A 1987-1995 Dom Com
about the widower father Danny Tanner with three young daughters. He asked his brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis (a musician with a love of Elvis) and his best friend Joey Gladstone (a stand-up comic with no shortage of impersonations) to help him with the day-to-day needs. The three share a house and the duties of raising Danny's three daughters, 5th grader Donna Jo aka D.J., kindergartener Stephanie and baby Michelle. In season four, Jesse marries his girlfriend Rebecca, who moves into the house, whereupon they have twin boys and both families end up living under the same roof. The show was the flagship of ABC's TGIF lineup in the early 1990s.
Even when it first aired, it was considered a fairly generic family sitcom with little bite. To the surprise of just about everyone, the show became a cultural icon. It was a mixture of being a show for kids when that was increasingly less common on Network TV, provided the most truly family-friendly fare you could get on TV (when parents were most likely looking for that sort of thing) and the superstardom of the Olsen twins
. The Twins became famous for playing the cute baby character Michelle, and started popping of catchphrases left and right — The "Little baby/toddler says cute things" power exploded
like a super-charged version of The Family Circus
, and pandering to the audience with cuteness nearly always works, especially with moms and little kids. Some have also suggested that despite the wholesome sugar, the show represented the idea of "alternative" families. The three girls were essentially raised by their uncle and their dad's best friends.
Not to be confused with the Korean Drama
of the same name
This show provides examples of:
- 555-6410, the phone number of Steve's residence.
- The number of the Tanner residence is 555-2424.
- DJ's phone number is 555-8722.
- '80s Hair: All three primary male actors are shown wearing mullets at different points in the show's run.
- DJ and Stephanie have pretty huge hair, and all of the pre-Becky love interests have variations on the trope.
- Aborted Arc: Joey lands a role on a sitcom which is reformatted to be an animated series, though there's no mention of his role beyond that episode.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: It's stated in-series that Danny and Pam married not long after their senior prom, and one early episode had a college-aged Danny show a picture of D.J at around elementary school age, so it's highly likely that Pam gave birth to her almost immediately after they married. Judging from Danny's 30th birthday in season one (while DJ was 10 or 11), he was at most 19 when she was born, meaning that both Mother and Father were very youthful.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Mrs. Carruthers is both this and Stalker with a Crush toward Joey.
- Oddly, she was also his Sitcom Arch-Nemesis several times.
- Then there's Rusty, the son of Danny's girlfriend during the first half of Season 4 with a similar attitude toward D.J.
- Affectionate Nickname / Ironic Nickname: Kimmy calls Danny "Mr T".
- An Aesop: Every episode has one. Sometimes even twice.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing / The Fun in Funeral: The funeral of the (unseen) owner of Smash Club, who died from heart failure (and left the club to Jesse in his will). Justified in that he wanted his funeral to be joyous.
- Annoying Patient: Stephanie when she has chickenpox. Joey deserves much of the blame for this; he was the one who gave her an airhorn and told her to blow it whenever she wanted anything.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Michelle in the later seasons. Could also be applied to Stephanie in the early seasons.
- The Artifact: Joey. Unlike Jesse, he was just a good friend that agreed to move in to help Danny raise the girls. Over time, the girls had gotten old enough to take care of themselves and Rebecca also moved in after marrying Jesse. A later episode Lampshades this by having Joey openly asking why he's still living there.
- Ascended Extra: DJ's boyfriend Steve first appeared in "Sisters in Crime". In the next season, he becomes her steady boyfriend and a recurring character for the whole season. The season after, they break up until they got together in the final episode.
- Asleep in Class: In "Fogged Inn," Kimmy sleeps over at the Tanner house and keeps D.J. and Stephanie awake by snoring very loudly. D.J. comments that this is really weird because Kimmy "never snores when she's sleeping in class."
- Audience Surrogate: Kimmy Gibler and Aaron Bailey were always on hand to make fun of the family's corniness or the grown-ups' obliviousness.
- Back for the Finale: DJ frets over not being able to get a prom date, but Kimmy finds one for her - Steve.
- Back to School: Jesse, to the high school he dropped out of initially (though this contradicts an earlier episode where Jesse was previously shown to have graduated and attend his high school reunion).
- Bare Your Midriff: Stephanie and her classmates in this dance routine.
- The cheerleaders on the Season 3 telethon episode.
- Berserk Button: After a fashion. D.J.'s friendship with Kimmy nearly self-destructs partly because D.J. wouldn't let Kimmy drive home drunk from a party. It's clarified later in the episode that the Tanner girls' mother was killed by a drunk drivernote , hence D.J. being particularly upset.
