The early days of Progressive Boink were built around nostalgia posts—i.e., me saying "hey do you remember the game excitebike" or whatever and people going OH MY GOD YES and reading about ExciteBike. Eventually, YouTube and list posts came around to kill the genre, but this is the only way I know how to be, so here's a nostalgia column full of lists and YouTube videos.
In the Arbitrary Friday List (AFL, unless that copyrighted somewhere), I'll pick something random every Friday and rank it. This week we'll run down every friend I can remember Michelle Tanner having on the show "Full House," cheesy/weird YouTube fan-made tribute videos included where appropriate. I've chosen to omit the following:
1. Random classmates.
2. People to whom Michelle is related.
3. Other characters played by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, like Michelle's twin from Greece or Dream Sequence Michelle or any of that bullshit.
I did, however, include the dog.
All right, starting us off this week:
The best character in the history of "Full House," ranking just ahead of The Beach Boys (cumulative), is Stephanie's Asian friend Harry. Harry ruled. He was cute, he was funny, and one time he got crazy horny during a math lesson about oranges and tried to stick D.J. Unfortunately Stephanie couldn't stay six forever, so her storylines (having friends, popping in to say catchphrases, owning Mr. Bear) were transferred to Michelle as seasons progressed and, by proxy, ruined.
Teddy, played by the smart guy from "Smart Guy," was Michelle's Harry. He was Michelle's signature friend, managing to show up before Mary Kate et al. got too old for baby jokes and needed to be followed around by a gaggle of sub-Our Gang miscreant child actors. His role was to follow Michelle around and make concerned faces when she started doling out You Got It Dudes, but he helped continue that weird trend where the Tanners treated everyone of a different race as an equal, but still got SUPER WEIRD around them.
Teddy moved to Texas at some point but almost immediately moved back, because the emotional range of the Ashlies Olsen goes from "doggy ate my ouse cweam" sad face to "being tickled by Uncle Jesse" and only stops at Surprised O-Face in-between.
Did You Know? Being inoffensively uninteresting makes Teddy a strong number one on this list.
Howie is Michelle's first crush and Aunt Becky's nephew (from before she was Aunt-anything). He visits from Nebraska, and he and Michelle become best friends. When he leaves, Michelle is heartbroken, but thankfully Howie mails in a VHS cassette filmed in that same room the Bayside High kids filmed their time capsule tape. It's just him screaming HI MICHELLE HOW ARE YOU at the camera, but it cures Michelle's heartbreak. Jesse uses it as a way to tell Becky he wants to get her pregnant. Not kidding.
Howie ranks second because he only shows up once and screams a bunch.
Did You Know? The actor who plays Howie is dead.
Study Question: Do you think I looked that up, or just guessed?
Yes, Comet counts.
Comet was the Tanner Family dog, and his job was to stand in the corner looking off-screen at his masters until they ordered him to bark for a close-up or leap off the Golden Gate bridge to catch a frisbee or whatever. I remember almost nothing Comet did besides run away and then get hugged by everybody while they closed their eyes and said, "Oh, Comet!" I feel like this happened five times in every season.
Study Question: Assuming that we accept Full House as real life, is it weirder to have a pet who stares at your living room wall until suddenly executing complex commands, or to have a daughter who slightly changes her appearance every two minutes?
Secondary Study Question: This is easily the greatest fan video ever.
Denise is Michelle's second Best Friend. She's also a gender-swapped Teddy. Think of her like Fionna in that one episode of 'Adventure Time'. She was played by actress Jurnee Smollett, who sounds less like a child actor and more like a thing I'd buy at Brookstone.
The Denise/Teddy doppelganger comes to a head in a later episode where they're forced to compete for the love of Michelle. Michelle, possibly the shittiest person in the history of popular fiction, assumes that whoever can give her the best gifts will be her best friend, and she'll trace them for a school project. Denise and Teddy decide they'd rather be best friends with each other and that Princess For The Day can go fuck herself. Sadly this ends in three-way friendship, because Michelle always gets her way. Michelle could become possessed by Satan and sacrilegiously rape herself with D.J.'s pillow person and Jesse and Joey and Danny's stupid asses would buy her a pony.
Did You Know? Teddy and Denise rank this high because they were not members of the Mighty Mutant Super Kids.
Derek is Michelle's gay child friend who shows up mysteriously during auditions for America The Beautiful and steals the show with his beautiful singing voice and ability to walk side to side with a hand on his hip and the other doing jazz fingers. He gets stage fright and can't go on, but Michelle (who wanted the part of Yankee Doodle) puts aside her greed to help him get over it. Then, they go out on stage and Michelle (as the Statue of Liberty) is the center of attention.
Derek sticks around until the end of the show because he was the child-actorest of the Child Actors, and if you took him out of a studio he'd probably go insane and starve to death. Seriously, while the other kids are struggling to remember "oh my lanta," Derek's in the background taking these deep OKAY IS IT MY TURN TO SPEAK NOW breaths and practically forcing the frank childhood precociousness out of his ears. Imagine a Barney kid without Barney, in a world of regular kids. That was poor Derek. He was truly a Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Did You Know? If Derek was a TV character in 2012, he'd have at least three Emmys.
Did You Also Know? Derek was not played by a Culkin. I am not shitting you.
You don't remember Lisa.
Lisa shows up briefly in the last season, when the show was doing stories about Stephanie having a band and Michelle falling off horses at equestrian meets and getting amnesia. Lisa had red hair, and I like to pretend she's the younger version of the red-haired girl who shows up during the college years of 'Boy Meets World' because she's the only redhead in the TGIF universe and is always meeting people when they've JUST started to be unpopular.
Lisa's most memorable moment is when she sang "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Derek, which is more or less how I imagine Christian Hell. The only way it could be worse is if Joey goddamn Gladstone was dressed up like Elton John and playing piano in the background. Shit, wait.
Study Question: Do you remember Lisa? You liar.
Nobody beats Aaron. Nobody.
Seriously though, I hate Aaron's guts. Aaron is the dark-sided Derek, a child actor from the bowels of hell who is here to sneer at you and call you something shitty, but he's a KID so you can't just lift your leg and boot him in the mouth. Aaron's acerbic nature was amplified by everyone around him being a goody-goody, so you'd think as I got older I could appreciate his role as rebel-rousing anarchist. Nope. I fucking hate you, Aaron, and I will fight you in real life.
Aaron is the most disingenuous kid ever. When the Brady Bunch kids have the learn the same lessons over and over and keep repeating the same mistakes I buy it, because the Brady kids are all dolts. Aaron was clearly smart, so he'd spend 21 minutes making everyone's life hell and then just kinda put his head down and mumble "I'm sorrrry Michellllle" and the victory saxaphone music would play and we'd move on. BUT NO, Aaron, you didn't learn SHIT. You're playing the system. I'm onto you, child from 20 years ago.
Did You Know? I would beat the shit out of Aaron in real life.
Study Question: Is it weird that I'd only fight him if he was still 8?
Be sure to share your thoughts about Michelle Tanner's friends (or anything else relating to "Full House," like that time Becky went bungee jumping) in our comments section. Join me here next week for the second installment of The Arbitrary Friday List, where we'll discuss something equally uncool*.
*This is the least cool list we'll ever do.
For more rankings of things you half-remember, check out our Arbitrary Friday List section.