John Stamos opened up about the Olsen twins’ absence in Fuller House, and while he made great points, he also got some things wrong. The Full House spin-off series wrapped up after five seasons back in 2020. Still, Michelle’s non-appearance in Fuller House remains a favorite topic of discussion with regards to the show.
The Netflix-produced off-shoot had been in the making for years before it was picked up by the streaming giant. Fuller House brought back the core cast of Full House, but with the focus on the younger characters led by DJ (Candace Cameron-Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and Kimmy (Andrea Barber). Meanwhile, their parental figures were relegated to recurring guests, popping up occasionally to check up on the kids and share what they were up to. Michelle, however, was absent throughout the show’s run, with the Olsen twins refusing to revisit acting since they’ve long retired and moved on from it. Initially, there were conflicting reports about Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Fuller House involvement, but ultimately, they didn’t partake in the sequel show at all.
Aside from starring in Fuller House, Stamos was also a producer on the project; he also had a closer relationship with the twins from their time working on Full House, so naturally, he continues to be asked about the Olsens’ absence. In a 2021 interview, the actor claims that the whole situation was blown out of proportion. He didn’t cite any primary reason for the child stars turned designers’ non-involvement, pointing out several reasons including “they didn’t want to come in or there was some miscommunication” instead. Regardless of the real reason, Stamos’ reaction to the Olsen twins “controversy” are right, since they’re hardly the first celebrities to not reprise a role for a revival project. If anything, it’s even more understandable as the pair changed careers and are quite intentional in wanting to be as private as possible. It’s also worth noting that they’re not fully at fault here; while Ashley was skeptical about participating, Mary-Kate was actually game to do it. Unfortunately, some other external factors prevented her from making a guest appearance.
On the flip side, however, Stamos downplaying the effects of Michelle’s absence in Fuller House is also wrong. The character was one, if not the biggest asset in Full House. The actor himself should know this since Uncle Jesse was often the youngest Tanner daughter’s on-screen partner. Michelle not being in Fuller House was felt throughout its whole run. While they were able to seamlessly slot in Kimmy as her replacement and explained that Danny’s third kid is now based in New York, hence why she’s never in San Francisco, it’s odd that she never once came home.
To be fair, Fuller House initially put an effort to incorporate Michelle into their storytelling, but after it got increasingly clear that the Olsens were not going to participate, their character was referenced less frequently. Worse, they would only bring her up for comedic purposes. Narratively, the fact that Michelle couldn’t even return home to help DJ after her husband suddenly died or when her sisters got married in the sequel’s finale goes against the very core theme of the Full House which is the importance of family.
In the end, while the Olsens’ reasons for not participating were understandable, Fuller House’s story could’ve done more integrating Michelle into the show. For starters, they could’ve simply recast the character, which shouldn’t have been a problem since the original actors were the ones who refused to reprise the role. That way, they could’ve continued the youngest Tanner daughter’s arc and got her involved in this next chapter for the family. Otherwise, they could’ve also been more creative in making sure her presence was felt in its storytelling despite her physical absence.