Fuller House season 1 binge recap and study guide
More than two decades after going off the air, the Full House cast is back with Netflix’s Fuller House, a revival series that sees a recently widowed D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) raising her three boys with the help of sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend Kimmy (Andrea Barber). In other words, it’s a gender-swapped version of the original sitcom.
Now that the entire first season is on Netflix, we’ve put together a guide to all 13 episodes that we’ll be updating in the week after its launch. Read on for the best parts, the worst parts, and to see just how nostalgia-happy each half-hour gets.
EPISODE 1: “Our Very First Show, Again”
What happens: The whole Tanner clan reunites at their old headquarters after D.J., Danny’s oldest, loses her firefighter husband. The reunion is brief, though: Joey has to return to his new home of Las Vegas, Danny and Becky have a show to host in Los Angeles, and Jesse has to also make it back to L.A. to work on General Hospital as a music supervisor. But just when they’re all about to leave to embark on their separate lives, they overhear D.J. expressing her concern over being a single mom to three boys (Jackson, Max, and Tommy). At first, everyone says they’re going to abandon their commitments and stay, but then Stephanie steps forward and tells them that it’s her turn to help out. Kimmy — who is in the midst of a divorce from her cheating husband, Fernando, and has a daughter named Ramona — also decides to help play nanny to D.J.’s kids.
The best part: The women break out a choreographed dance to a New Kids on the Block track in an almost unbearably cheesy moment — but then the camera gives us a glimpse of the men, who are trying (and, fortunately for us, failing) to look cool as they dance along.
The worst part: Steph asks where her little sister Michelle is, and Danny responds by saying she’s busy in New York running her fashion empire. The entire group then turns to the camera and flashes a collective disapproving look, very obviously — and very unnecessarily — showing how they really feel about Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen not returning for the revival. We get it, John Stamos: You’re mad.
The best lines: “Relax, Mom. I already know the bad words: darn, booger, and Donald Trump.” —D.J.’s son, Max
Nostalgia score: 10/10. It would be more accurate to call this pilot a pile of nostalgia than an episode of television: We get a “How rude!” from Stephanie, a Bullwinkle impression from Uncle Joey, and D.J.’s onetime love Steve shows up to kidnap a bunch of leftovers. And that’s not even mentioning the final scene, where the Fuller House crew shares a splitscreen with an identical moment from Full House of the entire clan singing the Flintstones theme song to the baby of the moment.
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EPISODE 2: “Moving Day”
What happens: Now that the elders are out of the house, D.J. and Steph are left to fend for themselves… and D.J.’s three sons. But then Kimmy and her daughter, Ramona, move in to help out even more, a change that not everyone’s a fan of — especially D.J.’s oldest son, Jackson, who hides in Uncle Jesse’s car in an attempt to escape.
The best part: Jesse leaves a cute voicemail on Becky’s machine… but then forgets to hang up the call and doesn’t realize it until after he’s told his nephew all about how Becky’s lasagna tastes like sweatpants.
The worst part: D.J. prepares her oldest son for the news of their new housemates by being sugary sweet — literally: She offers him a breakfast milkshake, and then douses his pancakes in hot fudge and a pile of whipped cream. Predictably, her tactic fails.
The best line: “Do you really want me to change schools and be the outcast loner kid? All to move in with the whitest family in America? The Fullers are like albino polar bears drinking milk in a snowstorm watching Frozen.” —Ramona to her mom, Kimmy
Nostalgia score: 9/10. The episode is essentially a repeat of a Full House one where D.J. and Steph are forced to live together, so there’s that. Also, Jesse briefly returns to reunite with his one true love: fried chicken.
EPISODE 3: “Funner House”
What happens: Kimmy and Steph force D.J. to go on a girls’ night out while Joey stays home and “takes care of” (translation: starts a lighthearted war with) the kids. Their fun evening gets interrupted, though, when Kimmy runs into her soon-to-be ex-husband, Fernando, at the club with another woman. To make Kimmy feel better, Steph has random guest star Macy Gray sing “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” so D.J. and Kimmy can get their Patrick Swayze on in a dance competition. It works: The two win, and Kimmy ends the night on a high note.
The best part: Cameron Bure gets to show off her Dancing With the Stars skills in a tribute to Dirty Dancing that puts her and Kimmy’s somehow everlasting friendship in the spotlight.
