No More Love Triangles? John Brotherton on unexpected twists and turns in ‘Fuller House’ Season 4 (Exclusive Interview)
Nothing captivates an audience more than love triangles, right? Well, sure, angst between multiple characters is always buzzworthy, but cute kids and cuddly animals helps with ratings, too. Fuller House seems to have it all! Old fan, or new fan, there’s something for everyone.
When we last left off with the Fuller clan, the complicated dynamic between D.J., Steve, and Matt seemed to finally be over… for now anyways, but that doesn’t mean Matt Harmon’s story has come to a screeching halt. He does still co-own Harmon-Fuller Pet Care, after all. John Brotherton, who plays the hunky veterinarian with a heart on Netflix’s hit comedy, has some non-spoilery words to say about his time on the show, and Matt’s future in the Full House universe.
To give you a quick recap: fans were thrown for a loop after Matt’s proposal to D.J. in Japan unexpectedly blew up in his face so that she could pursue a relationship with Steve. All the OG Tanner fans were probably bursting at the seams at this news, but that didn’t make the blow to Team Matt fans any easier. After being scorned by his now ex-fiancé and coworker, Matt left Harmon-Fuller Pet Care to do some soul searching, and perhaps Season 4 brings a new love interest on the horizon for the charming doc. Despite being romantic rivals, Steve and Matt seem to still have a great friendship– which, is super sweet to see despite the dicey circumstance.
Brotherton chatted with us about what’s to come for Matt, spoke highly about working with that gnarly alligator, and we even bonded over real life family trips to the same vacation spot each year.
Take a look!
MM: For starters, Fuller House recently returned which we’re all pretty excited about. Without giving too much away, can you tell us anything about the new season?
JB: Well, it’s hard to say without giving anything away. I can say there’s a lot of love like usual. There obviously was some cliffhangers at the end of the previous season that continue into this season. You know, there might be a baby bump that grows as the season goes on. That has nothing to do with my storyline, but it’s well known that Kimmy is growing a little baby in there. So that’s pretty exciting. There was the heartache at the end of the last season that, of course, continues into this season. I can say from my perspective, now that he had his heart broken, he wants to be an individual a little more. And claim his own stake in the Fuller world. That part was fun. So he’s independent for now in the situation. Other teams, so to speak, have their turn.
MM: Yes, Team Matt viewers kind of lost their heads a little bit. But things are definitely changing in terms of the new season and when we last left off. Matt was leaving his clinic with DJ to open up another one two blocks away. It seems like there’s still going to be some competition in the pet sector. Can we expect to see that kind of conflict unfold?
JB: I would say, yeah, you pretty much hit it there. Without giving too much away, going down to what I was saying about Matt becoming more of an individual, yeah the competition gets friendly and then, you know, maybe not so friendly. Which is always, Fuller’s version of not friendly as you can imagine. There’s some good comedic rivalry going on, which is really fun.
MM: Oh, I’m sure. It’s probably nothing in a kind of revenge type of fashion. I mean, what could be worse than working in close proximity to one of your exes?
JB: Right. I know, then they become your biggest competition as well. Could be equally difficult. That’s kind of what they are faced with. And then they’re faced with challenges of where they go from there. Now that they are competition, are they better off as competition or are they better off in a business relationship together? And I think it’s maybe a metaphor for bigger things, so to speak.
MM: Oh, definitely. And obviously, when we last saw Matt, he said that he forgave Steve since they kind of had their little bromance going on. Do you think that was a sincere gesture or kind of a ploy to protect himself from the heartache that he had sustained?
JB: No, you know, I think Matt and Steve genuinely love each other and they don’t have hard feelings there. And I think it was a true olive branch. There was no reason for them to be frenemies moving forward, so to speak. I think they’ll always enjoy a friendly rivalry, but that’s what makes them best friends and that’s what makes a good friendship is when you balance. We always call each other the odd couple. We are the good old fashioned odd couple. And that’s why I think it works. Scott and I, man, I have such a blast working with him. We just have a hoot. Matt and Steve together is a fun little duo.
MM: It seems like everybody has their own kind of duos on the show and everybody really gets along. Do you share your characters sense of humor or are you more of a serious guy in real life?
JB: That’s a funny question, because sometimes my wife will give me a hard time. Like, “You get paid to be funny?” I think it probably depends sometimes. I’m always a pretty serious person just in life, but I’m also an actor and there’s a reason I’m an actor. I think there’s a wanderlust thing there. Sort of a free spirit. There’s a lot between Matt and myself that I think there’s a lot of common ground. Happy go lucky guys that try to see the positive in everything.
MM: And I definitely think you need that in order to connect with the character and portray that.
