The time has come to get real about Steve Hale. D.J.'s high school sweetheart has grown up to be a terrible person hiding behind a facade of niceness. But make no mistake, Fuller House's Steve is the worst, and he has been since the reboot started. Now, he's prepared to take D.J. down with him, because if D.J. ends up with Steve in Fuller House Season 4, there will be no coming back for either character. (Fair warning: If you haven't watched Season 3 of Fuller House yet, turn back now.)
UPDATE: TV Line has announced that Fuller House has officially been renewed for Season 4.
EARLIER: In the original series, Steve was D.J.'s first love. He was a kindhearted jock with a big appetite and an endless supply of patience. Steve almost always made time for D.J.'s sisters, he flew to Disney World because he couldn't stand being away from his girlfriend for even a few days, and he even returned home from college to take D.J. to her senior prom after they had broken up. As first boyfriends go, he was pretty perfect — at least on the surface level.
Adulthood hasn't been kind to Steve though. Time stood still for the once affable nice guy, and the minute D.J.'s husband died, he showed up — not to offer emotional support, but to let her know that whenever she was ready to date again, he was available. Because after two decades apart and a failed marriage, D.J. is supposedly still the only woman for Steve. This idea is creepy on many levels, but it gets worse when you factor in C.J., the D.J. clone that Steve had his ex-girlfriend propose to for him in Season 2. Because that's a normal thing that people do.
Now Steve has made a commitment not only to C.J., but to her child. He spends all of Season 3 preparing for his wedding, and he almost seems sincere about his love for his fiancée. His behavior is purely performative though. He unilaterally decides to hire Kimmy as his wedding planner after she puts on a display for him and D.J., and he follows this up by having an intense "Summer Nights" sing-along with D.J. during yet another wedding planning session. Only this time, C.J. and D.J.'s serious boyfriend, Matt, are present. They are also both visibly uncomfortable.
If Steve was actually in love with C.J., instead of treating her like a consolation prize, he would have taken her concerns about his relationship with D.J. seriously and taken a step back from the situation. Instead, he calls D.J. down to the bridal shop during his tuxedo fitting the next day to ask for her advice about what tie to wear. This is not a man who has respect for his fiancée's feelings.
D.J. is not an innocent bystander in this situation. She too is actively pining for Steve while declaring her love for Matt. She also refuses to set boundaries where Steve is concerned — which is not a great way to build trust in her current relationship. Still, Steve's pattern of creepy, Nice Guy behavior is so well-established it stretches back to high school. In retrospect, was Steve showing up in Disney World a romantic gesture or a disturbing sign of things to come?
From the moment he began hovering around the Fuller household in Season 1, Steve's motives were clear. He wanted D.J. back, and he was willing to play on every ounce of nostalgia about their past together to make it happen. Never forget that this is the grown man who showed up at D.J.'s house dressed in a wig and his Letterman jacket to recreate the old days.
Steve's obsession with D.J. only becomes more disturbing when you think about how he almost completely ignores the fact that she has three sons. Matt has bonded with the boys over the course of his relationship, but Steve focuses on D.J. and D.J. alone — almost as if they were still in high school. Presumably, he has developed a relationship with C.J.'s daughter Rose, but if he has, it hasn't been developed onscreen. (Which could be for the best if he ends up ditching Rose's mom at the altar in the second half of Season 3.)
Instead, on the morning of his flight to Japan where he plans on marrying another woman, he shows up at D.J.'s house with a pillow for her neck and a deep-dive analysis of her weird dream. That's not cute. It's disturbing, just like the rest of his reprehensible behavior. For a man who's supposed to be considerate, Steve does a terrific job of dismissing C.J.'s feelings while focusing all of his attention on another woman.
Fuller House tries to normalize Steve's behavior by playing up the idea that D.J. and Steve are soulmates. The truth is much darker. Steve is a jerk to the woman he supposedly loves, and is incapable of moving on from the past. Whether he calls off his marriage to C.J. after D.J.'s season finale confession that she still has feelings for him or not, Steve will still be the worst. There's nothing charming about his behavior where either C.J. or D.J. is concerned. And if D.J. actually takes him back, then her character arc may never come back from such a damaging hit.
Steve is not a misunderstood nice guy just trying to do the right thing. He's a Nice Guy looking for a prize for his inability to grow as a human being. If Fuller House rewards his behavior, the show will only being feeding into the notion that it's OK to be an awful person as long as it's done in the pursuit of true love. As for D.J., well, she too will end up being the worst right alongside Steve. The only way these two are soulmates at this point is if they are equally terrible people. Using "true love" as an excuse to lead people on, disrupt the lives of children, and shatter hearts is not romantic — it's selfish.
Their high school relationship may have been adorable, but if Steve and D.J. end up together now, all the Full House nostalgia in the world won't be enough to redeem these two characters.