Inside Pulse 12

10 Thoughts on Fuller House – The Legend of El Explosivo

Oof. And we were just getting a little momentum there. Then, of course, Fuller House went ahead and restored my deep dissatisfaction with it’s storytelling. At the very least, my universe now feels like it’s back in order. Anyway, on today’s episode, the whole family is excited about a Luchador wrestling match about to happen (why? I… I just don’t know). But after Jackson pulls too many dangerous stunts, DJ grounds him and makes him stay home for the match. Meanwhile, Ramona’s dance team is being terrorized by the clueless Kimmy, until Steph steps in to help coach, much to Kimmy’s chagrin. It was a rough one, folks. Let’s dive in.

Here are some thoughts.

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1. No-reos? Really?

Ramona’s dance team is coming over to the house and Kimmy is in charge of snacks. So she gets No-reos, a knock-off Oreo brand. Forgetting for a moment that that “joke” isn’t even remotely funny, why would she do that? Seriously, how much more would a bag of Oreos cost than No-reos? Two dollars? Three at the most? It says on the packaging that these No-reos are LITERALLY FLAMMABLE. Is putting your daughter and her friends lives in danger really worth a few extra bucks? What the hell is wrong with her?

2. The Max candy gag was the peak for this episode

Which is unfortunate, because it happened about two minutes in. Max and Jackson come back to the house, Jackson wearing a jacket despite the heat. After DJ makes him take it off and reveals that he’s pretty banged up, she makes Max tell her what happened. Max fesses up that Jackson was doing stunts with his friend, then coughs up a couple Jolly Ranchers that Jackson gave him so he wouldn’t tell their Mom. Then, Max spills the beans again, and has to give up the skittles Jackson gave him. Really, if the writers were worth their salt, they would have put one more in there (the rule of 3 is very powerful). But this is easily the funniest part of the episode. The rest is decidedly downhill.

3. Luchador wrestling…? Really?

It seems like a very arbitrary thing for the entire family to be into. Especially considering the cultural appropriation that goes on when white people are really into the sport. I guess it was so people could be in masks and there would be hilarious mistaken identity hijinks (there was mistaken identity hijinks. It was not hilarious), but that’s a pretty weak reason to tackle a sport the writers almost certainly know nothing about.

4. Kimmy is just a bad mom and it’s not funny

First, she attempts to poison her child and friends with flammable cookies. Then, she tries to teach them a horrible, stupid dance that would make everyone hate them. And finally, when the much more capable Steph steps in to help the team, instead of saying “she’s clearly better at this, I’ll step aside for the good of my child” she decides to start pouting about it. I get it, Kimmy is supposed to be immature and goofy. But she’s a mother now, and when she’s putting her needs ahead of her child, it’s not funny or charming. In fact, it’s extremely off-putting.

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5. DJ is missing the point about her sons

By using a tracking app on her phone (which, you know, what the fuck), DJ is able to hunt down Jackson and Max to Popco’s house, a friend of Jackson. She is just in time to see Jackson jumping off a garden shed onto Max. Max is wrapped in about three layers of pillows and is wearing a helmet and is laying on a mattress. When Jackson lands on him, he isn’t hurt at all. DJ’s reaction is to drag both of them away, which I guess I understand. But she is missing the point. At the beginning of the series, Max and Jackson were not friends. But now Jackson is letting him tag along with his friends. As somebody who has a younger brother, I can tell you that that is a HUGE deal. She should be celebrating the blossoming friendship of these brothers!

6. Actually, Kimmy is just a shitty person

At the end of the day, when one of the dancers becomes mysteriously ill (Kimmy insists she didn’t poison her… but nobody asked, so that’s a bit of a weird thing to volunteer…), Steph decides to let Kimmy dance with them instead of her, even though Steph is clearly a much better dancer. Even though it would better for the girls, she instead lets Kimmy dance to make her feel better. And Kimmy, instead of recognizing that Steph would be a much better fit, quickly say yes and tears off her shirt, displaying the team jersey underneath. Which seems to imply she was prepared to go on all along. What kind of person undermines their daughter’s dance team to boost their own ego?

7. Whole lotta white people at that Luchador match…

You know, I’ve gotten in trouble in the past with some of my readers. I tend to err on the side of cultural sensitivity and try to point out when a show or movie might be straying into some subject matter or depiction that might unnecessarily marginalize a certain subset of people (See: this article). And I understand the issues some people have with so-called “political correctness.” But when I try to bring up why it might be prudent to sometimes take into account the way our actions affect other people, I will occasionally get gentle (and in some cases, not so gentle) provocation from my readers that maybe I need to lighten up a bit. Perhaps. But I think it is important to point out that in a show filled with mostly white characters, it’s a bit odd to show them appropriating a traditional Mexican sport. Especially when the actual event takes up about a quarter of the show and the characters are making jokes in butchered Spanish, and there is not a single Mexican anywhere to be seen. To me, it’s the same thing as a bunch of white people dressing up in mariachi costumes and playing traditional Mexican music without depicting a single Mexican character. It’s just icky. And tone deaf.

8. So. DJ can wrestle

And yet despite the fact that DJ has never stepped foot in a Luchador ring, she easily takes out the two star wrestlers who were inadvertently beating up her son. It’s possible that these characters are Mexican, but they never talk or take off their masks, so we can’t be sure. So this white lady, with nothing but her “maternal instincts,” is able to take out two professional wrestlers who have been doing this as their jobs. That’s a pretty humiliating depiction, if you ask me. It also does not make a lick of sense.

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9. “Your dad died because he was a firefighter.”

In an attempt at pathos in the last act, DJ takes Jackson aside to tell him why she’s so protective. She says he reminds her of his father, who died in a fire (because he was a firefighter). “He was a risk taker,” she tells him, as if equating Jackson’s stunts with saving people from fires. It seems like a pretty crude comparison, and not something the writers thought all the way through. Equating the deeply heroic and noble job of firefighting with a teenage boy testing his physical boundaries doesn’t sit super well with me.

10. That last joke is in poor taste

As a button, Jackson’s friend Popco walks out of the bathroom in a towel (why he was taking a shower in their house is beyond me), and says “This whole drought thing is bogus. I just took a ninety minute shower without a problem.” Cue the audience laughing hysterically. End of show. See, that seems like a really shitty way to end the episode. First of all, the California drought is killing hundreds of people every year. It’s a serious problem, and that kid just wasted a shit ton of water. Second of all, they were just having a conversation about how Jackson’s dad died in a fire. Many people are dying in California by forest fire because of the drought. It seems like a very jarring thing to put that joke right after that very serious conversation. Again, tone deaf.

 

D+

Max and Jackson’s candy gag

– Kimmy becomes more awful

– Weird, tone deaf racial insensitivity

– Poorly considered jokes about the California drought

 

Check out previous reviews for Fuller House below!

Fuller House – Our Very First Show, Again

Fuller House – Moving Day

Fuller House – Funner House

Fuller House – Mad Max

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