The Play's the Thing
Season 6, episode 8
The play's the thing
Air date November 17, 1992
Writer(s) Tom Amundsen
Director Joel Zwick
Previous Trouble in Twin Town
Next Nice Guys Finish First

The Play's the Thing is episode eight of season six on Full House. It originally aired on November 17, 1992.

Opening Teaser

D.J. and Steve are kissing in the living room, as Michelle walks in on their love-fest. D.J. angrily asks if her little sister's ever heard of "privacy", and Michelle says she has, but she doesn't believe in it. Steve tempts her with a shiny new quarter, and she's anxious to grab it. But he tells her she can only have it if she goes upstairs and leaves them alone. However, she says that their kiss is more interesting than that shiny new quarter, and asks them not to mind her and go ahead and do it right in front of her.


Michelle's first-grade class is preparing to perform a play titled America the Beautiful. Both D.J. and Stephanie played the role of Yankee Doodle when they were in the first grade. And Michelle wants to continue that tradition.

Michelle thinks that she has the role already locked up when Jesse and Joey volunteer as the play's directors, and Stephanie signs on as the choreographer. In fact, her performance in front of them elicits their applause (as well as that of the audience). And indeed they have found their star—until Michelle feels hurt when Jesse and Joey choose Derek Boyd to play the part, because Derek's audition was better than Michelle's, which elicits applause from all, even though he was way in the back and didn't get to audition at first. The way Michelle's classmates treat her after Derek was chosen makes her feel left out in the cold.

Later, when Stephanie, Michelle, Jesse and Joey come home from the auditions and Michelle explains to Danny the outcome, he explains to her that Jesse and Joey had to be fair judges. Jesse and Joey later admit that they feel terrible about making Michelle feel so hurt, and they convince her to play a different part, that of the Statue of Liberty. But when she feels uncomfortable with that at practice, they force her to watch from the front row and tell her to sit out of the sessions until she learns to be a team player (eliciting groans from the audience).

Also, Steve gets annoyed with D.J.—who has gotten into the habit of speaking on his behalf—and thinks that she is making all the decisions in their relationship. Luckily, with Kimmy's help, they work things out, and Steve apologizes to her and vice-versa.

Meanwhile, Danny has had a tradition of taking the girls to Johnson's Hardware to ride Quacky the mechanical duck when they were young. Michelle refuses his latest offer to take her there, saying that she is in the 1st grade now. As a result, Danny, missing having a baby of his own and noticing how much the girls have grown up so far, starts spending a lot of time with Nicky and Alex—even intruding on Becky's time with them. The past couple of days, whenever Becky has tried to do something with the twins, Danny had already done it. Becky explains to him that her time with her kids is precious, saying that they are only that age for so long. He apologizes to her and she understands and says that they can set aside time for him to spend with the boys, which he agrees with.

Upstairs, as Jesse and Joey enter Michelle's room, she gives them the silent treatment, as she is still upset at them. And while they understand how upset she still is about getting passed over for the role she wanted so badly, they preach a classic proverb that no kid wants to hear (see Quotes); the message is that as much as they love her, favoritism (or nepotism, in Jesse's case) would have been unfair to the other kids.

That night, D.J. and Steve make a vow to never again fight over the other's decisions, and in fact, they made the right one see the play. When Derek gets nervous due to stage fright, Michelle decides to have a chat with him (complete with inspirational music). And as much as he would like to hand over the reins to her, she gives him the lesson she received. Jesse and Joey praise her (just as the music stops), and the performance (take 2) goes off without a hitch, garnering applause from the crowd (and from the studio audience as the EP credits appear).

Guest stars

The guest stars are credited by their roles for the play:


[Stephanie and Michelle come home from school.]
Michelle: What a day.
Jesse: Fried bologna in the lunchroom again?
Michelle: I wish.
Danny: Oh, sweetheart, I'll tell you what: Why don't I take you down to Johnson's Hardware and you can tell your dad all your problems while you're riding on Quacky, the mechanical duck?
Michelle: Quacky? Dad, I'm in first grade. I'd look silly on a mechanical duck.
Stephanie: Dad, she's bummed 'cause they're gonna cancel the first-grade play. And I was gonna be the choreographer!
Danny: Oh, that's a shame.
Stephanie: Our only hope is to find a parent-volunteer to direct it.
[And Jesse and Joey slump down in their chairs as a sign that neither wants to do it.]
Danny: Guys, don't worry. I'm a parent. I volunteer.

