A Fish Called Martin
Season 4, episode 17
A fish called martin.png
Air date February 1, 1991
Writer(s) Leslie Ray
Director Joel Zwick
Previous Stephanie Gets Framed
Next The Wedding (Part 1)

A Fish Called Martin is episode seventeen of season four on Full House. It originally aired on February 1, 1991.

Opening Teaser


Jesse & The Rippers ft. Michelle - Doo Wah Diddy

Jesse and the Rippers are rocking in the living room. Michelle joins them with singing "Do Wah Diddy Diddy". At the end of the song, the band applauds her (as does the studio audience). Then, she requests the song "I'm a Little Teapot", which she sings solo, and that also elicits applause.


Michelle wins a goldfish at the Fun Fair and names him Martin. Joey teaches her the proper ways to care for him, such as keeping his bowl clean and feeding him plenty of food.

Martin dies after Michelle gives him a bubble bath in the tub, by putting the entire bowl in and letting him swim out into the bathwater. When she takes him and his bowl out, his lifeless body floats around (much to the groans of the audience; see Quotes and Trivia).

When Joey explains the situation to Jesse and Danny, they are just as shocked, and they (have to) tell Michelle in different but positive ways that Martin is dead (see Quotes). When they arrive in her room, they see her putting her pig next to Martin's bowl as a "sleeping companion". However, as they move the pig away from the bowl, they again tell her that Martin's sleep has just become permanent and he's not waking up, something she still isn't wanting to believe, let alone accept.

Danny reminds Michelle of the news that she did not want to hear: Martin is indeed gone (eliciting more groans from the audience). Jesse reminds her of the good times they had from the car ride home to the walk to her room. Danny suggests that they give him "a proper burial at sea", and Jesse says they are "eventually" going to the ocean. Joey reminds her again of Martin's death in the bubble bath, and he should have told her that by "clean", that does not mean "bubble bath clean". Danny reminds her that it was an accident, even though she still insists that it was all her fault (eliciting groans from the audience for the third time).

In an effort to help her feel better, the guys have a surprise for her, hidden under a towel, which is a new fish in a tank, whom they name Freddy, but she wants nothing to do with him (see Quotes).

While at the fair, D.J. meets a boy named Bobby, who she really likes. After talking to him, she finds out that he is a car expert, and she pretends to love cars too. So she tries to learn as much about cars as she can, for when they talk again. However, this backfires on her when she realizes the mistake she made. Later, Stephanie quizzes her about cars, and unfortunately, as it shows, she's not smart about them at all. So she calls Bobby and tells him the truth, only to have him hang up on her. Of course, Becky is there, and tells her how proud she is of her for taking her being rejected really well.

Later, Becky insists on square dancing at the wedding, and Jesse initially balks at the notion of learning how to do so. While she is trying to teach D.J., Stephanie, and the guys, Michelle tells everyone to come to the kitchen, where they notice that Freddy has become a mother and therefore is a female named Frieda. She feels better when the guys praise her for telling them about the school of new baby fish, as Joey takes Frieda out and puts her in a special bowl of her own. Michelle, like most kids, wants to know where babies come from (as Jeff Franklin's EP credit appears), and Danny says that they will tell her later after their square dancing lesson. But she is anxious to know, so she runs out of the kitchen constantly asking everyone to answer her (as the audience applauds and Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett's EP credits appear).


[Jesse and Becky share a tender love moment on the couch.]
Becky: Jess, just think: in one week, we'll be saying 'I do'.
Jesse: 'I do' what? [And that causes her to whack him with the cushion and snap him back to reality.] Oh, that 'I do'.

[Returning from a fair...]
Danny: Oh gee, I love carnivals. The chili dogs, the fudge, the cotton candy, the nachos, the rides that go round and round... the cramps, the gas, the nausea... Excuse me. [He goes and lies down on the sofa while still clutching a teddy bear he won at the fair.]
Michelle: I won a fishy!
Everyone else: All right!
Joey: And tell them how you won that fishy.
Michelle: I threw a ball into his bowl.
Becky: Good shot!
Danny: Yeah, at a quarter a throw, it only cost me $18.50 [or 74 throws].
Jesse: Congratulations, Michelle! You got your very first pet!
Michelle: [to the fish] You will sleep in my bed.
Joey: Oh, I don't know about that. [to her fish] Would you like to sleep in Michelle's bed, Flipper? [sounding like a dolphin] 'Uh-uh! Uh-uh! Uh-uh!' Come on, let's go get him a fishbowl.
Michelle: Okay.

