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These are the characters that appear in Family Matters.

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    Steve Urkel 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/steve_urkel_posing.jpg
Portrayed by: Jaleel White

The show's Breakout Character, he's the smart, clumsy, and nerdy neighbor of the Winslows.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: His undying devotion to Laura is not received well at all. But that has just as much (or more) to do with his outrageously weird personality than the way he looks.
  • Abusive Parents: His parents are often implied to be this. Examples include trying to push him back into the womb, not owning a car because he was born in one, giving him a curfew that doesn't dictate when he must come home, but when he's allowed to, neglecting to feed him, making him pay rent even as a child, and finally moving to Russia without him. Of course, with his parents gone, Steve moves in with the Winslows, whom he likes better. By his own admission:
    "Big Guy, I love you like a father, and my father like... a neighbor."
  • Academic Athlete: Downplayed. He's a brilliant student and can play basketball, but he's not so good at other athletic activities.
  • Accidental Pervert: Walks in on Laura in the shower by mistake when both planned to take one at the same time.
  • Adorkable: The ultimate nerd with his glasses, suspenders, Annoying Laugh and high-pitched voice. He's extremely awkward and clumsy, and quite annoying, but you can't help but sympathize with him because of his good heart, determination and undying love for Laura.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Steve's feelings for Laura borders on obsession. For example, in "Rumor Has It...", it's revealed that his locker combination correspond to her measurements.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: How he is seen and treated for most of the series. He's hated by his classmates, the teachers, including Principal Shimata, and his own family. The Winslows are the closest thing he has to real friends and most of them can't stand him most of the time.
  • And Starring: He was always credited last in the opening (only before Rachel who gets the And Starring treatment in the first four seasons), but it wasn't until Season 6 that he finally gets the full "Jaleel White as Steve Urkel" credit.
  • Annoying Laugh: "Ah heh-heh-heh *snort**snort*!"
  • The B Grade: In "Food, Lies, and Videotape," Steve learns to cope with getting a C in home economics.
  • Badass Bookworm: As Bruce Lee Urkel, an alter ego created by Steve via a celebrity sample potion called Bruce Juice.
  • Beautiful All Along: Steve's "Stefan Urquelle" persona shows us that all he has to do to be attractive is get some contacts, flattering clothes, and stand up straight. Toning down the voice and not breaking stuff all the time doesn't hurt either. Furthermore, late in the series, he starts a vigorous self-improvement regime that tones down some of his Hollywood Nerd traits into more flattering Geek chic ones while remaining true to himself.
  • Betty and Veronica: The Archie to Myra's Betty and Laura's Veronica. He's also always the Betty to Laura's admirer/boyfriend of the week's Veronica. Over and over and over again.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Steve is a nice, easygoing person. If you push him too far though, he'll either tell you off, embarrass you, or give you a beatdown as Bruce Lee.
  • Black and Nerdy: Smart enough to create certain things such as a robot, a jetpack, and a transformation chamber.
  • Black Sheep: Most of Steve's relatives can't stand him any more than anyone else. In fact, Steve mentions that they pay him a lot of money to keep him from visiting.
  • Breakout Character: The irksome Steve was introduced as a single gag character in the episode "Laura's First Date". He was meant to highlight just how bad an idea it was for the well-meaning Carl to find his dateless daughter Laura a date for a junior high dance at the last minute. By the end of Season 1, Steve was appearing in every episode. When the first episode of Season 2, "Rachel's Place", aired, Jaleel White was given billing alongside the rest of the cast. Eventually, he would end up as the real star of the show, with the Winslows becoming supporting characters.
  • Bungling Inventor: Some of his inventions work just fine. Others, not so much.
  • Butt-Monkey: As a result of his nerdy and clumsy behavior, and being an easy target for bullies.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Did I do that?"
    • "Got any cheese?"
    • "You love me, don't you?"
    • I'm wearing you down, baby! I'm wearing you down!
    • "But last week you said, 'drop dead, nerd boy'."
    • "Look what you did."
    • "Shhhhhhh. Not while I'm [whatever Steve's current activity is]."