- Best Friends In Law: Danny and Jesse are an interesting variation. Danny was married to Jesse's sister Pam for about eleven years but they only became best friends (along with Joey) after Pam died.
- Big Eater: Steve, D.J.'s boyfriend for a season, is SO WELL-KNOWN for this that presence of food (or lack thereof) is actually an indicator as to whether he's around or not.
- Bigger on the Inside: The opening credits show their house as one of those iconic multistory Victorian homes in San Francisco. The buildings themselves are actually quite small and are usually duplexes. Yet somehow on the show the home has a living room about the dimensions of the entire building, and attached kitchen, multiple bedrooms on the second story, and, against all logic, a well-sized backyard.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Jesse's cousin, Stavros, who combines this with The Thing That Would Not Leave.
- Bland-Name Product: Great American Amusement Park. Anyone from the San Francisco Bay Area knows this is based off of Marriot's/Paramount's/California's Great America in Santa Clara.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Aaron, especially towards Jesse.
- British Royal Guards: Appear in one episode when Joey and his Girl of the Week were going to meet the Queen of England. Joey attempted to get a rise out of one, presumably failing. He turns away, and the guard then kicks him.
- Broken Aesop:
- Thanks to the magic of retcon Jesse was made into a high school drop-out and the Aesop of the episode was the importance of staying in school and getting a high school education. The Problem? Jesse had his own radio show with Joey and owned his own Club. See how important a high school education is kids?
- In one episode, Michelle gets into a fight at preschool with Aaron, who steals her cookie. Michelle asks Jesse what she should do about it and Jesse (busy with other tasks) just tells her that if someone does something to her, she should just do it right back. Michelle then steals Aaron's cookie and the two start pinching each other. When both kids are punished, Jesse initially overreacts (even pulling Michelle out of preschool), but later realizes Michelle's "do it right back to them" behavior was wrong. The episode tries to paint the lesson as "if you have a problem, just go to an adult"... but Michelle did go to an adult (Jesse) and that's how the whole mess blew out of control in the first place.
- Call Back: The men of the house cover Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear" to sing a toddler Michelle to sleep; they perform a reprise in hopes of jogging her memory in the finale.
- Canadian Equals Hockey Fan: In one episode, Joey imitates a hockey fan and does a French Canadian accent.
- Car Meets House: A grade-school-age Stephanie once drove Joey's car into the kitchen.
- The house's kitchen seems to be a target for this, as a cement truck is accidentally set to begin pouring cement while D.J. and Steve are making out; thus resulting in the area near the back door and table slowly being covered in cement.
- The Cast Showoff: Two examples being John Stamos' music skills (Stamos occasionally would tour with The Beach Boys during this time) and Dave Coulier's cartoon voice impressions, particularly Popeye and Bullwinkle. In a sort of inversion, the show demonstrated Bob Saget's skills as a host on "Wake Up San Fransisco" that led to America's Funniest Home Videos. Also, Stephanie dances at every opportunity.
- Casting Gag:
- Candace Cameron (D.J.)'s big brother Kirk Cameron appeared in a season one episode as D.J.'s favorite cousin, who was like a big brother to her. What's somewhat
irksome Freakin Hilarious about this is that he shares the same name as D.J.'s eventual boyfriend.
- Also, in a season five episode, Michelle runs away to her friend Teddy's house and spends some time with his family. Teddy is portrayed in the series by Tahj Mowry, and Teddy's older sister is played—in a double-cast role—by Mowry's real-life older sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry.
- Catapult Nightmare: Jesse at the end of "The Seven-Month Itch" (part 1).
- Catch Phrase: Every original main character EXCEPT Danny had at least one.
- Joey: "Cut it out!"
- Jesse: "Have mer-cy!
- Stephanie: "How rude!" "Well pin a rose on your nose"
- Michelle: Michelle is just a catch phrase spewing machine, the following catch phrases she has had in the show include: "You got it dude!" "Aw nuts" "You're in big trouble, mister!" "Oh Puh-leaze"
- When she was a baby and started talking, she would say "Don't worry, be happy" whenever someone is upset.
- D.J.: "Oh my lanta!" (D.J. borrowed this bizarre catchphrase from the TV ads for Mylanta heartburn medicine.)
- Rumor has it that the catchphrase came about because actress Candace Cameron, a devout Christian, objected to saying "Oh my god!"
- In earlier seasons, D.J. would often call someone a "nerd-bomber" when they annoyed her. The insult was usually directed at Stephanie.
- Kimmy (sometimes used by D.J. and Michelle): "Whoa, baby!"
- Not really a Catch Phrase, but in the earliest seasons, when somebody (Joey) was being useless, Jesse reply, in a high-pitched voice, something to the effect of "Just do it, hah?" Later seasons referenced this with Stephanie and Michelle.
