conversation about “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder” and “The Good Wife.” Subscribe or listen to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette podcasts at iTunes or at https://soundcloud.com/pittsburghpg.
TV writer Rob Owen: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook for breaking TV news.
Correction, Feb. 26: A previous version of the story had an incorrect airtime for the show "Weediquette." The new cable network Viceland changed the time slot for the show, which now will air at 11 p.m. Tuesday.
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