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|Actor||Character(s)||Number of episodes||Seasons|
|John Stamos||Jesse Katsopolis[note 1]||All 192||Main|
|Bob Saget||Danny Tanner||Main|
|Dave Coulier||Joey Gladstone||Main|
|Candace Cameron||Donna Jo "D.J." Tanner||191||Main|
|Jodie Sweetin||Stephanie Tanner||All 192||Main|
|Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen||Michelle Tanner||191||Main|
|Andrea Barber||Kimmy Gibbler||126||Recurring||Main|
|Lori Loughlin||Rebecca Donaldson Katsopolis||152||N/A||Recurring||Main|
|Scott Weinger||Steve Hale||50||N/A||Recurring||Main||Cameo|
|Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit||Nicky and Alex Katsopolis (as toddlers)||56||N/A||Recurring||Main|
Jesse Katsopolis (portrayed by John Stamos; the character's last name in season one was Cochran, but was changed reportedly due to John Stamos wanting his character to better reflect his Greek heritage) is Danny's brother-in-law, Pam's younger brother and husband to Rebecca Donaldson and father to twins Nicky and Alex. Born Hermes Katsopolis (as revealed in the fifth season episode "The Legend of Ranger Joe", and was named after his great-grandfather, who in turn is named after the Greek god of swiftness), he did not like his birth name as other kids teased him for it; so when he was in kindergarten, he begged his parents to have his name changed to Jesse, thinking that one had to have a "cool name" to be in the in-crowd. As an adult, he was more confident with his true name, telling the girls about the Greek god of speed and how his great-grandfather saved a village from a volcano, but still goes by Jesse. In contrast with Danny, Jesse is portrayed as being irresponsible most of the time, but occasionally serves as a responsible adult when a responsible adult is needed (such as when he discovers Stephanie's classmate is a child abuse victim in the sixth season episode "Silence is Not Golden"). Jesse is revealed as a high school dropout in season six's "Educating Jesse", though in an earlier plot (in season four's "One Last Kiss") about a high school reunion, he mentions not wearing his cap to his graduation because he did not want to mess up his hair.
Jesse's obsession with his hair becomes a major trait of his throughout the series, as well as his obsession with Elvis Presley. His obsession with the former is fully established in the season two premiere "Cutting it Close", which focuses on Jesse's tough time coping when Stephanie accidentally cuts off a hunk of his mullet, which leads to him getting into a motorcycle accident that lands him in a full arm cast; later episodes reveal that he has a special comb called Mr. Goodpart (which gets damaged in a melee to purchase a Mighty Mutant Super Kids Super Fortress for Michelle in season eight's "I've Got a Secret") and that he gives pep talks to his hair (as revealed in season seven's "Wrong-Way Tanner").
Jesse first moves into the house with virtually no experience in taking care of young children or babies, but starts to learn the ropes along the way. He becomes closer to all of his nieces over the course of the series, especially Michelle, to whom he affectionately nicknames "munchkin" and shorty among others. In the first season, Jesse works for his father Nick's exterminating business before leaving to pursue work in advertising, frequently working with Joey. He later works with Joey as co-hosts of an afternoon drive time show on local radio station KFLH called The Rush Hour Renegades. Further along in the series, in season seven's "Smash Club: The Next Generation", Jesse becomes the new owner of The Smash Club. Although he was shown to be a sports fan as well as a good athlete in the earlier seasons, it is revealed in later seasons that Jesse hated all sports (especially basketball, as revealed in "Air Jesse" from season eight) and was not very athletic. Jesse's main passion is music, and struggles to "hit it big" with his band, Jesse and the Rippers (in the earlier part of the series). However, his increasing responsibilities to his family, radio job, and as owner of a club, lead his band members to kick him out of the band (in the season eight premiere "Comet's Excellent Adventure"); in "Making Out is Hard to Do", he briefly decides to quit being a musician until he has a nightmare in which he appears on Downbeat (a Behind the Music-style show-within-a-dream-sequence) has him dream that his family hates him, Rebecca has divorced him (and moved on with Joey) and Jesse himself was a balding (due to a scalp infection) and overweight mechanic with Kimmy Gibbler (dressed in the attire of the Married... with Children character Peggy Bundy) as a wife; two episodes later in "To Joey, With Love," he subsequently starts a new band called Hot Daddy and the Monkey Puppets. He also says huh, like "not you huh".