    • "At least nobody was hurt."note 
  • Character Development: Later episodes portray him as less physically weak (he plays basketball), and less socially oblivious.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Ultimately achieves this with Laura.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Played for Laughs. He's just so incompetent, inept, and prone to disaster that the amount of destruction he causes occasionally borders on the epic. In "The Science Project", Laura has a nightmare sequence where Steve builds a fully-fuctioning nuclear weapon and inadvertently detonates it by uttering the code word "buttercup", blowing half of Chicago completely off the map and killing millions. As always, all Steve can say in light of his actions is "Did I do that?"
    • Played straight when he used his invention to grant him the fighting skills of Bruce Lee, becoming Bruce Lee Urkel. When this happens, he'll open a can of whoop-ass on offending parties. On separate times, Carl, Richie, and 3J have also join in on the action.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes, especially in the later seasons. The dumber somebody interacting with Steve is, the more likely it is to get him going. Needless to say, Waldo is guaranteed to bring it out of him during any interaction between the two.
  • Determinator: Nothing will stop Steve from achieving a goal.
  • Ditzy Genius: Despite being a brilliant scientist and Teen Genius, he's clumsy, has No Social Skills and is a general nuisance and walking disaster.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Towards Laura. Steve invokes it at times (to questionable effect) when he point outs moments where Laura uncharacteristically treats him like a human being:
    Steve: I'm wearing you down, baby! I'm wearing you down!
  • Drop-In Character: Steve was this before he moved in with the Winslows.
  • Extraverted Nerd: Despite the thick glasses, nasal voice, quirky hobbies note  and interesting wardrobe, Steve would say he's a smooth, hip ladies man. He is incredibly upbeat, though, and wouldn't know embarrassment if it bit him...for better or worse.
  • Flanderization: In particular, he went from being a bright but mundane high school nerd to a full Mad Scientist who can wrap the laws of physics around his little finger.
  • Freudian Excuse: Steve's attachment to the Winslows (especially Carl) stems from his parents rather frigid treatment, eventually all but abandoning him for an extended research project. The Winslows act as a stable surrogate family for him.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Among the Winslows, only Estelle and Richie like Steve, while the others try to tolerate him. He's also this whenever he hangs out with Laura or Eddie's friends.
  • Friend to All Children: While he's disliked by most people, kids like Richie and 3J seem to love him.
  • Friend to Bugs: A typical nerd who adores insects. It provides the plot of episode "Citizens' Court".
  • Gadgeteer Genius: His Flanderization in later seasons takes this Up to Eleven. He becomes a Mad Scientist able to create a time traveling machine and many other crazy inventions in which he can clone, teleport, and shrink himself.
  • Geek Physique: Only in the earlier seasons where he was short and skinny. In the later seasons, Jaleel White develops a well-built physique, despite still playing a nerd.
  • Hidden Depths: He's a good basketball player.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: How he describes his parents treating him is always played for laughs, but it actually paints a picture of regular emotional abuse that justify why he gravitates towards the Winslows. His stories about his parents range from "not wanting to be around him" to "trying to push him back into the womb."
  • Honorary Uncle: To Richie. Richie grows out of calling him "Uncle Steve", but keeps looking up to him.
  • Hopeless Suitor: For most of the series, he was for Laura.
  • Jerkass Ball: While mostly a very good-natured person, he has his moments where he's not so nice:
    • He keeps hitting on Laura even while he's dating Myra. In "Hell Toupee", he outright tells Myra this:
    "As soon as I get a feeling that Laura wants me, I'm done with you."
    • He can be pretty mean to Waldo. While Eddie can also get annoyed by Waldo's stupidity, he's not as rude to him as Steve is.
  • The Klutz: Bordering on Lethal Klutz, since he is infamous for causing disasters everywhere and destroying Carl's property as a result of his outright clumsiness.
  • Last-Name Basis: The other students occasionally refer to him as Urkel, though his close friends usually call him Steve.
  • Lethal Chef: Is a complete disaster in the kitchen. When he fails home economics and Waldo excels at it, he has a Heroic BSoD.
