YMMV: Family Matters

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Steve Urkel really a genuinely nice, misunderstood guy with No Social Skills, or a Stalker with a Crush who ruins everything in his path?
    • One of the major reasons the Winslows put up with Steveís antics is that he has saved Carlís life so many times. However, while the times he saved the latter's life in his earlier appearances were plausible, they became increasingly less so as time went on to the point where accidents seemed to happen to Carl simply because Steve was there. So is Steve just a nice guy who is always there when you need him or is he a magnificent bastard who takes advantage of the accidents he caused?
    • His eventual romance with Laura. Did it happen out of nowhere due to Steve being an entitled nice guy who badgered Laura until she gave in? Or was there subtle foreshadowing in episodes where Laura would find herself missing him or jealous of his attention to another girl, or moments where she went out of her way to stand up for him at the risk of losing a prom date or her own popularity?
    • Related to the above, despite being an incredibly competent cop, Carl comes across as extremely accident prone. Yet that didnít come about until Steve was introduced. A lot of instances seem to be caused by Steve. For example, despite going camping for years, he forgot to safe guard his food after Steve destroyed the camp site. So is Carl really accident prone or does Steve infuriate him so much that he just canít think straight?
  • Anvilicious: The show wasn't quite as bad about this as other TGIF sitcoms, but it still had its moments:
    • The anti-bullying episode is probably the most egregious example. Midway through the episode, it morphs into an anti-gun episode. An interesting thing about the "Save A Life" campaign is that a DJ plays what are supposedly "everybody's favorite rap/hip hop tunes." Do you remember what was popular at the time?
    • Another example would be the episode where Eddie reveals to his classmates that he's a virgin. The idea that Eddie and Steve would be the only two kids in their high school who have never had sex notwithstanding, are we really supposed to believe their classmates would ridicule them for it? Especially since after this episode, the issue was never mentioned once.
  • Awesome Music: The second ending theme.
  • Base Breaker: Steve. Depending on who you asked, he was either the best thing about the show and elevated it from being just another family sitcom to greater heights than anyone could have dreamed of, or he was an obnoxious creator's pet who ruined the series by taking screentime away from the Winslows, the real main characters. Alternately, there are some who think that he was kind of funny but worked better in small doses.
  • Broken Aesop: Steve is just one big walking Broken Aesop. Does he truly promote being yourself, or does he promote refusing to change, as he continues to behave childishly well into his teens? Laura once defended him from a Jerkass date saying Steve always respected her despite the fact that he was constantly invading her home without her permission (or her family's for that matter), refused to back off despite how often she told him she wasn't interested in him, took even the smallest act of kindness from her as a sign that she actually did reciprocate his feelings and that he was "wearing her down", and more than once basically chased off prospective boyfriends of hers. In other words, he was basically stalking her.
  • Captain Obvious Aesop / Broken Aesop: The Christmas episode, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Urkel", after Laura tells Steve to get out of her life and her guardian angel shows her what her life would be like if she was a nerd (and essentially traded places with Steve), she realized that yes, nerds have feelings too. Unfortunately, this falls down due to Laura being justified in her anger at Steve in that episode; he broke a glass vase she bought for her mother due to his clumsiness. Granted, it looks bad to tell someone to get out of your life around Christmas, but still.
  • Creator's Pet: Some fans believed Steve was this over time since he has taken up most of the show and leaving the other Winslows out of the spotlight.
  • Die for Our Ship: Myra for Steve/Laura fans. Laura for Steve/Myra fans.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse —> Breakout Character:
    • Steve was initially meant to be in the show for one episode, but his popularity led to him becoming a recurring character. Eventually, he would end up the star of the show. During the first season, completed episode scripts were rewritten just to include Steve.
    • Eddie's friend Waldo was hugely popular, only to just never show up once they made the channel hop to CBS. Also worth noting is Waldo started out as a delinquent before becoming one of Eddie's best friends.
    • Myra was introduced as a romantic false lead. Much like Steve before her, she charmed the audience and was promoted to the main cast.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: Alfred Looney, the school janitor (ah, that's Loo-NAY; it's French), Steven Q. Urkel, and Carl Otis Winslow, given the fact that his initials spell COW. Plus, he's overweight, so that makes it even worse.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • For many, Steve's relentless pursuit of Laura and eventually getting engaged to her sounded like "stalk your dream girl long enough, and she'll one day give in." It's definitely a case of Strangled by the Red String.
