One year ago, the world was shocked — shocked — by Barry Williams’ revelatory book, Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg. It was all there — Williams smoking pot before work, Florence Henderson joking about oral sex, Robert Reed brawling with the producers, and pairs of the kids fondling each other every time the tutor turned her back.
What if, 20 years from now, Full House‘s Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, write their memoirs — Growing Up Tanner: We Were Preschool Michelles? A week-long visit to the Full House set on Sony’s Soundstage 28, in Culver City, Calif., offers a sneak preview of what might be disclosed in such a tome. Nothing lurid — Bob Saget doesn’t show up looped, Lori Loughlin isn’t kinky (hey, she’s married to an investment banker), and the kids keep their hands to themselves — but still, plenty of Full-scale amusement.
Chapter 1: The Adults (or Dave Farts): Full House is known as one of the happier sets in town — leave the internal bickering to Knots Landing and Roseanne. ”I really love everybody here,” says star John ”Uncle Jesse” Stamos. ”That’s such a boring statement, but it really is like a second family.”
Maybe too much like a family. For instance, Dave ”Joey” Coulier is proudly breaking wind right there in the kitchen during rehearsal. His costars are apparently used to this; nobody giggles or runs away. Andrea Barber, 16, who plays the girls’ lovably obnoxious friend Kimmy, simply fans the air with her script while concentrating her attention on the director. Bob ”Danny” Saget, 37, and his adult male costars, Stamos, 29, and Coulier, 33, carpool together, even vacation together. Coulier and Saget go back 14 years, to their days working L.A.’s comedy clubs. The friendship between Stamos and Coulier blossomed in the show’s first season (1987-88). During a joint male-bonding gambling expedition to Vegas in 1989, they suffered the distinction of being tossed out of the Liberace Museum for joking about it.
There is, however, some dispute over who’s funnier — Saget or Coulier. Saget is known for his dry, stream-of-consciousness musings (”Michael Jackson says you can count the number of surgeries he’s had on two fingers,” he says one afternoon in the green room, ”but if he had 40 operations on each finger, that’s 80 operations ”). Coulier is renowned for his impressions and far-flung character voices (He’s a Saturday-morning-cartoon veteran — notably on The Real Ghostbusters and Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies). And each has extracurricular host gigs: Saget on America’s Funniest Home Videos, Coulier on America’s Funniest People.
”Dave can be a little more crude than Bob,” says Candace ”D.J.” Cameron, 17. Says Stamos: ”I think naked, Bob is funnier.”
While Saget and Coulier say they’re comedians at heart, there’s a Serious Actor beating within Stamos. He sometimes flies to New York for acting classes and wants to do movies (he’s still negotiating his series contract for next season). On the set he’s the moody one — friendly but frustrated. And he would just as soon not work with the animals that make periodic appearances on the show. During our visit, Uncle Jesse must take a shine to a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. ”The one week you come down, we have to have a pig on the show,” growls Stamos.
Chapter 2: The Kids (or No Drew Barrymores Here): So far, so good: No signs of the child-star woes that befell The Partridge Family‘s Danny Bonaduce (who beat up a transvestite), Family Ties‘ Tina Yothers (who suffered an awkward growing spurt), or the whole crew of Diff’rent Strokes (too much to mention). The aspirations and daily routines of the House gang are pretty normal. Cameron just bought a black Nissan Pathfinder. Scott Weinger, 17, who plays D.J.’s refrigerator-raiding boyfriend, Steve, moonlighted as Aladdin‘s voice and will go to Harvard in 1994. Jodie ”Stephanie” Sweetin, 11, wants to be a doctor because ”I’m pretty good at health and spelling.”
The fraternal-twin Olsens, 6, are the Liz Taylors of the Barney set, meaning they have been famous for longer than they can remember — since the age of 8 months, in fact, when they made their Full House debut. They have recorded an album (Brother for Sale), starred in a TV movie of the week (last year’s high-rated To Grandmother’s House We Go), headlined an ABC Mother’s Day special, and licensed their likenesses for dolls, T-shirts, and lunch boxes. Throughout their various ventures, they are shuffled around the country by an army of adults dedicated to keeping the dual commodities cute and happy.