- An old home video of Pam, Danny's late wife, showed her saying this.
- Dwayne, a recurring character (as Kimmy's boyfriend): "Whatever."
- Not so much a catch phrase, as much as a character schtick, since that's all he ever said with two exceptions. Once when he quoted Shakespeare and another time when he said "I guess" twice.
- In the episode in which Stephanie wrecks a car into the house, nearly every character reacts with their catchphrase upon seeing the wreck.
- Characterization Marches On: An early episode had Danny reluctantly cleaning the house when the boys' mothers descend upon them. The same Danny Tanner who in later episodes is shown cleaning his cleaning supplies.
- A lesser example - in the early seasons, Jesse was shown being a sports fan such as watching games, and playing football. In later seasons, he hates sports and is shown being uncoordinated.
- Especially hilarious considering John Stamos (and by extension, Jesse) is a drummer and by necessity very coordinated.
- DJ was kind of bratty and prone to emotional outbursts in the first season, and one episode also showed her as being insecure about her appearance. In later seasons, she basically becomes The Ace of the three Tanner Girls. Granted, there was no way they could believably write her as being insecure once Candace Cameron grew up into a very attractive young woman.
- Chekhov's Gun: In the episode "Knock Yourself Out", Stephanie gives Danny a colorful tie tack as a present. Later that night, while on TV as a sportscaster, he interviews a boxer called "The Sandman" and asks about his wife leaving him. Apparently, the boxer never knew this and gets knocked out in the next round. Danny later apologizes to him on the air, and the boxer forgives him, but then fires his trainer for keeping it from him. Infuriated, the trainer punches Danny in the abdomen, but Danny is still standing and unhurt while the trainer holds his fist and moans in pain as he walks off. Looking in the camera, Danny opens his suit jacket and reveals the tie tack pinned to his tie, and thanks Stephanie on the air.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Michelle's friend Denise from seasons 5-7 disappears without an explanation after the season seven finale.
- Clip Show: Multiple episodes.
- Companion Cube: Mr. Bear to Stephanie. In "Goodbye Mr. Bear" (where it appears to have been lost), we learn that her affection for it stems from it being the gift her mom gave her when Michelle was born.
- Continuity Nod: The Texaco gas station a block away from the house gets mentioned frequently in the first seasons. Only occasionally through the rest of the series.
- Cool Uncle: Joey, although not an actual uncle.
- This can also pertain to Uncle Jesse.
- Steve Urkel from Family Matters bizarrely showed up in one episode.
- In Step by Step, Steve Urkel appears in one episode. Later in the series, John Stamos makes a cameo and mentions being the star of Full House. It made a bit more sense the very first time the episode aired; directly before Step by Step was a new episode of Family Matters. At the end of the Family Matters episode, Steve got stuck flying through the air on a jetpack he made. At the beginning of the Step by Step episode, he falls through their ceiling.
- It's not surprising that all three shows would crossover with each other, given that they were all packaged by Miller-Boyett Productions.
- Michelle (and several of her classmates) appears in an episode of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper. Jesse also makes a quick appearance. Not really surprising, since both programs were created by Jeff Franklin.
- Curse Cut Short: during Viper's guitarist audition for Jesse's band, Danny doesn't appreciate Viper's interest in tattooing D.J.'s name on his arm:
Danny: "Hi, I'm D.J.'s father Mildew, and you can tattoo that name on your—-"
Jesse: "Hey ho ho ho! Mildew, take five."
- Dead Air: Used for a brief joke when some of the family is visiting Jesse and Joey at their job at the radio station. At one point, they all realize that nothing is being broadcast, and rather than allow the dead air, they all begin chattering, singing, etc. into the mic at the same time.
- Deadpan Snarker: Stephanie in the later seasons. Jesse also, to a lesser extent.
- Most of the cast members seem to qualify.
- Death Glare: Jesse, usually towards Joey.
- Did You Think I Can't Feel?: While trapped in a storage closet on the opening of Jesse's new club, Kimmy calls him out for his remarks about her waitress outfit, stating that the reason why she was in the storage closet in the first place was because of his comments.
- Disguised in Drag: Danny and Joey in "Fraternity Reunion", when they try to steal back their fraternity seal from a sorority. A waiter falls for Danny until he learned the truth, and was angry at him for playing with his emotion.
- Dom Com
- Dream Sequence: several throughout the series, one of which has a...
- Dream Within a Dream: One bizarre example midway through the show's final season. In the episode "My Left and Right Foot", Michelle has a nightmare that her feet grow to an extremely large size.
