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Family Matters

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Family Matters
Family Matters-Logo.jpeg
Premiere September 22, 1989
Finale July 17, 1998
Creator William Bickley &
Michael Warren
Developed by Thomas L. Miller &
Robert L. Boyett
Network/Provider ABC (seasons 1-8)
CBS (season 9)
Style 30-minute sitcom
Company Bickley-Warren Productions
(seasons 3-9)
Miller/Boyett Productions
Lorimar Television
(seasons 1-4)
Warner Bros. Television
(seasons 5-9)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television (1993-)
Seasons 9
Episodes 215
Origin USA

Family Matters is a sitcom that aired on ABC for eight seasons and CBS for one season.

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 twelfth episode Laura's First Date. He was originally meant to be a one-shot character, but fan reaction was so positive that he eventually became a main character. Steve with his clumsiness would irritate 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.



Actor Character Duration
Main Cast 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Reginald VelJohnson Carl Winslow * * * * * * * * *
Jo Marie Payton Harriette Winslow * * * * * * * * *
Judyann Elder *
Rosetta LeNoire Estelle Winslow * * * * * * o o o
Darius McCrary Edward "Eddie" Winslow * * * * * * * * *
Kellie Shanygne Williams Laura Winslow * * * * * * * * *
Jaimee Foxworth Judith "Judy" Winslow * * * *
Valerie Jones (pilot only)
Joseph Wright Richie Crawford *
Julius Wright *
Bryton McClure * * * * * * o o
Shawn Harrison Waldo Geraldo Faldo o o * * * *
Michelle Thomas Myra Monkhouse o o * * * *
Orlando Brown Jerry Jamal "3J" Jameson o * *
Jaleel White Steven "Steve" Urkel o * * * * * * * *
Telma Hopkins Rachel Crawford * * * * o o
Orange/Red/o indicates a recurring or guest role during that season.
Dark Green indicates top billing during that season.
Supporting/Recurring Cast 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Cherie Johnson Maxine Johnson * * * * * * * *
Barry Jenner Lt. Lieu Murtaugh * * *
Shavar Ross Alex "Weasel" Park * *
Tammy Townsend Greta McClure * * * *


Season  Premiere Finale #
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


DVD Releases

Title Release Discs
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

External Sites