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 and Nicky.
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 show, Jesse moves in with Danny to help him raise his kids after the death of Pam. However, he only expected to stay a couple of weeks but ended up staying, along with Joey Gladstone, for the whole series. 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 four years old.
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 even had the Beach Boys themselves as background vocals in the music video), and tour around the country in local clubs during the summer.
In season two, Michelle's friend Howie leaves to go to Nebraska, and he tries to cheer her up with a song he wrote for her called "Michelle's Smiling".
In later seasons, he is kicked out after a fight with his fellow band members concerning his lack of commitment. Though he was no longer a member, his founder status continued to earn him royalties of hundreds of dollars through the end of the series. It is revealed in the episode "Making Out is Hard to Do" that Barry Williams took over Jesse's place.
In the episode "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, singing how he is going to get Joey.
In one episode, he is asked by D.J. and Kimmy to compose a song for their "stay in school" campaign, but he declines. When perplexed as to why Jesse said no, he reveals he is a dropout and to participate in such a campaign would be an act of hypocrisy. Although against being hypocritical, Jesse admits that it is high time to go after his high school diploma, and the girls' activism has encouraged him to enroll in night school.
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 JJ Creative Services.
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. 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.
Personality and hobbies
In early seasons, Jesse is portrayed as a rebel and motorcycle aficionado. However, as the show progresses, he matures. He is always shown to be a caring uncle.He frequently makes references to Elvis Presley, his favorite musician. Jesse is also known for his famous recipe of fried chicken.
Jesse's famous catch phrase throughout the series is "Have mercy!" as well as "Watch the hair!," because of his obsession with his hair. He is often seen measuring 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, "capice" (kapesh), which is Sicilian for "understand?". He occasionally calls Danny and Joey by their birth names, Daniel and Joseph.
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 one last time, rather emphatically, "No he doesn't", and Stephanie would respond 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).
John Stamos and the character
Originally, Stamos signed to play Adam Cochran, but he changed the name to Jesse before the show began. He later requested his Greek heritage to be implemented in the show by changing his character's last name to Katsopolis.
During season eight, Stamos announced his departure, and the producers opted not to continue the series concerned by the loss of such a major character.