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Thanksgiving on Full House

When writing "Halloween on Full House," it quickly became apparent that the classic sitcom didn't focus much on Halloween.  That took me by surprise because, after all, Full House was always about celebrating the "typical average American family."  One thing that definitely seems like something the "typical American family" would do is celebrate Halloween every year.  

After posting that article, I immediately wondered how the series handled Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family and togetherness, and most families celebrate with large dinners complete with jokes, laughter, and family fun.  That's why I was again so surprised that there was only ONE episode during the eight-season run where we saw the Tanner family celebrate Thanksgiving!  

Full House may not have gone all out for Thanksgiving every year like Roseanne or Home Improvement may have, but continuing the "Holidays on Full House" series, we'll see how they covered Thanksgiving in their very first season.  

Similar to what we've found with the other "Holidays On..." series (Home Improvement, Roseanne, and Frasier), the earlier seasons typically covered the holidays more frequently than they did in their later years.  Holidays are a great way to develop characters and establish specific long-term story arcs.  Holidays are also pretty universal stories that almost anyone can relate to, whereas, in the later seasons, the series and characters have already been developed and do not need to rely on a more "basic" holiday story.  

Like any good host on Turkey Day, I want to send you home with a full belly and some leftovers, so since there was only one Thanksgiving episode, as a bonus, I'm including an episode of the Netflix sequel series "Fuller House" that really hits on Thanksgiving.  

Although the series was set in San Francisco, the show was filmed at the Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles.  Except for a few scenes in the opening sequence, the only episode to have actually been taped in San Francisco was Season Eight's "Comet's Excellent Adventure," where there are several scenes of the girls chasing Comet (the dog) through the streets of San Francisco.  Only a handful of the 192 episodes are not filmed in the Los Angeles studio, including my favorite episodes when the family visits Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for the two-part sixth-season finale called "The House Meets the Mouse."  

Speaking of the opening sequence, the show's theme song, "Everywhere You Look," was performed by Jesse Frederick, who co-wrote the song with Bennet Salvay and Full House's creator, Jeff Franklin.  Over the years, several instrumental versions of the theme song were used for the closing credits.  The version between seasons four and eight was also used in the opening credits during early syndication runs.  Seasons One through Five used a much longer version of the theme song than in later years, which was shortened as much as possible to allow for more episode storytelling.

The song was altered for syndication, with the original line "How did I get to livin' here, somebody tell me please," with "you miss your old familiar friends, waiting just around the bend."   When ABC Family acquired the rights to air the series in 2003, it became the first network to air the longer version of the theme song since the original ABC run, while the Hallmark Channel ran with four different versions of the opening credits, including the full version.

For Fuller House on Netflix, the theme song was rewritten in some spots and performed by pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen.  

Over the years, Full House ran on several different television networks.   

After its original debut on ABC during TGIF, Warner Bros. Television Distribution began handling the domestic and international syndication rights.  During the summer of 1991, reruns began airing in a daily daytime spot on NBC.  In September of the same year, for the new Fall lineups, Warner Bros began distributing Full House in off-network syndication on various local or regional stations nationwide.  The series has also been seen on nationwide cable networks like TBS, Nick at Nite, ABC Family (FreeForm), Teen Nick (The N), CMT, and the Hallmark Channel.  

I'm sure I missed one or two, as it's run in syndication for nearly THIRTY-FIVE years.  It could have easily run on a smaller local station in your neck of the woods.  Did I miss one?  Leave a comment down below.  

In 2017, Hulu acquired the streaming rights to Full House, along with fellow TGIF mainstays Family Matters, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Perfect Strangers, Step by Step, Boy Meets World, as well as other ABC/Disney productions Dinosaurs and Home Improvement.  

In October 2021, Full House began streaming on Max (HBO Max).  

In early 2022, Full House began airing on the classic television network MeTV and its sister network Catchy Comedy.  In late 2022, Full House began airing on the Great American Family (GAF) network.  

Now that we know where to catch our episodes featuring our favorite family, The Tanners, let's look at the lone Thanksgiving episode and a "bonus" Fuller House episode.  

If you're concerned about the lack of Halloween or Thanksgiving episodes, fret not, my friends!  There are THREE Christmas episodes!  But first, let's take a look at Thanksgiving.

It's the Tanner family's first Thanksgiving without Pam, and Danny is extra determined to make the day special for his daughters.  Danny's mother, Claire, is supposed to fly in from Tacoma, Washington, to help cook the turkey and celebrate with her granddaughters.  What happens when ice and snow in Washington cancel her flight?  Let's find out!  

