16

Oh Puh-Leez….

With the release of new cast photos from the upcoming revival-esque sitcom Fuller House, everyone on the Internet has gone completely nuts. Ever since Boy Meets World got reincarnated as Girl Meets World, 1990s sitcom fever has been all the rage. Now, even though the constant rumors of a reunion movie that persisted throughout the 00s has come to fruition, with all the cast on board with the hopes of inspiring a new generation of wholesomeness. And the gang’s all here, except for one noticeable and completely predictable absence: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen as Michelle, the youngest daughter.

I grew up watching Full House every day after school. Since I am about the same age as the Olsens, I don’t remember the early episodes from their original airings, but I watched the later ones when they were originally aired and VHS tapes/reruns of the earlier ones. Like many other 90s kids, I’ve seen every episode, and, like many other kids, was devastated when it was cancelled. Even though the adult actors (Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier) really drove the show, and some theorize that it was actually all about Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), the middle child, it was, of course, Michelle, played by the Olsens in a dual role, who earned the big bucks both onscreen and off, getting paid on an increasingly higher scale due to their cuteness and wild popularity. After Full House they went spinning off into their own franchise of dolls, merchandise, and straight-to-VHS movies, becoming teenage millionaires, arguably having more success than any other cast members. Even through the darker periods in their career, like Mary-Kate’s hospitalization and their sometimes questionable looks, they’ve consistently been at the top of the fashion world despite having left the “industry.”

And now, everyone’s up in arms because – shockingly – two women who have clearly moved on don’t feel compelled to return to a past career.

30 GIFs Of Michelle Tanner That Are Your Life

This amateur pop culture theorist is not surprised, but has opinions of his own as to why the Olsen twins are doing it right.

Let’s look at the given circumstances here.

1. They became Michelle before they were potty-trained. Unlike the other cast members, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had much less of a choice in their initial casting as Michelle. From what I’ve heard, they were basically among the only sets of twins who wouldn’t constantly cry on camera and didn’t mind crawling around a set in front of strangers. In fact, another rumor has it that their parents were worried they wouldn’t have a normal childhood and almost took them off the show after the first or second seasons. They grew up calling their co-stars by their character names so they wouldn’t slip up during a taping. None of these experiences are comparable to even what Jodie Sweetin, the next oldest kid, endured. All of the other cast members, (with the exception of the boys who played Jesse and Becky’s twins) auditioned for their roles and knew what they wanted out of the experience. The Olsens stayed on for the whole show, but maybe had things played out differently, they would’ve pursued a different path in life. Speaking of which…

2. They’re not acting anymore. Other than an appearance on Ellen a year or two ago, they haven’t been on screen in the better part of a decade, when they’re so recognizable that they could have probably returned to acting whenever they wanted to. They chose careers in fashion design, a choice that suits them better than what they did ages ago as kids. They probably could have even balanced careers in both areas, but actively chose not to.

But still, fans are angry that they decided not to return. Here’s what they’re saying whining about, and here’s why I think that they are wrong.

1. “They’re so ungrateful to their co-stars and fans, they think they’re so much better than them, it’s like a giant middle finger to America.” That last part might be an exaggeration, but I have never heard anything about them putting down their past or their co-stars, or demeaning Full House in general. Even though they have had their strange moments, they’ve never gone the route of Amanda Bynes and bashed people on the Internet, or gotten arrested/served jail time like Lindsay Lohan. Growing up without those things is a different topic, but even after reading all the recent press, I still don’t hear them saying anything about their reason for not returning as being above their past cast members.

2. “They’re filthy rich and don’t need the money.” Partly true, they do have a lot of money, but that’s kind of a non sequitur; I don’t think that Candice Cameron Bure is hard up for cash or that Dave Coulier is on food stamps. Even though the Olsens are more visible, it’s how they present themselves and how they’ve consistently stayed in the public eye for so long that their status is legendary.

The main point of it all is that they’re just not interested, and the fact that acting is not exactly like riding a horse; you can’t just get up and go without preparing for it first. Even though some of their co-stars took breaks and did other things, they’ve been on TV at least some time in the past five years, and the Olsens haven’t. I mean, look at the alternative; if they did go for it, and ended up doing a terrible job, not being “the same Michelle” or seeming “miserable,” their stock would go down. And you know that every blog, magazine, and newspaper would just have to comment. Bad publicity = bad business, and their image and fashion empire might take a blow; a small one, but a blow nonetheless. The way that the producers seem to be handling it – by saying that Michelle is off in New York being a fashion designer – is totally legit and way more respectful than either acting like Michelle never existed or killing the character in an off-screen accident. And hey, there could still be hope – if the show gains traction, it would be a pleasant surprise to have, say, one of the next-gen Tanners become Skype buddies or FaceTime with “Aunt Michelle” for a quick cameo. The producers could easily manipulate the viewers into thinking that Michelle is totally out of the picture, and then just pop her in there; Full House hasn’t always been realistic, but being a show about family, it’s not completely unrealistic to have a distant family member. (As I typed that last sentence, I realized that in my family, I’m that distant family member, having been in Baltimore for all of one month in the last fifteen months, collectively).

