The Olsen twins. Uncle Jesse. Kimmy Gibbler. “You got it, dude!” “Cut. It. Out.” “Have mercy.” “How rude!”
Of all the TGIF shows that won audiences’ hearts in the ’80s and ’90s, Full House very well might be the most iconic. For eight seasons, millions of viewers tuned in on a weekly basis to watch the trials and tribulations of the Tanner family, which almost always ended with a sweet message and a loving group hug. The series finale in particular drew 24.3 million viewers, no matter how divisive the episode’s plot may have been.
Yet it wasn’t just the series finale that was divisive among viewers. Full House is the perfect example of a show where opinions are only ever extreme. You either really love it and embrace it for the heartwarming fluff it is, or you really hate it and think it’s one of the worst things to ever grace a TV screen. Regardless of which side you fall on, it’s safe to say that you might be interested in knowing just went on behind the scenes of this famously squeaky clean series. Because as this list of Full House: 15 Dark Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Had No Idea About shows, everywhere you look, there’s a whole lot of drama going on.
15. The adult stars frequently got a bit too adult with their humor around the kids
Spending all your working hours on a set filled with children, all as part of one of TV’s cleanest sitcoms, wouldn’t be easy for most adults, and particularly not for a trio that included two comedians and a former soap star. In his memoir Dirty Daddy, Bob Saget candidly admits that he and his costars often engaged in inappropriate antics on set despite the age of their costars.
While some incidents merely included drawing penises on each other’s scripts, other instances got the trio in far more trouble. As Saget explains, “Dave, John and I would egg each other on and we were often driven to outbursts of non-family-friendly humor. When this happened, the producers and the parents of the kids would take us up to the conference room for a good talking-to.” On Full House, it’s usually the Tanner kids who are known for causing trouble; but behind-the-scenes, it sounds like the grown ups had all the fun.
14. The adult trio also got high on set
While it’s one thing for a group of adult costars to exchange some inappropriate jokes and get scolded for it, it’s another thing entirely for the three of them to get high behind-the-scenes while waiting for their call to set. And according to another anecdote shared in Saget’s memoir, that’s exactly what the trio did while filming an episode revolving around Michelle’s birthday party:
We had been waiting awhile — they were still busy shooting some scenes of Michelle and her friends — and I was getting impatient. I grabbed Dave and John and we went into the prop room backstage and locked the door … I swung open the refrigerator, and behold! Six cans of whipped cream. Reddi-wip. Nitrous oxide is dangerous. Can cause brain damage … Dave and John followed my lead and we inhaled the little bit of air still left in the cans that were meant for Michelle’s birthday cake scene. I guess we got high, don’t think so though. It was hard to tell, ‘cause we were in a hurry and whipped cream started squirting everywhere.
13. Bob Saget’s obscene behavior on set
If you thought the stories about whip-its and crude jokes around kids were bad, then you really need to buckle up for this next reveal from Saget’s tell-all memoir. In perhaps the most embarrassing moment he had on set, Saget recounts an incident involving himself and “a rubber doll to talk to as a stand-in for camera run-throughs to represent the character of Michelle.” Whatever you’re thinking now, the real story is probably worse:
Only adults were there. A lot of crew guys whom I liked to make laugh. What could have happened next? Oh yeah, so I’m throwing it around, pretending to do stuff to it, as one would if there were no child actors within a couple soundstages’ distance and you were a comedian with no moral compass in front of a crowd of people … and what I didn’t know was the television monitors were turned on in the schoolroom and all the dressing rooms, and in certain offices on the studio lot. Like I said, I was an idiot.
12. The show was originally absolutely hated
Perhaps an early indication of just how split opinions would go on to be about the show for years to come, Full House‘s original reviews were apparently legendarily bad when the series premiered 30 years ago in 1987. In a 2016 interview with MTV News, series creator Jeff Franklin explained, “When Full House came on the air, the reviews were scathing. We got an F in People magazine. All of the critics hated the show. It wasn’t until Season 4 or 5 that we started to see good reviews. The critics started to lighten up on us.”
No matter how negative the reviews may have been all that time, Full House continued to be a total smash hit in the ratings, scoring renewal after renewal and anchoring the TGIF block for years.
11. Fuller House has been similarly panned
It’s not just the original series that has taken a real beating from the critics, though. If anything, Franklin admits, “The reviews for Fuller House I would say were even more vicious than the ones we got for Full House.” The Netflix spinoff series is both cheesier and more grown up than its predecessor, which can make it hard to find a balanced tone from a critical point of view. But, as Franklin puts it, looking for something to critique at all is entirely missing the point.
