Everywhere You Look: The Eerie Correspondences Between Members Of The Wu-Tang Clan And The Characters Of "Full House"
November 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan released its seminal debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). At the time, the show "Full House," then in its seventh season, was still dominant in the ratings. What similarities could possible exist between the '90s most saccharine sitcom and its most respected group of gangsta rappers? More than you might expect. Despite their superficial differences, these are essentially two makeshift families struggling to make do in America; two casts of eccentrics that inexplicably gel to form a cohesive unit. Let's further explore the complexities that link the West Coast Tanners and the East Coast Wu, revealing them as two sides of the same early 90s coin.
DANNY (BOB SAGET)—GZA
Just as Danny is the patriarch of the Tanners, GZA is very much a father figure within the Wu-Tang Clan. GZA is the oldest banger in the Clan (he’s already 45), had the only major-label release prior to Wu’s formation (1991’s Words from the Genius), and goes by the moniker of “Genius.” Just as the Tanner family would quickly disintegrate from in-fighting and other dangers without Danny, the GZA is the glue that holds the Clan together. As Method Man explains at the end of “Can It All Be So Simple,” “We form like Voltron and GZA happen to be the head.”
Most of the time, Danny appeared to be the only character on “Full House” with any modicum of common sense. While the Wu are much more grounded and reasonable than the Tanner family, GZA always struck me as its most pragmatic member. He commonly raps about business concerns, like in “Protect Ya Neck,” delivering the following diss to commercial labels: “Now they money's getting’ stuck to the gum under the table/That's what you get when you misuse what I invent/Your empire falls and you lose every cent.” I could easily see Danny saying something similarly scathing to the producers of “Wake Up, San Francisco.”
Glaring Difference: Danny is unhealthily obsessed with cleanliness, whereas the Genius refers to himself as “the dirtiest thing in sight.”
JESSE (JOHN STAMOS)—RAEKWON
Only Jesse, easily the most gangsta “Full House” cast member, could fill Raekwon’s Timberlands. Likewise, only Raekwon, the hardest and perhaps most respected Clan member, could don a Jesse Katsopolis leather jacket.
Jesse can’t quite live up to Raekwon’s gritty, streetwise persona, but he’s the toughest of the “Full House” cast, for what it’s worth. Put it this way: if you were to engage in brutally violent gang warfare with the Tanners, you’d send your biggest guy out against Jesse. And more importantly, both Raekwon and Jesse possess an innate cool, an ability to not give a damn and still be the most badass guy in the room. Also, Jesse’s real name is Hermes, which he changed at a young age to sound cooler; Raekwon’s real name is Corey Woods, which sounds like the name of an energetic, young “Glee” cast member.
Glaring Difference: Raekwon has never declared a proclivity for hair styling or Elvis, while Jesse has never revealed a passion for cocaine or guns.
JOEY (DAVE COULIER)—METHOD MAN
This comparison is bound to be a bit controversial because Method Man is one of the most popular and most successful Wu-Tang-ers, and Joey is an annoying, pathetic man-child. I admit that this is the biggest stretch between the two groups, but somebody had to be Joey.
Regardless of whether you liked him or not, recognize that Joey was one of the cornerstones of the Tanner household. He was a necessary comedic foil (just as Method Man is known for his sense of humor), creepily obsessed with making goofy voices and watching cartoons. While I don’t think Meth is quite as… sad as Joey, his famous self-titled track on 36 Chambers does contain nostalgic childhood references to Tweety Bird, the Three Little Pigs, Dr. Seuss, and Fat Albert. Then again, it also opens with a dialogue where he threatens to hang a man from a twelve-story building by his penis.
But the biggest similarity is that, unfortunately, they both over-stayed their welcome. Just as Joey continually became more and more annoying as the seasons progressed, Method Man followed up his successful rapping career with a series of shitty comedies like How High and Soul Plane. While he has also done some fine work acting, Meth’s legacy is clearly tarnished by the “Cash Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M)” ideology that appears to be governing his latest project choices. We all still want to like you Meth, but you’re making it awfully difficult.
Glaring Difference: Method Man briefly reversed his precipitous decline by playing the character Cheese on “The Wire.” This offers a pretty clear distinction between these two: Meth could legitimately pull off a role in “The Wire” while simultaneously churning out brain-dead comedies. Comparatively, imagine Dave Coulier had appeared in both the 1994-1995 season of “Full House” and Pulp Fiction. Also, Alanis Morissette never went down on Method Man in a movie theater. That I know of.
D.J. (CANDACE CAMERON)—RZA
If GZA is the Wu’s mind, RZA is the face: the Spock to GZA’s Kirk, the Rusty Ryan to his Danny Ocean. RZA is legendary for both his rhymes and contributions as the group’s main producer. Or as Meth puts it, “He’s the sharpest mothafucka in the whole clan; he always on point, razor-sharp.” Well, then.
GZA and RZA always struck me as the Wu’s governing parental unit. They headed the clandestine operation, organized the troops and maintained authority. Therefore, if Danny is the GZA (and after years of research, I’m willing to conclude that he is), RZA must be represented by the matriarch to Danny’s patriarch. In my opinion, this is D.J. (Donna Jo), the eldest and most responsible of the Tanner girls. I’m willing to accept arguments for Rebecca, but I believe RZA was too integral to the Clan to be represented by Rebecca, who I consider to be a lesser character beyond the “core six” (Danny, Jesse, Joey and the girls).