What I am sure of, however, is that if they do come back, they should be welcomed. Compare it to the Spice Girls and their reunion at the Olympics in 2012. Everyone was buzzing about Ginger Spice not returning due to her early exit from the group, and Posh not returning because she’s Victoria Beckham, but they were all there on top of those cars, performing together. Even if naysayers say that Posh Spice didn’t want to be there or was offered an outrageous some of money to “do it for [the team, the group, England, the world].” Had she not wanted to be there, she simply would have stayed home. But she was there, because she wanted to do it, and had she not been there, people would have understood (or wouldn’t), but she obviously felt like she a) wanted to do it and b) could do it, so that probably made her decision easier. When you don’t have the desire or the ability to do something (Kristy McNichol and Julie Andrews as prime examples, respectively), you don’t do it, not necessarily for others, but for yourself. And that’s fine.

Say what you want, but I’m excited for February 26th. “Everywhere you look….”

Oh, and I forgot to mention, thank you to my 1200th follower, Jen of Bierbaum Bookworm! Go visit her!

And for the first time in 2016, shout-outs to all six continents for visiting: North America (Canada and USA), South America (Chile and Venezuela), Europe (Germany, France, Greece, and UK), Asia (India and Brunei), Africa (Botswana and Mauritius) and Oceania (Australia!)

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5

Masterpiece YouTube: Bob Saget, “Danny Tanner Was Not Gay”

2015. Wow. We are halfway through the decade which will be known as the 2010s. Scary stuff. What’s even scarier is that the 1990s are two decades behind us. Growing up in the 1990s, I thought that music from the 1970s, like the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Bob Marley was the “oldies,” and now if I turn on an oldies station on the radio, I’m just as likely to hear Hanson, the Spice Girls, and the voices of preteen America in the 1990s: The Backstreet Boys. BSB was like a religion to some of the girls in my class. Never N*Sync, only BSB. From my experience, people didn’t like N*Sync because of Justin Timberlake, and now look who’s brought sexy back. Just saying.

Anyway, the 90s wasn’t all about music; there was TV, and among the most dominant shows of my childhood was Full House, starring Candace Cameron; the ever-youthful John Stamos; the “You Oughta Know” guy, Dave Coulier; Jodie Sweetin, pre drug-addiction; some blonde twins who probably didn’t do much with their lives; and keeping it all together, Bob Saget, playing Danny Tanner. Little did America’s youth know that America’s favorite dad was actually a stand-up comedian with an extremely dirty streak. I would like to think that this was our reward for suffering through a decade of sagging jeans and plaid flannels, but he was like this all along; we just didn’t know it yet. Bob Saget is, in fact, one of the rare few who brought us up as children and continue to entertain us as adults, although in a very different way.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 17: Bob Saget, “Danny Tanner Was Not Gay”

The beauty of this song is in its simplicity, and how Bob Saget ties together one of the theme songs of the decade with one of its iconic characters. Accompanied by himself on guitar (side note: he’s actually neither a bad singer nor a bad guitarist), he tells the world how his character, Danny Tanner, was indeed, not gay.

I watched Full House before I knew what “gay” meant, but looking back, Saget brings up a lot of good points. They did live in San Francisco and were bachelors for much of the series, save for Stamos, whose character got married midway through. Danny Tanner kinda got screwed; at the end of one of the seasons, he proposed to girlfriend Vicky Larson, but the actress who played her decided not to renew her contract once it expired, so the character was gradually written out of the show, first through a transfer to Chicago and then just dropped completely. I (along with others) thought she should have stayed and become a part of the regular cast; she seemed like the cool older character that could knock Lori Loughlin’s character Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis down a peg or two. But even after Full House ended and I grew up, I never made the connections Saget did; I guess I just viewed him as a single dad who couldn’t catch a break.

Probably the best part of it is when he mentions his ex-wife, and the song comes full circle. And his dig at Dave Coulier at the end; he just wouldn’t be Bob Saget if he didn’t get a joke on Joey in there somewhere. Oh, and the Kimmy Gibbler reference. Speaking of Gibbler, I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes back as a lesbian if they do a reunion show, possibly married to a now-gay Steve, and are each other’s beards. Now that’s a Full House that I think Bob Saget might go for.

But until then, enjoy this song, given to us by Bob Saget, the voice of a generation.

This episode of Masterpiece YouTube was brought to you by not wanting to write a sappy New Year’s post like everyone else in the goddamn blogosphere.

0

Have Mercy

Occasionally, I like to read something easy, a “beach read” if you will, just for fun and pleasure. Call it chick-lit if you want, but if it’s a good, thick book with a rather neutral cover, no one has to know what’s inside it. Sometimes when I read I just want to get into a story, follow some characters around, and not really aim to learn anything. It’s kind of like a soap opera, but probably a better use of my time than watching an actual soap opera, and more satisfying since I can take the descriptions the author provides and imagine my own characters and scenes rather than watch some too-pretty people prance around for an hour and then hate myself for the next three. I almost never hate myself after reading a novel. However, I did have some emotions after reading Mercy by Jodi Picoult.