Daniel Ernest "Danny" Tanner (portrayed by Bob Saget, John Posey in the unaired pilot) is left with three young daughters to raise after his wife, Pam, dies in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. At the beginning of the series, he works as a sportscaster for Channel 8 News. In the season two episode "Tanner vs. Gibbler", he is chosen by his station's general manager Mr. Strowbridge to be the co-host for the station's new morning talk show, Wake Up, San Francisco, alongside Rebecca Donaldson. In season one's "The Big Three-O," Danny's beloved car "Bullet" is severely damaged after another driver rear-ends the vehicle, leading it roll out of park and become submerged in the San Francisco Bay as Jesse and Joey shop for new seat covers for the car to surprise Danny with as a present for his 30th birthday; Jesse and Joey end up bidding for a new car that is identical in appearance, unknowingly competing with Danny, who purchases the car (and later named it "Walter") after he calls the car dealership that Jesse and Joey are and places a bid over the phone.
Danny goes on his first date since his wife's death in the season one episode "Sea Cruise," as part of a fishing trip that was intended to only include himself, Jesse and Joey; he is seen going out on dates on select occasions throughout the series. While Rebecca goes on maternity leave in season five just before giving birth to his nephews Nicky and Alex, Danny ends up falling in love with her co-host replacement, Vicky Larson. The two of them begin dating in season five's "Easy Rider," becoming Danny's most serious relationship since he became a widower, and the two later become engaged in the sixth season finale "The House Meets the Mouse". However, their relationship turned into a long-distance situation as Vicky was assigned various reporting jobs away from San Francisco. In season seven's "The Perfect Couple," Vicky ended up getting her dream job of anchoring the network news in New York City, but a long-distance relationship did not work for either of them, so Danny decides to break up with her; this leads him to a mass feng shui habit in the following episode, "Is It True About Stephanie?," to which his family acknowledges was his way of trying to cope with his breakup. Danny eventually meets fellow single parent Claire Mahan in season eight episode "Making Out Is Hard to Do," and they have subsequently start dating in the episode "Claire and Present Danger."
Although he is not established with this trait early on (season one's "The Return of Grandma" depicts him as begrudgingly trying to clean the messy house with Jesse and Joey after their mothers threaten to move in if they cannot keep the place clean), much of the humor surrounding Danny's character comes from his obsession with cleaning and cleanliness. Danny can often be found cleaning for cleaning's sake, sometimes even cleaning his cleaning products (in a version of the original season three opening titles, seen during episodes in which Lori Loughlin does not appear as Rebecca Donaldson, Danny is even shown to be cleaning his floor vacuum with a handheld vacuum). He says the family motto is "clean is good, dirt is bad". Danny views spring cleaning as his equivalent to Christmas and home movies as his New Year's Eve (as revealed in the season two episode "Goodbye, Mr. Bear"). His quirkiness and generally "unhip dad" personality are also targets for humor. He is a skilled pool, dart player and guitarist (as respectively revealed in season four's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and season eight's "To Joey, with Love").
Like most other characters, he generally cannot stand Kimmy Gibbler, considering her as “an annoying, obnoxious nuisance”; at times, urging D.J. to make new friends whenever Kimmy does something that irritates him. Danny also has one brother and one sister, and his parents are divorced. Unlike his brother-in-law Jesse (who is more into rock-and-roll), Danny has a taste for 1970s Disco music; one of his favorite songs is Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry.