The worst part: It’s a toss-up between when Kimmy tries to be cool by saying “fleek” and when Steph and Macy Gray very badly lip sync “Time of My Life.” Lip syncing isn’t that hard, guys! If Tim Tebow can do it, so can you!
The best line: “What am I doing here? I won a Grammy!” —Macy Gray, saying what we’re all thinking
Nostalgia score: 6/10. This is less blatantly nostalgia-heavy than the previous two, but it’s still full of forced callbacks.
EPISODE 4: “The Not-So-Great Escape”
What happens: Puppy Day starts out strong when D.J. takes Max to pick out their new puppy before school. Left alone with Tommy, Stephanie brings the baby to a coffee shop, where she uses him to flirt with the guy behind her in line. When Jackson stages a diversion in science class in order to give Ramona time to escape to her old school, landing them both in suspension, D.J. helps Kimmy take a stand and discipline her daughter. Max presumably never makes it to school but does pick out a puppy. Stephanie pretends to be everyone’s mom in order to impress that guy.
The best part: While Ramona and Jackson try to set off a small chemical reaction, classmate Lola presents her volcano — and does a terrible job at pretending that she had any part in making it.
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The worst part: After a skunk gets into the veterinary clinic and sprays all of the puppies, D.J. returns to find Stephanie bathing with her baby in a barrel of tomato soup. Max and the puppies get barrels, too. But it’s fine! D.J. isn’t mad! This picture of her naked sister and children in barrels will look great on Facebook!
The best line: “This is a scale model of the Haleakala Volcano, which my mom — I mean, I — worked on all night. It’s on Hawaii, which is where my mom — I mean, I — went on my honeymoon.” —Lola
Nostalgia score: 2/10. Stephanie’s exasperation when Tommy won’t stop looking at the ceiling feels, somehow, like exactly the sort of response she’d have as a kid. There’s also an “Oh, Mylanta!” involved. But with no cameos from the original adults, this is the least nostalgic episode so far.
NEXT: Episodes 5 through 8
EPISODE 5: “Mad Max”
What happens: Stephanie’s old friend Shannon “rescues” her from her new life and takes her to Coachella, where she winds up filling in for an injured deejay. When Max worries that he’ll mess up his music recital without the lucky scarf Stephanie promised to give him, she lets her nephew perform “Old McDonald” over the phone for the whole crowd — and winds up turning down an offer to party with Clooney in Italy because she’d rather be with her family. When D.J. suggests that her sister is getting motherly, Stephanie breaks the news that she can’t have kids. Meanwhile, Kimmy tries to set up D.J. with an online dating profile, but D.J. confuses her first prospective suitor with a plumber.
The best part: It comes out of nowhere, but Stephanie’s confession that she can’t have kids does lead to a genuine sisterly bonding moment. On a lighter note, Cosmo the dog wears boxers.
The worst part: Ramona, who thinks changing a baby’s diaper makes for an interesting online video, attempts a vlog.
The best line: “It’s not a cult; it’s a family. You know, where you wind up like five times a day in a group hug. Oh my God, I’m in a cult.” —Stephanie
Nostalgia score: 0/10. Stephanie name-checks Iggy Azalea, which might actually qualify this one for a negative score.
EPISODE 6: “The Legend of El Explosivo”
What happens: When Stephanie deejays a Mexican wrestling show, she gives the whole family tickets — and even lets Ramona’s middle school dance team perform for the crowd. Kimmy resents both Stephanie and Ramona when the girls prefer Steph’s choreography to her own, but Stephanie smooths things over by suggesting that Kimmy take the place of a sick member of the team. Meanwhile, D.J. grounds Jackson for lying to her in order to spend time with a rebellious friend, but the friend encourages Jackson to sneak into the event anyway. Mistaking a wrestler for his brother, Jackson goes into the ring, and D.J. goes in after him, revealing talents even she never knew she had.
The best part: Max wrapped in pillows is pretty adorable.
The worst part: Kimmy’s rapid-fire download of ‘80s dance moves and ‘90s slang manages to top even the Gibbler Gallop to earn this honor.
The best line: “Here’s your ‘Don’t tell mom’ Jolly Ranchers back.” —Max
Nostalgia score: 1/10. There’s nothing like a middle school dance team to give Stephanie a chance to break it down.
EPISODE 7: “Ramona’s Not-So-Epic Party”
What happens: Ramona’s turning 13, and all she wants is for her parents to get along — and to have an epic party. Both of her wishes kind of come true: Kimmy and Fernando end the episode secretly making out, and the party ends up being a success after a power outage almost ruins it. Things are less bright for Steve, who’s still pining for D.J., even though D.J. might be pining for the new cute guy at the pet clinic, who makes it clear that he’d be happy to hang out with her even when they’re not neutering border collies.
