There’s something about goofy family sitcoms that really tickles us. We’ve been thinking about Modern Family of late (with the show’s sixth season premiering tonight), and at the same time getting nostalgic about our childhood favorite, Full House. If we were children now, would we hold the extended Pritchett clan in the same esteem as we once did the Tanner household? Would we religiously DVR episodes and watch them over and over again until the dialogue became so familiar we could recite it in our sleep? Most importantly, which of the two shows would win in a fight? We’ve taken it upon ourselves to pit the two shows against each other, family vs. family, child vs. child, resident hottie vs. resident hottie. Which show has had the best guest appearances? Who teaches the best life lessons? Which kids would we be most inclined to adopt? Check out our reasoning below and see if you agree. Then, then tell us in the comments which family-centric sitcom should come out on top.
The Family We’d Fight To Be Adopted By
Jay Gloria Manny Baby Pritchett
Cam Lily Mitchell Modern Family Wedding
Uncle Jesse Becky Twins Full House
Would we go to the Dunphys, with parents Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil (Ty Burrell)’s chaotic energy? Or the Pritchetts, with mother Gloria (Sofia Vergara)’s nasal wailing and father Jay (Ed O’Neill)’s crotchety ways? Or what about the Tucker-Pritchetts (Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet), with their overly protective, anxiety-filled approach to parenting? On the other hand at Full House, would we be happier with fairly bland single dad Danny Tanner (Bob Saget), or with the jokes of Uncle Joey (Dave Coulier)? Or would we be best off with Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) and Aunt Becky (Lori Loughlin) and their sappy, musical family?
ROUND 1: It’s a tough one for sure, but we’re going with the Dunphys. They’re unpredictable enough (especially with Phil’s harebrained schemes) that we’d always be having fun, but they’re also grounded (thanks to Claire’s overwhelming concern). At the end of the day they’re a tight-knit unit in which kids and parents have a deep understanding and love for one another.
Kids We Would Fight To Adopt
We’re going to be honest here: The kids on Modern Family kind of drive us nuts. Manny (Rico Rodriguez) is just TOO much, while Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) is diva-ish and not as cute as say, Michelle Tanner (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen). The Dunphy kids are OK though: Haley (Sarah Hyland) would be great to have around because her bitchiness translates to a great dry humor, while Alex (Ariel Winter) is the model child, smart, respectful, and (mostly) rule abiding. But if we were going to adopt any kid from Modern Family it would definitely be Luke Dunphy (Nolan Gould) — sort of a savant, the kid is unintentionally hilarious and a great teammate for any parent.
Full House on the other had has the ADORABLE Michelle. Who wouldn’t want to adopt the too-cute-for-words toddler? Middle sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) is a little bit too angsty for our tastes, although oldest D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) would be a good — albeit a little bit boring — kid to adopt. And let’s not forget Alex and Nicky Katsopolis (Dylan and Blake Tuomy-Wilhoit), who rival baby Michelle in cute factor.
ROUND 2: This one comes down to Luke Dunphy versus Michelle Tanner, and because we just love mischief, we’re adopting Luke by a hair.
Watch a grown up D.J. Tanner talk about being real life BFFs with her Full House co-star, Andrea Barber.
The Toughest Life Lessons
Modern Family does poignant endings well. Every episode ends with something learned by the ragtag family. The ultimate lesson in Modern Family, however, is that family comes first, because they’re the people who will always be there for you. While sometimes tear-jerkers, these lessons also have an element of humor to them by way of the visual montages that accompany the voice over. For instance, where we learn the lesson that we need both dreamers and pragmatists in the world (“Punkin Chunkin” Season 3, Episode 9), we get to see the crew flinging pumpkins across a football field.
While Full House had some cutesy lessons — like goldfish not needing baths, and maybe don’t go skydiving the day before your wedding — there were some more serious “special” episodes of that were vaguely dark. For instance, when D.J. developed a 3-day long eating disorder that caused her to starve herself and collapse at the gym (“Shape Up,” Season 4, Episode 8). While Full House had its heart in the right place, some of the serious lessons came off a little bit twee, probably because the show had to remain decidedly PG and every episode required a happy ending.
