Queering “Full House” and “Fuller House”

People either love or hate Full House (1987-1995) and now Fuller House (2016-). One of many reasons to love these shows is that they provide a Queer outlook on family life, which has been almost completely ignored by the blogosphere. A “queered” analysis examines the ways in which a text relates or does not relate to what society has labeled as “normal” masculinity, femininity, and heteronormative structures of family, relationships, and sexuality. 

Pause for a minute to recognize the conservative environment of the late 1980s and early 1990s (read more about the Conservative Consensus) in which Full House emerged – a show where, in the true spirit of the sociological concept of “fictive kin networks,” a group of non-related people fully function as a happy, healthy, and “normal” immediate family.

Full House features three dads–the biological father, Danny; Danny’s best friend, Joey; and Danny’s brother-in-law, Jesse–and three daughters. When Jesse and Rebecca marry and have kids the household has three dads, one mom, and five kids. Throughout all of the shows, the adults are equally engaged with all of the children and various household responsibilities. Danny and Joey never marry and seldom date, which provides a strong message that marriage and constant romantic love is not required for happiness. 

As a result, Full House is anything but a “typical family”–although there is no such thing–and this television family does not come close to fully subscribing to or endorsing so-called “masculinity,” as happens far too often in popular culture. And this is without even talking about their neighbor Kimmy, who might as well be a daughter, and other reoccurring characters.

Now Fuller House features a household of moms and kids.

Full House and Fuller House are only simplistic portrayals of life (an often repeated criticism) when we fail to consider that one of its biggest and most important messages is that good, important, and meaningful families and relationships AND identities come in all shapes and sizes, and as Melissa Harris-Perry recently said, raising children is the responsibility of each person in society. By Queering this unique television show we can appreciate it in an entirely new set of ways. 

Andrew Joseph Pegoda