Season One:  "The Miracle of Thanksgiving" S1E9, Originally Aired November 20, 1987

Earlier in this article, I briefly talked about the iconic theme song, and in the Hulu version of this episode, the theme song lasted a full ONE MINUTE and SEVEN seconds.  That's pretty long for an introduction, especially compared to today's sitcoms that no longer even use theme songs.

After the intro, Danny enters Michelle's bedroom with a weird turkey decoration made out of colorful construction paper and a pine cone.  After begging Michelle to impress everyone during dinner by saying "turkey," he brings her into Jesse's room to wake him up.  Jesse is supposed to be only 24 years old here, and in a "where did the time go?" moment, so is John Stamos.  Being 24, Jesse is still passed out and disheveled, seemingly after another night of partying.  He's not happy to be woken up at 7 a.m. on a holiday morning but follows Danny downstairs for an important family meeting.  As Jesse stumbles grumpily down the stairs, Joey pops up from his cot in the alcove in an over-the-top great mood.  

Danny informs his friends that his mother won't be able to make it for Thanksgiving because her flight was canceled because of a snowstorm in Tacoma.  Gleefully, Joey says they will cook the turkey themselves using "The Miracle... of Thanksgiving!"  This becomes a running gag throughout the episode, which Jesse doesn't appreciate.  He's quick to tell Joey that there isn't any such thing as the Miracle of Thanksgiving.  To prove his point,  he begins listing acceptable miracles:  Miracle of Christmas, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and Miracle Whip.  

Danny insists that the trio make the day perfect for the girls because it's their first Thanksgiving without their mother, who always made it a special day for them.  This immediately snaps Jesse out of his sour mood, and he's completely on board with making it the best day possible.  Joey again insists that "The Miracle of Thanksgiving" will save the day.  

We head into the kitchen, where Joey reads a Betty Crocker cookbook as Danny and Jesse lay out ingredients on the table.  After being confused by the recipe, Joey suggests that the "Miracle of Thanksgiving" would be if they could get any kind of reservation at any restaurant this late on Thanksgiving morning.  

As hope is lost, the girls enter the kitchen, and Danny breaks the news about Grandma.  The girls are incredibly disappointed, but Danny tells them not to worry because they will go to the best restaurant in town and have the most memorable Thanksgiving ever.  Stephanie gets over her disappointment pretty quickly at the thought of a restaurant, but D.J. is upset and mad over the suggestion.  She said her mother always provided an excellent homecooked meal on Thanksgiving, and they shouldn't be going out to eat.    

Understanding D.J.'s point, Danny apologizes that he can't live up to a meal of her Mom's standards but promises to make the day memorable. D.J.'s mood suddenly shifts when she remembers that her mother taught her how to make a pumpkin pie last year and decides to make that for everyone.  Steph agrees to help, and then D.J. offers to make the turkey because she was planning to help Grandma cook anyway.  The guys all get behind the idea and agree to pitch in to help.  Joey feels the "Miracle of Thanksgiving" returning! 

Like most early episodes of Full House, we get a song and dance routine when everyone dances along to The Temptations song "Get Ready" as they get the table ready for mealtime.  Joey presents the family with the "Miracle of Thanksgiving," and everyone celebrates.  

Everyone is excited to eat, but first, tradition says that they say grace, and everyone mentions one thing they are thankful for.  Jesse gives thanks to D.J. for convincing them to cook the meal themselves instead of going out to eat. D.J. is grateful to not be at a restaurant and to be able to make a meal just like her Mom did.  She lays it on thickly that she feels honored to carry on her Mother's tradition and even asks Danny if her Mom would have been proud.

While Danny fights back tears, he notices Joey and Jesse waving emphatically behind D.J.'s back.  They can't carve the turkey because it's still frozen, and most of the meal is inedible.  

Thinking quickly, Danny announces that he prefers extra crispy skin and throws the turkey back into the oven, cranking the heat to "Maximum."  This causes D.J. to question her cooking skills and worry that she disappointed her Mother. 

The doorbell rings, and Danny rushes everyone out of the kitchen to answer it.  When the door opens, two beautiful young women named Paula and Alexandra are holding a plate of food covered in aluminum foil.  The two realize they are at the wrong address, but Jesse immediately invites them in to use the phone.  When they mention that they are holding a freshly cooked turkey under the foil that's starting to get cold, Danny sends his daughters upstairs to wash their hands while he plots ways to get his hands on the turkey.  