Joseph Alvin "Joey" Gladstone (portrayed by Dave Coulier) is the childhood best friend of Danny Tanner, and adulthood best friend of Jesse Katsopolis. Joey moved in with Danny shortly after the death of Danny's wife, Pam, to help raise D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle. Joey works as a stand-up comedian, whose act usually includes vocal imitations of cartoon characters such as Popeye, Bullwinkle J. Moose, Pepe LePew and others. Joey initially slept in the alcove of Danny's living room. However, after complaining of not being able to find privacy, Danny reconstructs his basement garage into a bedroom for him in the season one episode "Joey's Place" (prior to the reveal, Joey contemplates moving out after the family's behavior makes him believe that Jesse and Danny can handle taking care of the girls and that he is not needed). Joey nearly quits comedy in the season one episode "But Seriously, Folks," after Phyllis Diller (who was there as an audience member) hogs his slot at a comedy club, deciding to change his name to Joe and become a serious businessman. He reverses his decision after D.J. decides to quit practicing the guitar, realizing that he is not setting a good example. Although there was some tension between Joey and Jesse when they first move in with the Tanners, they quickly become good friends to the point where Jesse asks Joey to be his best man at his wedding. Even so, Joey's perceived immaturity does irritate Jesse at times. Joey usually handles the day-to-day raising of the kids by doing chores like making meals, driving the kids to school appointments, and after school activities, taking care of Michelle as a baby, and helping the kids with their homework. Joey also buys D.J. her first car for her 16th birthday in the season six episode "Grand Gift Auto," which ends up getting repossessed after the police discover that the car had been stolen; Joey nearly moves out again after the family's attempts to try illustrate that Joey is not capable of committing a crime make him believe that the rest of the family thinks of him as a big joke. It is in this episode that Joey reveals that he had wished to have siblings as he grew up as an only child (even imaging that he was part of The Brady Bunch), and that being part of the Tanner family gave him the extended family he always wanted. In season four's "Viva Las Joey," Joey is reunited with his estranged father (at the arrangement of Stephanie and D.J.), a former serviceman in the Armed Forces, with whom Joey did not get along with growing up due to his strict parenting style and his disapproval of Joey's dream of being a comedian; his father realizes that Joey made the right career decision when he sees his son's routine when Joey is invited as an opening act for Wayne Newton in Las Vegas.
Joey briefly appears as a firefighter for the San Francisco fire department where he accidentally leaves the firetruck on and it hits an old folk's home.
Joey has held various jobs in addition to his work as a stand-up comic. For a while during the second and third seasons, Joey and Jesse run an advertising business, J&J Advertising, in which they partnered to compose jingles for television and radio commercials. In season four's "Joey Goes Hollywood," Joey wins a role he secretly auditions for in a sitcom co-starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello called Surf's Up. Joey's most successful job was portraying "Ranger Joe," on an afternoon children's variety television show. He was given the job to replace retiring original host "Ranger Roy" in season five's "The Legend of Ranger Joe," only to be fired after triggering Roy's acute physical paranoia when hugging him as a thank you; after Danny informs Joey of this while telling him of his firing, Joey ends up saving Roy from a "hug-o-gram" that he had sent to gratitude for the job; he then gets rehired after Roy becomes impressed with Joey's hosting skills when he takes over for Roy on his last show. Ranger Joe's sidekick is his wise-cracking woodchuck marionette puppet "Mr. Woodchuck" (first seen in "The Legend of Ranger Joe" and last seen in "Michelle Rides Again"). Joey quits his job in season six's "Radio Days," after he becomes disgruntled with his boss Mr. Strowbridge's wife as his co-host. Jesse and Joey subsequently become co-hosts of a successful afternoon show on radio station KFLH called, Rush Hour Renegades. Besides his impressions, much of Joey's humor comes from his depiction as a man child, particularly the fact that he still watches cartoons as an adult and has an extensive knowledge of animation.
Donna Jo Margaret Tanner (portrayed by Candace Cameron) is Danny and Pam's oldest child. Over the course of the show's run, D.J. attends Frasier Street Elementary, Van Atta Junior High and Bayview High School. In the pilot episode "Our Very First Show," she ends up having to share her bedroom with Stephanie in order to allow Jesse to move into Stephanie's old bedroom; due to problems with privacy regarding Stephanie, in the season five episode "Take My Sister, Please," she sells Danny on an idea to switch rooms with Michelle, who in turn would move in with Stephanie (only after convincing Michelle to move in with Stephanie, after she rejects the offer to move in with her older sister).
D.J. is typically the daughter who acts the most practical, often giving advice to her younger sisters, Michelle and Stephanie. Although she sometimes bickers with them, she cares for them deeply. As D.J. entered into middle school, she started to deal with more serious issues like puberty and dating. She has her first serious relationship with Steve Hale (who was first introduced in the season five episode "Sisters in Crime"), who later becomes a real fixture in her life (and a regular character beginning in season six) when their characters return from a summer abroad in Spain. Their relationship lasts until they break up in the season seven episode "Love on the Rocks," when they realize that the passion in their relationship is gone, but they agree to remain friends. D.J. has on-and-off relationships (during the show's final season) with guitarist Viper (a member of Jesse's new band Hot Daddy and the Monkey Puppets) and rich kid Nelson, but both relationships do not last (the two end up vying for D.J.'s affections in the season eight episode "D.J.'s Choice," only for D.J. to reject them both after their fighting gets to be too much for her to bear). In the series finale "Michelle Rides Again," Steve shows up at the Tanner house to take D.J. to her senior prom and they share a kiss. Her best friend throughout the show was next-door neighbor Kimmy Gibbler, who was the complete opposite of D.J in every way. In season eight, D.J. gets accepted to University of California, Berkeley and it is implied she will go to college there after graduating high school (after she was rejected from her first choice, Stanford University).