[Joey and Michelle are in her room, as he teaches her about taking care of a pet fish.]
Joey: Now Michelle, owning a pet is a big responsibility. It's gonna be your job to feed him every single day.
Michelle: He can have all my vegetables.
Joey: That's very generous of you, Michelle, but I think Martin prefers fish food [to which he produces a can full of it], so you give him one little pinch every single day [gives a pinch to her and she puts it in Martin's bowl]. And you have to keep his bowl clean, because just like people, fish like to be clean.
Michelle: Pinch of food; keep him clean. You got it, dude [with the thumb sign]!
[But then, Joey notices her taking Martin, bowl and all, out of the room.]
Joey: Michelle, where are you going?
Michelle: I'm taking Martin for a walk.
Joey: [laughs] First rule of pet care, Michelle: If they don't have legs, you don't walk 'em.
Michelle: There's so much to remember. [She puts Martin's bowl down, and cut to a close-up of her doing her "fish face" (shown in infobox photo).]

[Michelle and Joey have gotten Martin out of the bathwater and back into his bowl, and notice his lifeless body floating around.]
Michelle: I'm keeping him clean!
Joey: Yep, he's clean... as a doornail (see Trivia).
Michelle: He's not swimming.
Joey: No, honey, he's not.
Michelle: Is he sleeping?
Joey: Yeah, he's taking a nap... a very long nap [but she doesn't understand that it means he's not going to wake up again].
Michelle: You fell asleep in the bathtub? You're a silly fish.

[Joey has the guys come into Jesse's room to tell them the bad news.]
Danny: What's going on?
Joey: Guys, we got a problem. Now, brace yourselves. Martin Tanner is dead.
Danny: Oh, no. I can't believe this. The poor... Who's Martin Tanner?
Joey: Michelle's fish.
Jesse: He died already? Isn't there a six-hour warranty on those things?
Danny: Are you sure he's dead?
Joey: Trust me, I know the difference: Live fish: [acts like a fish swimming]. Martin Tanner: [acts like he's dead, with his tongue sticking out].
Jesse: Poor Michelle. How's she taking it?
Joey: Fine for now. She thinks he's just sleeping. I didn't have the heart to tell her that he's never waking up.
Jesse: Well, don't you think she's gonna figure it out? The thing's probably floating on top of the bowl.
Joey: Why don't we just put him on a little rubber raft and tell her he's working on his tan?
Danny: Either way, this fish is not a fun pet anymore. I think we better tell her what really happened.
Jesse: Danny's right. She's a big girl. I think we oughta tell her the reality of life and death. Danny, tell us how it turns out.
Danny: [wanting both of them with him, like it or not] Come with me, please.

Michelle: [putting her pig next to Martin's bowl] Martin, you can sleep with my pig tonight.
Danny: [moving the pig away from Martin's bowl] Michelle, honey, there's something that we have to tell you about Martin.
Michelle: He's an excellent sleeper.
Danny: Uh, no, honey. Martin isn't sleeping. I'm afraid he's gone.
Michelle: No, he's not. He's right here.
Danny: Well, yes, he's here in the physical sense. But in another sense, he's everywhere.
Jesse: Danny, I don't think they teach philosophy until kindergarten. You gotta lay it on the line. [to Michelle] Darling, I'm sorry to tell you, but your fishy is d-- de-- [trying not to say the "D" word] de best sleeper in town. Joseph.
Joey: Thank you, Jess. Michelle, do you remember that one Road Runner cartoon where Wile E. Coyote falls off a cliff, and he kind of hangs there for a second, and then he goes: [makes falling sound] Crash! And then he flattens into a pancake, and two little feet pop out, and the pancake walks away and you hear [singing], "Wa Wa Wa Wa Wah"? Not a big help, huh?
Danny: Michelle, honey, I'm sorry, but Martin is dead.
Michelle: This is not good news.