The best part: Little Max tries to potty-train Cosmo the dog by making him sit on a training toilet like the one Max himself used. Effective? Probably not. Adorable? Completely.
The worst part: Jackson sprays a likely lethal amount of Axe body spray on himself to prep for seeing his crush that night, and Steph catches him in the act. “They’re not kidding when they say this stuff attracts women!” he exclaims. Dude, that’s your aunt.
The best line: “I hide all my Halloween candy in my closet. Why would I tell you that? Because I’m terrible at keeping secrets.” —Max being honest after Kimmy and Fernando ask him not to tell anyone they were kissing.
Nostalgia score: 3/10. Remember when a young Steph attended that party where all everyone did was make out? Steph tries to recreate that scene in this episode by suggesting all the teen partygoers pair up and make out after the power goes out. Her attempt is unsuccessful: D.J. overhears and nixes the idea immediately. Way to be a cool mom, Deej!
EPISODE 8: “Secrets, Lies, and Firetrucks”
What happens: Jackson teaches Max how to lie after Cosmo tears up the couch, and Max ends up getting a little too excited about his new skill and tells a friend that he can get a ride on a fire truck anytime since his dad was a firefighter. Jackson and a visiting Danny decide to help Max make that lie come true, but that’s a bit harder than they thought it would be. Meanwhile, D.J. works late at the pet clinic with Matt, and the two end up making out after some flirting — sorry, Steve. The episode ends with a fire truck arriving at the house to pick up Max, proving that some good ol’ teamwork can make even the biggest fibs become reality.
The best part: D.J. has an honest, heartfelt moment with Jackson and Max when she tells them how much they remind her of their father.
The worst part: Danny is back because he’s filming a Wake Up, San Francisco reunion episode, and Kimmy uses that opportunity to muse that it’s sad when old casts get together for reunions. Sometimes Fuller House’s meta humor lands, but this joke rings a little too true — and is a little too resentful of the very show it’s appearing on — to really work.
The best line: “Thank you for not just barging into my home.” —Kimmy to Danny, ignoring that she spent her youth barging into his home
Nostalgia score: 2/10. Danny takes us on a ride down memory lane when he raves to his daughters about all the memories he’s had on the family’s couch.
NEXT: Episodes 9 through 13
EPISODE 9: “War of the Roses”
What happens: Becky’s in town, so she helps D.J., Kimmy, and Steph solve a mystery: Who left a thousand roses in the living room? D.J. thinks they’re from Matt; Kimmy believes Fernando sent them; Steph guesses one of her multiple suitors gifted her with the flowers. They’re all wrong. At the end of the episode, Jesse shows up and reveals he sent them to Becky — no one knew that, though, because Cosmo hid the card in a stash under his bed.
The best part: Earlier in the episode, Becky laments that the only mystery left in her marriage is who will unload the dishwasher. She spends the rest of the episode occupying herself with her nieces’ love lives to distract herself, but it turns out that her own husband was behind the rose mystery all along. Their romance isn’t dead, after all!
The worst part: Each moment the scarily overenthusiastic Becky spends with Tommy, D.J.’s baby. D.J. says it best: “You need a dog or something.”
The best line: “What girl doesn’t want a guy who is dark, tall, and … punctual?” —Steph
Nostalgia score: 6/10. The episode flashes back to that time a little Stephanie “married” Harry, and then grown-up Harry makes a cameo to invite her to his real wedding.
EPISODE 10: “A Giant Leap”
What happens: Stephanie’s latest boyfriend, San Francisco Giant Hunter Pence, scores everyone tickets to a game. While Max tries to catch a foul ball, Jackson takes the opportunity to impress Lola by using Matt’s credit card to buy her an expensive autographed jersey. Kimmy and Stephanie both get escorted out of the game: Kimmy for advertising her party planning business, and Stephanie for breaking up with Hunter in front of the whole crowd because the fans blame his slump on her. Meanwhile, D.J.’s attempt to juggle her feelings for both Matt and Steve backfires when Steve sees her making out with Matt on the kiss cam. After comparing their relationships with D.J., the men both decide to stay in the game and ask her out for next week.
The best part: Hunter Pence wears a pizza fork around his neck at all times, and he is proud of it.
