The 'Fuller House' creator explains the Netflix spin-off's biggest changes from the original show

Fuller house cast 2 netflixMichael Yarish/Netflix‘Fuller House’ cast.

“Full House” fans will be pleasantly surprised by the ways in which the its spin-off, now available on Netflix, stays true to the style of the original show. That was the streaming giant’s hope, but that doesn’t mean the producers could entirely avoid updating the show for today’s digital-enabled audience.

The spin-off takes the original concept, two single guys helping their widowed friend raise his three girls, and flips the genders.

On “Fuller House,” newly widowed D.J. is joined by her sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and best friend Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) in raising her three young boys.

“To me, it makes ‘Fuller House’ different from ‘Full House,’ and in a lot of ways, more interesting, because we get to tell different stories from a completely different point of view,” show creator Jeff Franklin told Business Insider.

It’s still very family-friendly, and shot with multiple cameras in front of a live audience. The San Francisco-set house looks the same and pretty much all of the original cast returned (save the Olsen twins, whose pass on the offer was much-publicized).

“When we originally did ‘Full House,’ there were probably 40 sitcoms on the air and most of them were family-oriented sitcoms, so we were just one in a sea of family shows at that time,” Franklin said. “Now, that kind of programming has completely disappeared, and I think there is a hole there to be filled where families have something that they can watch together other than sports and ‘The Voice.'”

Full House john stamos Saeed Adyani/NetflixJohn Stamos, left, and Jodie Sweetin on ‘Fuller House.’

But star and “Fuller House” executive producer John Stamos wasn’t on the same page. Stamos, who has seen a career resurgence over the past few years and stars on Fox comedy “Grandfathered,” pushed the producer “
to hire different kinds of writers,” according to Franklin.
“John wanted the show to be as contemporary and maybe a little more cutting-edge than I saw it,” the creator added. “I knew that we have millions and millions and millions of fans out there that encompass three and a half generations now, and that those are going to be the people who initially tune in and watch the show. I wanted to make ‘Fuller House’ a show that they would love, that would feel like ‘Full House’ and not like some different version of the show that these characters didn’t quite fit into.”

Don’t worry about their friendship. Franklin says Stamos ultimately came around to the more throwback feel for the show.

On the other hand, the show is on Netflix and it’s 2016. It would have to evolve. First, there’s the binge-watching factor. For “Fuller House,” that means a break from wrapped-up-in-a-bow endings. Story arcs could span multiple episodes.

“Netflix was very committed to serialized storytelling, so they asked us to include that,” Franklin said. “It really kicks in around episode seven where we start some arcs that continue through the rest of our first season. So that was different for me.”

And unlike traditional TV, there are no commercial breaks. That means the writers didn’t have to account for them.

“It was great, because it was free,” the producer said. “We could tell the story the way we wanted to tell it and not have to artificially create some dramatic moment that fell every 10 pages or 12 pages just to try to get people to come back after commercials. That’s really wonderful.”

Plus Netflix isn’t a stickler about episode length.

“They said each episode could be as long or short as it needs to be, so don’t worry about the length, and that was great,” Franklin said of the episodes, which range from 25 minutes to the premiere episode’s lengthy 36 minutes.

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