Throwback Thursday: The warm comfort of 'Full House'

The classic sitcom harkens back to a golden age of loving family dynamics and valuable life lessons

Samia Zahin
Published : 28 March 2024, 01:30 PM
Updated : 28 March 2024, 01:30 PM

A lot of us look back on a golden age in our lives. For many of us, it was our childhoods. That era when everything was warm and comfortable, but still exciting. And few shows capture those feelings with the depth and specificity of Full House.

The American sitcom started in 1987 – before I was even born - became a huge hit, and ran for eight seasons until 1995. Premiering in the heyday of the three-camera sitcom, Full House stood out because of its unusual family dynamics.

The show starts with widower Danny (Bob Saget) asking his brother-in-law Jesse (John Stamos) and best friend Joey (Dave Coulier) to help raise his three girls – the practical DJ (Candace Cameron Bure), the sarcastic Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and the precocious Michelle (played jointly by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen).

The unconventional nature of the main cast’s relationships is what makes the show as the audience follows three flawed kind-hearted men as they take on the task of raising three wonderful, but very different children.

Men rarely take on the job of raising children in our society. But Full House offers a gender role reversal, making all of the parental figures male in a direct challenge to social norms and traditions. But that doesn’t mean the kids suffer from a lack of feminine influence in their lives.

Each of the adults finds ways to connect with and balance their masculine and feminine energies to ensure that the kids grow up in an environment that provides them with the necessary nourishment and love.

Danny is a great father, playing the role of the responsible one. His position as the breadwinner burdens him with additional obligations, but he learns to balance his work responsibilities with the time he needs to devote to his daughters. He’s the grown up of the show – making the decisions necessary to ensure a good future for his kids.

Joey, his best friend, is the show’s goofball. He works as a stand-up comedian, often imitating a slew of cartoon characters. Though he’s often the silliest character, his indirect approach can cut to the heart of the matter. Through his antics, he can tackle heavy topics without making things dark and ends up sneaking in words of wisdom under the guise of humour.

But the scene stealer of the show is Uncle Jesse - the instant heartthrob with his Elvis aesthetic and intense charisma. And he’s also the character who grows and changes the most throughout the show. He starts off as something of an irresponsible layabout who’s too focused on his hair and dreams of rock stardom to really grow up. But, as he takes care of his nieces and becomes closer with them, he comes to see things – and himself – in a new light.  

Watching these men develop more as people alongside the children they raise is like free therapy. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and maybe even pick up some valuable lessons along the way.

This article is part of Stripe,'s special publication focusing on culture and society from a youth perspective.