The Tanners: An Atypical Family With Typical Life Lessons

Jared Ridgway

If you were alive in the 90s and early 2000s , you were blessed with a great era of television with many popular “feel good” shows. Some of these shows include Boy Meets World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and one of my all time favorites, Full House. This sitcom first aired on ABC from 1987-1995 (still reruns on all the time today) and featured a family who is mourning the passing of their mother. To take care of his three little girls, Danny Tanner (played by Bob Saget) calls in help from his brother-in-law Jesse (John Stamos), and Joey (Dave Coulier). At first, the transition is very difficult for everyone in the family but eventually, the family becomes close and learns many life lessons during the span of the show. When it comes to this time period of the show, it was atypical to see this type of family living together in one house. In Atypical in the sense that 3 men were working together to raise these three girls, which you do not see in any other shows during this time period or even today.

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There are many reasons for why Full House is still very popular today, but one of the main reasons is because of the life lessons the show teaches. Full House gave us lessons that we can apply to our lives whenever a tough situation or time in our life may arise. As the girls and even the men in the show grow up, you follow along in their journey and use those lessons as a stepping stone of what to do or what not to do.

 My favorite episode, because of the overall message is titled “Shape Up.” This episode features the oldest daughter DJ, who is excited yet nervous about going to a pool party with her friends. Since she has to wear a bathing suit at this party, DJ decides to go on a “diet” to get in shape for the party because she feels insecure about her body. Instead, this diet turns into an eating disorder causing DJ to nearly pass out. When her family finds out she hasn’t eaten in three days, DJ’s father, Danny springs into action and gives DJ a well needed lesson on how everyone has different body shapes and that what really matters is on the inside. In the end, (just like every other Full House episode) everything goes back to normal, and they are all one big happy family again. This episode is a great example of a lesson that seems to be timeless and can still be applied to many people’s lives today. Body image is something many other shows have also tried to cover but I feel that Full House does it in a non-invasive and supportive way. Watch a more in depth summary here!

Some life lessons in Full House even tend to get more serious than you would expect for a family sitcom show. In the episode titled “Silence is Not Golden,” Stephanie (middle daughter), is faced with a tough decision when she promises to keep a secret that her classmate and group project partner, Charles told her. This secret was something that many children around the country and world battle with everyday. It turned out that Charles’ father abused him to the point that he had black eyes and body injuries. In the end, Stephanie decides to tell her Jesse which leads to Charles being put into foster care while his father betters himself. Stephanie feels guilty for ratting Charles out but Jesse assures that she did the right thing and prevented Charles from being hurt by his father again. In the end, this leads to Stephanie appreciating her father and the strong relationship they have. Like I mentioned before, this episode was deep for a family show. Not only did this episode give a life lesson about keeping secrets when someone is in danger or need, but also helped raise awareness about child abuse. In my opinion, this is not a topic that many shows feature on television and in the end, it is important for children/teens to know about abuse, so they can help those being abused.

Full House was really an end to an era of shows that really taught viewers something about life. Today, shows tend to lean away from lessons and more towards sex, drugs, and killing. Who would have thought that 3 male father figures would be a great basis of a show that would educate and entertain viewers for eight and a half years.

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3 thoughts on “The Tanners: An Atypical Family With Typical Life Lessons

  1. Growing up and watching this classic television show, I agree with the author that this was an atypical family but taught its viewers important life lessons. For being such a classic show, in the late 90s and early 2000s when the controversy over sexual identity was still not relevant in many sitcom shows, Full House challenged that by having three male lead actors raise three female children. Not meaning that the three male characters were homosexual, but it was the first time in a sitcom that male characters were portrayed in that sense. the life lessons that we all learned from this atypical family may have rubbed off on us like the author spoke about the episode where DJ starves her self because she doesn’t have a good body image of herself. This is what teens and young kids today still struggle with growing up in a social media based society. the author did a great job comparing the instances of the show, to real life endeavors that some children may face and picking out the exact ones shows the author had a solid background on the topic.

    Nicholas Fasoli

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  2. Since I had watched Full House religiously as a kid it is interesting to take a more in depth view of the show and break it down. I always had watched the show for the humorous parts, but there were so many little life lessons that were taught throughout the show, and portrayed a family with three male figures that had to teach three young girls life lessons in male perspectives. Since it was the first show that did actually challenge there being three male actors there were different conflicts that came about that probably wouldn’t happen if there were female actors instead. The life lessons about drugs, sex, job responsibilities, and the importance of always having family members backs was the most important thing.

    Melanie DeAlmeida

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  3. Full House was a show I grew up with. Stated above, I religiously tuned into this family oriented sitcom everyday at around 3pm. As you stated, Full House brings up some real content and maybe at the time I did not recognize its importance, but reflecting back on it now, I recognize how relatable this show truly is. I really like the idea that you brought up the episode “Shape Up” because that show shows the unfortunate reality of what some teens encounter. Full house sparks conversation with important dialogue and solutions throughout the show. Full House was one of a kind.
    -Chantalle Dumont

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