- Drop-In Character: Kimmy.
- Dump Them All: D.J. takes this option when asked to choose between Nelson and Viper, reasoning that if she were really into either of them, then she wouldn't have any trouble deciding who to be with.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In the first few episodes Danny wasn't as OCD about cleaning, and cleaned the house because his mom was the anal one. They also used hell and damn in occasional dialogue, Jesse's last name was Cochran, and some minor characters smoked.
- Ear Worm : An in-universe example when Michelle discovers Raffi's "Baby Beluga," listens to it on a loop for a week, and Stephanie can't get it out of her head.
- Enforced Plug: The Season 6 finale was the first of several ABC sitcoms forced into shooting an episode at Disneyland in the period leading to Disney's purchase of the alphabet network.
- Embarrassing First Name: Jesse's real name is Hermes.
- Epic Fail: Jesse's hilariously miserable debut as Vulture in "Matchmaker Michelle".
- Expy: The Movie Three Men and a Baby.
- Family of Choice: The three girls are raised by their father, their maternal uncle Jesse and their father's best friend Joey. The three men (and later, Jesse's wife and kids) all live in the house together. At first, it was practical, to help raise the girls, but the arrangement continued long after the girls had grown beyond needing that level of care because the bonds of family were so strong.
- Fawlty Towers Plot: "Bicycle Thief"; see the funny moments page for details.
- First Gray Hair: In one episode, Jesse discovers to his shock he has some gray hair. He demands Becky to yank them off, but tells her not to touch when she says should one gray hair gets plucked two hair take its place. He takes this as a sign that he won't be able to make it to the music business.
- First Pet Story: First was an episode dedicated to the family getting a dog. In a later episode, Michelle got a goldfish as her first pet. She accidentally killed it, but was later able to overcome her sadness by taking better care of the second goldfish. Other episodes covered the kids trying to get animals like a horse and a donkey, and running into the issues that come with those animals.
- Flanderization: Jesse's obsession with his hair and Elvis, Danny's obsession with cleaning.
- Follow the Leader: In-Universe example, the Sitcom Joey gets a role on is reformatted to a cartoon series due to the successes of The Simpsons.
- Foreshadowing: At the end of "Happy Birthday Babies, Part 1", Becky holds her stomach for a moment.
- In "Designing Mothers", before Danny meets Vicky's mother, Joey says when that happens Danny and Vicky's relationship will change. He insists nothing will happen until (thanks to Kimmy) Vicky's mom questions about their eventual engagement. Then after Vicky's mom redecorates Steph and Michelle's room, Danny and Vicky starts to argue.
- G-Rated Sex: In the episode "Stephanie Plays the Field." In 4-year-old terms, Danny (and Joey as well) explain to Michelle – in very G-rated terms – why the door to Jesse and Becky's room is locked and she's not being invited in. (Indeed, no sex scenes are shown; viewers see only what Michelle sees – a closed door that's been locked to preserve the young lovebirds' privacy.) Michelle complains when she can't get to Jesse so he can play with her, leading Danny to finally explain that sometimes, when two people are married they want their privacy and "alone" time and that she needs to respect that. The word "sex" is not used, nor is Michelle told what Jesse and Becky are doing. (Except for Joey's "tax" explanation.)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- Every so often. Joey once had to explain to Michelle how newlyweds Jesse and Rebecca are "doing their taxes" and don't want to be disturbed.
Are they going to be doing their taxes every night
?!?! Joey: (beat)
For the first few months, yes.
- In the episode where Jesse's old flame comes to town with his great-grandparents, Jesse finds himself unable to remember Becky's name, leading him to visibly mouth "Oh Shit."
- Mild example: Steph and Gia are putting on makeup before school, and Gia says that eyes are the first thing a guy notices. "Really?" "Well... for now."
- In another, D.J. is defending her boyfriend Viper from Jesse, saying that "there's more to him than long hair and rock and roll!" Kimmy chimes in "I know! Have you seen him in tight pants?"
- In "Too Much Monkey Buisness", when Jesse first meets Danny's sister's pet monkey, the monkey takes a liking to him and sticks her hand down his pants pocket.
Jesse (wiggling uncomfortably): What is this monkey doing in my pocket? Well, I know what it's doing....but why is it doing it?
- Another mild example occurs when Michelle realizes being a girl is fun. Becky tells her, "and really fun stuff is coming up". While it could be argued that she is referring to her wedding day and prom, there's a good chance she means sex, and Michelle has no clue. Nor would any kid watching the show. Which could make it double as Parental Bonus.