  • Lethally Stupid: He often causes disasters without meaning to, much to Carl's dismay.
  • Lovable Nerd: He has a kind heart and is willing to help anyone.
  • Mad Scientist: He occasionally even laughs like one.
  • The Millstone: Especially in the early seasons, thanks to his never-ending clumsiness. The Winslows' never-ending exasperation with Steve breaking things was expanded upon in several episodes.
  • More Hypnotizable Than He Thinks: Steve claims he can't be hypnotized, but a hypnotist entrances him just by dropping the watch in front of his eyes.
  • Nerd Glasses: He wears a pair.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Usually averted considering how his nerdiness makes him extremely unpopular. However, he manages to attract at least four women on the show: fellow nerdy Susie, a very attractive woman on the dating show Dudes, his Stalker with a Crush Myra, and eventually Laura in the final season.
  • Nerdy Nasalness: Steve has a very distinctive nasal voice, right down to the trademark Annoying Laugh.
  • Nice Guy: He'll help anyone even if they bullied him beforehand and he would do anything for the Winslow family.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup:
    • Subverted in that many of Steve's inventions are the prototypes, and he hasn't worked all the bugs out yet. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Averted with the "cool elixir" that turns Steve into Stefan. When Stefan turns out to be a Jerkass after the first time Steve turns into him, Steve reworks the formula to make Stefan a nicer person the next time he transforms.
  • Odd Friendship: Steve has a knack for forming these. Besides bonding with the Winslows, he's befriended everyone from Laura's friend Maxine to Carl's boss Lt. Murtaugh.
  • Parental Neglect: The reason for his attachment to the Winslows.
  • Persona Non Grata: In the beginning of "Scenes from a Mall".
  • Phrase Catcher:
"Go home, Steve!"
"But..."
"Go home, go home, go home!"
"I don't have to take this. I'm going home.
  • Polka Dork: He loves to polka and play the accordion.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In Season 2. He already had began figuring heavily into the plots late in Season 1, and given his instant popularity, it naturally made sense to promote him.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Ultimately, this is how Steve feels, except when they wanted to give An Aesop about being happy with who you are. Most of the time, however, he seemingly didn't give a rats ass that everyone referred to him as a nerd, especially since he was probably the coolest person in the school despite his labeling.
  • Rejection Affection: Steve spends the entire run of this sitcom aggressively trying to win Laura's affections even though she is repulsed by him. His perseverance pays off in the end.
  • Science Hero: He becomes this as the series goes on.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Stefan Urquelle.
  • Show Stopper: He would often evoke this response upon entering the scene.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: He is a Laura-sexual for most of the series. This is downplayed in the later seasons after he starts dating Myra. In "Bugged", he even fantasizes about kissing a girl named Agnes Pritzker.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Due to the fact that he's the breakout character. The problems began when the focus slowly but surely shifted from the Winslow family and Steve to just Steve, his annoying habits, and his bizarre inventions.
  • Stalker with a Crush: He finds himself on both sides of this: for years he has been Laura's stalker with a crush, then eventually finds his own stalker in Myra Monkhouse. Unfortunately for poor Myra, Steve was a more successful stalker than she was.
  • Teen Genius: Steve created a lot stuff in the series.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Just ask the Winslows. The last of Steve's intro IDs has the family trying to hold the front door shut in order to keep Steve from entering the house.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Every time he goes into his transformation booth to gain the personality, fighting skills and even the accent and hairstyle of Bruce Lee.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cheese.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With most of the Winslows. They find him annoying but ultimately care about him.
  • Unwanted Assistance: One of the triggers for the Phrase Catcher above is Steve trying (and failing) to help the Winslows with a project despite their protests.
  • Wacky Guy: Because of his clumsiness and inventions.
  • Wolverine Publicity: The ubiquity was, and still is, amazing.
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    Carl Winslow 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/carl_3.jpg
Portrayed by: Reginald VelJohnson