Claiming this to be the actual "Miracle of Thanksgiving," he begs Jesse to sweet talk the girls into staying for Thanksgiving dinner.  Jesse tries the old Katsopolis charm, but they quickly respond that their husbands wouldn't like it if they stayed to eat with other men.  As they head for the door, Danny quickly offers several amounts of money for the bird, finally gaining their interest at $150.  Based on inflation, that would be like offering someone $415 in 2023.  

Joey has gone into the kitchen to mix some drinks for their female guests when somehow his tongue gets stuck in a bottle.  Trying to use the slats in the back of a chair to remove the bottle, he's now just stuck to the back of a chair.  

Suddenly, the turkey starts smoking inside the oven, and Joey runs into the living room to warn everyone of the fire.  Spooked at seeing a man with a bottle and chair stuck to his face, the girls rush out the door as Danny offers over $200 for the turkey. 

Despite quickly yanking the turkey out of the oven, it's too late.  It's burned and inedible. D.J. and Stephanie see this, and Danny admits that the turkey was frozen, and to try to save it, he cooked it at the highest temperature possible. D.J. is devastated, and while trying to make her feel better, Stephanie drops the pumpkin pie on the floor, the day completely ruined.

The two girls sulk and head upstairs, feeling sorry for themselves and upset with their inability to cook a turkey properly.  

Jesse heads upstairs to talk to Stephanie while Danny follows after D.J. Once the kitchen empties, Michelle says "turkey" to Joey after the two are left alone in the kitchen.  He again proclaims to have found the "Miracle of Thanksgiving."  

As the famous Full House "serious moment" violins play, D.J. tells her father that she's upset because she feels like she let her mother down.  Danny explains that Pam knew Thanksgiving wasn't about turkey or the food, but Thanksgiving is about family and being thankful for what you have.  He tells D.J. he's grateful to have her because she's the only one who could have pulled the family together to try and make a meal like her mother would have.  

He admits that he offered $200 ($550 in 2023!) for Paula and Alexandra's turkey, and D.J. laughs, saying she'd rather have known the truth and kept the $200 for herself.   Danny says that D.J. reminds him so much of her mother, and the two hug.

Meanwhile, Jesse has a talk with Stephanie.  She's upset with herself for dropping the pie, and he reminds her that everyone makes mistakes.  He shows her photos of when he was 5, and Steph's Mom, Pam was 10 to prove his point.  She convinced him she was in beauty school, and he made the mistake of letting her cut his hair.  Being only 10, she cut it entirely off.  While they laugh at the photos, Danny and D.J. walk by, and the two girls decide to go make a new pumpkin pie. 

After the girls disappear, Jesse tells Danny that the photo albums made him realize the pain of losing his sister still hasn't gone away.  Danny says he understands those feelings (what with Pam having been his wife and all) and that the pain never completely goes away, especially on holidays like Thanksgiving.  He reminds Jesse that he's not alone and that their memories of her are what keep her alive.  

Before rejoining the family, Jesse shares another memory of Pam with Danny.  He got even with Pam for cutting his hair off by dying her hair red, white, and blue using a pudding cup and finger paint.  Danny reminds Jesse how glad he is that Jesse moved in to help raise the girls.  The two share a hug and a  laugh with misty eyes.   

Later on, at the table, Danny says grace.  He says he's thankful to be a part of a great family that really loves each other.  Jesse thanks God for his parents, who are in Orange County with his father's "goofy relatives."  Joey quickly thanks God for his father and his father's third wife... Janice?  Joey also hopes his mother has good luck on a Thanksgiving gambling junket in Atlantic City.  

They all say "Amen!" together and dig into what's left of the food.

"Fuller Thanksgiving" - Fuller House S2E6 Originally Released December 9, 2016

During the first few episodes of Fuller House, the only thing that kept my wife and I entertained was the nostalgic blast of seeing the original cast again - Danny, D.J., Stephanie, Jesse, Joey, and Becky.  As I'm sure the plan was all along, the nostalgia was phased out over time to make way for new storylines featuring D.J. and Stephanie's new families.  Our interest in the show phased out about that time, too.  

For the 6th episode of the Second Season, a Tanner family reunion finally takes place at an event that's not a wedding or funeral... Thanksgiving! D.J. is in charge of this year's holiday and begins preparing for the arrival of the house guests.  I noted that she made several jokes about it being a "Full House."  Cute.