Stephanie Judith Tanner (portrayed by Jodie Sweetin) is the sarcastic middle child of Danny and Pam, the younger sister of D.J., and the older sister of Michelle. Her mother died when she was five years old. Her catchphrases during the early seasons of the series include "how rude!," "well, pin a rose on your nose!" and "hot dog". She eventually evolved into something of a tomboy in seasons four and five. Stephanie has a habit of spying on D.J.'s life by reading her diary and eavesdropping on her telephone calls (having been caught in the act several times), and is generally the most athletic and nosiest of the Tanner girls. Her best friends in school are Gia Mahan and Mickey, whom she meets in season seven (the former is the only one who appears through to season eight). Of the three sisters, Stephanie has dealt with the toughest issues, such as peer pressure into smoking (in season seven's "Fast Friends"), "make-out" parties (in season eight's "Making Out is Hard to Do"), joyriding (in season eight's "Stephanie's Wild Ride"), and uncovering a classmate's child abuse (in season six's "Silence is Not Golden"), as well as the death of her mother when she was only five. In her early years, she is very sentimental about Mr. Bear, a stuffed animal that her mother gave to her after Michelle was born (this was the focal point of the season two episode "Goodbye Mr. Bear"). She and Jesse are the most abrasive when it comes to how they feel about Kimmy Gibbler.
Michelle Elizabeth Tanner (played by twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen), is Danny and Pam's youngest daughter. Danny is more overprotective of Michelle than the other girls. Michelle was just a baby when Pam died (as a result, she does not remember her mom). Jesse and Joey's misadventures in taking care of her when she was a baby provided a great deal of humor. Once Michelle started to grow up, she became the focus of more of the show's storylines. Her best friends, Teddy and Denise, appear frequently in later seasons. She also has other friends, such as Derek Boyd, Lisa Leeper, and bossy Aaron Bailey, who Michelle has an uneasy friendship with. Her favorite toys (in earlier seasons) are Barney, a plush bear who hangs on the wall above her bed, and her stuffed pig. It is apparent that Jesse is somewhat closer to her than her sisters, and he gives her nicknames such as "munchkin", "shorty" and "rugrat". She is known for her many recurring catchphrases such as "you got it, dude!", "you're in big trouble, mister!", "oh, puh-lease!", "aw, nuts!", "duh!", and "no way, José!"
Rebecca Donaldson Katsopolis (portrayed by Lori Loughlin), is the sarcastic, practical, but very loving and well-educated woman who becomes the love interest and later wife of Jesse Katsopolis. Becky was born in Valentine, Nebraska and decided to pursue journalism as a career while she was in high school. Becky moves to San Francisco to become the co-host of Wake Up, San Francisco, being paired with Danny as her co-host; the two become close friends, although she often quips about Danny's quirks and tendency to ramble in his conversations. She was reluctant to admit her feelings for Jesse at first, but she eventually falls in love with him. The two almost elope in Lake Tahoe in the season two finale "Luck Be a Lady", but backed out when Becky realized that she and Jesse were not really ready to get married. They eventually get married (in the second part of the season four episode "The Wedding") on Valentine's Day.
After Jesse has a bittersweet farewell to the rest of the family when he decides to move into Rebecca's apartment in the season four episode "Fuller House," Rebecca agrees to move in with the Tanners and Joey when she discovers how much Jesse misses them, living together in the attic (which Jesse and Joey have converted into an apartment). Becky helps to transform Jesse, although she still teases him about his obsession with his hair and love of Elvis. She also serves as a mother figure to the girls at times; most prominently giving advice to D.J. as she becomes a teenager. Becky gives birth to twin boys Nicholas and Alexander on Michelle's fifth birthday in part two of the season five episode "Happy Birthday, Babies". She and Jesse name Alexander after a teacher who inspired her to become a journalist and Nicholas after Jesse's father. Becky is offered a producer role on Wake Up, San Francisco in the season eight episode "The Producer", which results in Danny briefly quitting the show due to him being passed over for such a promotion.
