Fuller House season 4 premiere recap: Gifts of Christmas past — grade it!

The Full House franchise has never been short on emotionally exploitative moments — we still get choked up thinking about Papouli! — but the fourth season of Fuller House takes things to a whole new level.

The premiere — which hit Netflix on Friday, along with 12 other episodes — finds the Fuller household in much need of Christmas cheer. Not only is Tommy suddenly terrified of Santa after a meltdown at the mall, but Max is also approaching the holiday with a humbug attitude. (Christmas Eve is normally his favorite day of the year, “and that includes the season premiere of Blue Bloods!”) Everyone else, meanwhile, just wants to sit around and watch Die Hard.

D.J. eventually figures out that Max’s one-man war on Christmas stems from him missing his dad, which leads to a heartbreaking mother-son chat about the grieving process. And that’s not even the emotionally exploitative moment I was referring to!

No, that comes when the family decides to watch an old home video of D.J. and her late husband. In the video, Tommy takes a call from his mom and tells her where he hid the kids’ Christmas presents, and thanks to Kimmy’s exceptional hearing — something all Giblers apparently gain during pregnancy — they’re finally able to retrieve them from “that weird cabinet above the washer.” There’s a watch for Max, a Wii U for Jackson and an ugly Necklace for D.J. (Honestly, this episode is like every Christmas movie rolled into one.)

D.J. gets yet another surprise in the form of Steve, who says he quit his job with the Lakers to find out if he and D.J. can really make their relationship work.

Also worth discussing…

* As much as I enjoyed Joey’s arrival as Santa, I think I enjoyed the premiere’s Michelle shoutout even more. (“With dad, Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky visiting Michelle, I was counting on you guys,” D.J. Says at one point.) Former showrunner Jeff Franklin told TVLine that he gave up asking Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to return as Michelle, but it’s nice to see that the family hasn’t completely forgotten about her.

* I know this is Fuller House, so I shouldn’t even bother attempting to apply logic to the situation, but are we supposed to believe that the family decorated that 100-foot Christmas tree in just a few short hours? It would have taken me that long just to pull out all the ornaments.

* After hearing Jimmy talk about Santa, I’m suddenly very concerned about the wellbeing of his and Stephanie’s future child.