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Why Full House Killed Off Pam Tanner
2024/04/09

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is a beloved sitcom that revolves around its main characters' trials, tribulations, and triumphs - so why is Danny Tanner's wife, Pam, killed off before the show's timeline begins? Familial relationships and navigating everyday existence with the aid of those loved ones is the driving force behind the series.

As its name implies, there's certainly plenty of literal and figurative togetherness to go around. However, a true mother figure for the Tanner girls is absent throughout eight seasons.

Created by Jeff Franklin for ABC, the San Francisco-based series premiered in 1987 - introducing audiences to the blended family that would amass more than enough fans for the sitcom to receive its buzz-generating reboot, 

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 in 2016. Like other laugh track-infused American sitcoms, the dramedy tackles issues that tend to arise in the home and in the lives of both adult and child/teen relatives.

(Bob Saget) and his three daughters, D.J. (Candace Cameron), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and Michelle (Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen). Danny's dear friend, Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier), and the girls' uncle, Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos), also come to live with the family unit as they all weather life's storms, live and grow as people, and become even closer in many of their bonds.

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While they have three father-esque figures, the Tanner girls are without their mother throughout the entire series. Their mother, Pam, is written to have been killed by a drunk driver prior to the show. She's only briefly shown once in season 2 (portrayed by Christie Houser) via an old home video. For such a lighthearted and feel-good type of family sitcom, it's a dark background event to have set the series' events in motion. Of course, the very premise of is about how the blended family functions in what is, subsequently, Pam's absence. Her loss isn't explicitly dealt with in every episode, but the entire multi-parent dynamic between Danny, Jesse, Joey, and the Tanner girls forms the way it does due to her unexpected death and the same level of necessary child rearing despite it.

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However, that isn't the only reason for Pam's character having been previously killed off; it was a necessary show component to effectively bring the characters, storylines, and plots that Jeff Franklin seemingly had in mind to life.

By the time hit the air, family sitcoms certainly weren't anything new. The idea of a conventionally traditional, heterosexual couple raising children had already been done a great many times. Clearly, the vision for the show, or at least the version of it that's become so well-known, didn't include that specific familial framework.

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Instead, the series revolves around three very different men (none of whom are blood-related to each other) raising three young girls. Also, not only does the love and closeness between connect them all in a tight-knit way - so does the underlying, traumatic vacancy of a mother, wife, sister (Jesse is Pam's brother), and friend.

In addition, Pam's past death also brings an extra layer of realism to the show. Amid jokes, laugh tracks, and mostly-kid-friendly content, the group has experienced potent loss and pain - just like countless families constantly do in real life. To bring the series' main characters to life in the specific way that they're portrayed (especially in regard to Danny, Joey, and Uncle Jesse, and their trial and error in attempting to work as a sort of three-pronged parental unit), another would-be , and subsequent absence, had to leave a crater-sized hole in the lives of those survived by her.

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