Fuller House's Becky Drops In To Have A Giddy Mental Breakdown
Who has time to worry about a secret admirer when a woman is sending out a call for help via baby fashion montage?
When I volunteered to cover an episode of Fuller House, I did it not as a super-fan of the original series (if those people do exist outside of Buzzfeed HQ) but as a twenty-six-year-old cultural anthropologist interested in excavating the deepest recesses of my lizard brain. Full House premiered two years before I was born and concluded before I was even in kindergarten. (REVEL IN MY YOUTH, YOU DECREPIT NON-MILLENNIALS!!)
But even though it ran in syndication for most of my childhood, to me, Full House is most notable as the show from whence the stars of my favorite straight-to-cassette mystery series, The Adventures Of Mary-Kate And Ashley, hailed. So, I was interested to see how much of this show I absorbed by simply existing as a child of the '90s, before kids had the option of killing time by tweeting birthday wish requests at YouTube stars and Snapchatting their underage genitals to one another.
Coming in to Fuller House, I knew what everyone's game was, even if I couldn't cite specific storylines or list everyone's top ten catchphrases. (Until I was corrected by my sister, I thought Fuller House's writers stole "Oh, Mylanta" from that Fran Drescher-sounding gay dude from last season of Big Brother.) I knew what a DJ Tanner was and I knew that Dave Coulier's very existence made me sad inside. The one character I could tell you absolutely nothing about is Lori Loughlin's Aunt Becky.
With the exception of the premiere and finale (of what we can now officially refer to as Fuller House's first season), "War of the Roses" is the only other episode in which Becky appears. And I am so happy I ended up choosing this episode to write about because BECKY IS A FUCKING MESS, YOU GUYS.
The A-story of "War of the Roses" -- someone sends 1,000 roses to the Tanner-Fuller house and no one knows who they're for -- is such a basic sitcom-y plot, I assume it's been used at least 1,000 times before (although the only thing that sprung to mind was CT taking credit for the roses Leah's date sent her on The Real World: Paris.) A miscommunication leads DJ to believe her new make-out buddy, Matt, is the secret admirer, while Kimmy suspects her ex-husband Fernando, and Stephanie is convinced her "husband" Harry is behind it. Stephanie and Harry's kindergarten wedding is apparently one of Full House's classic moments -- assuming your definition of "classic" is that it took place at some point in time -- so the whole rose McGuffin is really just an excuse to flash back to that scene.
There's also a B-story involving Max mistakenly accepting Jackson's love letter to Lola and then eating 999 red M&Ms (and one red Skittle), about which the less said the better. EXCEPT TO SAY: I'm sure the kid who plays Jackson will grow up to show as much interest in girls as he demonstrates here.
(Oh, and before we get to Becky, some notes on Fernando and Harry: Why is Juan Pablo di Pace doing an impression of a drag queen doing an impression of Sofia Vergara? And does everyone really need to say Harry Takayama's full name every single time they refer to him? Is his name the joke? Come on, you guys. We've already rebooted a show with an all-white cast for the sake of cheap nostalgia. Do we also have to revive the casual sitcom racism of the '90s?)
Of course, the admirer turns out to be none of the above, but Uncle Jesse, which is spoiled by the episode's loading image.
I didn't necessarily find this episode as offensive to my sensibilities as I expected it to be (the above-mentioned racial nonsense notwithstanding), but I only really enjoyed myself when Becky was onscreen. In "Battle of the Roses," Becky essentially plays Donna Lynne Champlin's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend role of the gleeful onlooker, and she does it wonderfully. Her obsession with figuring out who sent the roses is far greater than anyone else's and raises all sorts of questions about her current state and mental health. Why isn't she in L.A. with her husband and brother? Has she become numb to the actual "predictability" of non-sitcom life? Isn't she at all concerned that someone not only delivered 1,000 roses, but also arranged them in the living room without anyone who lives there noticing?
Becky's investment in the roses is treated by everyone as mere quirk ("You really need to get a dog," Kimmy tells her) but I think there's something more serious going on with her. Case in point: THE BABY FASHION MONTAGE.
It's not that this woman drove eight hours to dress up her nephew in five themed costumes, and it's not that she seems to have pre-written commentary for each outfit change, and it's not that she does all this with a terrifying grin normally reserved for victims of The Joker.
It's that, if DJ weren't around to observe the madness, she clearly would have put on this fashion show for an audience of stuffed animals and imaginary friends. The scene is edited in a way so that each costume change feels instantaneous, which lends a deeply Lynchian quality to the proceedings. While the rest of the episode takes place in the Fuller House universe, I'm convinced these two minutes exist purely in Becky's now-mangled brain.
Somewhere in L.A., BITCH LOST HER MIND. That's the show I want to watch.