- Yet another mild example happens when Danny wonders why are there so many phone calls being billed at $2 dollars each. Joey says he has NOT been calling any 976 numbers- then gives an example of a dating service one he dialed a long time ago. While a dating service is pretty innocent- 900 numbers are also used for not so innocent purposes.
- Stephanie quips in one episode that a horoscope is a telescope that can see Kimmy's face (after Kimmy insults her intelligence). This can be taken as the G-rated "horror-scope" or the PG-13 "whore-a-scope", which was clearly by intent.
- During a date auction, Rebecca forced Danny onto the auction block. He got a few bids, and when they started to slow down he said: “Don’t stop now, ladies. I can go all night!” Which caused the bidding to speed up again. Danny gave a look, showing that he just realized how what he said sounded dirty.
- In the episode "Under the Influence", Kimmy gets incredibly drunk after a party.
- The Ghost: Kimmy's parents and older brother. She also has two older sisters that were mentioned once in the first episode.
- Happier Home Movie: In a season two episode, the family watches the video of the now-dead mom arriving home from the hospital with then-newborn baby Michelle.
- Happily Married: Jesse and Becky
- Has Two Mommies: The girls essentially had three fathers. There was no sign of an influential female presence until Becky married Jesse and became a mother figure to the girls.
- Hates Being Touched: Ranger Roy. When Joey hugged him after being named his replacement, Roy hyperventilated into a paper bag.
- In the earlier seasons, Jesse never really cared for all the hugs.
- Heel-Face Turn: When Gia is first introduced, she's the resident "bad girl" in Stephanie's class and her arch-rival. Shortly thereafter, Gia becomes Stephanie's best friend.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Joey and Jesse (Danny can sometimes be added)
- Hidden Depths: Joey Gladstone, known in the series as something of a Man Child, also has a pilot's license, a teacher's license, could give a surprising detailed response to a question about cartoon violence, and on occasion substituted for Becky on Wake Up, San Francisco.
- Hoist By Their Own Petard: In "Be True to Your Preschool", the girls played "ring around a Chevy" in front of a group of nerds walking. Only to lock themselves out, much to the nerds' amusement.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Joey and Jesse often acted like a couple in raising the girls, particularly Michelle. One bemused boss of theirs declared, "Your private life is none of my business!"
- Honorary Uncle: Averted in that the girls never referred to Joey as their "uncle," but played straight in regards to his relationship with them.
- Hormone-Addled Teenager: Played straight with D.J. and Kimmy.
- Hot Teacher: In "Pal Joey", Jesse use to fantasize about Ms. Borland, a rather attractive-looking teacher.
Until you learn to stop chasing girls, Jesse Katsopolis, you're gonna sit on the bench all recess with me. (crosses her legs) Young Jesse:
Have mercy! Jesse:
I wonder if I still have her number?
- Hurricane of Puns: Joey and Jesse rattle off a series of bad egg puns in "Mr. Egghead."
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Several early episodes were titled, "Our Very First..."
- Idiot Ball: Danny grabs it once every season. Namely around or prior to the 7th episode.
- Stephanie grabs it at the end of Nicky and/or Alexander, DJ even lampshades it
DJ: You're not having a good day
- Important Haircut: Stephanie accidentally gives Jesse one in the season 2 premiere, ultimately forcing Jesse to lop the rest of his mullet off (spoiled in syndication by using the standard Season 2 intro).
- In Love with Love: Stated word by word by Danny while trying to diffuse the tension between Jesse and Joey for falling for the same girl simultaneously.
- Insult Backfire: In "The Devil Made Me Do It":
Michelle: You got a bad attitude.
Bad Michelle: Thanks.
- It's All My Fault: In "Cutting it Close", Steph blames herself for causing Jessie's accident, all because she accidentally cut his hair in her pretend haircut game.
Steph: I only scalped him, crashed his bike, and broke his arm. No wonder he's mad at me.
- It's Been Done: In "The Prying Game", Jesse made a hair guard using an old helmet face glass and a handle. He's convinced to sell the idea to make millions. While demonstrating his invention on live TV, he got a call from someone who already made a similar device years ago.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: In the episode where Jesse learns he's having twins, before that he wants to know if it's a boy or girl because he doesn't like calling the baby "it" and knows it can hear outside the mother.
- It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: In "Fraternity Reunion", DJ and Kimmy carry the big TV upstairs so they can watch two TVs, until they realize they should have brought the small TV downstairs. Kimmy accidentally drops it from high up. When DJ tries to explain to Danny what happen, she realized their plan sounded better before she said it.
- Jerk Ass: Becky's snobbish cousin in "Trouble in Twin Town". He's not hesitant to tell Jesse how much he dislikes him to his face.
