It's about 10 degrees in Tokyo with wind chill that's threatening to saw your toes off. But that hasn’t deterred a group of fans from standing in line for 12 hours outside the Ebisu Garden Hall. This is the kind of slavish devotion usually reserved for boy bands and Michelin-starred restaurants, but what if I told you these giggly millennials are braving pneumonia for a glimpse of five sitcom actors whose most memorable gig wrapped up 20 years ago?
When news broke that the beloved TV series Full House (1987-1995) would finally receive its much-awaited reboot via Netflix, the Internet over-reacted appropriately. The trailer of Fuller House’s first season mopped up 5.5 million views in under 24 hours. It was touted as one of the biggest shows of the year, clocking viewership numbers at par with The Walking Dead (2010-ongoing).
Critics assailed the show’s cheesy dialogue, pastiche of saccharine storylines and overt references to a missing Michelle (the Olsen twins were the only original cast members to decline producer Jeff Franklin’s overtures.) But going by the hysterical Japanese teenagers behind me, the critics may have misread this one.
What makes the show stand apart from other recent reboots like Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life and The X-Files is that for a majority of the cast, their TV careers were dead in the dirt. Bob Saget traded in Danny Tanner’s clean wipes for as-filthy-as-they-come stand-up comedy. Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibbler) quit show business to become a homemaker after the original series wrapped up. Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie Tanner) faced a very public struggle with meth addiction.
But as art imitates life, Fuller House has given the actors behind these favourite childhood characters a second chance. “All three of us are working mums, which so many women out there can relate to,” explains Sweetin.
As for criticism of the show’s syrupy, even outdated, plot, the cast has learnt from experience that everything the critics hate, the audience laps up. Barber adds, “I like that this is a show about women who build each other up, instead of tearing them down. They’re not catty, they’re not jealous—it’s just about supporting each other, no matter what.”