D.J. takes care of her younger sisters, as well as her father’s disturbingly infantile brother and best friend. In many ways, D.J. was not merely a big sister to Stephanie and Michelle, but a mother figure as well. Perhaps RZA said it best: “I be tossin’, enforcin’, my style is awesome/I'm causin’ more Family Feuds than Richard Dawson/And the survey said, ya dead/Fatal flying guillotine chops off your fuckin’ head.” Well, everything up until the part about chopping people’s heads off with some esoteric Kung Fu maneuver, at least.
Glaring Difference: RZA has been extremely successful outside of Wu, including acting in movies like Funny People and American Gangster and working on the music for Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. Candace Cameron has been on "Make It Or Break It" and just did a Christmas movie.
STEPHANIE (JODIE SWEETIN)—INSPECTAH DECK
Inspectah Deck is without a doubt the most underrated Wu-banger. Whereas RZA and GZA got due credit as creators, Meth and ODB achieved commercial success, and Ghostface and Raekwon became critical darlings, poor Inspectah toiled in undeserved anonymity. Deck, aka Rebel INS, had some of the best verses on 36 Chambers, yet somehow got much fewer opportunities afterwards.
This logic dictates that the overlooked Deck is best realized in the archetypal middle-child, Stephanie. While D.J. deals with more adult issues like boyfriends and partying, and Michelle is constantly babied and fawned over, Stephanie is stranded in the middle. She appeared desperate for attention from the family, using her sarcastic wit and horrible decision-making to carve a niche for herself. It occasionally worked, so perhaps Inspectah Deck would have gotten more attention had he let Kimmi Gibbler pierce his ear, or accidentally driven Joey’s car through the kitchen wall.
Glaring Difference: Stephanie constantly spouts banal catchphrases like, “How rude!” or “Pin a rose on your nose!” Deck, on the other hand, is the kind of introspective guy to drop some deep shit on your ignorant ass: “I bomb atomically, Socrates' philosophies/and hypothesis can't define how I be droppin’ these/mockeries, lyrically perform armed robbery.” Word.
MICHELLE (MARY-KATE & ASHLEY OLSEN)—OL' DIRTY BASTARD
This is obviously not an earth-shattering insight. In fact, I’m sure most readers have already created a meticulously referenced and collated file on the vast similarities between Michelle Tanner and Ol’ Dirty Bastard in their spare time. But please indulge me as I briefly list the all too familiar details: both were the most recognizable members of their respective groups, received an arguably disproportional share of attention, lived amidst conflicting rumors (generally pertaining to drug use), and engaged in inexplicable behavior (although this occurred post-“Full House” for the Olsen twins). The hilarious, intoxicated warbling of ODB had much the same effect as Michelle’s precocious catchphrases and cute jokes: both served comedic functions on a level somewhat tangential from the main focus of the given episode/song. Both were extremely unpredictable and may have been wearing a diaper at any given time during the peak of their celebrity.
R.I.P ODB (aka Dirt McGirt, Osirus, Big Baby Jesus, Joe Bananas, BZA, Peanut the Kidnapper, Freeloading Rusty, Knifey McStab). We miss you.
Glaring Difference: Whereas the Olsen twins starred in family TV movies like To Grandmother's House We Go, ODB once rapped, “You give me your number, I call you up/You act like your pussy don't interrupt.”
REBECCA (LORI LOUGHLIN)—GHOSTFACE KILLAH
Although this one might seem odd at first, I think it’s fitting that Wu’s most versatile rapper gets paired up with the only “Full House” cast member that didn’t embarrass his or herself on a regular basis when called upon to partake in mawkish, melodramatic scenes. Lori Loughlin is a very serviceable actress, which, in the context of “Full House,” is the equivalent of being Laurence Olivier circa 1965. She pairs well with Ghostface, a rapper with just as much credibility in barber shops in Brooklyn as the break room of Pitchfork. So while Lori’s acting doesn’t hold quite the sway of Ghostface’s Joycean stream-of-consciousness assaults, it’s about as close as we’re going to get.
Glaring Difference: Loughlin was born in Queens and Ghostface in Staten Island. Anyone who doesn’t think this is a glaring difference isn’t from New York.
KIMMI GIBBLER (ANDREA BARBER)—U-GOD
Sorry, U-God. Really, I’m sorry.
Glaring Difference: None.
COMET (BUDDY)—MASTA KILLA
From Wu’s official site: “The most quiet and mysterious Wu-Tang member, Masta Killa rarely speaks during public appearances and interviews and very little is known about him.” Much like the Tanner’s family dog Comet, Masta doesn’t say a whole lot, but can’t be counted on to deliver the goods when given the chance to shine (in Comet’s case this would probably be that episode where gets lost chasing after a large hot dog car). Also, just as the Tanners didn’t get Comet until season 3, Killa is almost entirely absent from Wu’s first album, delivering only a single verse because he was in jail at the time.
And he’s better than U-God, so he didn’t deserve to be Kimmi Gibbler.
Glaring Difference: Comet is entirely covered in fur.