A spinoff of Perfect Strangers, Family Matters focused on the middle-class Winslow family Harriette Winslow, a homemaker and the voice of reason. Carl Winslow, her seemingly overweight self-conscious husband who is often prune to loud outbursts and hates to spend money and is a member of the Chicago Police Department. (although he acts tough, he has a heart of gold). rebellious son Eddie, smart-mouth daughter Laura, and youngest of the three, Judy. Also living under the same roof was Harriette's younger sister, Rachel Crawford (who is an aspiring writer) and her young son Richie. (Rachel's husband, John Crawford died before the start of the series). In the first episode, Carl's elderly mother Estelle Winslow decides to come live with him and the family. At first he hates the idea, but he eventually warms up to it.
Everything was going fine, then Steve Urkel came into they're lives. Steve, with his thick eyeglasses, high-suspenders and high-pitched nasal accented voice, was your typical nerd who had a crush on Laura ever since childhood and has apparently lived next door to the Winslows for most of his life. He first appeared in the twelth episode Laura's First Date. He was orignally meant to be a one-shot character, but fan reaction was so positive that he evently became a main character. Steve with his clumsiness would iritate Carl to no end, whether it be showing up at the wrong time, accidentally breaking something valuable, showing off many of his inventions, or just being plain annoying. He'd also greatly annoy the rest of the family as well, leading to them almost always saying "go home, Steve".
The beginning of season two saw several changes. First of all, Jaleel White was added to the credits and became a main character. The local eating establishment Leroy's, was burnt to the ground by Steve via a horrific fire. Rachel decides to open her own restaurant in the former location of Leroy's. And the ground opening of Rachel's Place is in the first episode. Steve and Laura are also given jobs working at the place. The second season also introduced the character of Waldo Faldo, a bully and classic "dumb" character who was friends with Urkel's nemesis, fellow troublemaker Willie. Waldo eventually stops hanging out with Willie and becomes friends with Eddie. And the interior of the Winslow home was changed. One of the more dramatic changes of the season was when Richie was aged from a infant to a 3-year old an recast with Bryton McClure.
By season three, the show was beginning to focus less on the Winslows and more on Urkel. By now, almost every episode revolved around him. Especially him and Carl, they wound becoming a kind of 90s version of Abbott and Costello.
Although a sitcom by nature, the series also had episodes that focused on serious topics, such as alcoholism, dysfunctional families, racism, sexism, cancer, leukemia, dyslexia, school bullying, and gun violence as well.
|Season One||September 22, 1989||April 27, 1990||22|
|Season Two||September 21, 1990||May 3, 1991||25|
|Season Three||September 20, 1991||May 8, 1992||25|
|Season Four||September 18, 1992||May 14, 1993||24|
|Season Five||September 24, 1993||May 20, 1994||24|
|Season Six||September 23, 1994||May 19, 1995||25|
|Season Seven||September 22, 1995||May 17, 1996||24|
|Season Eight||September 20, 1996||May 9, 1997||24|
|Season Nine||September 19, 1997||July 17, 1998||22|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series
|Season Sets (Region 1)|
|The Complete First Season||June 8, 2010||purchase||3|
|The Complete Second Season||February 14, 2012||purchase||3|
|The Complete Third Season||February 12, 2013||purchase||3|
|The Complete Fourth Season||April 8, 2014||purchase||3|