The first to arrive at the house is their father, Danny.  Danny is alone since his current wife, Teri, is with her side of the family for the holiday.  You may remember Danny was briefly engaged to Vicky Larson on Full House (at Disney World).  In Season One of Fuller House, we find out that he eventually marries someone named Teri at some point between the end of Full House and the start of Fuller House.  Eventually, during Season Three, it was revealed that Danny and Teri divorced.  

Clearly, Danny is in the middle of some type of midlife crisis.  Wearing a shiny jacket and bright red leather shoes, he mentions he bought a new Ferrari, which just happens to be parked outside.  I'd love to know how badly he bottomed out parking a Ferrari on that steep San Francisco driveway.  He even says things out of character, like "Are you (Stephanie) and Donna Jo getting jiggy with it?" in a poor attempt to be hip.  

Despite his mid-life crisis antics, the family is even more worried about how Danny will take the news that Stephanie is dating Kimmy Gibbler's younger brother, Jimmy.  

Jesse, Becky, and the twins, Nicky and Alex, arrive next.  It's briefly mentioned that the twins have graduated college and now run a "mildly successful" fish taco truck.  Jesse and Becky have been fighting, and it doesn't take long for us to find out that Becky once again has baby fever and wants Jesse to agree to adopt a baby.  

Jesse says he is done raising children, having helped raise Danny's three girls and his own two boys.  He keeps telling Becky he's too old, but she keeps insisting he's not.  After a big argument, they decide to put their feelings aside until the weekend is over for the sake of everyone else's holiday.  

Purely by coincidence, Stephanie coaxes Uncle Jesse into helping put Tommy Jr. down for a nap.  This was to help Becky prove to him that despite his age, he still has "the touch" with children.  Instead of simply reading "The Little Engine That Could," Jesse performs the story while impersonating Elvis.  Becky catches a glimpse of Jesse's performance, and rather than making her baby fever worse, she realizes that maybe Jesse was right all along.  He's raised several children, and it's selfish of her to expect him to raise another one at his age. 

Finally, Joey arrives at the house with a big surprise for everyone.  During the first season, it was revealed Joey lives in Las Vegas with his own nightly comedy show.  He surprises everyone this year when he arrives for Thanksgiving and introduces his wife, Ginger.  Ginger is a magician in the same casino in Vegas, and the couple introduces their four children named after iconic comedians:  Jerry, Lewis, Phyllis, and Joan.  

D.J. was extra surprised to see the Gladstone family since Joey never RSVP'd for Thanksgiving... for himself OR his family of six.  This causes her much more stress as she reshuffles the sleeping arrangements once again.   

As the day wears on, it's clear that the Gladstone children are out of control.  They raid everyone's bedrooms and tie up the younger boys, shooting them with Nerf darts.  Eventually, after nearly everyone in the house has had enough, Kimmy is chosen to tell them to shape up or ship out.  When one quickly pays her a phony compliment, she completely caves and invites them to stay "as long as they want."  

D.J.'s boyfriend, Matt, and her high school boyfriend, Steve (and his current girlfriend, CJ) are invited to participate in the Thanksgiving festivities.  However, Steve doesn't seem to want to believe that D.J. has chosen Matt over himself.  Steve seems quite anxious about it, even though his girlfriend CJ is standing right next to him.  A girlfriend whose name is awfully close to D.J., I might add. 

Donna Jo is starting to unravel from the stress of everything happening around her.  She abandons the family photo after nobody can focus long enough to take the picture.  Everyone is too busy arguing and fighting about everything.  She can't even rely on her father, Danny, the former rock of the Tanner family, because he's busy riding a hoverboard and talking about skinny dipping.  

D.J. finally gets Danny to admit that a "near-death" experience is what spurred this personality change.  After more prying, he finally admits that a bookshelf "almost" fell on him.  That moment made him realize he'd wasted his life being a sweater-wearing clean freak. 

Frustrated and embarrassed, Danny asks about life, "What's it all about, anyway?" D.J. points at the house she grew up in (and now owns) and says it's "the whole house."  A Full house of people who are what it's "all about."  She tells her father that he's the one who brought them all together in the first place, and that's what is important this Thanksgiving.  

The spirit of family togetherness eventually gets Jesse, and he suddenly decides he wants to adopt a baby.  After using the prayer to poke fun at Michelle for not coming to the Thanksgiving dinner (and a real-life dig at the Olsen twins for not returning to Fuller House), the episode ends as the camera pans around the table slowly.  

It shows the kind of love and laughter the Tanner family on Full... and Fuller... House have brought us for over 30 years.