Hi friends! It’s time for another installment of VSE: Hawaiian Style! In our first semi-final match up, the victorious Growing Pains faces off with the hitherto unchallenged Full House.
Let’s start off with a brief recap of what’s going on in Growing Pains. When we last saw the Seavers, Carol and Mike were off pursuing island romances, Maggie was struggling to balance her career with her family, Jason was stressed because his family didn’t want to spend time together, and Ben was just hanging out being a kid.
Meanwhile on Full House, Joey also falls in love with a native Hawaiian because that is what everyone does when traveling to Hawaii. Resident patriarch Danny tries to force his reluctant family into doing everything together (sound familiar?). And the similarities don’t end there! The Tanner family ends up stranded on a desert island in a much more dire albeit similar situation to the Seavers being stranded mid-ocean…on a boat that Jason Seaver intentionally sabotaged for the sake of family together-ness.
But who had the best self-imposed isolation in the name of family bonding? Who learned the most about the importance of interpersonal relationships through their time in the tropics?
As far as overall plot is concerned, I’d have to say that Full House wins that category. The way that Danny forces everyone to do participate as a group in something that each person enjoys (everyone gets bored watching Joey play golf, everyone gets bored trekking to Elvis movie locations with Jessie, and so on) really highlights the importance of family separateness. I think that’s an important very special lesson that we often overlook. I also think this would have been a great opportunity for a Gilligan’s Island-style Full House spin off. I wish we could have seen an episode arc where they’re stuck on the island and Jesse tries to build a raft but Joey is also organizing a talent competition. I feel like that would have been an opportunity for the Joey character to actually do something because I could never figure out exactly why he was around in the regular series. Becky already managed to change form a bikini into a sundress even though their boat floated away and she brought no luggage on this day trip.
The point for fashion also has to go to Full House as well. John Stamos is killing it with some palazzo pants and everyone is rocking the floral prints. I’m still giving Growing Pains the music category, not because I love Christopher Cross but rather because I hate Elvis impersonators. The end of the episode features John Stamos singing “Rock a Hula” because of course they weren’t really stranded, they were just on a deserted portion of the island where they were trying to attend a big luau/arena concert. I feel like neither episode outperformed the other in terms of overall integration of the Hawaiian setting, so I’ll call that a tie and disregard it in the point breakdown.
Point Break Down:
Full House: Overall Plot (2 pts) + Vacation Attire (1 pt) = 3 pts
Growing Pains: Music (1 pt) = 1 pt
Very Special Winner: Full House