Mercy

In brief, Mercy is the story of love and the lengths people are willing to go for it. Cameron MacDonald, a police chief, and his wife Allie, a florist, live a normal, boring life in Wheelock, Massachusetts. One day, a guy shows up in town claiming that a) he’s Cam’s cousin Jamie, b) his wife, Maggie, is dead in the passenger seat, and c) he killed her. Well, that’s promising. On the same day, Allie hires a mysterious woman named Mia Townsend to be her assistant after she catches her breaking and entering her shop and playing with the flowers while she’s out dealing with the newfound-cousin mess in the street. Because when someone breaks into your shop, of course the thing to do is hire them.

Of course, now that there are two new, unattached young people in town (Jamie and Mia), Cam and Allie’s relationship as a married couple starts to unravel. Cam finds himself attracted to Mia, who was his waitress at a cafe in Italy awhile back and has somehow found him now, and bored housewife Allie is drawn to Jamie after learning that his wife Maggie had cancer and asked him to kill her when her quality of life got so bad that she didn’t have the will to live anymore. Due to Cam and Jamie’s familial connection, Cam hires his friend Graham to be Jamie’s lawyer, so that Jamie can win his case, and due to Jamie needing to stay within the city limits of Wheelock, Allie volunteers to go to Cummington to get testimonies from Jamie’s friends and neighbors, suddenly trusting Mia with running her shop and conveniently leaving her with not only her keys, but the ability to use them to enter her home and start a love affair with Cam, about which Allie remains completely oblivious for way too long.

There’s a bunch of crap about the MacDonald name, and Cam’s Uncle Angus, who takes Jamie in for the duration, and Mia, who’s a complete flake and keeps running away from town and then returning like nothing happened. And the trial, which is basically just a constant reiteration of the fact that Jamie’s a good guy, he was (and is) in love with his wife, he killed her out of love and at her request, and he’s extremely sad about it. This is information that we found out when we first meet Jamie in Chapter 2, and nothing changes. Jamie’s found innocent, Mia kind of fades off into the sunset, and as for Cam and Allie, despite each of them having affairs (well, really Cam; Allie and Jamie didn’t really go very far on a sexual level), and Allie selling all of his stuff, they stay together. The end.

The back cover tag for this book is What would you do for someone you love? Would you leave? Would you kill?

Well, um, okay. I have to admit that even though the story is slow and purple at times, it kind of touches the topic in a very kid-gloves way. Maggie MacDonald’s death is pretty much an assisted suicide, which has tons of legal, moral, and ethical ramifications, but if Maggie would’ve figured things out and truly made her husband’s life easier after her death, she should have written a living will or some sort of document quantifying her husband’s actions, which would nip the whole thing in the bud. Good going there, Mag. But Jamie exacerbates the whole thing by toting her over to Wheelock and making a big show of things and getting himself arrested when he could’ve just, like, called a coroner and said “Oh, she died all of a sudden, because she had cancer and sometimes people with cancer die because cancer is unpredictable like that,” and cut his losses there. The whole debate was really BS, and actually made me feel like Jamie was the smartest person in the book, although he clearly wasn’t supposed to be. Mia Townsend is just a hot mess, so I’m not even going there. Cameron MacDonald is just a police chief trying to do his job, and people and things sort of get in his way, and even though he’s pretty tactless he doesn’t do anything outwardly stupid, which is more than I can say for his wife.

Allie MacDonald should get a medal or something for possibly being one of the stupidest characters I’ve ever read. She leaves her business in the hands of a beautiful woman who could rob her blind and steal her husband (and almost does the latter). She suspects nothing about Cam and Mia, and even tells Cam to “take care of her” while she’s off playing detective. If you don’t think that’s a recipe for disaster, Allie, I’m never eating in your kitchen. Plus, she puts herself out there for a guy she barely knows and could be totally playing her. Then, she sells all of her husband’s things for no good reason other than that she’s mad at him for being a jerk, which does not justify doing that. She’s so weak and always gives in to Cam, despite all this inner monologue about her standing up for herself, which never really comes to a head because in the end she stays with him despite all the crap he’s done to her.

On the positive side, though, there is a decent story arc here, and the book does address an interesting topic – assisted suicide – and Picoult follows through with both. I could do with a few less scenes about the MacDonald family Scottish memories, and replace some of the drawn-out courtroom scenes with some more info/flashback to Jamie and Maggie’s relationship, because we really never learn that much about Maggie other than that she loves her husband, is terminally ill, and doesn’t want to become a vegetable.

What I learned from Mercy: Gents, if you marry a woman who gets cancer, get that shit in writing. Don’t kill her and then parade her around some random town where you have a cousin. And ladies, if a mysterious woman walks into your life, don’t roll over and give her your keys, your money, and your husband.

And since I would never forgive myself if I didn’t have Uncle Jesse in this post, here we go.