JB: For sure, yeah. Especially on a family show where it’s a bunch of just relatable down to Earth personalities. Makes it fun just to be a fun guy who gets to just always be nice to everyone and the drama is very limited and sort of has a charming edge, so that’s been refreshing just in general in my career. To play someone where we’re just always having fun. It’s always smiles. Cheek to cheek. My cheeks hurt at the end of the week. The whole week is filled with a good time. We make each other laugh, which is fun.
MM: Right. That’s never a bad thing. That definitely helps with longevity in terms of your life.
JB: Exactly. And longevity of the show.
MM: Yeah, true, I know. I hope it never ends, to be honest. I truly enjoy the show. My sister and I watch it together. It’s something we can do and reflect when we used to grow up, obviously on the original. So, I definitely hope that you guys get many more seasons.
JB: Thank you so much. I hear that from so many people and it feels like a blessing every time I hear it. People say, you know, we watched it when we were kids and now I watch it with my kids and I just feel so lucky to be a part of the train that seems to never want to stop and I hope it never does.
MM: No, I totally am right there with you and the fans will continue to truck on and make sure that you guys get many more seasons. And another fun thing, obviously, is that you play a veterinarian on the show. Do you like animals? Do you have a favorite animal?
JB: I love animals. You know, I have two children, which can sometimes be like having animals. But yeah, no, it’s been a blast, really. I don’t have necessarily a favorite animal. But, I’ll tell you what, it’s just been cool because I’ve got to work with animals like the crocodile, working with a ridiculous amount of cute puppy dogs. Turtles and tortoises that I never would have interacted with… and the alligator was real in the room. So, I mean, I never thought in a million years I’d be acting with an alligator. That’s been really fun. Bunny rabbits. Kitty cats. They get the fluffiest kids they can find in Hollywood. That parts been a real treat. We always get a good kick out of having animals around.
MM: Right, definitely. Does it challenge you as an actor to kind of work with something that might be unpredictable?
JB: It’s funny, they say as an actor never work with children or pets because they’re so unpredictable and people don’t take their eyes off of them, they steal the scenes, which I think there’s something to be said about it. They do, but it’s fun because it keeps you grounded, so to speak, when you’re working. For instance, this season I had to take a rabbit out of its cage. Now that should seem routine, but then the rabbit wants to either hang onto something or just do real life stuff. Which adds to the scene, I think. It just makes it more real. It gives you business, so to speak, is what we call it. Sort of actor-speak. When you’re doing something as you’re performing. So I love the unpredictability of the live animals. It’s the same with children. Let’s be honest, there’s a reason the kids on Fuller House have always stole the audience’s heart. Because their children and they’re unpredictable and they’re raw and they’re honest. And they’re charming and innocent and what’s better than all that, you know?
MM: Right, it’s all wrapped into one. It definitely translates on the screen and I mean, the biggest thing about Fuller House is that obviously it’s so binge watch-able, you can kind of take it all in one sitting, spread it out. Do you have any shows right now that you just devour in one sitting?
JB: Oh man, currently there’s nothing that we’re in the middle of. We just finished Shameless. I’m a big fan of Shameless. In fact, they shoot on the same lot. They’re always right around the corner from us. I enjoy that show. Homeland, Game of Thrones, a lot of.. different shows from Fuller House, so to speak. I just finished Patrick Melrose, that was great. Anything that comes along that catches my eye. And then sometimes, me and my wife will go for a period of time and not really have anything that we’re watching.
MM: All good choices. Shameless is one of my favorite shows and you can’t go wrong with that one.
JB: It’s such a gem. It’s a good one.
MM: Yeah, it seemed like this season went by really, really fast. And then it wasn’t on anymore. I feel like there needs to be longer seasons.
JB: I agree. It seemed like it was a half season. It might a mid season hiatus. Wasn’t it only seven episodes or something?
MM: Yeah, it was pretty short. I was kind of taken aback that it was already over. And I was like, this can’t be right. So probably they’re doing a split season. But still, it doesn’t make the wait any better.
JB: Right, I mean, exactly.
MM: And now, obviously, you’re in the spotlight. Can you name three things that the fans might not know about you?
JB: Oh boy.
MM: Putting you on the spot.
JB: I have three business degrees. I have a finance degree, an international business degree, and a management information systems degree. They’re three business degrees, which have nothing to do with acting. Gosh. I feel like our whole lives are projected out on social media now. It’s hard to hide anything. I never considered acting a career. It was only a passion of mine until one day in time, my senior year in college, that everything in my brain flipped and it went from never considering it a career option to it being the only option I knew that I was supposed to be doing. So I know most actors grow up going, I always wanted to be an actor. Well, I always did it as a hobby. My mom was a big film enthusiast and I acted and went to drama camps and stuff when I was young. But never considered it a career until the one day that I did and I never unconsidered it, so to speak. For lack of a better term. And then, gosh, something else? Well, I bartended for many years in L.A. and served drinks to a multitude of celebrities. Some of which, I’ve then gone on to work with or be interviewed by or yeah, some fun stories like that.