[In the kitchen, the guys have set up a surprise for Michelle on the table, hidden under a towel.]
Danny: OK, we're all set. Come on in, Jess! [Jesse flies Michelle into the kitchen.] Guess what, Michelle? We have a very special surprise for you. [She wonders if it's the towel.] No, it's not a towel. It's what's under the towel. [removes the towel] It's your new pet fish.
Michelle: No, thank you.
Jesse: Oh, come on, Michelle. The fishy likes you. He's wagging his tail.
Joey: Yeah, his name's Freddy and he's wagging his tail and saying 'Hi' to you, Michelle. [with glubbing sound, using his finger to wiggle his lips] 'Hi, Michelle.'
Michelle: Watch out, Freddy. I'm big trouble, mister.
Danny: Aw, sweetheart. That's not true. What happened to Martin was just an accident. Plus, Freddy doesn't live in a little plastic fish bowl; he lives in a fish palace. Look, there's a filter, and gravel, and my personal favorite, a live-in snail that cleans the tank three times a week.
Michelle: I don't want another fish [starts to walks away, but...].
Jesse: Look, Michelle, we'll make Freddy the family fish, okay? He'll stay in the kitchen and you can be his buddy, all right?
Michelle: Okay, but I'm not getting too close. [walks away again, but Danny stops her.]
Danny: Sweetheart, listen. There's nothing to worry about. That fish is gonna live a long, long time.
Michelle: He better stay out of the bathtub. [She walks away again, with no one to stop her this time.]
Jesse: That's crazy talk: 'a fish could live a long, long time'? Those things die if you look at 'em funny.
Danny: Jess, we got it covered. [pointing] Joey? [And Joey heads over to the wine cabinet to reveal a secret stash of different fish in their own bowls.]

[Upstairs, Stephanie is quizzing D.J. about cars.]
Stephanie: OK, Deej. How many cylinders are in a standard 6-cylinder car?
D.J.: I don't know, uh, 200?
Stephanie: [makes a buzzer sound] Wrong again! The correct answer is 8. Now, how many questions have you gotten wrong today?
D.J.: All of them?
Stephanie: Ding-ding-ding! You finally got one right.
Becky: [entering] Hey, girls. You ready for the big square lesson?
D.J.: Becky, I can't. I'm still cramming for my big phone call with Bobby. Why did I ever tell him I knew so much about cars?
Stephanie: Because you're boy crazy and you'll do anything to impress him. [She leaves to let Becky and D.J. have some time alone.]
Becky: D.J., you don't have to pretend you're a car expert. [...] If a boy doesn't like you for who you are, then he's not worth having.
D.J.: [upon the phone ringing] That's Bobby. What should I tell him?
Becky: Just tell him the truth. He'll appreciate you for your honesty.
D.J.: [picking up after the second ring] Hello? Oh, hi Bobby. I wanna be honest with you. I think cars are boring and they cause pollution. But I don't think that'll matter to you... Hello? Bobby? He hung up.
Becky: Oops. I'm sorry. [...]
D.J.: I'm better off without him. But he was so cute!

[Later, Michelle heads down to the kitchen to see Freddy.]
Michelle: [midway down the stairs] Hi, Freddy. [She then makes it all the way down.] Don't worry, I'm not gonna hurt you. I'm just heading to the cookies. [She grabs one and munches on it as she watches Freddy swim all over his tank.]

[After the family finishes up their square-dancing lesson, Michelle alerts them.]
Michelle: Something's happening to the fishy!
Danny: What's going on?
Michelle: I don't know, but it's not my fault! [She heads back into the kitchen, and they follow her as she tells them...] Hurry up! I said 'Move it', misters!


  • The episode title is a take on of the 1988 movie A Fish Called Wanda
  • Joey's "clean... as a doornail" remark is a reference to the idiom "dead as a doornail", originally found in the quote "Marley was as dead as a doornail" (the opening quote to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol)
  • The second episode to feature a variation on Michelle's "You're in big trouble, mister!" phrase (see Quotes) (previous time: "Crimes and Michelle's Demeanor")
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