Lori Loughlin’s character faced a dilemma. Her two children had the chance to attend an elite school that promised to put their lives on the “fast track,” but there was only one problem: Their application wasn’t entirely accurate.
In a 1993 episode of the popular sitcom “Full House,” revived by social media users Tuesday, Becky Katsopolis, played by Loughlin, and her husband, Jesse (John Stamos), are forced to navigate the line between wanting what’s best for their children and taking things too far as they try to get their young twin sons accepted to a prestigious preschool. When Jesse realizes his boys likely won’t get in, he blatantly lies on the school’s application, sending the couple down a path of deception until Becky, known in the show for her prudence, puts a stop to the shenanigans. She tells administrators the truth, even at the risk of jeopardizing her children’s futures.
“I know you want what’s best for them, but you know what?” Becky says to Jesse near the end of the episode. “Maybe the fast track isn’t it. Nicky and Alex are normal, healthy kids and whatever track they’re on, they seem to be doing okay.”
She later adds, “When they’re ready to go to preschool, we’ll find the right one and we’ll do everything we can to encourage them.”
Fast-forward more than 20 years and Loughlin found herself in a strikingly similar situation, only this time it was real life. In 2016, Loughlin’s eldest daughter was preparing to apply for colleges, but federal prosecutors now allege that instead of leaving things to chance, the actress and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, used bribes to get their daughter into the University of Southern California. They also allegedly did the same for their other daughter, who enrolled in USC last fall.
Loughlin and Giannulli were among 50 people, including “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman, charged Tuesday with allegedly being involved in a bribery scam that allowed privileged students, who otherwise may not have been accepted, to attend prestigious colleges and universities, The Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky reported. The couple are accused of getting their daughters admitted to USC by paying $500,000 for them to be designated as recruits for the university’s rowing team, even though neither of them rowed, according to a criminal complaint.
Representatives for Loughlin and Huffman could not be reached for comment early Wednesday.
On Tuesday, many fans of “Full House” pointed out that Loughlin’s character, widely known as “Aunt Becky,” appeared to take a rather different approach to school admissions on the show.
“Maybe #AuntBecky should’ve taken her own advice,” one person tweeted, referencing the Season 6 episode titled, “Be True To Your Preschool.” The episode is available for streaming on Hulu.
The episode’s story line involving Becky and Jesse begins with their twin sons on a play date with another young boy named Cooper. When the conversation between the parents turns to enrolling their children in preschool, Becky and Jesse learn that Cooper has just been accepted to Bouton Hall, one of the best preschools in the area. On the other hand, they are still, as Jesse puts it, in the “pre-preschool phase,” and haven’t checked out any schools.
“You better get going,” Cooper’s dad warns. “The most important choice a parent can make for his child is to pick the right preschool.”
At Bouton Hall, kids are put on the “right track,” guaranteeing that they’re going to be “on the fast track for life,” the father says.
“That’s where we want Nicky and Alex,” Jesse responds. “The right track, the fast track, zoom.”
The camera pans back to show the three boys playing on the grass. Nicky and Alex are making unintelligible baby sounds, and throwing bits of grass in the air. Meanwhile, Cooper has built a rather impressive block tower and starts reciting the ABCs. Jesse looks on, his expression growing increasingly disheartened.
Later, Jesse is confronted with another sign that perhaps Bouton Hall isn’t such a good fit for his sons when he sits down to go over the school’s daunting application form.
“That is a great preschool,” remarks his friend Joey Gladstone, played by Dave Coulier. “I couldn’t get in there and I was 14.”
The twins probably won’t get in either, Jesse says, referencing an application question that asks the parent to evaluate “the scope of your child’s verbal skills.” Jesse notes that his sons do talk a lot as the boys babble incoherently in the background, but “it’s just not always in English.”
“Perfect, put down that. They’re bilingual,” Joey suggests. “They speak two languages: English and gibberish.”
At first, Jesse refuses to lie on the application, but then changes his mind.
“I’m their father,” he says. “If I don’t lie for them, who will?”
Jesse’s lies appear to pay off as a breathless Becky, who has no idea the application was falsified, tells him that the boys, now bilingual and capable of playing the bassoon, have scored an interview for the school. It’s only when they arrive at the school that he comes clean to his wife in an effort to get her to go along with his scheme.
“On the application I may have, what’s the word I’m looking for, I may have embellished a little bit,” he admits, reassuring an alarmed Becky that it was “minuscule amounts . . . just a tad.”
But as more of the lies are revealed to Becky throughout the painfully awkward meeting, she quickly reaches her limit.
“We have to be honest, well, I have to be honest,” she says, interrupting the school administrator. “He may have embellished, lied a bit on our application.”
It turns out the school had its suspicions all along, as “not too many 2-year-olds are proficient on the bassoon,” the administrator responds, but surprisingly she allows the entrance interview to proceed. “It only shows you want what’s best for your boys.”
The end of the episode finds a frustrated Jesse trying to practice letters and shapes with his sons, who seem to have no interest at all in what they’re learning. One of the sons even hurls a plastic block at his father’s head.
“I think the boys are trying to tell us something,” Becky says, before gently reminding Jesse that it doesn’t matter where their children go to school or what track they end up on.
“I just want them to be happy,” Jesse says as he holds one of the twins, who can’t stop giggling.
“Well, they look pretty happy to me,” Becky replies.
On social media, people claimed the episode foreshadowed Tuesday’s news about the college admission scam.
An old interview of Loughlin has also resurfaced, in which she spoke about wanting her daughters to go to college.
“I want them to be happy,” she told “Entertainment Tonight” in 2016. “I want to be supportive of everything they want to do, but I do want them to have somewhat of a normal [life]. Finish out high school, college experience, maybe because I didn’t have that, I really want that for them.”
It didn’t take long for the initial surprise to wear off and be replaced with a flood of “Full House”-themed jokes and memes.
One person went so far as to create a new version of the show’s catchy theme song, “Everywhere You Look.”
Here’s a sample of the revised lyrics:
What ever happened to a meritocracy?
The class rank, the GPA, even SATs.
Everywhere you look, (everywhere)
There’s a fraud, (there’s a fraud)
A school to pay bribes to.
Some keen-eyed users resurrected other episodes that they felt had also become relevant again.