The One Stephanie Tanner-Centric 'Full House' Episode No One Appreciates Enough
Poor Stephanie Tanner. As the middle child on Full House, she typically has to make quite a statement in order to get noticed. However, when the series has a Stephanie Tanner-centric episode, like "Fast Friends" in Season 7, it does a great job of reminding you why you love Stephanie and why she should actually be appreciated way more.
"Fast Friends" is primarily about Stephanie entering middle school and trying to fit in with the cool kids. It's a fairly standard "after school special"-style episode, where she's faced with making some tough choices about when it's right and wrong to give in to peer pressure. It's also one of the episodes that bridges the gap between Stephanie as a somewhat annoying kid and her much cooler, chille pre-teen self.
In the opening scene, she's stressed beyond belief about fitting in with the cool kids. She wants to make the right impression with her clothes — preppy? grunge? — because, as she puts it, how you look is one of the deciding factors for what clique you end up in (it's the '90s, so yes, cliques were still a thing).
While trying to find a place to dry her hands in the school bathroom, a nervous Stephanie meets cool, down-to-earth seventh grader Mickey. The two get along pretty well, and by the time they get back to the Tanner's house after school, they're fast friends. Get it?
But "fast" has two meanings here, and it starts to become evident when Danny Tanner talks to Mickey and Stephanie. On Stephanie's first day, Mickey showed her how to get free donuts from the teacher's lounge (code for stolen goods), and even tells Danny that she can't stay for dinner because she has to get home and "cook for Janet," aka her mother. Danny is understandably nervous about what Mickey's life is and seems worried that she could be a corrupt influence on Stephanie.
While Stephanie tries to convince her dad she just wants to make friends and she's still the same person, she's tested yet again when she meets Mickey's friend Gia. In another scene, Gia and the rest of The Guys, a group of tough-looking seventh grade girls, walk into the bathroom and start smoking. Stephanie is pressured into smoking and doesn't give in, but she still feels conflicted.
Later, Aunt Becky is able to counsel Steph by telling her how tough middle school was for her, too. This moment is totally transformative for Stephanie. She's finally given the chance to grow up and do the right thing, rather that play along with the "cool" crowd. When given the choice to be older and more mature (something she's always wanted to be, per D.J.'s example), she goes with her gut and rejects it.
It's a small moment in the grand scheme of Stephanie's growth on Full House, but it's an important one for her. In the memories of many millennials, this episode may ring a bell, because it was so pivotal as we grew up and navigated our own ways through tricky, peer pressure-laden situations. This Stephanie-focused episode definitely deserves some appreciation, and you can start by rewatching it ASAP.