The patriarch of the Winslow family and an officer for the Chicago Police Department.


  • Action Dad: Justified since he's a cop. He has taken down crooks and has verbally defended his family (and Steve) several times and helped to defuse a bomb.
  • Angrish: More than once.
  • Angry Black Man: In "Fight the Good Fight" and "Good Cop, Bad Cop."
  • Acrofatic: Carl's remarkably fast, despite his spare tire. Just look at any occasion when he chases Steve.
  • Berserk Button: Steve, mostly. More specifically, whenever Steve's clumsiness ends up wrecking his property or physically injuring him.
  • Big Eater: His mother often makes fun of him for it.
  • Bumbling Dad: Zigzagged. While he's very good at his job and is a loving and attentive father, nine times out of ten, his attempts at home maintenance turn out to be a disaster even when Steve isn't involved.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Often on the receiving ends of Steve's antics.
    • His mother, Estelle, makes more than a few sarcastic comments about her son's weight, too.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: His general view of Steve. For all the times that Steve's damaged his person or his property, and otherwise driven him nuts, Carl realizes that Steve still looks up to him as a father figure, and has also helped the Winslows out multiple times.
  • Catchphrase: "OH, WOULD YOU (come on/hurry up/get on with it/etc.)!"
  • Character Development: He goes from being a police sergeant to lieutenant to captain.
  • Cursed with Awesome: When Myra messed with the transformation chamber that turned Steve into Stefan, she ended up turning Carl into a nerdy "Urkelized" version of himself. Stefan tries to fix the chamber, but he's having trouble since he's not as smart as he is when he's Steve. Fortunately, being turned into a nerd made Carl a scientific genius, and so he fixed the chamber himself before being turned back to normal.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He usually does this when he's around Steve.
  • Deuteragonist: Though he and Harriette were originally the show's protagonists, due to Steve's Breakout Character status, Carl becomes the deuteragonist and is still important to the show thanks to his regular interactions with Steve. Even when he is not part of the A-Plot along with Steve, he tends to be the main focus of the B-Plot. He is also the only character to appear in all the episodes.
  • Doom It Yourself: Carl's a top notch police officer. Unfortunately, when he starts trying to build or repair things around the house, things don't go so well. This is occasionally subverted when he's paired up with Steve, as his attempt at building a shelf turns out just fine while Steve comes up with something that looks more like a post-modern art project.
  • Good Parents: He loves his children, and Steve, very much.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He gets angry very easily, especially when Steve is around.
  • Happily Married: To Harriette.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Carl's suffered everything from falling off the roof of his house to having Steve's inventions repeatedly blow up in his face.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gruff and short-tempered but still a kind and loving Family Man.
  • No Indoor Voice: When he gets especially angry, he screams at the top of his lungs.
  • Papa Wolf: To his own kids, obviously, but he even gets like this for Steve, too.
  • Parental Substitute: Seen this way by Steve. He eventually accepts this role.
  • Police are Useless: Subverted. Carl is very competent at his job.
  • Rank Up: Carl begins the series with the rank of police sergeant. He's twice promoted over the course of the series, first to lieutenant and then to captain.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Due to the fact that he's a cop.
  • Scary Black Man: Whenever one of Steve's mishaps pushes him too far, he ends up chasing after Steve while bellowing like a rogue elephant.
  • Stout Strength: More than one crook has learned the hard way that Carl's pretty strong underneath his fat.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: According to his mother, it's donuts. Then again, he is a cop.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Carl yells and shouts, it's usually at Steve for comically destroying his house. However, when he is calm while angry, run. Especially if someone hurts his kids, including Steve.
  • Unfortunate Name: In this case, unfortunate initials: Carl Otis Winslow.

