Doris Roberts’ Hilarious ’Full House' Performance Is Not To Be Forgotten
Well-known and much loved veteran actress Doris Roberts was a television and film fixture in many homes across the nation and the world. From her most notable role as Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond, to her infamous role as Grandma Lilly in Grandma's Boy, Roberts filled minds and hearts with joy each time she graced the screen. A little known tidbit about her career is that way back in 1989, Roberts played a role on a beloved series that has recently made its Netflix comeback. To refresh memories, Doris Roberts played Claire Tanner on Full House, though her character was better known as "Granny Tanny" — and she was simply superb.
Yes, Roberts was the newly-divorced and retired mother of Danny Tanner. Her episode is actually not until season three, though her character is introduced in the first season and played by another actress. In season three, where Roberts commandeers the role, Claire Tanner comes for a visit to the Tanner house. She explains that she is lonely and bored, and that she can more or less feel death approaching. A sad reality of life followed directly by a scene where she cooks pancakes — and cleans up after everyone — ensues, which was quintessentially characteristic of Roberts' ironically humorous style.
Roberts had a way of making the hard truths of older womanhood relatable, yet entertaining for any audience.
Anyway, Granny Tanny decides she's moving into the already full house upon Danny's deep realization that she is happiest taking care of other people. He convinces the family to act as though they cannot function without her — all in the name of making Granny happy. What? Bob Saget, this is a terrible idea. But I digress.
So Claire moves in and takes the reins, I mean, she takes over, because hey, when you're a grandmother whose family views your only function as domestic duty, you make domestic moves. Naturally, the uncles feel threatened and powerless, so they try to overthrow Granny. Danny, however, is a bit of a wuss and afraid to tell her they miss their autonomy.
Eventually, Danny confronts his mother and tells her that the family only made her feel needed so that she could have a purpose again. Ugh. Well, in the usual Granny fashion, she sees the well-meaning kindness in their backward actions and resolves to move into a nearby apartment. Crisis averted? Crisis averted.
Despite the archaic treatment of an older woman, the episode really highlights Roberts' talent for embodying a character. It was the late 1980s, after all, and even less than three decades ago women were treated differently than today. Roberts somehow found the humor in roles like these and made them come to life for casual viewers and fans alike, and more than any single role, the world will desperately miss her and her undeniable flair.