Hey gang, welcome to JZ'sTT31DOHDDYTIH, as those of us in the biz refer to it. You've all got your masks on and your bags for the loot, right? We should also probably bring some eggs and toilet paper, because we're starting in San Francisco, home of...
I don't want to hear it, why would we not start here? Full House is the sit-comiest of sit-coms, a benign half-hour of tepid feel-goodery we're all familiar with, whether we like it or not. Watching it is the television equivalent of climbing back into the womb because the outside world is too scary.
Would you believe that for as colossal an institution as this show was and remains - an institution that not only abused every trick in the family sit-com book, but also came to define and ruin those tropes - they never did a proper Halloween episode? For all of its on-location shooting in Hawaii, its trips to the Magic Kingdom in a brazen flaunting of cross-promotional Disney-Weinger Synergy (Weingergy?), for all of its wedding episodes, birth episodes, smoking public-service episodes, and episodes where simple misunderstandings invariably lead to big consequences and wacky mix-ups... no Halloween worth a damn.
Oh, to be sure, they hinted at it, teased it in careless, backhanded ways, but I don't think they're even listed on the Wikipedia Halloween Episode Map. Right away, this is a red flag. All right, so let's get going and walk up the steps of that deceptively-large townhouse that the Tanner Family calls home...
Space: San Francisco, CA
Time: October 28th, 1988
Episode: "It's Not My Job" - Season 2, Episode 3
See, right away we should be suspect - it's Halloween as a cold open. This is basically the production saying, "We're not doing a Halloween episode, but I guess we should do something we can run in the network promos."
Sure, they've made a ten-minute attempt at decorating the house, but it's all kind of within a $45 budget, and has the air of a set-builder who was concerned with not ruining the paint-job. I can hear them now: "Yeah, just place a bunch of fakey jack o' lanterns around, and who gives a shit."
So you get this, the guys attempting some awful Three Stooges-business, and an Elvira joke from DJ that really shoves our faces in the 1988-ness of it all.
And that's it - off to the opening credits we go, and then it's on to a normal episode. The pumpkin decorations have been removed, Stephanie gets a cavity, Kimmy Gibbler steals her scene, Jesse's parents swing by and make out in front of the kids before berating their son for wanting to write jingles (as they probably should), and the scariest thing about the episode is that it looks like Stamos' tie might have an eating-disorder.
Like Super Hans confronted with a broken bathroom door, I decry this as bullshit. For there can be nothing worse than a reluctant acknowledgment that Halloween exists, and then a whole lot of acting like it never happened. Oh, but it did happen, Full House - it did.
Fear not, for they have another chance to redeem themselves.
Space: San Francisco, CA
Time: November 17th, 1989
Episode: "Divorce Court" - Season 3, Episode 8
November 17th? See, they weren't even trying. But, oh damn! Kathy Santoni's having a Halloween party, and DJ totally wants to take a break from rating guys on the Gibbler Scale of Studliness in order to be there, as would we all. Unfortunately, we will never find out what a Kathy Santoni Halloween party is like, because the show immediately detours from this premise and gets bogged down in the swampland of sister-drama - something about wanting a room of one's own.
Meanwhile, the fellas decide to race in order to prove who is the least soft (no race is needed - they are all equally soft), and make a bet, as soft-gentlemen will do: whoever wins gets to pick the other guys' Halloween costumes. Truly, the stakes have never been more Full House.
Here, Halloween is exploited as a story agent, and then abandoned. It only returns to cash in on the cultural phenomenon that was Tim Burton's first Batman picture (what, no Griff Tannen outfits? No Drunk Clown from Uncle Buck?).
And if you must know about the costumes that soft race-"winner" Danny Tanner picks out, here you go:
Anyway, as the nation comes together to shout "I can't deal with the pressing global, social, and economic issues facing me and my family, I just want more Full House!" the universe responds with another trip back to the well. And so I call upon you, Fuller House, to make amends, do yourself a favor, and give us the Halloween ep. we deserve. Whatever that might mean.
Until then... get the eggs and toilet paper out, I've been wanting to do this for a long time. And let's get Gibbler in on it too - she's right next door, and she'd probably have a blast.