Kimmy Gibbler reminded classic TV fans of this Sixties character
Fans wondered, could the actors be related?
The Full House episode "Good News, Bad News" is a fun episode for Kimmy Gibbler fans.
The plot finds D.J. as school newspaper editor, hiring her best friend Kimmy as a columnist — even though there are other students who are more qualified.
When D.J. finally fires Kimmy for poor writing skills, the plot thickens when Kimmy launches a gossip column to rival D.J.’s newspaper.
There are plenty of Kimmy Gibbler nose scrunches and eyebrow wrinkles, as she makes mischief throughout the episode.
And it’s watching these mannerisms of Kimmy Gibbler that eventually led some classic TV fans to wonder if the actor who plays Kimmy, Andrea Barber, could possibly be related to another actor who played a similar nose-scrunching high school nuisance in the Sixties.
Sheila James was introduced to TV audiences as Zelda Gilroy on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
In that sitcom, Zelda Gilroy is depicted as a plain Jane who’s desperately in love with Dobie, but willing to help him scheme other romances, patiently waiting her turn.
When casting Zelda, producers wanted an actor who could play the character as having a "bushel of brains."
They ended up casting a university student named Sheila James, who was nearly as smart as Zelda Gilroy in real life. When she was in high school, she skipped two grades, but she said she didn’t have all of Zelda’s practical skills — like lacking a keen ability when working on cars.
James told the Los Angeles Evening Citizen News in 1962 that she saw Zelda as "just a girl in school. Rather intelligent, but with lots of go power."
For D.J. Tanner, Kimmy Gibbler was also "just a girl in school" who had "lots of go power," often responsible for the episode arcs that ended with D.J. getting a long lecture from Danny.
Barber’s character’s uncanny resemblance to Zelda Gilroy’s mannerisms, along with the actors’ matching physical resemblance, led at least one TV fan to wonder if the two could possibly be related.
"Is the girl who plays Kimmy Gibbler on Full House the offspring of the actress who played the role of Zelda on the Dobie Gillis series? Their voices, looks and mannerisms lead me to believe this might be the case" wrote R.R. in Delaware to a TV column syndicated in the Des Moines Register in 1994.
"There is a resemblance between the two supporting actresses, but no relationship that we can determine," the columnist responded.
Although it seems their resemblance is purely coincidental, like Sheila James, Andrea Barber excelled at school, becoming an honors student while juggling outside activities in dance, gymnastics, singing, piano and unicycling. She ended up majoring in English in college.
But James, like her character Zelda (best known for calling Dobie "Poopsie") is likely the nerdier of the two.
After James quit acting, she ended up becoming a professor of law at Loyola University. Dwayne Hickman told The Pittsburgh Press in 1988 that he had to be extremely persuasive to get her to agree to do the Dobie Gillis reunion movie that year. He needed her there so that Dobie could marry Zelda.
"It took some doing to get her to give up her classes," Hickman said.