The worst part: When did Steve get so pushy and possessive?
The best line: “I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I’m just a regular guy. I put on my uniform two legs at a time.” —Hunter Pence
“Don’t you mean one leg at a time?” —D.J
“Uh, no. I stand on my bed and jump right into them.”—Hunter
Nostalgia score: 8/10. We’ve got a “How rude,” an “Oh Mylanta,” and — here’s the big one — a flashback to Steve and D.J.’s prom kiss. That hair!
EPISODE 11: “Partnerships in the Night”
What happens: Jackson and Ramona try to use D.J.’s laptop to watch R-rated movies, but when their scheme gives the computer a virus, they’re forced to borrow money from Max to get it fixed. Max then blackmails the pair into doing whatever he asks in exchange for their silence. Meanwhile, the elder Dr. Harmon retires and keeps the veterinary clinic in the family when he hands it over to Matt, leading D.J. to consider opening her own practice. Matt talks her into staying by suggesting that they split ownership 50/50. Dr. Harmon hires Kimmy to plan his retirement party, but when he changes the theme at the last minute, Kimmy enlists Stephanie to help her pull it off. Their collaboration is so successful that Kimmy makes Stephanie a junior partner.
The best part: Stephanie leads the group in not one but two Bollywood dance sequences, giving everyone the chance to show off some impressive moves (work it, Matt). But …
The worst part: In both theme and execution, the party is an uncomfortable and insensitive example of cultural appropriation.
The best line: “You have a cheesecake purse, and you have a problem with a cow?”—Stephanie
Nostalgia score: 3/10. D.J. and Stephanie trade catchphrases when the eldest Tanner daughter responds to her sister’s “No, Mylanta,” with, “How rude!”
EPISODE 12: “Save the Dates”
What happens: If D.J. is the star of The Bachelorette (and, according to Stephanie and Kimmy, she basically is), then it’s time for Steve’s one-on-one date. Eager to outshine Matt, Steve plans a date that relies too much on the past, but once he and D.J. decide that it’s time to make new memories, they enjoy a fun afternoon playing with the kids. While that’s happening, Fernando leads Kimmy on a romantic scavenger hunt around the house, which takes an unexpected turn when he reveals that he’s signed their divorce papers. With that gesture out of the way, Fernando proposes again — and Kimmy accepts.
The best part: After Steve relaxes into the date, he, D.J., and the kids spend some sweet quality time together.
The worst part: D.J. says of Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know,” “Oh, you know who that song is really about?” Did anyone want to go there?
The best line: “Apparently security frowns on a grown man in a wig wandering the halls with a pocket knife.” —Steve
Nostalgia score: 6/10. In an attempt to recapture their high school days, Steve dons a wig and a letterman jacket (and steals Kimmy’s sandwich), while D.J. tracks down an old choker and slap bracelet and ties a flannel around her waist.
EPISODE 13: “Love is in the Air”
What happens: After 25 years of marriage, Jesse and Becky return to San Francisco to renew their vows, but Kimmy throws a wrench in their plans when she decides that the ceremony should double as her wedding to Fernando. Stephanie, who’s firmly on Team Matt, leaves him a voicemail inviting him to be D.J.’s date to the ceremony, but Kimmy does the same for Steve, sticking D.J. with two dates who each want her to make a final decision. Kimmy has a decision to make of her own: She tries and fails three times to say “I do” before realizing that she isn’t ready to get remarried after all. Kimmy decides to stay engaged to Fernando for now. As for D.J., she takes the Bachelorette comparisons literally and hands the final rose to … herself. She tells the guys that she isn’t ready for anything serious yet, and they understand — and then go out for pizza and beer.
The best part: D.J.’s realization that she has to focus on herself is a welcome twist, as is the guys’ new friendship. Everyone is being so mature.
The worst part: Jesse really gets the shaft in this one. Not only does he have to share his vow renewal ceremony with Kimmy, but Becky abandons him for the bachelorette party on what should be a romantic night. Have mercy!
The best line: “Well, I’m Uncle Jesse. I’m everyone’s uncle.” —Jesse
Nostalgia score: 9/10. Jesse and Becky’s room is adorned with old pictures of the happy couple, including their wedding photo. Jesse lets out a “mercy!” Joey wears a Detroit Red Wings jersey and makes eyes at Mr. Woodchuck. After the bachelorette party, the ladies drunkenly call Michelle and yell all of her old catchphrases at the phone. Enjoy that voicemail, Michelle.