The Full House Episode That Never Could Have Aired Today

The following article includes references to weight loss and eating disorders.

If it wasn't for "Full House," we may have never heard of the Olsen twins, John Stamos, or Bob Saget. The show spanned nearly 200 episodes in the '80s and '90s (per IMDb) – before more recently evolving into the reboot series "Fuller House" – and its reruns unlock core childhood memories for many millennials.

But despite how sweetly nostalgic the series is, it can also be a bit, well, dated. Take the offensive portrayal of Greek characters for example (via Screen Rant), or how grown men bullying Kimmy, a teenage girl, seemed to be normalized back then (via Decider). Plus, many of the "Full House" storylines were overly simplistic for today's audiences, who might expect more depth and complexity from their TV characters. But one of the most outdated things to come out of the show was one episode in particular that could have never been allowed on TV if the show premiered today.

DJ tries a dangerous diet in one Full House episode

The fourth season of "Full House" gave us an episode called "Shape Up" (via IMDb) that would likely be considered controversial if it aired today. In the episode, the oldest Tanner daughter, DJ, is invited to her friend Kimmy's bikini party. However, DJ doesn't want to go unless she loses weight to look like the models in her magazines. To try to reach her goal, she tapes photos of bikini-clad models on the family's refrigerator to deter herself from snacking. She also openly compares herself to other skinnier women on the show, including Aunt Becky, who advises DJ to avoid junk food. Her Uncle Jesse also offers up his advice, recommending she hit the gym.

Because DJ is desperate to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, she starts skipping all her meals, only eating a "water pop" (an ice cube on a stick) for sustenance. Later, she goes to the gym with her family, overexerting herself to the point of collapsing on the floor.

DJ is saved only after her sister Stephanie alerts the family of her dangerous attempts at losing weight. The episode concludes with Danny, the family patriarch, reminding DJ that her worth comes from her character, not her appearance. DJ then agrees to ditch her crash diet and go to the bikini party as she is.

Here's why the episode is problematic

A lot of what DJ's character went through in the "Shape Up" episode of "Full House" is still common for young women decades later. But the episode is problematic at best and dangerously triggering at worst, which is why it would likely never cut it on TV networks today.

Research shows that cultural pressure can play a major role in the development of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. Social media, advertisements, and the people in our circles can contribute to what we perceive the "perfect body" to be. On "Full House," DJ told those close to her that she was ashamed of not being as skinny or fit as they were. In response, they gave her advice to diet or work out, rather than validating the body she already had. 

DJ finally decides to attend the bikini party at the end of the episode without crash dieting after a discussion with her dad. While the conversation the two characters shared was heartwarming, it appeared to oversimplify eating disorders, making them seem to be resolvable in minutes. In reality, research shows that eating disorders often last between five and eight years, or even longer (via Beat Eating Disorders).

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Actress Candace Cameron Bure struggled with an eating disorder off-screen

DJ's disordered eating storyline wasn't handled as delicately as it may have been today. There was no trigger warning or resources for viewers who could relate to the "Full House" character's negative body image. And the episode seems even more problematic given that the actress who played DJ, Candace Cameron Bure, struggled with bulimia in real life. She told Yahoo! that people meeting her for the first time have often told her she looked "chubby" on TV. "And, you know, when you hear those things over and over again, and they become so repetitive, it can often become your identity to an extent, or it makes you perceive yourself in a way that you didn't even think you were, because other people keep speaking that into you," she added.

However, the actress insisted in an interview with Cosmopolitan that her eating disorder developed in her 20s, after the show wrapped, and wasn't related to how she was perceived on TV. Cameron Bure has since taken on a healthier relationship with food and works out to keep her mental health in check. She now says she wants to offer hope to those who are struggling as she did.