I think the critics are taking the show way too seriously. They’re there to have fun writing scathing reviews — they love that. But they seem to be missing the point that this show is about fun. It’s comfort food. It’s revisiting the past. It’s not to be taken that seriously.
At the end of the day, Fuller House is meant for the people who still passionately love Full House. And really, why did anyone expect anything else? And even with all the criticism, the series is reportedly Netflix’s most-watched series to date.
10. John Stamos considers Lori Loughlin “the one that got away”
When Lori Loughlin joined the cast of Full House in season 2 as Rebecca Donaldson, it was clear that there was a spark between her and resident ladies’ man Jesse Katsopolis. Sure enough, the pair would go on to become the show’s great love story, getting married in season 4 and raising twins Nicky and Alex for the last few seasons.
What audiences may not have known, however, was that Loughlin and Stamos’ undeniable chemistry had a foundation in reality: the onscreen soulmates were once, very briefly, an offscreen item. According to Stamos, they “went on a date to Disneyland before, you know, before we were both married. In real life, when we were 18, 19-years-old.” Yet what makes matters all the more emotional is his confession that “We did have some off timing, but no disrespect to her family and her husband now, I would say that she could be the one that got away.” Swoon.
And for the record, Loughlin’s response is just as heartwarming: “Oh my goodness. Well, we’ll never know, right? I will always love John, always.”
9. One of the Olsen twins was almost fired as they grew older
Given the fact that they played the same character for eight seasons, it would be easy to assume that Mary-Kate and Ashley were identical twins. However, the iconic duo are in fact fraternal, a fact that made matters pretty difficult for the production side of Full House as the girls grew older and began to look all the more different from one another.
The story as we know it goes that the powers that be behind the scenes were prepared to fire Ashley and keep Mary-Kate on as the single star behind Michelle Tanner once the twins began to look noticeably different. For starters, Ashley suddenly had a freckle on her face that Mary-Kate didn’t, which would be quite obvious without putting makeup on a toddler. However, John Stamos wasn’t having it, citing the popularity of not just Michelle, but the twins as a package deal, in order to sway the executives’ opinion. And swayed they were, as the tiny icons would go on to play Michelle in tandem for the remainder of the series.
8. Bob Saget wasn’t the original Danny Tanner
Admit it: Danny Tanner was the TV dad you wished you had. Sure, he may have been more than a little neurotic, and fine, maybe he was a little too determined to try and find out the root of everyone’s problems, even if it meant overstepping his bounds. But at the end of the day, he was ready with a comforting speech and a warm hug. And hey, your laundry would always be done.
Bob Saget brought the nerdy dad to life in a way that made him equal parts humorous and serious, imbued with the right balance of quirkiness and emotion. But before Saget landed the part, an entire pilot was filmed with the actor John Posey as the lead. And while Posey is a capable comedic actor in his own right, things never did click with the other characters in the way Saget’s Danny does from the very first scene.
7. Gail Edwards retired from acting after starring as Danny’s fiancee, Vicky
While John Stamos fangirls everywhere had Jesse and Becky to swoon over, and teenagers had lovebirds D.J. and Steve to get invested in, Full House offered a third love story in the form of widower Danny and his coworker-turned-fiancee Vicky Larson. For three years, Gail Edwards portrayed Vicky as the perfect foil to Danny’s obsessive compulsive nerd. Warm and logical, Vicky seemed like she would integrate perfectly into the Tanner family once the few awkward bumps had been smoothed out.
But when Vicky got her dream job in New York, the couple tearfully called off their engagement, and the character was never to be heard from again. And not long after Vicky’s arc ended, Gail Edwards would take a leave of her own, choosing to retire from acting and relocate to the Southwest. She now resides in Miami and has a particular affinity for playing the ukulele.
6. Dave Coulier might be the subject of Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know”
To fans of Full House everywhere, Dave Coulier will always be the goofy, Bullwinkle-voiced, Mr. Woodchuck-performing Joey Gladstone. An honorary uncle in role if not in name, Joey was the fun-loving support system the Tanner family needed to get through everything life threw their way.
In real life, however, the man behind the comic character has long been subject of a particularly damning rumor: Coulier could be the horrible ex-boyfriend subject of Alanis Morissette’s scathing ’90s hit “You Oughta Know.” The song details Morissette’s unhappiness with a past boyfriend who moved on far too quickly to a younger girl, all while she bitterly throws some of their sordid past in his face.