- Joey's rival Hershel "Stonewall" Binkley in "Nice Guys Finish First", who joined the charity hockey game only to beat and humiliate Joey like when they were kids. Though Joey beats him by winning the game.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Michelle
- Karma Houdini: Michelle. Even though the plot of Season 4's "Crimes and Michelle's Demeanor" involved Danny realizing he was letting her get away with too much. Lampshaded occasionally in the rest of the series. Although usually when Michelle does something wrong she DOES get a talking-to and occasionally she'll get punished, ex: The episode "Sisters in Crime".
- Lame Rhyme Dodge: Becky's mom sends the newborn twins some colourful booties and Jesse complains about not wanting them to wear "tutti-frutti booties." When Becky is offended, Jesse tries to convince her that he actually said "cutey-wutey booties" and meant it as a compliment.
- Large Ham: Danny is an in-universe example whenever he's on air. All three young girls were prone to this as well, as VOLUME IS POWER to them or something.
- Stephanie gets special mention during the scene of the wedding episode where she reads Jesse's letter explaining his wanting to go skydiving before the wedding.
- Laugh Track: Used for scenes shot outside without the audience and sometimes for pre-taped sequences, particularly with the kids.
- Lead In: Just another chance to display the cute factor of Michelle, Nicky, and Alex.
- Lethal Chef: Rebecca suffers from this reputation, much to her annoyance. An episode involves her and Michelle learning how to cook together, however, with rather appetizing results to subvert the trope.
- Joey also. Flounder Tarts, anyone?
- Let's Have Another Baby: Jesse spends a whole episode trying to be the perfect stay-at-home dad to convince Becky they can have another baby. In the end, it's Becky covering a miraculous birth on Wake Up, San Francisco! that changes her mind. Although they never do have another baby during the course of the show...
- Licked by the Dog: Jesse has much fondness for his nieces, yet much less fondness for animals. Expect every animal to walk through the door, be it their dog Comet (especially as a puppy, less so in the later seasons), a warthog, a monkey, and a donkey, to take an instant liking to Jesse.
- Most notably Comet's mother, who decided Jesse's bed was the perfect place to give birth.
- Little Brother Is Watching: An episode had Joey giving up on his comedy career only to find out that DJ has quit trying to play the guitar as a result. A few seasons later there was a similar episode; Jesse has quit going back to school so Michelle quits learning to tie her shoes.
- Little Miss Snarker: Stephanie, later Michelle.
- Look Behind You: In an early episode, DJ and Kimmy are practising soccer and Kimmy is the goalie. DJ points past her and says, "Look, Kimmy, jeans on sale!", then scores a goal when Kimmy turns to look. Kimmy then admonishes DJ to never make jokes about a sale.
- MAD: A rare crossover satire with "America's Phoniest Home Videos Visits Fool House," featuring host "Bob Saggy" relentlessly tearing into the sitcom he starred in because while he was only one of six main players there, he was the only regular on the video show ("I should care? No way, dude!"). It's unlikely Saget minded much - see Old Shame.
- Making Use of the Twin: Michelle was played by both Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Child labor laws wouldn't allow one actor to work enough hours to play the part, so one would be swapped in when the other's time was up.
- Taken advantage of in 4 different episodes when the two appear on screen together for various reasons (character dream, hallucinations, identical cousins).
- Meaningful Rename: Not that it was addressed in-series, but Jesse's last name was Cochran in season 1. John Stamos asked for the character's last name to be changed in order to better reflect his own Greek heritage, so he became Jesse Katsopolis, and nods to his heritage were put in—including an in-series example of this trope, when Jesse admits that his birth first name was Hermes, the real-life name of Stamos' paternal grandfather.
- Mighty Lumberjack: Joey spent some time hosting a children's television show and invited a Jesse to join it. Jesse scoffed at the idea, thinking it below him, till he was offered a role whose manliness satisfied him: "Lumberjack Jess."
- Middle Child Syndrome: One episode revolves around Stephanie constantly feeling ignored due to being the middle child. Jesse, Danny and Joey reassure her, adding that being "the middle" has its advantages.
- Missing Mom: The driver for the series' main premise (Danny's brother-in-law and best friend moving in to help raise his three daughters). Several months before the series' began, Danny's wife and the girls' mother, Pam, was killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver.
- The absence of Pam in the girls' lives drove several of the series' plots throughout its run. Most emotional are those episodes where either Stephanie or — in the later years — Michelle are seeking a mother figure in their lives and try to play matchmaker for their father. However, Becky — especially after marrying Jesse — would effectively soon fill the void and become the girls' de facto mother. In the series finale, amnesiac Michelle asks about her mother.
- Mistaken for Gay: Happens to Joey and Jesse when they inadvertently begin acting like a couple around their boss.