    Harriette Winslow 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/harriette.jpg
Portrayed by: Jo Marie Payton (Seasons 1-9), Judyann Elder (Season 9)

Carl's strong-willed wife and the mother of Eddie, Laura, and Judy.


    Edward "Eddie" Winslow 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/eddie_3.jpg
Portrayed by: Darius McCrary

The oldest child, he's an athletic and rebellious teenager.


  • Berserk Button: Degrading sex jokes about women and guys bragging about who they scored with, both make Eddie really mad. That goes double for anyone who brags about having sex with his little sister.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • He occasionally has this relationship with Laura. When Ted, one of her boyfriends, started a rumor that they slept together, Eddie angrily grabbed him and pinned him to the wall.
    • This can describe his friendship with Steve. As much as Steve annoys him, Eddie will always be there for him when push comes to shove. Even when a frat house, that he really wanted to be apart of, told him that either he stops being friends with Steve or lose his chance at being accepted, Eddie chose Steve in a heartbeat.
  • Book Dumb: In contrast to his hard-working studious sister, he's not a particularly bright student.
  • Butt-Monkey: In the early seasons, the rest of his family didn't treat him that well.
  • The Casanova: Is known for being something of a ladies' man.
  • Character Development: He becomes more responsible in the later seasons.
  • Dumbass Teenage Son: He starts as this in Season 1, but grows out of it, though he occasionally has his dumb moments even in the later seasons and he's constantly portrayed as being Book Dumb.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Foolish to Laura's Responsible.
  • Gentle Giant: He's a big and tall guy, and while not flawless, he's generally a nice person.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Waldo, starting in Season 3. He eventually becomes this with Steve as well, though during the early years, he thought of him as being annoying like Laura and Carl did.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Girl chasing is a hobby of his.
  • Lady Killer In Love: When he starts dating Greta in the later seasons, he stops chasing other girls.
  • Lovable Jock: He's into sports but he's not a jerk, despite his occasional selfishness and immaturity.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Subverted in that Eddie doesn't typically care who Laura dates. The sole exception is when one of Laura's dates lies about sleeping with her, which pisses him off.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: He is named after English kings.
  • Never My Fault: Does this a lot with the problems he starts. He does often get called out for it, though.
  • Nice Guy: He's a Bratty Teenage Son but all his selfish moments are usually unintentional, and is one of the friendliest and most easygoing members of the family, especially compared to Carl, Harriette, and Laura.
  • Odd Friendship: Despite being the athletic cool kid at school, he accepts the nerdy Steve and the idiotic Waldo as his best friends, though he's reluctant with the former.
  • Overly Long Name: Edward Arthur James Winslow.
  • Scary Black Man: Eddie's generally an easygoing Nice Guy, but he's also a very big man. Anyone who pushes one of his Berserk Buttons quickly comes to regret it.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man:
    • Manly Man (the athletic womanizer) to Waldo's Sensitive Guy (he likes cooking and is always in love with the same girl). The contrast is made evident in "Till Death Do Us Apartment".
    • He serves as the big, muscular Manly Man to Steve's skinny, geeky Sensitive Guy.
  • The Slacker: Shown to be in terms of his education.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: At his worst, like in "Rock Video", where everyone is disgusted by his narcissism.
  • Straight Man: When he is with Waldo, because the latter is so stupid that would make everyone look like a Straight Man.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In one episode after he's of legal age, he starts drinking and proves to be an irresponsible, mean drunk. It's so bad that Waldo condemns this behavior, telling Eddie that he won't be welcome in his house if Carl kicks him out.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Steve.

    Laura Winslow 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/laura_3.png
Portrayed by: Kellie Shanygne Williams

The older daughter, she's smart, popular, and the dream girl of Steve Urkel.


