Family Matters turns 25 this month. The first episode premiered on September 22nd, 1989. If the title doesn’t ring a bell you may have thought the show was called Urkel. The equally lovable and annoying nerd that stole the show. Despite his awful voice audiences loved to see the young nerd bust through the Winslow’s front door. The show ended on July 17th, 1998, after 9 seasons. However, syndication allowed us to continue visiting one of our favorite Chicago based (TV) families until around 2012. The first four seasons are also available on DVD.
One of the more interesting facts about the show is that the Winslow’s were not supposed to share the spotlight with Urkel. Actor Jaleel White, who played Steven “Steve” Urkel, started out in a recurring role during season 1. High water pants on, and suspenders in place, Urkel was a hit.
From the second season on Urkel became a main character. Always chasing after Laura, played by actress Kellie Shanygne Williams. Poor Urkel couldn’t see that she was way out of his league. You have to give a boy (who grew into a man during the show) props for trying.
White also branched out into other roles on the show. He played Urkel’s clone Stefan Urquelle, and Urkel’s cousin Myrtle Urkel. Stefan is a bit more memorable though, as Urkel’s suspenders and “hipster before hipsters were in” glasses, covered up how handsome White was.
Regardless of his looks, White captured the audience, even if that Urkel voice made you want to run the other away. Urkel was a nerd like no other. None of Urkel’s quirks seemed strange to him, and he didn’t allow his low social status to hold him back. There’s a lesson in Urkel. Hopefully viewers ranging from the original 80’s and 90’s audience to kids watching old DVD’s today, catch it.
Being yourself is always the best option. Being brave enough to do so makes you as cool as Stefan. Even if your closer to being an Urkel.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the show it is highly recommended. It wasn’t, as Wikipedia puts it, “the second longest-running U.S. sitcom with a predominantly African American cast” for nothing. Each episode is worth viewing.
For facts from this article and more:
Family Matters Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Matters
Family Matters IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096579/