The Unauthorized Full House Story (2015): A totally unneeded review The Unauthorized Full House Story (2015): A totally unneeded review
What did you expect? The Unauthorized Full House Story (2015): A totally unneeded review

This is a review of the Unauthorized Full House Story, a Lifetime Movie production based on the true story of the making of the sitcom Full House, that ran for 192 episodes from 1987-1995. The movie aired on Saturday, 22nd of August 2015 on the Lifetime channel.

I watched a lot of shit as a kid and teen. Living in the Austrian countryside in pre- internet times, with no car or motorbike, TV was the only entertainment -or better, the best way to kill time. Especially if you are rather on the geeky, less jock-y side.
The next video rental store was a one hour- long bike ride away and did not have that great a selection anyway. Usually the new films were already rented by others and the old ones unwatchable, because the tapes had been worn out by 100s of VHS players. So renting a movie was not always an option.

That’s why I devoured hundreds of hours of afternoon TV-series, from great stuff like Star Trek- The Next Generation to more cheesy fare like Knight Rider or, the for all kinds of  different reasons educational Baywatch. And of course all the stupid sitcoms. Afternoon TV was clogged with the sitcoms that came out during the late 80s and early 90s and they were mostly crap. Not that that genre had, apart from a few standout series, ever been a goldmine of high quality entertainment before, but it took another step down in quality around that time.

There was Step by Step with Patrick Duffy, The Nanny with Fran Drescher, Home Improvement with Tim Allen, and and and… Precious hours I will never get back. And of course there was Full House, maybe my first certified “hate watch“.
The unholy union of manipulative syrupy family story beats, cheap sitcom humour and even cheaper slapstick was a simultaneous attack on taste, intellect and humour. To use a worn-out metaphor, you can picture it as the proverbial car accident you cannot look away from, but replace the pools of blood congealing on the asphalt with the even more horrific view of the worst of late 80s/early 90s fashion (Dave Coulier’s sweaters being the main offender) and the screeching tires and screams of the crash victims with the occasional “Aaaw” chorus of the studio audience and the Olsen twin’s presumably cute baby babble. It’s a fascinating showcase of how an increasingly artificial note started to permeate the family-oriented sitcoms of that time.

Watching The Unauthorized Full House story was a double blast from the past for me. Not only for revisiting the shameful TV-habits of my youth, but also because I have not seen a Lifetime– movie in at least more than a decade.
Reviewing a Lifetime movie is not easy, maybe even pointless. When it comes to Lifetime movies, you always get what you expect. I don’t think there is a more reliable brand when it comes to delivering perfect blandness. So don’t wait for the saucy backstage stories the suffix “Unauthorized” in the title might suggest to those who are unfamiliar with the TV-network that created itself a niche by catering to the demography of housewives. The tame account of the rise and fall of Full House staunchly follows the proven pattern of the generic “success story” format. There is the rough start, the first success leading to the actors being celebrated as rock stars and the inevitable decline, till everything ends on an upbeat note with Candace Cameron’s wedding. Any potential scandal stories are omitted, only the exploitation of the Olsen twins as kiddie stars is briefly touched upon. Everybody is presented in a favourable light, even Bob Saget’s depiction as a cynic is toned down. Among the cast members, the actors who play Dave Coulier (Justin Mader) and Jodie Sweetin (Dakota Guppy) are the ones that come the closest to the originals, if you squint a little with your eyes. The fake John Stamos (Justin Gaston) looks like the sun-shy werewolf brother of the original and apparently the producers thought that any tall scrawny dude with dark hair would make a good Bob Saget (Garreth Brawith). Worst of all are the Lori Loughlin (Stephanie Bennett) and Olsen-twins stand-ins (Blaise and Kinslea Todd), who bear not the slightest resemblance to their counterparts at all. I like to imagine that the secretly watching real Olsens high-fived each other upon this reasserting proof of their inimitability and restored feeling of relevance.

According to this film, all the cast members, with the exception of Saget with his penchant for bad, actually harmlessly “raunchy” jokes were in private apparently identical with their vanilla onscreen personas. I’ll go out on a limb and claim that’s BS, without doing further research.  At some points, the movie uses some stylistic devices from the subject it portrays, the sitcom. When the casting director tells her boss that Candace Cameron’s audition was “not special”, the camera pans to the right and we see sad Cameron hidden behind the corner, accidentally overhearing the conversation. Aaaaaw.

When the movie was over, I still had no idea how accurate any of this really is, nor did it motivate me enough to find out (surprise: it was probably not). Maybe that’s a typical state of mind after watching a Lifetime movie, maybe it’s just because Full House was in the end only a fart in the halls of TV history.

