Michael Sun Lee, Harry Takayama on “Fuller House,” Talks Nostalgia TV

“Fuller House” is everywhere you look! After Netflix announced that a second season of “Fuller House” was in the works, I asked myself if I was the only hold-out of this nostalgia-TV trend.

Fuller House Micheal Sun Lee

So far, I’ve resisted being part of the going-back-in-time phase Hollywood has embraced. It reminds me of my age. Not really. Obviously, more than a few people streamed the “Full House” reboot.

But the obsession with re-makes of old shows and movies was warm and fuzzy at first. Now that “Baywatch” and “Little House on the Prairie” are coming soon to a big screen near you, could this trend be getting out of hand?

Michael Sun Lee has enjoyed relative success being part of not one, but two TV-show reboots. He rode the nostalgia-TV wave as Lieutenant Kala in “Hawaii Five-0,” and appeared in episode 9 of “Fuller House” as Harry Takayama.

Chatting with Lee about “Fuller House” shed some light on my dilemma about nostalgia TV.

Most of the “Full House” original cast is back in “Fuller House.” The reboot of the sitcom, which aired from 1987 to 1995, has the group living in a 21st century take on life in San Francisco; the women are single working mothers with children of their own.

Lee was not part of the original “Full House” cast. He stepped into the grown-up role of Stepahnie’s (Jodie Sweetin) childhood friend, Harry. Remember their fake and oh-so-cheesy backyard wedding? It looks like they’re at it again in “Fuller House.”

In episode 9 (SPOILER ALERT!), Harry shows up to personally invite Stephanie to his wedding.


“Wow!” was Lee’s first reaction to this unexpected twist in the friendship. “I think the fans of the original ‘Full House’ were hoping that maybe they would get together,” he said.

In the show, Stephanie gives Harry a verbal RSVP and says she’ll be there, so I asked Lee and I had some fun making up possible scenarios for what this future episode could look like. “Wouldn’t it be great if Harry hires Kimmy Gibbler to organize the wedding because she’s a party planner? She could do it Gibbler style! Jessie and the Rippers could be the entertainment. And, wouldn’t it be great if Stephanie sings at my wedding?” Lee giddily planned his dream scene

Hoping to get a juicy tidbit, I tried to coax Lee into telling me who is the mystery woman Harry will be marrying. “Or he!” he quickly added. The mystery deepened, but he didn’t give me any more clues.

And this is pretty much how I feel about nostalgia TV: clueless. Why are shows like “The X-Files,” “Charlie’s Angeles,” and “Ironsides” worth bringing back?

Lee had a good point trying to clarifying this on-going fascination with nostalgia TV. “I think reboots and remakes are trying to get back to a formula that worked,” Lee said. “I think reboots remind us of a simpler time when we had time,” Lee said longingly. “It’s this feeling of going back home again when times were less stressful.”

I tend to agree.

For effect, Lee mentioned his family had a TV set with a dial for the channels and a telephone with a rotary dial. Boy did that make me feel old!

Thinking about the Golden Age of Television today, there is very little room for nostalgia TV. Yesteryear’s TV shows were considered fresh and had bold content for their time. Trying to get that feeling again with the same set up isn’t quite doing it for me.

To be sure, reviving former sitcoms and movies are reminders of a kinder and gentler time. But it might be better to leave those shows in our melancholic memories. It’s one thing to create a show about the old days, and another to bring back an old show about modern times.

On top of this, watching TV now requires the minor hassle of booting up a game console or the WiFi-ready Blu-Ray to watch some of them. These days we need sophisticated equipment, and some physical effort, to stream retro TV shows like “Fuller House.” I’m not quite ready to exert too much energy for my entertainment, except for series like “House of Cards” or “Mozart in the Jungle,” two shows I am willing to push a couple of extra buttons to watch.

We managed to gradually rehabilitate ourselves from our addiction to Reality-TV. And, didn’t it take years to get a single remote control that could operate multiple machines so we wouldn’t have to bother getting up to change the channel or raise the volume? Now, there’s a cacophony of gear we have to boot up just to watch TV.

Things seem to be going backwards, don’t they?

The silver lining in all of this is that there is something for those who want to indulge themselves, or their families, in the good TV of the old days. I’ll admit that I do yearn for those evenings when the family used to sit together in front of the television set to watch “Full House.”

I’m happy Lee found a new home in old shows, and for the success of “Fuller House.” But I also see what you’re doing there, Hollywood. While the “Fuller House” and Netflix formula seems to be working, let’s not get carried away.

I’m not quite ready for “Happy(er) Days,” yet. Are you?

Are you into nostalgia TV? Will you be watching Season 2 of “Fuller House?” Why? Tell me in the comments!




  1. Bethany says:

    I’m totally loving the Fuller House episodes!! So great.

  2. I personally LOVE Fuller House. It is exactly as “Harry” said. Takes me back to the time when I had time!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I love them all! You have to have loved the old ones but if you did, this is just wonderful!

    • Suzette Valle says:

      Weren’t those the best times? I like the feeling I get watching these old and new reboots, too.

  4. I love this article. Thanks for sharing. I’m not sure if I’d be interested in bringing back Bay Watch, but I actually enjoy watching Fuller House, now with my daughter. She is intrigued with Kimmy Gibbler. I feel like there are a few things, or scenes, that aren’t appropriate for her age, she’s 6…but overall, it’s been fun to watch and laugh with their “inside” jokes. Another remake I really like is Girl Meets World. I guess to answer your question about nostalgia TV, it just depends on which shows I really liked growing up. Thanks again for sharing this.

  5. Chris Huston says:

    My kids and I are obsessed with Fuller House! It’s the perfect family-friendly show.

    • Suzette Valle says:

      Having our kids watch the shows we enjoyed, with a new look, is so fun! Glad your family is enjoying Fuller House!

  6. michelle says:

    I will be watching Season two of Fuller House. I went to two tapings of Season One and will without a doubt return for more tapings. I am also hoping to be work on the show too

    • Suzette Valle says:

      How fun was that?! I love going to tapings, but the drive from San Diego keeps me from doing it more often.

  7. I love that, “It takes us back to a time when we had time”. And, yeah, it does feel like going home again. My only hope for the second season is that they loose some of the cheese-factor and maybe tone down the studio audience. But overall, it’s been great revisiting the characters and the story lines are pretty decent.

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