A couple weeks ago, I attended a “Fuller House” taping with my mom and longtime friend, Mandy. We waited all day, we made some new friends and we spent an evening with the Tanners. All in all, it was a childhood dream come true.
I’m off on Fridays during the summer, so it worked out that the “Fuller House” taping just so happened to be that day. I woke up around 6:15, so we could leave the house at 7:15…in the morning. Only this time, my heart wasn’t pounding for the anxiousness of the day or my to-do list, it was from the excitement of knowing (or hoping) that I would be in the same room with the Tanners later that night.
Our family friend, and fellow “Full House” fanatic picked us up and we were off. We were also ahead of schedule. We pulled into the Warner Brothers Studio parking lot around 9 a.m. We were worried when we saw the waiting area was filled with people, but were relieved when the security guard told us that the “Fuller House” line was around the side of the building. There were only about 11 people there, so we thought our chances were extremely good. We got to know the people around us very well, which is always the fun part. Two girls were from Australia, two were from Arkansas and I believe others further up in line were from Michigan. People travel quite the distance to see the Tanner family. It really puts it into perspective how universal this show has been, and what an impact it’s had on families all around the world.
We waited around five-and-a-half hours before they led us into the parking garage to check us in. Things had been smooth sailing – we were laughing, talking about our love for the Olsen Twins and Full House, and then things sort of came to a halt. We had known that there was good chance we might not get into the taping, due to the VIP list, since they’re not sure how many will be coming until very close to showtime. Here’s where the real plot twist came in: There was a priority line for those who had been turned away at prior shows. That line continued to grow longer and more showed up for the VIP line – we even saw Candace Cameron Bure’s sister, Bridgette, and her family. They took one group from our line, and technically my mom was supposed to be in it. But, since we were paranoid that we might not be able to get in with her, she stayed behind and waited with us. After 20-30 more minutes of freaking out with the girls around us, they let four more people in behind us. The new friends we’d made also came along with us. WE WERE FREAKING OUT – crying and hugging each other for real. We nicknamed ourselves “stress sisters,” because after a bond during an experience like this, you need to commemorate it with an official title.
We walked across the street to Warner Brothers Studio and led us to the soundstage 24. Warner Brothers Studio is my favorite of all movie studios, so I was taking in the cars, the crew members walking by, and other movement taking place in the other stages. It was also fun to see the parking spots designated for cast members on shows such as “The Big Bang Theory” and others. They led us into the studio, where there was a large “Fuller House” sign in the background, much like the classic “Full House” sign I had seen in old photos with the cast. It was real. We were really seeing the cast. I had chills and was tearing up from so much excitement.
They seated us in the very last row – the last three seats on the end. Mandy was then asked by one of the workers with Audiences Unlimited asked her to be a seat filler, so for most of the show, she sat in the front row next to the audience hype guy, who told jokes and gave out prizes. I’ve only been to one other sitcom taping for “Melissa and Joey,” so I’m always fascinated to see how the show comes together from camera angles, the director calls, how the actors prepare for a scene…There’s a lot of work that goes into a production like this, and it’s constantly moving, so everyone has to be on their game to keep it rolling. This was obviously a cast of pros, who have done this for years, so for the most part, they didn’t flub lines or miss their marks. Some of the younger cast members needed guidance with minor issues, like where to stand, but again, they were incredibly professional and knew what they were doing. All three of them are so talented and charismatic on screen and off.
Joanna Kerns, the mom (Maggie Seaver) from “Growing Pains” was the director of this episode entitled “Girl Talk.” I won’t go into detail about the episode, so as not to spoil it for anyone else out there who watches when the season comes out. I will say this, it’s another blast from the past with a special guest, though not Uncle Jesse, Aunt Becky, Joey or Danny, like I was crossing my fingers for. There was also another special guest in the audience, John Brotherton, who plays DJ’s love interest, Dr. Matt Harmon. He brought his mama to the show. It was really cool to see him, too, since he wasn’t actually on the episode.
Throughout the taping, they would play music after a scene ended to keep everyone pumped up. That’s also when the hype guy would hand out prizes or bring audience members down to get to know them better, especially those who had traveled the farthest, and there were several. My favorite part of the night was when they played the “Growing Pains” theme song – Joanna Kerns’ face was priceless. She seemed genuinely touched with the gesture from the dj in the sound booth. And I was simply excited that worlds of my two favorite shows were colliding, singing along to every word. Candace Cameron Bure’s family sat a couple rows in front of us, too, which was exciting. Although, I have to say, as fun as it was to see one of my favorite shows film live and in person, if I was a relative of an actor, I don’t think I could do that week after week. Aside from contests and music, a few of the stars, like Candace Cameron Bure and Soni Bringas answered questions from the audience. Mandy even got to ask Soni a question, which was exciting. We even got to see Cosmo (aka, the new Comet – may he rest in peace). But, it was still so much fun! The hype guy gave away t-shirts, signed photos, candy and more. I did win some candy, which came in handy, because a huge migraine had developed from not eating a meal since 7:30 a.m., and keeping your energy up is hard work. HA! They also gave us half a sandwich and water for dinner, and I gobbled that up in just a few minutes. It was enough to keep us going the rest of the night. Generally, they filmed in order, except for the last two scenes of the night, and they would film at least three times each, whether they nailed it the first time or not.
After the taping ended, most people filed out of the audience, but we made our way up to the front where Mandy was standing. A smaller group had formed towards the railing separating the audience and the stage, where all of the cast and crew had gathered together to meet up with their family and friends. Everyone knows the drill by now to try to get autographs (and the occasional selfie), so we were all holding our scraps of paper hoping to meet them. I was able to get Jodie Sweetin’s (Stephanie Tanner) autograph and talked with Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibler) about the special guest and she thanked us for coming. She was so appreciative of everyone and made such a point to make eye contact with everyone she was talking to, which I think was really sweet, especially in crazy situations where there are people all around. It’s hard to connect sometimes.
Mandy was lucky enough to score the title page from the script, which the hype guy gave her and she was able to get it signed. SO COOL! She also got to talk to Jeff Franklin and told him how we almost didn’t get in and that so many people were turned away. He couldn’t believe it! Andrea Barber was the same way.
We were all on such a high and were able to reunite with our friends from Australia after we walked out of the soundstage. We talked about the episode and freaked out about getting autographs and seeing one of our favorite shows come to life again. It was nighttime by the time we finished. The lights of Warner Brothers, including the water tower, had turned on and most of the buzz had wrapped up for the night, except for our taping. It had me daydreaming of the day that maybe I’ll be able to work on the studio lot on a show of my own someday. The thought of creating these characters and worlds that people all around the world can relate to and care about even 25 years after it was created speaks volumes to the one that Jeff Franklin created for the “Full House” fans.
It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to see season two of “Fuller House” when it’s released to Netflix.
That’s all for now,