It’s safe to say that this is not at all what fans would hope Joey would be like in real life. Coulier for his part denies that he is the man in question, calling it “this silly urban legend that I just have to laugh at.”
5. The show’s creator left the series after season 5 and disagrees with a lot of what came after
It’s pretty common nowadays for the creatives responsible for a show to depart at some point within a long-running series. But in 1992, Jeff Franklin left Full House in order to produce another ABC sitcom, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, and he can’t help but consider it “honestly the biggest regret of my life.”
From season 6 onward, there’s no denying Full House is a much different show. In addition to more totally out there storylines (Michelle buys a donkey, Michelle thinks her head is literally toe-shaped…), Franklin points out that the show “suffered in his absence as it constantly tinkered with the romantic and professional lives of the characters.” In particular, he is incredibly critical of the decision to break D.J. and Steve up…for no apparent reason: “I didn’t think that worked at all, and I thought that was something the audience was not enjoying. So 20 years later, I get the chance to make things right.”
4. The Olsen twins didn’t attend the 25th anniversary reunion
And you thought not wanting to attend your high school reunion was making a statement.
In 2012, the cast and creator of Full House reunited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the beloved sitcom that made them all a family. Extended members including Scott Weinger (Steve Hale) and Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibbler) were even in attendance. The adorable celebration was photographed and shared across countless social media platforms by cast members and nostalgic fans alike. Yet notably (and uncomfortably) absent from the festivities were actresses turned fashion moguls Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
No reason has ever been given for their lack of attendance, but there’s no denying that MK+A’s distance from the rest of the cast perhaps hinted at the drama to come in a few years’ time. More on that in a bit.
3. John Stamos once wanted Mary-Kate and Ashley fired
Although Uncle Jesse and his niece Michelle are undeniably the beating heart of the long-running sitcom, the original behind-the-scenes relationship between Stamos and the Olsens paints a much frostier picture. Since the twins started on the show when they were just babies, it was only natural that they would cry every once in a while. But since these shows work on a tight schedule, it got a little too frustrating to have to wait around for the babies to behave, so Stamos suggested they find a replacement.
Other babies were tested out for the role, but no one else worked as well as the original Olsens, crying or no crying. Stamos’ suggestion to bring in fresh talent was therefore ultimately forgotten, and the Olsens returned to the role that would go on to launch them to superstar status.
2. Jodie Sweetin had a downward spiral after the show ended
It’s an unfortunately all too familiar story: a child star, once no longer on the series that made them famous, succumbs to other pressures and falls into a battle with various kinds of addiction. For Jodie Sweetin, the first taste of it came in the form of alcohol when she was 14 years old and in attendance at castmate Candace Cameron’s wedding. Unfortunately, alcohol wasn’t the only substance Sweetin would abuse, as she would go on to battle an addiction to methamphetamine for quite some time.
Her life reached a turning point, however, when she realized she needed to be better for her children, which she explains as the realization that “When I started seeing my own addiction getting in the way of being a mom, I finally understood: If you’re not in the right place to get sober, you’re not ready to be a mom.” Since turning her life around, she has been sober for six years, and she talks openly about her past struggles in order to share “a story with a message of second chances and turning things around and being able to overcome some adversity.”
1. Fuller House has caused a rift between the returning cast and the Olsen twins
When Fuller House was announced, the question on everyone’s minds was obvious: what about Michelle? The Olsen twins haven’t done much acting for a long time now, but would their loyalty to the show and “family” that made them who they are win out in the end? Early discussions seemed hopeful, with Netflix head Ted Sarandos hinting that it was possible they could appear. After being a no show in season 1, Stamos insisted that he had “a good feeling” about their appearing in season 2. But then season 2 happened, still with no Michelle, and the cast have basically thrown in the towel on MK+A ever reprising the role in any way.
But that hasn’t stopped the series from making tongue-in-cheek references to the Michelle-sized elephant in the room. Whether it was the cast pointedly staring down the camera in the pilot, the girls drunk dialing Michelle in the first season finale, or Uncle Jesse breaking the fourth wall to tell her to come visit, it’s clear that Michelle will always be on their minds, even if the house is a little less full without her.
What other dark behind-the-scenes Full House secrets did we miss? Let us know in the comments!
Fuller House: Season 3, Part 1 arrives on Netflix on September 22.
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