Jesse Katsopolis (Jesse Cochran in season 1; his birth name was Hermes, but when he was young, he had it changed to Jesse) is a main character on the sitcom Full House, portrayed by John Stamos. He is Danny Tanner's brother-in-law, and uncle of D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle, and is Pam's younger brother, the husband of Rebecca, and father to Alex, Nicky and Pamela.
Jesse Katsopolis was born to Nick and Irene Katsopolis. His older sister, Pam, married Danny after high school. Jesse went on to attend Golden Bay High School, but dropped out. In a later episode, he realizes that he is the only adult in the house without a high school diploma, which prompted him to go to night school graduating as the valedictorian. His graduation was postponed however, as Jesse was taking the subway to the commencement exercises when a blackout occurred and the train stopped. To add to the problems, people were getting accusatory of one another and an angry mob was brewing. Jesse instead gave his speech in front of the trapped crowd, causing the mob to calm down and some to go home and reevaluate their lives after power was restored.
In the first episode of the series, Jesse moves in with Danny to help him raise his kids after the death of his wife, Pam. Jesse only planned to stay for a couple of weeks but ends up staying for the whole series, along with Joey Gladstone. Jesse describes in later episodes how Pam was a great influence in his life, and how, despite his rebel attitude, she managed to keep him in check.
He used to be a bad boy, and that changed when he met his love, Rebecca Donaldson. He marries her, and they have twin sons, named Nicky and Alex. At the end of the series, they are three years old.
In the beginning, Jesse has a "bad boy" clothing style, but this changes to a more casual style in later seasons. Also, in the beginning, he has long hair, but then cuts it to a pompadour style, which he takes great care of. At 6 feet tall, he is taller than everybody except Danny (who is 6'4"). Michelle never goes past his waist in the series. He is also in good shape. When the twins are born, he wants them to wear doo rags just like him, but Becky objects.
Personality and hobbies
Throughout the series, Jesse's role model is Elvis Presley—particularly in the earlier seasons—not only in music, but in other ways, such as being a rebel and motorcycle aficionado (in the season two premiere, he breaks his arms in a motorcycle accident). However, as the show progresses, he matures—especially after he gets married and has kids. He is always shown to be a caring uncle. Jesse is also known for his famous recipe of fried chicken.
Early in the series, when Stephanie would try and get Jesse to do something that he did not want to do, they would have an exchange where Jesse would say "Uncle Jesse doesn't want to" (do something) and Stephanie says "Yes he does!" Jesse would then say "No he doesn't" and Stephanie would respond "yes he does!" Jesse would say the same thing one last time, rather emphatically, "No he doesn't", and Stephanie would respond once more while faking crying, "Yes he does", and he would give in.
His freewheeling ways came to a clash namely when he starts his relationship with Becky. Prior to his wedding, her father, a cowboy who had an earlier life similar to Jesse's devil-may-care ways, warned that he will now be sacrificing his life for that of domesticity. This encourages Jesse to do one last stunt with Joey; jumping out of a moving airplane. The stunt goes awry and it is up to Becky to rescue Jesse to get him to the church on time. Later on, after the birth of the twins, Jesse watches an old videotape of himself riding his motorcycle on the wall of a skyscraper and fears he is past his prime. When attempting to redo the stunt, his better judgement prevails, realizing life passing him by is better than no life at all, and seems to come full circle with his new status as husband and father.
Originally insecure with his birth name of Hermes, Jesse learned greater respect for his true name when teased by his nieces, telling of the Greek god of speed, which was bestowed on an ancestor of theirs who saved a village by outrunning volcanic magma, causing them to quiet down (although he still prefers Jesse).
He is known for his "little talks/chats" with his nieces, mostly with Michelle; like with Danny, these teach them important lessons in life.
While he does address Joey and Danny by their informal names, he often addresses them by their given first names (i.e. Joseph and Daniel).
He is often seen as the opposite of Danny, as he is more laid back than Danny. For example, in "Our Very First Night", Danny accuses him of being a "sick fiend", when he discovers ice cream bowls and chocolate milk cartons in the girls' room after Jesse allowed them to stay up late and eat said sweets. In "Driving Miss D.J.", when he teaches D.J. how to drive, he asks her to "feel the vibrations", which she does a little too much, putting a dent in his car, "Mustang Sally". In "Please Don't Touch the Dinosaur", when the field trip comes to a stop after the destruction of a $4 million dinosaur, Danny accuses Jesse of being too laid back, and Jesse accuses Danny of being a control freak, even adding the fun "got a little out of hand", but Danny assures him that it got more than just "a little out of hand".
Like Joey and Becky, Jesse is a surrogate parent to the girls. In "The Devil Made Me Do It", when he catches Michelle playing around with his equipment after telling her not to, he passes the news onto Danny, who grounds her the rest of the day. Apparently, Michelle doesn't appreciate it, however, he teaches her a lesson in their "little chat" that they have in her room after they come home from Teddy's house: like Becky and Joey, he must go by the "parent first, friend second" policy, and that's why he caught her.
Jesse is very involved in rock and roll music. In one episode, he mentions that he had two bands during high school: Feedback and Discipline Problem. For most of the series, he fronts a band called Jesse and the Rippers in which he is the lead vocalist and guitarist. They would eventually get a record deal from with their hit single "Forever" (a cover of a Beach Boys song), and tour around the country in local clubs during the summer.
Later, he is kicked out of the group after a fight with his fellow band members concerning his lack of commitment. It is revealed in the episode "Making Out is Hard to Do" that Barry Williams (played by himself) was Jesse's replacement.
In "Matchmaker Michelle", he tries to change his music and style so that record labels would sign him. With "help" from Joey, he becomes Vulture. However, this does not turn so well as he tries to "fly" down on a harness to sing like a vulture. But the harness gets stuck and with more "help" from Joey, he is sent flying through the air during his performance.