ROUND 3: When it comes to life lessons, the broader brushstrokes of Modern Family and the show’s expert ability to marry the poignant with the dryly hilarious has captured our hearts.
The Most Muscular Catchphrases
Modern Family doesn’t have “catchphrases” per se (probably indicative of the times more than anything else), but it does have predictable elements of conversation — like Gloria’s mispronunciation of just about everything. Full House, on the other hand, is rife with amazing catchphrases from Uncle Jesse’s “Have Mercy” or “Not the hair!” to Uncle Joey’s “Cut It Out!” or D.J.’s “Oh Mylanta!” and Michelle’s sassy “Aw, nuts”, “No way, Jose” or “You got it, dude!” But the most recognizable is probably Stephanie’s “How rude!” which was eventually mimicked by Michelle.
ROUND 4: Truth be told, we’ve been known to still drop “Have mercy” or “How rude!” Plus, the sheer volume of Full House catchphrases deserves acknowledgement. Especially when they’re all so good.
The Hottest Hottie
Let’s get superficial for a second here: Which show has the most va-va-voom when it comes to eye candy? For Modern Family it’s trophy wife Gloria played by vixen Sofia Vergara, and for Full House it’s Uncle Jesse, played by now silvering fox John Stamos. At first, we loved Gloria and her vampy, campy ways, but her whole shtick — from style to repetitive jokes — gets a little bit tiresome, simply because it’s always the same. But that’s not to say she isn’t really, really ridiculously good looking.
Uncle Jesse matured from mulletted musician to loving husband and father. And he was SMOKIN’ the whole time. Have mercy! John Stamos just keeps getting better with age, too. His boyish smile and furrowed brow give us a little Clooney mixed in with our nostalgia for the baby-faced Jesse Katsopolis.
ROUND 5: We love you Gloria, but it’s Jesse who continues to melt our hearts.
Most Kick-Ass Guest Stars
Let’s take a look at some of the notable guest stars from both shows:
Shelley Long (as DeDe Pritchett, appearing in three episodes, the first being “The Incident”, Season 1, Episode 4)
Fred Willard (as Frank Dunphy, appearing in seven episodes, the first being “Undeck The Halls”, Season 1, Episode 10)
Edward Norton (as Izzy LaFontaine in “Great Expectations,” Season 1, Episode 8)
Elizabeth Banks (as Sal, appearing in four episodes, the first being “Great Expectations”, Season 1, Epiosde 8)
Minnie Driver (as Valerie in “Moon Landing”, Season 1, Episode 14)
Judy Greer (as Denise in “Truth Be Told”, Season 1, Episode 17)
Nathan Lane (as Pepper Saltzman, appearing in six episodes the first being “Earthquake”, Season 2, Episode 3)
James Marsden (as Barry in “Slow Down Your Neighbors, Season 2, Episode 11)
Matt Dillon (as Robbie Sullivan in “Princess Party”, Season 2, Episode 15)
David Cross (as Duane Bailey, appearing in four episodes, the first being “Door to Door”, Season 3, Episode 4)
Leslie Mann (as Katie in “Treehouse”, Season 3, Episode 7)
Kevin Hart (as Andre in “Treehouse”)
Greg Kinnear (as Tad in “Me, Jealous?”, Season 3, Episode 14)
Bobby Cannavale (as Lewis in “Send Out The Clowns”, Season 3, Episode 18)
Ellen Barkin (as Mitzi Roth in “Send Out The Clowns”)
Matthew Broderick (as Dave in “Mystery Date”, Season 4, Episode 8)
Jane Krakowski (as Dr Donna Duncan in “Under Pressure”, Season 5, Episode 12)
Jesse Eisenberg (as Asher in “Under Pressure”)
Phyllis Diller (as herself in “But Seriously, Folks,” Season 1, Episode 16)
Kirk Cameron (as Cousin Steve in “Just One Of The Guys,” Season 1, Episode 18)
The Beach Boys (as themselves in “Beach Boy Bingo,” Season 2, Episode 6)
Jonathan Brandis (as Michael Monford in “A Little Romance,” Season 2, Episode 11)
Scott Baio (as Pete Bianco in “Dr. Dare Rides Again,” Season 3, Episode 9)
Jaleel White (as Steve Urkel in “Stephanie Gets Framed,” Season 4, Episode 16)
Annette Funicello (Herself in “Joey goes to Hollywood,” Season 4, Episode 23)
Vanna White (herself in “The Test,” Season 7, Episode 15)
Little Richard (as himself in “Too Little Richard Too Late,” Season 7, Episode 23)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (as himself in “Air Jesse,” Season 8, Episode 16)
ROUND 6: Full House had Urkel and The Beach Boys, but Modern Family has had a slew of comedic genius pass through the set. Elizabeth Banks as Cam and Mitch’s crazy gal pal is enough for us to give this one to Modern Family, never mind Shelley Long as Claire and Mitchell’s mom, Fred Willard as Phil’s dad, Leslie Mann as Cam’s “straight pick-up,” or Matthew Broderick as Phil’s weird date-but-not-a-date. And that’s only naming a few!