Here is hope that The Unauthorized ALF story comes next. I dare them to tackle that accurately. I double dare them.

Fun (?) Fact: Fuller House is in production right now.

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DetectiveDee

Detective Dee reviews movies and sometimes TV-series. He likes to indulge in the Asian cinema, exploitation flicks and the horror genre but is no stranger to Blockbuster culture either. He writes whatever he wants, but always aims to entertain.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    The biggest problem with this idea is that – and memory could serve me wrong, here – there was no real tension on set. Everyone got along and they’re all still friends in real life. That doesn’t make for an interesting movie. Jodie Sweetin’s life story would have made a better Lifetime film.

  • Yeah they tried to exploit exactly that harmony. Perfect family on TV becomes real-life perfect surrogate family. Boring.
    And the Jodie Sweetin movie is only worth a damn if she plays herself.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Yer goddamn right about that.

  • “For all kinds of different educational reasons, ‘Baywatch’…”

    LOL

  • CoolHandJuke

    DJ came to my childhood home last May cause they made her daughter the queen of the festival. I am glad I don’t live there anymore, but I’d stir her submissive ass nightly if she was my wife…

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    The only thing remotely interesting about this show…

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    BINGO

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I hate Lifetime……for ALL the right reasons!

  • Stalkeye
  • Sometimes you have to move outside your comfort zone. Elizabeth Olsen was not in the movie!

  • Stalkeye

    No, but she is an Olsen. (;’

  • Still is 😉

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    I’m a big fan of Full House in what I guess could be considered an ironic sort of way. I find it endlessly entertaining, but I don’t think it’s good, at all. I feel the same way about The Brady Bunch. I can watch these shows for hours.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I would agree with that

  • Tarmac492.1

    There is Lifetime TV in Austria? No escape. Great review again. used to love Lori Loughlin back in the day. And borderline zealous religious nuttiness aside, Candace Cameron looks hot as fuck.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Not much going on this weekend?

  • Tarmac492.1

    Uggh.need Chinese Food. Afternoon cocktails and no bar skanks would fuck me.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I enjoyed Step by Step.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Dave Coulier??? Lol!!! When do we get the Barry Sobel story??

  • Tarmac492.1

    Alf was great

  • Tarmac492.1

    Anyone looking to see her funbags checkout the excellent indie Martha Marcy May Marlene with her and,the,great John Hawkes. my type of flick.

  • Tarmac492.1

    The fact this American drivel airs,in Europe makes me question Europe’s intellectual superiority. people in Europe should be in museums and art galleries, not watching Full House. Lori Loughlin doesn’t even take,off her top.

  • Tarmac492.1

    She looks like an escort on backpage.com She could,possibly get between $100 to $120 for a half hour. $150 for an hour(never go for the,hour. She,ain’t gonna wait around for you to reload) she could get more if she,is,into fetish or GFE

  • Bop

    Lori Loughlin was the only reason to watch Full House.

  • My reaction to the movie.

  • I highly doubt the myth of the European intellectual superiority, even though some people desperately cling to it- no names.

  • When I was a kid, I was a big ALF- fan. He was one of my most favourite motives to draw besides Garfield. Watching it today, I see it as typical late 80s garbage that did not age well.

  • You have no shame.

  • Cameron aged well.

  • Tarmac492.1

    There are probably dumbasses and rubes in every country.

  • Tarmac492.1

    The father was great.

  • He was the worst… What a fucking square!

  • Sagamanus

    My god that family looks creepy. Like an alternate world Full House with nothing but serial killers and pedophiles.

  • ErnestRister

    I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is. Jennay. And then Bubba said something I will never forget…um…damn…can’t remember right now…he said….shit, this is gonna drive me crazy all day…what did he say?

    Why the hell am I asking you, you’re a nurse on a park bench! You better get the hell outta here cause I likes to bites me some strangers! Here I come! Forrest Forrest CHOMP! RARRGH! You stop your screaming and I’ll tell you about the day I bit Troy Aikman on his ding-ding!

    Now what was I sayin’…Oh. Bubba died right there in my arms, and he said somethin’ like, “Why did this happen?” And then I bit him, ripped his throat open with my teeth. Forrest CHOMP!

  • Phantomcreeps

    Oh Fuck me.

    I came home the other night, and my girl/wife always watches lifetime movies in the background on her days off.

    I’ve seen my share rare fair,and she is a smart girl.

    I come home, and this full house movie is on, and my fucking eyes bugged out.

    I had seen the commercial, but this is it?

    I only saw the last half hour I think, but I want to own it.

    So …..I’m not even sure.

    Then, she turns to me and said…..

    There’s a saved by the bell one.

    No way…

    No fucking way.

    I love it.