  • The Ace: In the first season, she's just a brilliant student. As the show goes on, she becomes a Dude Magnet, head cheerleader, and School Idol, while still being a brilliant student.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played with. Almost all of her potential suitors who serve as Romantic False Leads are unlikable jerks but this mostly happens because she's a Horrible Judge of Character. When she realizes that they are jerks, she loses interest in them. She also turns down the advances of bad boys and bullies several times (like Willie or Weasel).
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Laura is a cheerleader and an insanely popular Dude Magnet.
  • The B Grade: In "Straight A's", Laura finds out on her progress report, not even her final grade for the semester, is going to be a B in one course. She instantly declares herself grounded from everything until she can bring it back up.
  • Betty and Veronica: Much to her dismay, she was the Veronica to Myra's Betty for Steve's Archie. She's also always the Archie to Steve's Betty and her admirer/boyfriend of the week's Veronica. Over and over and over again.
  • Butt-Monkey: In relation to Steve, of course. She's suffered everything from embarrassment to being Covered in Gunge due to the nerd's infatuation with her.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: Anytime Steve focuses his attention on another girl, she shows shades of this to various degrees.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: As time went on, Laura began feeling this way whenever Steve showed interest in another girl, much to her own shock.
  • Characterization Marches On: She wasn't popular in Season 1. In fact, in "Laura's First Dance", she's sad because no one asked her to a school dance. This changes once Steve becomes the show's Breakout Character. In order to give Steve competition for her heart, Laura suddenly becomes the most popular girl in her school, with boys fighting over her and hitting on her in every episode and she's considered to be a paragon of beauty by everyone.
  • The Cheerleader: Downplayed. She's a cheerleader who can be shallow at times and bitchy towards Steve especially in the beginning, but she's also very goodhearted, smart and responsible.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually the biggest one in the family. She's especially snarky towards her brother or Steve.
  • Dude Magnet: Exaggerated. She's the dream girl of Steve and...all the teenage boys in town, apparently. Although most of her suitors are One Shot Characters who are introduced in different episodes.
  • First Girl Wins: Becomes Steve's fiancée.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Responsible to Eddie's Foolish.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: In the last season, she eventually learns to love Steve and agrees to marry him.
  • Go-Getter Girl: A very ambitious girl who always gets straight A's and takes both school and job seriously. She eventually gains admittance to Harvard but sadly her parents can't afford it.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Maxine.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: She has a lot of boyfriends, and then there's the way she fawns over Stefan, Steve's Sexier Alter Ego.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: She blasts anyone who dares to badmouth Steve, despite the fact that she herself can't stand him most of the time.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Steve regards her as the most beautiful girl in the world, as do several of the other boys who show interest in her. She is pretty, but not that much more so than other girls in the series.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Subverted. She gains admittance, but her parents can't afford it.
  • Little Miss Snarker: In Season 1, the pre-Steve days, Laura serves mainly as this.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Until the last season, she has a thing for handsome and popular boys who, most of the time, turn out to be bad for her or bad people in general (and many of them are also bullies to Steve).
  • Loves My Alter Ego: She loved and fawned over Stefan, Steve's Sexier Alter Ego.
  • Nice Hat: Laura becomes a fashion plate in her later teens. She wears many of these in keeping with the styles of the time.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Almost as much as her mother.
  • Shipper on Deck: For most of the show, she encourages Steve do date Myra and hopes things work out between them.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Pretty much applies to all the guys she likes throughout the show, many, many times. However, she's the most popular girl herself, so all of them will like her back instantly.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: In several episodes. After Steve and Carl, she's probably the character who is more involved in slapstick situations. She has been hit with pies, covered in milkshakes, and splattered with mashed potatoes.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Especially towards Steve. She wasn't very nice to him in the early seasons.
  • Tsundere: To Steve. Initially a type A, then evolving into a type B.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Steve for most of the series and, eventually with Myra too (until the last season).

    Judy Winslow 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/judy.jpg
Portrayed by: Valerie Jones (pilot), Jaimee Foxworth (episode 2 onwards)

The younger, overlooked daughter of the Winslows who disappears after Season 4.