- Mistaken for Servant: In the finale:
Mother: (hands a $20) Could you comb out my little girl's?
Danny: I'm a parent, not a groomer.
Mother: Oh, I'm sorry. You just have the air of stable help.
Danny: In that case, I'll take the money.
- Mood Whiplash: Rare, but a particularly jarring one happens in "The Last Dance." First, you have a heartwarming scene of Michelle and Papouli (Jesse's grandfather) dancing to Greek music that ends with them hugging with happy music in the background. It then fades to the next day with somber music playing in the background. The first thing you see is the family in mourning, with Papouli absent from the group for the first time in the episode. It's even more depressing considering that wasn't his first appearance on the show.
- Neat Freak: Danny.
- Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: DJ complains in an episode that on the first day of school, the nerds brought homework.
- Nobody Touches the Hair: Jesse, to the point where it borders on being a catch phrase.
- No Periods, Period: On a show that featured three young girls, two of whom (definitely D.J.) reached that age during the series run, the fact that we never got a Very Special Episode related to all this really stands out.
- Especially since there's probably a lot of comedy to be mined from the only people they have to talk to about it being three dudes.
- Not Me This Time: In "Lust In The Dust," Michelle has been hiding various people's possessions as a joke. So when Jesse can't find his keys, everyone assumes she's the culprit. Michelle repeatedly denies hiding the keys, but no one believes her. Jesse left his keys in the front door and Michelle was innocent. Subverted a few minutes later when Jesse loses his keys again. This time Michelle really did hide them under her bib.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. The girl's cousin Steve played by Kirk Cameron appeared in the first season, with Steve, DJ's boyfriend appearing in later seasons.
- Averted again, Danny's mother's name is Claire and in the eighth season Danny dates a woman named Claire.
- Operation Jealousy: Danny finds out Joey had gone out with a girl he once dated in high school. Joey started going out with her a few seconds after she and Danny broke up. Danny thinks Joey stole her from him until Danny decides to call her and she explains everything. They both learned that the only reason she went with either of them was to make someone else jealous. And to both their surprise, it was Jesse.
- Parachute in a Tree: When Jesse goes skydiving, his parachute gets stuck in a tree, causing him to be late to his own wedding.
- Parental Substitute: Rebecca becomes a sort of mom substitute to D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle. Jesse and Joey are additional dad figures to the girls as well.
- Picture Day: The episode "Mr. Egghead" sees Stephanie end up with a broken nose shortly before Picture Day (due to a botched prop during Joey's tryout for a local kids show).
- Pinocchio Nose: In "The Wedding, Part 1", Danny won't look Rebecca or her father in the eye when he lies.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Andrea Barber and Lori Laughlin (as Kimmy and Rebecca, respectively).
- The Olsen girls were added to the credits in season two. They weren't in the season one credits until the show was syndicated.
- And with Lori Loughlin; during Season 3 (the year Becky first became a main character) whether she appeared in the opening titles depended largely on whether her character appeared or not.
- Also used with Scott Weinger, who made a one-off appearance in Season 5 as Steve before getting credited as a member of the main cast in Seasons 6 and 7.
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: In the episode "Sisterly Love", Stephanie does this while rehearsing for a commercial.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The 1989 episode "Aftershocks" was written as a response to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that famously interrupted Game 3 of the World Series. However, this effect is lost during reruns, and may make some people feel Lost in Medias Res.
- Rewrite: Jesse's last name.
- Retcon: Jesse being a high school dropout. He actually attended his high school reunion in one episode and a flashback has him talking about graduation. Additionally, Danny and (to a lesser extent) Joey knew him back in the day. They're just as surprised as anybody when Jesse admits he dropped out of high school.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Nelson vs. Viper.
- Running Gag: Jesse never remembers the name of a member of the Rippers (Lanny). He got called out on it by Lanny himself, Rebecca, and Michelle. It also happened with a classmate of Michelle's. Every time he's corrected, he snaps his fingers saying he knew it.
Steph: I knew this would happen.
[She resorts to sighing sadly, which worked.]
- Scenery Censor
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: Used in "The Perfect Couple" with Stephanie and the twins.
- Security Blanket: Stephanie's Mr. Bear.
- Series Continuity Error: In "A Pox in Our House", Stephanie get chicken pox. Joey claims he is immune, saying he "never had it, never will." He, of course, catches chicken pox halfway into the episode. Much later in "Viva Las Joey," though, Joey is reunited with his estranged father, who recalls when Joey was suffering through chicken pox as a child. Joey nods along in agreement. He could have easily denied never having the chicken pox.