    • At least three episodes of the show dealt with the evils of gambling. Two of them did so quite reasonably. In one, Steve and Eddie got cleaned out by a pool shark, and threatened ("gambling can leave you broke, and even lead to threats of bodily harm"). In another, Steve won a watch with great sentimental value from Carl's boss in a poker game, but then gave it back to him, explaining that he played for fun, and didn't want to take something that meant so much to him ("you can destroy other people by gambling, but in moderation, it's ok"). In the final one, though, Steve and Eddie went to an illegal casino in which they won $32,000, which the casino was clearly both capable, and perfectly willing, to pay but then the casino was raided by the police ("things are immoral not because they harm you or someone else, but because the state says so"),
    • Steve basically bragging that he's still a virgin and revealing that Eddie is too. It's apparently supposed to be a positive message regarding abstinence, but Steve just revealed something that he had no business even knowing.note  And even if he did, he certainly had no business revealing it to a locker room full of people.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: There's a large segment of fans who preferred Myra to be with Steve over Laura. The fact that she ended up being a derailed love interest didn't help matters.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Any time Myra (post breakup with Steve) makes any comment about not wanting to live without him. Michelle Thomas (the actress who played Myra) died at the age of 29 from a rare form of stomach cancer.
  • Growing the Beard: Happened somewhere around the third season, when they figured out how to use Steve without him sticking out like a sore thumb.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Myrtle Urkel is regarded as odd for wearing vintage clothing from the '50s and '60s, among other things, now with the wide interest in vintage clothing and websites selling such wares, along with the popularity of series like Mad Men or Masters Of Sex, Myrtle would be regarded as some sort of fashion plate or be given a job as a model for such websites or a job on the sets of Period Piece films and shows!
  • Ho Yay:
    • Steve's relationships with Carl and Eddie verge on this.
    • Eddie and Waldo's relationship also has hints of it.
    • Les Yay / Foe Yay: At times, Laura and Myra seem to have this.
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: You may remember this as simply The Urkel Show.
  • Informed Wrongness:
    • Pretty much any time one of the other main characters gets mad or annoyed at Steve when he does something stupid or insensitive, even if its Innocently Insensitive. For example, the time Steve accidentally trashed a model ship Carl had worked hard on. True, it was an accident but still, Steve, as usual, forced himself into the Winslow home without their permission. Through his usual lack of respect for their personal space, he ended up destroying a piece of Carl's property, causing Carl to grumble "You know, I really hate that kid." This upset Steve so much that he started sleepwalking into the Winslows home and assaulting Carl out of resentment. And yet, Carl is made to feel like he's the bad guy even though it was Steve who was at fault.
    • Another time, Steve took Carl to court to sue him for accidentally killing Steve's pet stick bug. When asked to take the stand to explain himself, Carl's response was, "Ladies and gentlemen... it was just a stupid bug."
    • As well, Laura is made out to be a bitch anytime she (reasonably and justifiably) gets fed up with Steve's constant harassment of her. Not once in the show's tenure did Steve ever apologize for his behavior, but Laura was always made to be the bad person for not reciprocating his feelings.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Myra. She's a clingy jealous girl of the worst kind, becomes increasingly batshit crazy in later years and eventually resorts to breaking the law to keep her hooks in Steve. And yet you can't help but feel sorry for her whenever you're reminded that underneath all the crazy, she really does love him.
  • Memetic Mutation: Steve himself became something of a meme in the early '90s, thanks to recurring references in popular culture. David Letterman in particular made a lot of jokes about "that Urkel kid," which spread to other shows like Animaniacs and The Simpsons.
  • Moment Of Awesome: See here.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Willie and Waldo spike Steve's drink, and he almost falls off the ledge of a building. It was brought on by Steve humiliating them. They were later arrested.
  • Nightmare Fuel: That damn Urkel dummy. The episode itself isn't scary, but the dummy is a good example of Uncanny Valley.
  • So Uncool, It's a Cool Car: Steve's Isetta.
  • Toy Ship: Richie and Gwendolyn.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Some fans have debated that almost without exception, a majority of white characters on the show have been portrayed as jerks, idiots, criminals, or racists.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Steve, which is what led to his Base Breaker status. During the height of Urkelmania, audiences rooted on Steve's Dogged Nice Guy habits in his effort to woo Laura. In more modern times, this doesn't sit nearly as well with audiences because not only does Laura make it clear much throughout the series that she's not interested, Steve ends up coming off more like a Stalker with a Crush. It also doesn't help that when Myra starts displaying the same habits towards him, it's viewed more in a negative light.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Steve naturally.
    • Waldo certainly qualifies, as well. Like Steve, although to a much lesser extent, he tends to annoy nearly everyone on the show, even Steve himself, but he's loved by fans.
    • Myra. A lot of people like her more than Laura, despite her annoying Abhorrent Admirer status on the show.
  • What an Idiot: Most nerdy guys would have killed to have a girl like Myra throw herself at them. Instead, Steve continued to woo stuck-up and uninterested Laura who only agreed to date him in the last season. Then again, Myra was rather batshit-insane.
  • The Woobie: Steve, even as annoying as he can be, doesn't deserve half of the crap he goes through.