In "Educating Jesse", he is asked by D.J. and Kimmy to compose a song for their "stay in school" campaign, but he declines. When they are perplexed about why Jesse said no, he reveals he is a dropout and to participate in such a campaign would be an act of hypocrisy. He then admits that it is time that he went after his high school diploma.
In "The Play's the Thing", after he and Joey give a lead role in the play to Derek Boyd over Michelle, they give her another role. But she refuses it and sulks. They tell her "You can't always get what you want in life", and in his example, Jesse tells her that it is like being in a band: not everyone can be the lead singer and that he is not any more important than any other member of the group.
Aside from his music career, Jesse is shown to have various day jobs during the series. The first is as an exterminator for his father's business. In episode three of season two, he enters the advertising business with Joey, becoming advertising executives. Their agency is called Double J Creative Services (and in season 4, Danny decides to help out by being a silent partner).
In later seasons, Jesse and Joey start a career as radio hosts with a show called The Rush Hour Renegades (KFLH FM 95.6). Jesse would then inherit and re-open The Smash Club, which was a nightclub that he attended frequently while growing up, and where his band played regularly.
In the episode "13 Candles", it is revealed that his first kiss was with Diane Van Zant.
During the show's first season, he has several girlfriends. Some of them are:
- Vanessa ("Our Very First Show")
- Adrianna ("Daddy's Home")
- Robin ("Half a Love Story")
- Jill ("Half a Love Story")
- Samantha ("The Seven-Month Itch (Part 1)")
- Roxanne ("Sea Cruise")
During the second season, Jesse meets Danny's co-host, Rebecca Donaldson, and they started dating. They almost elope in Nevada at the end of the season, but she feels that she is not ready. During season four, they did get married. (He barely gets jealous of other guys who are possibly interested in Rebecca, unless they have good or better hair than he does.)
During season four, when Jesse and Becky are engaged, Jesse sees his ex-girlfriend Carrie at their ten-year high school reunion in "One Last Kiss". She wants to dance with him, but he freaks out and leaves. Then she arrives at the house and tells him that she wants to get back together. After talking they kiss. He tells her that he is in love with Becky now. He then goes to Becky and tells her that he kissed Carrie and Becky gets mad. Then Jesse tells Becky that he is only hers now.
In the episode "Greek Week" Jesse sees his old girlfriend Elena and finds out that they were already "married" for almost 13 years, due to a "traditional Greek wedding", when they held flowers and walked around a table. They walk backwards around the table to get divorced. Then at the end of that episode he proposes to Becky for good.
Besides being very close with his sons, he is also close to his nieces, D.J., Stephanie and Michelle, especially with Michelle, giving her affectionate nicknames like Munchkin, Rugrat and Shorty.
- Rebecca Katsopolis – wife
- Alex Katsopolis – son
- Nicky Katsopolis – son
- Nick Katsopolis – father
- Irene Katsopolis – mother
- Pamela Tanner – sister (deceased)
- Danny Tanner – brother-in-law
- D.J. Tanner – niece
- Stephanie Tanner – niece
- Michelle Tanner – niece
- Iorgos Katsopolis – grandfather
- Gina Katsopolis – grandmother
- Hermes Katsopolis – great-grandfather
- Stavros – cousin
- Demetri – cousin
- Kenneth Donaldson – father-in-law
- Nedra Donaldson – mother-in-law
- Connie Donaldson – sister-in-law
- Corky – brother-in-law
- Three unnamed brothers-in-law
- Jackson Fuller – grandnephew
- Max Fuller – grandnephew
- Tommy Fuller, Jr. – grandnephew
- Pamela Katsopolis – adopted daughter
Recurring phrases and words
Jesse's best-known and most-often-used phrase in the series is "Have mercy!". So much so that other characters have used it to him (particularly Becky). Another is "Watch the hair!" (especially in the earlier seasons when it was longer). He has been known to measure his hairline in the mirror with a tape measure from the top of his eyebrow to his hairline. Whenever he picks up the phone, he says "Talk to me!". In addition, Jesse's trademark sayings throughout the series include "per se" and, usually when talking to Michelle, "capisce?" (pronounced kapeesh), which is Sicilian for "understand?". He occasionally calls Danny and Joey by their birth names, Daniel and Joseph. He sometimes says "Look alive!" to alert his presence.
- Originally, John Stamos signed to play Adam Cochran, but he changed the name to Jesse before the show began, then later requested his Greek heritage to be implemented in the show by changing his character's last name to Katsopolis
- Favorite color is black, as revealed in the episode "D.J. Tanner's Day Off"
- His most frequent recurring phrase, "Have mercy", originally comes from the Bible (mentioned 47 times in the King James Version)
- It is implied (in "One Last Kiss") that Jesse graduated high school, however, in "Educating Jesse", it is revealed he dropped out
After seven years of living in the Tanner House, the Katsopolises moved into a home of their own. Shortly before the events of Fuller House, Jesse landed a dream job in Los Angeles and made plans to move there with Becky and Danny to start a new chapter in their lives.
References/appearances on other shows
- 2012: House, M.D.; episode: "Gut Check"
- 2012: American Dad; he appears (animated) in the episode "American Stepdad"
- Main article: Fuller House
In Fuller House, Jesse is the music producer/composer for his favorite soap opera General Hospital (John Stamos had his acting break on GH). Because of his new job, and Danny and Becky's new show Wake Up, USA, Jesse and Becky move to Los Angeles, California. Jesse and Becky visit D.J. and her family whenever they can. His grandnephew Jackson Fuller is similar to Jesse and his niece Stephanie is also similar to Jesse on the show. Jesse also has a tight bond with both of them.