Happy birthday, D.J. Tanner! Candace Cameron, the Full House actress who portrayed the oldest of the Tanner sisters, celebrates her 37th birthday today. Aside from her unfortunate relation to the 80s-heartthrob-turned-homopobic-asshole Kirk Cameron, Candace played the big sister we always wanted to have and the girl we wanted to grow up to be. It’s been a minute or two since I tuned in to the cheesy shenanigans of the Tanner household, but in my nostalgic musings I’ve realized that Full House actually taught me some very valuable facts of life during my impressionable and awkward adolescence. I mean, where else was a ’90s baby like me supposed to turn for tutelage? Thus, I give you the five universal life lessons as told by D.J. Tanner and co.
1. Life is better with a doppelgänger.
Okay, fine, maybe this isn’t actually in the show. Semantics, whatever. Yet we all knew the dirty little behind-the-scenes secret – Michelle Tanner is not one, but TWO people. To this day, it is my first thought when reminiscing on the glassy-eyed hours I devoted to the Tanners. She is TWO people. That’s just crazy! Let’s be real, as a four-year old, there is NOTHING cooler than the possibilty of having another one of you. Except maybe bubble wrap. Bubble wrap was hella cool when I was four. I digress, I decided right then and there that my life was going to be better with another one of me. Surprisingly enough, that has only become truer as I’ve grown older. Studying for finals? Tag, you’re in doppelgänger! Lame date? Switch! 9-5 work day? Nap time for me. Seriously, that Michelle Tanner had the right idea. Haven’t quite found mine yet, but I’m hopeful. Feel free to submit resumes and head shots for consideration. Smokers need not apply.
2. A functional family of three is overrated.
Having spent the 90s as an only child, I felt a certain discord when watching approximately 22 minutes of Tanner family shenanigans each week. It just seemed like something was off, something was missing. And then it hit me: my house wasn’t full. Where was our handsome Greek uncle with the family that lives in the attic? When did we need to refurbish the basement garage for the awkward comedian that played with puppets? And for the life of me, I could not find a single kid in the cul de sac to show up at my door every day in tacky 80s getups. I mean, sure, Mom and Dad were cool, but where was the sassy pint-sized toddler and wise, overachieving big sis? I just couldn’t understand why we weren’t squeezing as many people into our living space as humanly possible. Fail on our part.
3. A signature catch phrase is the key to success.
The Tanners looove their catch phrases, and deservedly so. The famous phrases repeated ad nauseam, like Jesse‘s swoon-inducing “Have mercy!” and Stephanie‘s incessant “How rude,” are eternally linked to my memories of said characters. What started as quirky one-liners became the hallmark of each distinct Tanner personality. Strangely enough, when repeated at least twice an episode for eight seasons, these little quips became endearing. They drew me in like a moth to a lightbulb. If anyone happens to say “You got it, dude,” I still instinctively give the Michelle thumbs-up. It’s beyond my control. Clearly, the Tanners had this on lock. So quick, coin your catch phrase! And then say it as much as possible, regardless of its relevancy to the topic at hand. If you say it enough, everyone will love you! People will even make GIFs about you! And there it is. The key to success. I think I’ll go with “YOLO.”
4. Good hair is next to godliness.
Shout out to my girl, D.J. She was killin’ it with her teased mane and wispy bangs back then. And of course, Uncle Jesse introduced my young self to the metrosexual male with his obsession over his sleek Greek locks. Further exacerbating the necessity of the perfect ‘do were the multiple hair don’ts of Miss Kimmy Gibbler. Girl had some serious bad hair days. The conclusion was simple, really. Tanners have good hair. Tanners are happy. Thus, good hair equals happiness. Only four years old and I had already figured out the transitive property of equality. I could’ve been great. Instead, I hid behind the couch with some safety scissors and cut myself some wispy bangs. Things got messy. Thus, I amend my previous statement: Good hair salons are next to godliness.
5. When in doubt, be sassy.
Enough said, right, Michelle?
(Photo: Madam Noire)