[D.J. and Steve come in the back door.]
D.J.: Hi
Steve: Hey.
Michelle: Guess what? I'm gonna be in America the Beautiful. You wanna come?
D.J.: We'd love to.
Steve: We would?
D.J.: Of course we would. It's the sweetest, cutest, most adorable little play. You know, I was Yankee Doodle when I was in the 1st grade.
Stephanie: So was I.
Michelle: Both of you? I gotta be Yankee Doodle.
Stephanie: OK, but you're gonna have to work for it. Ready for that, Michelle?
Michelle: [solemnly] I guess so.
Stephanie: [like a drill sergeant] I can't hear you!
Michelle: [like a private] I guess so!
Stephanie: Good. OK, let's march! [as they march upstairs to rehearse] March! March! [then turns back] I think I'm gonna like this job. [turning back to her 'recruit'] Now, move!

[Becky comes home from grocery shopping.]
Becky: Nicky! Alex! Mommy's home. I've got a surprise for you! [a couple of miniature trains, which she has ready for them until she heads out into the living room with a real surprise in front of her: her kids on a scale-model of the real thing].
Danny: Choo choo! All aboard the Nicky & Alex Express! We made a little run to the toy store. Did you know these boys really love trains?
Becky: Yeah, they do.
Danny: They're having so much fun!
Becky: Well, that's great. I'll put these away for later. When you boys are older, I'm sure you'll appreciate the fine craftsmanship.
Danny: Do whatever you want, Becky. I got it. Choo-choo!

[In their room, Stephanie and Michelle are rehearsing before going to sleep.]
Stephanie: OK, Michelle. Let's try the song again.
Michelle: One question: You know the part where Yankee Doodle sticks the feather in his hat and calls it 'macaroni'?
Stephanie: Yeah?
Michelle: Is he calling the hat 'macaroni' or the feather?
Stephanie: The feather.
Michelle: Well, then what does he call his hat?
Stephanie: I don't know, Michelle.
Michelle: He must call it something.
Stephanie: [albeit angrily] "Bob". He calls it "Bob".
Michelle: Should I sing "stuck a feather in his 'Bob'"?
Stephanie: Just sing it the way you learned it, huh? [Jesse and Joey arrive.]
Jesse: Girls, it's getting kind of late.
Stephanie: Hey, you don't become Yankee Doodle by turning in early. Show 'em what you got, Michelle.
Michelle: OK. [singing] "Yankee Doodle came to town riding on a pony. He stuck a feather in his hat and called it 'macaroni'."

[At the school, auditions are about to begin.]
Stephanie: OK, kids. I am Miss/Ms. Tanner, your choreographer. [introducing...] This is Joey Gladstone and Jesse Katsopolis [who both wave]. I've asked them to direct. Now, you're gonna work, and you're gonna sweat! When I say 'jump', you're gonna say, 'How high?'! [The directors stop her, thinking she's gone a little too far.]
Denise: Your sister's getting on my last nerve.
Michelle: Try living with her.
Joey: OK, kids. Basically, we're here trying to have a good time.
Jesse: Basically, we're gonna sing, we're gonna dance, and we're gonna put on a good show.
Aaron: So far, we're just sitting here!
Jesse: Aaron, my man. I see they let you out of kindergarten.
Aaron: You still don't have a job.
[Cut to a humiliated Jesse.]
Michelle: He has a good job.
Jesse: Now, Michelle, we don't need to defend ourselves to him. [mocking Aaron] I have my own radio show. What do you do?
Joey: [as he gets Jesse back over to the piano] Let's start the auditions, shall we? [followed by a montage of the kids auditioning]

[Then after all the parts have been chosen, someone speaks up.]
Derek: Excuse me, but I didn't get a chance to try out.
Joey: Sorry, we didn't see you.
Derek: That's OK. I intend to blend in with my surroundings.

[After Derek wins the part that Michelle wanted so badly...]
Denise: That boy was good. [She and the other classmates congratulate him, while Michelle just somberly sits there, dejected that she won't be able to continue her sisters' tradition.]

[When Jesse, Joey, Stephanie, and Michelle come home...]
Danny: Hey, Michelle. How's the star of the school play?
Michelle: Why don't you go to his house and ask him?
Danny: What happened?
Stephanie: Uncle Jesse and Joey picked somebody else.
Danny: What?!
Joey: Well, Michelle was great. But this other kid, Derek, was greater.
Jesse: We're sorry that we got you excited about this, Michelle, but we have to be fair.
Michelle: Why?
Danny: Well, Michelle, if someone really was a little better than you, then you have to think that Uncle Jesse and Joey made the right choice and you just gotta accept it.
Jesse: But listen, Michelle. We put our heads together, and we came up with a great part for you.
Joey: Yeah, you're onstage the whole time. You're the center of everything.
Michelle: I'm listening.

