Let’s just get this out of the way right now: I love Kimmy Gibbler. She is obviously in the Joey role in this reboot of the series and Joey was always the worst. In fact, Joey is still the worst, with his comic pajamas and his frightening beaver puppet that terrifies small children. (We also know from some Alanis Morissette songs that he frightened her with his beaver work as well.) Kimmy Gibbler is no Joey. She is so much better than Joey. She is a weird freak no one wants to hang out with who somehow became a successful small-business owner and mother who is desired by an incredibly handsome Latino man and apparently has enough of a history that she was a bit of a catch. God, I love Kimmy Gibbler: She just shows up, says something kind of stupid or ridiculous, and goes back to whatever it is she was doing. I wish we all had a little Kimmy Gibbler inside of us — just like Mr. Beaver has a bit of Joey inside of him.
Before we get to all that, we should probably update everyone on the Tanner clan. Eldest daughter D.J. is a vet (animal doctor not Iraq War fighter) living in her childhood home with her father, Danny, and her three sons, Jackson, Max, and Tommy, after her husband died while fighting fires a year ago. Stephanie Tanner just returned from living in London and has a career as a successful DJ named DJ Tanner, which is sort of my favorite joke in the whole damn episode. Well, either that one or when everyone turned to the camera and said that youngest daughter Michelle couldn’t return to San Francisco because she was busy running her fashion empire in New York.
Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky still live in San Francisco, but Becky and Jesse are moving to L.A. with Danny so that Danny and Becky can have their own version of Live With Regis and Kathie Lee but probably with less shouting and more cardigans (though Lori Loughlin does look remarkably like Kathie Lee Gifford now that I think about it). Their sons, Nicky and Alex, are in college in L.A. where they major in surfing and saying their lines in tandem, which is apparently a skill for which one needs an advanced degree. Also D.J.’s old boyfriend, Steve, still lives in the old neighborhood and he wants to be D.J.’s new Rice-A-Roni, her San Francisco treat.
Is that everyone? Yup, it sure is. Can we just pause for a moment and relish how true it is when Uncle Jesse says how good everyone looks. It’s a miracle that everyone on this cast grew up to be so attractive and ready to be back on a sitcom, especially the child stars. So many of them grow up to be strange-looking and awkward adults, but no one here. Aside from the fact that I will never get over that Stephanie is taller than D.J., everyone here is just as fine-looking as they were back in the day. Especially Alex and Nicky, whom I dream of in the parking lot of some beach on the West Coast changing out of their board shorts under a towel. Have mercy.
The episode centers around the going-away party for Becky and Danny, which Kimmy Gibbler throws because she is now an event planner. By all accounts it is sort of a sad party. All she had to do was set up Stephanie’s sound system in the living room, put out some crudité platters from Safeway, and then invite everyone who has ever been on the show and Jesse’s band, the Rippers. There are literally no other guests at this party.
Kimmy’s ex-husband, Fernando, doing his best Wilmer Valderrama from That ‘70s Show, crashes the party to drop off Ramona, Kimmy’s daughter, who has beef with D.J.’s oldest, Jackson, mostly because he seems like a no-good jerk who orders around his clean-freak younger brother Max. My second-favorite joke of the episode was when D.J. answered the door and told Fernando, “This is a going-away party, so — go away.” Leave it to a mom to tell us a great dad joke.
From Fernando we learn that Kimmy has “unlocked the secrets of the Kama Sutra,” which I don’t find too unreasonable. It’s like she spent all of her dorky years at college learning which of Cosmo’s sex tips actually work and which are ridiculous nonsense, like putting a doughnut around a guy’s member and then eating it off, which does sound appetizing because of the doughnut but just seems sticky and gross because of everything else.
The party was sweet and a good way to introduce us to lots of the old jokes we loved about the show. Everyone got a chance to use his or her catch phrase (“How rude!” etc.) and it was nice, like a class reunion you actually want to attend. Like a class reunion, there were also some cringey moments, like the choreographed dance number to New Kids on the Block’s “The Right Stuff” and, even worse, Uncle Jesse singing his hit song “Forever.” It wouldn’t have been that bad if the singing voices weren’t so poorly dubbed that it made Milli Vanilli roll over in their graves.
After the party, when everyone is about to take off, D.J. is feeling overwhelmed because she has to get the kids to school, find a new house, and give the baby his ear drops. Then Steve shows up with Comet Jr. Jr. who is about to give birth, because that is a thing you do when your dog is in labor — wrap it in a blanket and bring it over to your ex-girlfriend’s house. (Actually the correct procedure is to set up a webcam to start documenting the puppies’ lives as soon as possible and broadcasting it to the world.)
D.J. does it all, including supervising the birth of a brood of puppies that were so fake they made the vocals to “Forever” sound real, but she’s overwhelmed and everyone overhears her through the baby monitor talking about how hard her job is. At first her dad offers to stay behind. But then Stephanie and Kimmy step up. They’ll move into the house and they’ll raise their brood the same way that Danny, Joey, and Jesse raised Danny’s daughters. To show this continuity, they even reenact a moment from the pilot where the group quiets a crying baby by singing the theme song to the Flintstones.
It was all nice and wonderful, but the nicest thing that happened in the whole episode was that Danny gave the house to D.J. and Stephanie. Do you know how much an entire townhouse in San Francisco is worth these days? That’s like a $40 million nest egg they’re sitting on. Why don’t they just sell the damn thing and all move to Hawaii and hire like 19 nannies to take care of all of those kids? That seems like a much better plan to me, but then, well, we wouldn’t have a show.