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A Fish Called Martin
Season 4, episode 17
A fish called martin
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 and the Rippers are rocking and rolling in the living room, with Michelle accompanying them in singing "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", which elicits applause from the band (and the studio audience). Then, she asks them to do "I'm a Little Teapot", and they attempt their spin on the music, and that act also elicits applause from the band (and audience).

Synopsis

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 about (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 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 again reminds her 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, and Michelle still insists that it was all her fault (eliciting groans from the audience for the third time this episode).

In an effort to help her feel better, the guys have a surprise for her, hidden under a towel, which is that they got her 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 is a car expert, so she tries to learn as much about cars as she can, so she can impress him. 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 cars 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 D.J. 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).

Quotes

[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 carnival...]
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 carnival.]
Michelle: I won a fishy!
Everyone else: Alright!
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.
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 fish bowl.
Michelle: Okay.


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 such], so you give him one little pinch every single day [gives a pinch to her and she puts it in the 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 Michelle 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 the 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 fishbowl, and notice his lifeless body floating around.]
Michelle: I'm keeping him clean!
Joey: Yep, he's clean... as a doornail.
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.


Michelle: [putting her pig next to Martin's bowl] Martin, you can sleep with my pig tonight.
Danny: [moving the pig away from the 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, Danny and Joey have set up a surprise for Michelle, but then she finds out it is another pet fish.]
Michelle: [recalling the "accident"] 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 noise] "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. [She walks away, but her uncle stops her.]
Jesse: Look, Michelle, we'll make Freddy the family fish, OK? He'll stay in the kitchen and you can be his buddy, alright?
Michelle: OK, but I'm not getting too close. [She walks away again, but her dad stops her, too.]
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.]


[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 her new fish swim all over the 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!

Trivia

  • The only appearance of Martin
  • 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", found in the quote "Marley was as dead as a doornail" (the opening quote to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, referring to Jacob Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge's partner)
  • The second episode to feature a variation on Michelle's "You're in big trouble, mister!" catchphrase (the first was "Crimes and Michelle's Demeanor", where she asked Danny, "Am I in big trouble, mister?")