[Michelle in her new role: the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, her looks show she isn't enjoying it.]
Stephanie: [beat clapping] One, two, one, two...
Denise: Haven't you heard of 'three'?!
Stephanie: [stops everyone] OK. Apparently, we are going to have to go right back to the basics of dancing. [pointing to her right foot] This is a foot.
Joey: OK, time-out [doing the gesture for such]. Let's take a little break from the dancing and take it from George Washington's line 'A proud symbol...'
Aaron: 'A proud symbol welcomes all to our country and reminds us we are free.' [And all point to Lady Liberty.]
Joey: Michelle, that's your line. 'I am Lady Liberty...'
Michelle: 'I am Lady Liberty.' But I should've been Yankee Doodle.
Jesse: Alright, take five, kids.
Stephanie: OK, everybody over here!
Jesse: What's the matter, Shorty?
Michelle: My arm is getting bored [as in tired from holding the 'torch']. I don't want to be the Statue of Liberty.
Joey: Jess, can't we write her a little song and dance number or something?
Jesse: Joey, we can't spoil her. She's gotta be a team player. Now, sweetheart, if you don't wanna be Lady Liberty, then you go sit down and watch the kids rehearse.
Michelle: Fine. [She hands over her 'torch' and sulks offstage.]

[As he gives the twins their bath...]
Danny: 'Sixteen men on a dead man's chest. Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!'

Danny: [to Becky] I guess when Michelle told me she was too old to ride Quacky, I realized my last little duck-rider had left the pond. I miss having babies around.

[In Stephanie and Michelle's room, Jesse and Joey enter.]
Jesse: Hi, peanut. [She mopes on her bed.] Oh, I get it. You're not talking to us.
Joey: Michelle, are you not talking to us? [She nods her head.] She's not talking to us.
Jesse: OK. All those in favor of Michelle getting ticked off at Uncle Jesse and Joey say 'Aye!'
Michelle: 'Aye!' ... You tricked me.
Jesse: Ah, I get it. You think we're being unfair, right?
Michelle: Right!
Jesse: Well, we think you're being unfair.
Joey: Michelle, every kid in that play is working hard. Now, if we don't have a Statue of Liberty, you're letting all those other kids down. Is that what you want?
Michelle: No. I wanna be Yankee Doodle. 'Cause D.J. and Stephanie were Yankee Doodle, and I wanted to be Yankee Doodle, too.
Joey: Well Michelle, you don't always get what you want in life. Heck, when I was a little kid, I wanted to be Fred Flintstone, but I had too many toes.
Jesse: Excuse me, Michelle. [He slaps Joey's head.] Michelle, it's like being in a band. Not everybody gets to be the lead singer.
Michelle: You are.
Jesse: Well, yes. But I'm no more important than the bass player, what's-his-name... What's his name? Long curly hair... Larry, Lenny, or something? [Joey slaps Jesse's head.] [...] My band wouldn't sound as good without, uh... What's his name?! The long-haired guy? [...] We want you to go out there and be the best Statue of Liberty you could be. Capisce?
Michelle: Capisce! And his name is Lanny.

[The play is underway...]
George Washington: Greetings, fellow Americans. I am the father of our country. My name is Aaron Bailey.
Joey: George Washington!
George Washington: Oh, yeah. My name is George Washington. And here comes my wife, Bertha.
Joey: Martha!
George Washington: Martha.
[And Joey sends 'Martha', but her wig gets caught on his watch. He tosses it to her, and 'Martha' puts it on backwards.]
Stephanie: I think it's going pretty well.

Martha Washington: Bye, Paul Revere! Thanks for the warning!
Lady Liberty: Look! Here comes the Yankee Doodle boy! [The music starts, but there's no movement!] I said, 'Look! Here comes the Yankee Doodle boy!' [That's Derek's cue, but he's too scared and bolts for the door, only to find it locked.]
Jesse: It'll be a moment. Just talk amongst yourselves. [He, Joey, Stephanie, and Lady Liberty all rush to find out what the holdup is.]

[After the talk...]
Lady Liberty: Now, as I was saying, 'Look! Here comes the Yankee Doodle boy!'


  • The episode title is taken from a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "the play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king"
  • The episode is part of the basis for the Full House book, That's the Way It Crumbles, Cookie
  • Songs:
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.