MM: That must be fun, though, kind of the full circle of serving them and then being chummy with them.
JB: I’m really grateful that I had my years of the service industry. Because you learn so much about people and about how people are treated, treat you, treat others. It’s interesting to interact, unknowingly, and people may not even know that there was a day I was serving them a drink and the difference in the way that they treat you can say a lot about a person. Some people will treat you no differently. They’re as genuine and sweet to you, ordering a drink as they are asking if they can get you something on set. And then there’s other people who treat the bartender with a lack of respect, when they would treat the actor on set with a ton of respect. If that makes sense.
MM: It definitely does.
JB: It was an interesting life lesson. I did the acting thing the old fashioned way. I moved to L.A. with nothing but the clothes in the back of my car. No place to live or job or anything. And had to grind it out the old fashioned way. Bartending, waiting tables, going to acting class and waiting for the phone to ring. Doing anything that I possibly could to stay busy at all times. Trying to get my career going in the next direction. Reading plays, doing student theater and student movies, and doing projects with my buddies. Whatever it took to just stay creative until finally one day, my bills were getting paid by my art. Which is as big of a blessing as I could ever ask for.
MM: Right, that definitely has to be something that’s humbling to kind of be able to succeed in something that you’re passionate about.
JB: It’s been the most humbling. I feel so blessed and so grateful and yeah, I just hope the ride never ends.
MM: That’s great to hear. And now, how do you kind of keep yourself grounded. Do you get to spend time with family? Do you guys do vacations, anything like that to really kind of be able to reconnect and stay in touch with everybody that you love?
JB: I have two small children. Well, they’re getting big. Six and eight. And they keep me the most grounded because they could care less that daddy’s on TV. And then, I have a rock for a wife, who is just my everything. And so that definitely keeps me grounded. And an amazing mother, who is always full of wise words. And then, as a family we do stuff. We just try to get out of town every once in a while and be normal and we spend a month during the summer on the Jersey Shore in a little town called Beach Haven on Long Beach Island.
MM: No way! We do, too.
JB: No way, it’s like my favorite place on the planet. No franchises allowed, we ride our bikes and fly kites and skip rocks. I mean, I look forward to that time more than any time of the year, because it’s the one old fashioned thing that I get to share with my children. Cause it’s so stuck in time. Do you go every summer?
MM: Yeah, I go every summer with my family, my parents, my sister, her husband. My aunts and uncles and my cousins. And we rent a house and we just rent bikes, go get donuts, we play mini golf.
JB: Fantasy Island?
MM: Yes, yep, that’s definitely a staple. That’s too funny.
JB: Are you from Jersey?
MM: No, I’m actually from Connecticut.
JB: Oh, okay. My wife is from Jersey and now her parents live there. They actually live there full time now, but that’s wild. Honestly Long Beach Island is one of my places on this planet. Cause it’s at the end of the day, it’s just so simple.
MM: It’s just your own little slice of heaven and you can just relax and kind of unplug.
MM: That is too funny. And I guess I’d like to add my signature questions to all of my interviews. It’s a little strange, but it’s kinda my thing. So, if you were to construct a donut based off of your personality in real life, what kind of donut would it be and what toppings would be on it?
JB: Oh man. It’d be like a bacon cheeseburger donut. That’s the first thing that comes to mind.
MM: Bacon cheeseburger, can’t go wrong. Sweet, savory.
JB: Yeah, between a glazed donut, it may be a thing.
MM: I think it is a thing. I think they definitely serve it somewhere. And I guess, lastly, tell the readers, you know why they should tune in now that it’s on Netflix?
JB: You’re in for good old fashioned family fun, full of laughs, giggles. You might shed a tear every once in a while. There’s always heartfelt messages and more than anything, we just want to make our fans happy. We’re so grateful to do what we do. And we feel so blessed to have so many people all over the world that are so anxious to watch us have a blast. And I feel so lucky and grateful to be a part of it. So just know, it’s 13 episodes of as much love and hard work and you have a group of people, who really really just want to deliver the best possible product to their fans as can be.
MM: That’s wonderful, and we definitely are looking forward to seeing what’s next and hopefully there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for Team Matt in this upcoming season.
JB: Hopefully. Or who knows, it’s a marathon, not a race.
MM: True, that is very true. But thank you so much, John, I really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to chat with me.
JB: Awesome, thank you. Maybe I’ll see you on Long Beach Island!
MM: Right, that would be funny.
JB: I’m always posting pictures from there. Like I said, it’s my little paradise.
MM: Yeah, we already have our house booked for next year, so we’re ready to go.