The Strongest StatisticsNumber of Seasons On Air: While Full House ran for eight strong seasons, Modern Family is coming into its sixth, and with no signs of being canceled any time soon. (But we all know that TV is a fickle mistress, and any season could be any show’s last.) At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised if Modern Family made it to season eight and beyond.
Awards: Modern Family is an award season favorite, having won a whopping 27 Emmys, 6 Writers Guild of America Awards, 5 Screen Actors Guild Awards, and one Golden Globe Award since 2010. By comparison, Full House won only five Young Artist Awards, one Kid’s Choice Award, and one TV Land Award, but never a single Emmy or Golden Globe. During a similar time period in the early to mid ’90s, for comparison, Seinfeld won three Golden Globes and 14 Emmys.
Highest Rated Episodes: Assessing ratings can be tricky, given that TV is now accessible online and it’s not included in official rankings. So while the Full House finale pulled in over 24 million viewers, Modern Family’s better rated episodes hover at around 16 million viewers.
Biggest Salaries: Bob Saget has gone on record post Full House saying he didn’t make much from the show, and has had to continue working to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara is the highest paid actress on TV (three years running), taking home a cool $37 million last year.
ROUND 7: Modern Family trumps Full House in the stats. The show’s award sweeps and heavily salaried actors are too much for Full House’ big ratings (potentially something the show wouldn’t be able to pull off in the Internet era).
The Most Killer Style
We’re going to preface this by saying that we’re measuring the style on Full House by ’90s standards, because by today’s standards the looks in the Tanner household are more a source of mirth than sartorial envy. But don’t be fooled: 20 years ago the cast of Full House were the height of ’90s style. From D.J.’s amazing frizzy bangs to Uncle Jesse’s leather EVERYTHING to Michelle’s scrunchies and Becky’s high-waisted mom jeans, Full House epitomized everything that was cool at the time.
Fast forward to the present and Modern Family has more realistic style. While Mitchell’s suits are always impeccable and Gloria’s dresses bring the sex-bomb factor, it falls flat on trends. Rather than push the envelope, it’s a fairly standard/realistic portrayal of how suburban moms, dads, and kids dress. And then there’s been times when we’re outright cringing — i.e. when the women where belts where no belt is needed (like with a tight dress), every time Haley wears out of style knee-high boots, and whenever Cam wears an outlandishly colored paisley shirt.
ROUND 8: We’re going with Full House on this one. We could walk into any mall and see the styles of Modern Family, but the clothes in Full House were full-on radical.
FINAL VERDICT: While Full House might have the key to our nostalgic hearts, it looks like Modern Family takes the crown in this face off — perhaps an unexpected result, but a worthy one given that MF kills it in everything from award season stats to adorable families and most adoptable kids. It will be interesting to see if years from now, the next generation remembers MF the same way we remember Full House.
[Photo Credit: ABC,]