Kimberly Louise "Kimmy" Gibbler (portrayed by Andrea Barber, recurring since season one and upgraded to a series regular in season five) is D.J.'s best friend and the Tanners' annoying next-door neighbor. Kimmy and D.J. have been best friends since they were eight years old, despite their differing personalities; the two have temporarily ended their friendship multiple times during the show's run due to disputes over various situations, but always end up reconciling and forgive each other. Most of the Tanner family cannot stand her (Danny, Stephanie and Jesse are especially annoyed by her, with Stephanie often making jabs at her lack of intelligence and other unusual quirks and Danny urging D.J. to make new friends and often asking Kimmy to leave the house). She is often known to be a poor student in school, and had copied D.J.'s homework during most of the early seasons. Kimmy is the subject of a recurring gag in the series, regarding her terrible foot odor, which becomes noticeable to other people mainly once she removes her shoes; Kimmy also becomes aware of this in a scene in the season seven episode "The Apartment", in which she accidentally grabs one of her shoes while searching for her phone when Danny calls her to find out the whereabouts of D.J. (who had fallen asleep on her boyfriend Steve's couch while watching a movie in his apartment). She is also known to be addicted to shopping.
In the episode "Another Opening, Another No Show", Jesse and Kimmy get locked in a closet on the night of the grand re-opening of The Smash Club, after the door handle breaks off in Jesse's hand; while there, Kimmy finally tells Jesse how much it hurts when he and the other Tanners (with the exception of D.J.) pick on her. He finally tries to stop picking on her and tells the Tanners to try to go easy on her, though their behaviour towards her remains the same in later episodes, although she never seems to mind it anymore.
Kimmy's only serious relationship is with Duane (who is introduced in season eight episode "Taking the Plunge"), a very air-headed boy that was only was known to say "whatever". Ironically, he was shown to have a fondness for Shakespearean works as he passionately quoted a line from Shakespeare's 18th sonnet. In "Taking the Plunge," Kimmy decides to run off to Reno and elope with Duane after she was rejected by the colleges that she had applied to, and is afraid that D.J. will go off to school and forget her. When D.J., Jesse, Joey and Danny arrive at the chapel to stop her from getting married too young, D.J. tells her that she will always be her best friend no matter what. In the series finale "Michelle Rides Again," she tries to find D.J. a blind date for prom, and ends up surprising her with her ex-boyfriend Steve instead.
Steven "Steve" Hale (originally introduced as Steve Peters; portrayed by Scott Weinger) is D.J's first steady boyfriend. He is introduced in the fifth season episode "Sisters in Crime" as D.J.'s date to a movie that she ends up taking Michelle and Stephanie to, and returns to the series as a regular character in the sixth season premiere "Come Fly With Me" (which establishes the character as played by Weinger in his original appearance the season prior). Steve is two years older than D.J. and is a star member of the high school wrestling team. He is known for having a healthy appetite, and often eats at the Tanners' when he visits.
In "A Very Tanner Christmas," Steve receives an acceptance letter to a party school in Florida that he had applied to (this causes the two to briefly break up due to D.J.'s concern that she would miss him), but decides to go to a local community college in order to improve his grades and continue his relationship with D.J. In the season six episode "Prom Night," both he and D.J. attend Steve's prom where he is elected prom king (although his ex-girlfriend – whose affections he later rejects – is named prom queen). Steve and D.J. break up in the season seven episode "Love on the Rocks," after they realize that their relationship was not as passionate as it used to be, but they decide to remain friends.
Nicholas and Alexander Katsopolis, (played by Daniel and Kevin Renteria as babies during season five; Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit as toddlers for the sixth through eighth seasons) are the twin sons of Jesse and Becky Katsopolis. The two were born in the season five episode "Happy Birthday, Babies," on the date of Michelle's fifth birthday. Becky named Alex after a high school teacher that inspired her to venture into a career in journalism, while Jesse chose to name Nicky after his father, for giving him great hair. They have blond hair and are fun-loving toddlers, with minor distinctions between them. Nicky is more quiet and sweet, while Alex is more outspoken and mischievous. They often repeat what the other twin says.