- Sexy Discretion Shot: When Jesse and Becky decide that they'd be okay with having another baby (even though that doesn't end up happening).
Jesse: Just one question... when would you like to start?
Becky: Now works for me.
[They get in bed, lights out, and the episode ends.]
- She Is All Grown Up:
- DJ is the most popular example. Nearly everybody who has ever watched the show has commented on how she....developed nicely in the show's later seasons.
- Stephanie also became many times more crushworthy as she hit puberty. More fitting to the trope, Jodie Sweetin has become very attractive as an adult.
- Ship Tease: There were a fair bit of jokes about Jesse and Kimmy, mostly her having a crush on him. This was played entirely for laughs.
- Shout-Out: One scene involving Jesse and Kimmy being a couple features Kimmy resembling Peggy Bundy. Lucky for Jesse it turned out he wasn't married with her after all.
- Until Kimmy shows up for real.
- In season four, Michelle is shown to own stuffed animals of Buster and Babs Bunny.
- Show Within a Show: Wake Up, San Francisco once Danny gets the job as (co-)host of the show.
- Sit Comic: Not one but TWO comedians as part of the main cast (Bob Saget & Dave Coulier).
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Stephanie to Kimmy once Michelle takes over the Little Miss Snarker title; Kimmy insults back only occasionally because she isn't as witty.
- Smelly Feet: Kimmy Gibbler.
- Smoking Is Glamorous: Although D.J. eventually decided against smoking. Stephanie, too.
- Spoiled Brat - Michelle. A side effect of her becoming a huge Creator's Pet.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The show was suppose to be more about the 3 adult men raising these kids, but then Danny Tanner's daughters (ESPECIALLY Michelle) got more & more popular. Granted, when it comes to sitcoms packaged by Miller-Boyett Productions, it's not the worst offender -- but still. People were even referring to it as "The Michelle Show" towards the end of its run.
- Stop Copying Me: Michelle annoyed Stephanie by shadowing her. Steph eventually got Michelle to shadow Kimmy instead.
- An episode had Stephanie copying D.J.'s clothing, room, and mannerisms in order to seem more grown-up, much to D.J.'s chagrin. Towards the end, Michelle starts doing the same thing with Stephanie.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: In "My Left and Right Foot":
Michelle: I was trying to shrink my feet.
Joey: [snaps fingers] I would have been right.
- Stuck At The Airport Plot: One Christmas Episode has the Tanners Snowed-In at the airport on Christmas Eve, with Stephanie worried that Santa won't know where they are and not deliver their presents.
- Super OCD: Danny upgrades from Neat Freak to this during Spring Cleaning.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial
Danny: Now I'm gonna go upstairs and see if your sisters are up there.
Michelle: They're not doing anything wrong.
Danny: Well, that normally means that they are.
- Telethon: The Season 3 finale has Danny and Becky (and the rest of the family) hosting the "We Love Our Children Telethon '90". Chaos ensues.
- This Is My Side: D.J. once divided the room she shared with her younger sister Stephanie. Too bad Stphanie's half didn't have access to the door.
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: When Michelle climbs a fence and gets stuck, Danny refuses to help her, and he talks Michelle down from the fence instead. note
- ¡Three Amigos!: Jesse, Danny and Joey.
- Tone Shift: From family-friendly sitcom to aesop-dropping kid's show.
- Trademark Favorite Food:
- Kimmy loves trout.
- Vanilla Weasels for Joey.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: One of the biggest examples was in Season 4's "Rock the Cradle." Jesse explains how excited he is about going on tour with his band, talking about his "natural raw talent" and the fact that he's practiced for years in basements and garages. The family thinks he's talking about the impending birth of his first child, which Becky hasn't managed to tell him about yet. Hilarity Ensues.
- Vacation Episode: At times, the family went to Hawaii and Walt Disney World.
- Verbal Tic: The way the casino manager says "F-abulous" in "Luck Be a Lady".
- DJ's "Oh Mylanta!" borders on this (especially in the later seasons when it went from merely an expression of surprise to an interjection), both because of how she always says it in the same cutesy rising intonation almost as if asking a question and the frequency.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Danny siding with Jesse over DJ for being caught with a beer in her hand at a school dance, although from what Jesse walked in on, it was justified (she reeked of beer, which was sprayed on her by another kid and she was waving it around in her hand, as to mock them for drinking it).
- Played straight with DJ herself in an episode where Stephanie was taking dancing classes. She casually pointed out that if she practiced as much and as often as her sister did, she'd have no life.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Early during the show, Jesse and Joey work for an advertising firm; they leave sometime during the third season. They go through several different jobs for a while until both finally settle for being radio DJs for a local radio station in the sixth season.