Bob Saget's Key Move as TV Dad: 'I Made Him a Hugger'

Late actor called the 'consummate father figure' in entertainment
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2022 9:45 AM CST
Bob Saget's Key Move as TV Dad: 'I Made Him a Hugger'
A 2008 photo of Bob Saget, from his Comedy Central roast.   (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg, File)

The death of Bob Saget has prompted some specific appreciations of his work decades ago as Danny Tanner, father of three young girls, on Full House. At the Los Angeles Times, Yvonne Villarreal recounts an interview she conducted with Saget before the 2016 release of the Fuller House reboot. "It’s hard to overestimate how Saget’s displays of affection on Full House, beamed into the living rooms of millions of homes, soothed a generation of young viewers—even the cool ones who mocked the corniness," writes Villarreal. A big part of that? All those hugs:

  • “I didn’t know I was being called the biggest geek in the world while it was happening or that I would be revered as the guy who loved hugging,” said Saget. “I came up with that. I made him a hugger. That was one of my contributions.”
  • Saget was 30 when the show started, and the show paralleled his own life in a sense. “I was having kids the whole time it started—my oldest daughter is a year younger than Ashley and Mary-Kate [Olsen],” Saget said. “It was a place where everyone was always trying to make it better, including the cast."

  • 'Consummate': As is well-known, Saget's prime-time persona stood in stark contrast to his sometimes raunchy routines as a standup comic. He "embodied contradictions," and these actually helped him become "perhaps entertainment’s consummate father figure," writes Amanda Wicks at the Atlantic. "Many kids grow up understanding their parents from one perspective, only to realize, in time, that moms and dads have desires, needs, and even personalities outside of the expected strictures. Saget was a reminder that humans are so much more than any one script. We do—and can and should—play all sorts of roles."
  • 'Universal': A post via the Jewish Telegraphic Agency calls Saget a "sort of universal parent figure" but puts the emphasis on his role as a real-life dad to his three daughters. The piece quotes from Saget's book Dirty Daddy: “I’ve put my entire soul into raising my own daughters and will continue to because it’s the most rewarding part of my life but they’ve also inspired me and taught me how to embrace and step up to that honored role of being a father in general," he wrote. "I get college audiences of thousands of people looking at me apparently as the dad they wished they had, and yeah it’s also for about an hour and about as superficial a connection as can exist compared to actual real-life parenting but I still take it very seriously, that’s not the comedian part of me using the word seriously.”
(Jimmy Kimmel barely held it together during his late-night tribute.)

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