Everything I needed to know about being a teenager I learned from Full House

I caught a rerun of Full House today. The crazy adventures of the Tanner gang were as enjoyable as always but it reminded me of something: as much as I loved Full House when I was younger, the damn show used to stress me out tremendously. Let me explain.

DJ was the character that I most modeled myself after. She was the oldest (like me), she was smart and witty (like I thought I was), and for awhile she dated Steve, who was wholesome, cute and family-friendly (the top three things I was looking for in a boyfriend as an 8 year old).

DJ and Steve - truly a romance for the ages

But looking up to DJ also had its downsides.  She was always getting into sticky situations! Like the time when she wanted to wear a lot of makeup to fit in with the older kids from junior high but her Dad told her she wasn’t allowed to.

DJ may look a little sleazy but I think her friend Kimmie shows real promise here.

I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup either…and didn’t want to at all.  But DJ had me convinced that the pressure to wear makeup in junior high would be SO GREAT, I would have to cave in.

I imagined having to spend hours in the morning putting on makeup against my will, crying in front of the mirror at the slave to peer pressure I had turned into.  I dreaded it because it seemed so boring and futile, a waste of my time that could be better spent sleeping in or watching TV before school.  And I knew my mother was bound to still have a problem with it, which lead me to envision fighting with her everyday to wear makeup, which I didn’t want to do in the first place but was determined to do anyway to fit in.  Let me say again, this was something that I stressed about as an 8 year old.  I don’t know how I never got an ulcer.

And the application of makeup wasn’t the only one of DJ’s problems that worried me.  There was also the time she had to choose between two boys:

  1. Wilson – a short, dorky, sweet millionaire
  2. Viper – a sexy rocker

Wilson and Viper are as different as night and day, as fire and ice, as brown blazers and arm tattoos.

As any true Full House fan would remember, shortly after she broke up with longtime friend/boyfriend Wilson, DJ secretly dated Viper, the guitarist in her Uncle Jesse’s band.  They had a few secret, steamy, “lots-of-annoying-WOOS!-from the-audience” kisses that eight year old me rolled her eyes at because I knew she was just giving into her hormones.

Oh DJ! I would think, When will you learn that Wilson is best for you because, while boring, he would at least never hurt you like Viper is bound to! I mean look at Viper – he has LONG HAIR and a RIPPED t-shirt!

I knew that spelled trouble in sitcom boyfriend land.  And what happened in one of the ensuing episodes shocked me to my very core.


Cue fights between the couple over how he was insecure about his intelligence.  Even though they were still together by the end of the episode, they broke up shortly after because Viper felt like the relationship was progressing to quickly.  I couldn’t help but say I told you so! about the whole breaking up with Wilson thing because someone with hair as perfectly coiffed as Wilson had to know how to read – he wore loafers for god’s sake!

My heart soared when their relationship was briefly resurrected in an episode where both Viper and Wilson fought to win DJ back.  “WIL-SON! WIL-SON! WIL-SON!” I chanted, but to no avail.  DJ ultimately realized that neither guy was the one for her.  Her decision was affirmed by Aunt Becky, who wore the dumbest looking banana clip in her hair.

Nothing wrong with a regular old hair tie or, I don't know, a head band. Just saying.

So much of what I thought being a teenager would be like was influenced from the sitcoms that I watched.  And since it my love for the ‘com started with Nick at Nite reruns of The Brady Bunch, my initial impression was that teenage life would be just like how it was for Marsha Brady.  As the oldest girl in the family I would automatically be well-liked and popular.  I would never have to worry about my appearance because I would just naturally have a groovy style.  And as as long as I watched out for flying footballs and didn’t become a diva with my school play cast mates, life would be a piece of cake.

Full House blew my mind with its novel depiction of what it was like to be a teenage girl.  I braced myself for some difficult times ahead:

  • Who will teach me how to wear makeup? What if I don’t want to wear it?!
  • What if I have to choose between a rocker and a millionaire?
  • What if my boyfriend turns out to be illiterate!?
  • What if meet a short and nerdy teenage millionaire?  If I do, HOW DO I GET HIM TO LIKE ME?

In search of answers, I continued to tune in.


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