Fuller House Season 5A Review: Family Raises Family in a Season of Love

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It really is the beginning of the end.

The spinoff series that tried to recapture the magic and balance the hilarity and heart of its predecessor will sign off sometime in 2020.

However, before that happens, the first nine episodes of Fuller House Season 5 will drop on Friday, Dec. 6, only on Netflix.

She-Wolf Pack - Fuller House

With the knowledge that Season 5 would be its final season, the series was allowed to set up its endgame, and it was greatly helped along by the 18-episode order.

If the series had tried to squeeze Season 5 into a shortened season, it would have suffered creatively.

While some subplots throughout the first nine episodes feel like filler, the extra room has allowed the series to breathe.

Steph smiles - Fuller House

One such subplot that may have not gotten the time it deserved during a shortened season is how the new baby affects all the characters at the Fuller-Tanner-Gibbler house.

Obviously, viewers would expect to see Steph’s struggles as a new mother and the challenges she faces, but other characters’ own adjustments to what it means to have a new baby in the house may have been overlooked.

Steph’s growth as she tries to balance what it means to be a new mother and fiancee, all without losing who she is, is one of the best aspects about these episodes.

Of all the characters, she has seen the most change from Fuller House Season 1. 

Steph and DJ - Fuller House

Who was once a young, somewhat flaky, aunt with a passion for exotic travels has become a mature adult, ready to take on all motherhood has to offer.

However, just because Steph has grown, it doesn't mean things are going to be all sunshine and rainbows.

She still faces the same challenges most first-time moms deal with, but she is now at a point in her life where she is capable of tackling these issues with a somewhat level head.

Afterall, it wouldn't be a comedy is something didn't find a way to wrong.

Kimmy and Fernando - Fuller House

Besides Steph adjusting to motherhood, a prominent theme this season is love.

DJ and Steve are still together and going strong. Steph and Jimmy are newly engaged. And Kimmy and Fernando are either divorced, engaged, or both. With those two crazy kids adults, who knows?

All of those relationships are pretty much status quo, though the pairs do find some things to be at odds over. 

These conflicts, though, are par for the course when it comes to comedy, and nothing nervous fans should worry about.

DJ and Steve - Fuller House

After four seasons, it seems the writers have decided to let everyone be relatively happy, instead of scrambling to break couples up in the 11th hour and trying to get them back together in time for the series finale.

It's a refreshing that these couples can just enjoy the ride to the finish line rather than sprinting there out of breath.

There are, of course, plenty of shenanigans afoot, some funnier than others, but mostly everything neatly resolves in a timely manner.

While this means that whatever conflicts arise during an episode are resolved in that same installment, I'd rather have blissful enjoyment than constant frustration.

However, it's not just the adults that get some swoon-worthy moments, as both Jackson and Romona find themselves venturing into the dating scene.

While both teenagers have been in romantic relationships before, this is the first time it's more than just calling someone your boyfriend or girlfriend and holding hands as you walk to class.

Jackson and Ramona are on the precipice of "teen drama-dom."

While viewers shouldn't expect any scenes as sexually explicit as teen dramas on The CW or Freeform, there is some exploration of what it means to be a teen dating in this day and age.

Jackson and Ramona - Fuller House

Something else that is especially different this season is the lack of screen time devoted to Danny, Joey, and Jesse.

Danny, played by Bob Saget, is only present for two episodes, while Joey and Jesse, played by Dave Coulier and John Stamos, respectively, only appear in one a piece.

And yes, that episode in question is the one that sees the two as dance partners, as teased by the Netflix’s latest promo.

Becky is also missing, though her absence is easier to explain.

Becky - Fuller House

As previously reported by multiple news outlets, Lori Laughlin’s Aunt Becky isn't to return for Fuller House’s fifth and final season due to her alleged role in a wide-ranging college admissions bribery scandal.

Hopefully, I won’t get trolled for saying this, but the series works better when it just focuses on the Fuller-Tanner-Gibbler household.

The premise of the series was about Steph and Kimmy moving in to help DJ raise her three boys after her husband died in fire.

The series was never supposed to largely focus on the older cast, yet the first few seasons saw the writers desperately trying to include them in new ways.

Danny and Joey - Fuller House

The storyline with Jesse and Becky adopting their daughter was especially problematic, as it felt completely out of place. 

What was also annoying was how the older Full House cast members would “casually” drop by for some inane reason, such as babysitting, when it made no logical sense to the story.

What did, and continues to work, is Danny, Joey, Jesse, and Becky showing up for important events, such as holidays, weddings, and births.

It feels more organic and provides the right amount of nostalgia without feeling forced.

Steph and Kimmy - Fuller House

Some viewers may disagree with me and only watch the rebooted series to see them. 

If that is the case, you’re probably not going to be very happy about their limited, or nonexistent screen time, and may want to avoid the middle episodes altogether. 

However, there are several delightful Easter eggs placed throughout the episodes, and some very hilarious meta moments, though that may not be enough to entice hesitant viewers.

Some stray thoughts:

  • There's a great subplot involving the guys that shakes up the character dynamics. For the past several seasons, there have been two established bromances: Steve/Matt and Fernando/Jimmy.

    With this being Fuller House's final season, it's nice to see the writers try something new and unexpected, and while the circumstances that bring the guys together is somewhat crazy, it's pretty enjoyable if viewers suspend their disbelief a little.

  • For curious viewers, there are some great dance sequences throughout the first nine episodes, and I'm not sure what's my favorite. (OK, I do know, but I can't say yet.)

  • There are two significant cameos with actors playing versions of themselves. Keen viewers who watched the promo should know who one of them is. All I'll say is one was pretty great, while the other was a bit of a stretch.

In conclusion: Fuller House Season 5A is a fun ride for those who can get behind the increased focus on the Fuller-Tanner-Gibbler household and don't hold the series to the unreasonable standards set by Full House.

Fuller House Season 5A drops on Netflix today.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.9 / 5.0
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Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Netflix Quotes

When Tishka went into space, the world started to dream again. If people were sad, or scared, or alone, they would look up at the sky and see Tishka, and be reminded that everything is possible. And following in his footsteps, people went to space too. He had never dreamed of going to space, but fate intervened. And once he got there, he could not go back. He left a puppy on Earth, his beloved Sashenka. Now, Tishka circles the Moon. He's looking out the porthole, thinking, "Everything would have been so much easier if I had been someone else; if I could be an Earth dog." But what could Tishka do? Tishka is not an Earth dog; Tishka is a space dog.

Misha

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Misha