How Fuller House Season 4 Addressed Michelle Tanner's Absence

Full House Michelle Tanner Olsen Twins, Warner Bros. Television Distribution
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Television Distribution)

Fuller House has been full of characters from the original series since it began -- with one exception. Michelle Tanner has been absent from the revival. She has often been mentioned with her busy fashion career in New York City serving as the standard explanation for her on-screen absence. So, how did Season 4 handle it?

Remembering that classic adage about not being broke, Fuller House relied on Michelle's busy career in New York to explain it. The Season 4 premiere, "Oh My Santa," was set during Christmastime. It featured an early line from D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure) mentioning that Dad (Danny), Uncle Jesse, and Aunt Becky weren't around because they were visiting Michelle in New York.

Fans did not have a lot of reason to hope for a last-minute appearance from the Olsen twins as Michelle. Something would have likely leaked ahead of time had they made a special appearance. In truth, revisiting Michelle in her adult years was always a tricky aspect of a Full House revival.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen alternated the role when they were younger, despite their not being identical twins. The Olsens are actually sororal, the female version of fraternal twins. If Michelle were to reappear, they would probably have to choose, which one of them would reprise the role.

Regardless, the Olsens have chosen to forego revisiting their Full House character altogether. One could imagine them potentially returning whenever Fuller House ends, possibly to bring some closure to the Full House universe. Maybe even to announce she is returning to San Francisco? A girl can hope.

Fuller House's explanation for Michelle's absence is a nod to the Olsen twins' real path in life. However, as a longtime Full House fan, it has never made sense that Michelle would live so far away from her family. She was always super close to them. It is certainly not the future this fan could have imagined for her.

Fuller House has filled the void left by Michelle's absenteeism with a plethora of characters. Still, the Tanners have been living a splintered existence. All of the sisters are not together, which served as so much of Full House's story.

The whole family was the core of the original series and missing a single member means distorting that. So, what could Fuller House have done?

Without the Olsen twins to reprise the role, it may still be worth considering recasting Michelle. If Fuller House returns for a fifth season on Netflix, it would be worth trying out. Perhaps, the show is holding out hope for the Olsens to appear in the final episode. If so, it is not worth that to sacrifice having the character of Michelle present, while Fuller House is still alive.

As a fan of the original, the question about what the Tanner sisters would be like today has still not been answered. Recasting the role would give fans a chance to find out. Recasting helps Fuller House stay truer to Full House's story than continuing with the explanation it is currently using.

Fuller House Season 4 is currently available to stream on Netflix, along with its previous seasons. The series was among many shows airing new episodes this fall on the streaming giant. Even more TV premieres await viewers in the new year.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.