  • Advertised Extra: As a member of the main family, she's credited as a main character in the first four seasons, but she's usually used as a background character who is lucky if she gets a line in nearly every episode. In her final season, before her unexplained disappearance, she doesn't even appear in most episodes, despite still being in the opening credits.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: One of the most infamous examples of this along with the trope namer. She disappears after Season 4, without explanation. Afterwards, the other characters act as if she never existed and Harriette and Carl only had two kids (Eddie and Laura).
  • A Day in the Limelight: Downplayed as Judy never really gets a day in the limelight, only a few subplots:
    • In "Fast Eddie Winslow", she must write a book report about Swiss Family Robinson after she doesn't read the book.
    • In "Ice Station Winslow", she feels ignored by her family because of her younger cousin Richie.
    • In "A Thought in the Dark", she ruins Harriette's dress and begs Carl to cover for her.note 
  • Flat Character: Her character never really had much to do. Season 1, the pre-Steve days, was her most prominent season: she provided comic relief by saying cute things, and was Laura's sidekick in several episodes. In Seasons 2 and 3, she's often paired with Richie, and aside from two small subplots, she usually has one or two lines, or sometimes none at all. In Season 4, her character appears in only 9 of 24 episodes.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Judy wore her hair in braided pigtails in Seasons 1 through 3. In her final season, she wore her hair down, including in her opening title credit.
  • Out of Focus: After Steve is introduced, she becomes a background character; in Seasons 2, 3, and especially 4, she is given very few lines, usually in scenes involving the entire family, until her character is completely eliminated in Season 5.
  • Sassy Black Girl: Mainly in Season 1, as her character would give sass mainly to her older siblings.
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    Estelle Winslow 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/estelle_1.jpg
Portrayed by: Rosetta LeNoire

Carl's mother who is a wise Cool Old Lady.


  • Advertised Extra: In the later seasons, she's entirely absent in many episodes and is rarely important to the plot, despite being the third billed character in the opening for most of the show.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Estelle may be a kind old lady, but she is more than capable of taking care of herself. For example, in "Stake-Out", she throws a criminal on the ground when he tries to attack her.
  • Catchphrase: "Way to go, Carl!"
  • Commuting on a Bus: Made occasional appearances during the last two seasons.
  • Cool Old Lady: Estelle is a very active old lady.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In addition to berating her son whenever he screws up, Estelle could always be counted on to make cracks about Carl's weight and fondness for donuts.
  • December–December Romance: With Fletcher.
  • Determinator: As a little girl, she went to a whites only library in hopes of being given a library card every day for six months before the librarian finally relented and the library became integrated.
  • Dirty Old Woman: In "Walk on the Wild Side", the waiters and dancers of Club Buff, a male strip club, greet her cheerfully as if they're good friends, indicating that she's a regular customer.
  • Fan of the Underdog: She's the only one who genuinely liked Steve from the beginning.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Estelle showed a picture of what she looked like during World War II in the middle of a presentation in Eddie's history class.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Estelle is a badass. She plays tennis, practices karate, is said to own a motorcycle and snowmobile, and is proud of all of the above.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Played straight initially, then inverted. In the pilot, Mother Winslow, while not doing it on purpose, manages to alienate Harriette through complaints about her cooking. She also causes friction between Eddie and Carl by giving Eddie permission to go to a party that Carl told him that couldn't go to earlier. After the pilot, she gets better as she gets along well with Harriette, including sticking up for her at times. If anything, she directs more of her sarcasm towards Carl.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Estelle isn't afraid to tell it like it is.

    Rachel Crawford 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rachel_1.jpg
Portrayed by: Telma Hopkins

Harriette's attractive and widowed younger sister.


  • And Starring: "And Telma Hopkins as Rachel".
  • The Bus Came Back: Makes occasional guest appearances in Season 6 and 9.
  • Cool Aunt: For the Winslow kids.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: She's more flighty, while Harriette is more serious and responsible.
  • Nice Hat: She often wears hats.
  • Out of Focus: From Season 4 onwards, her role is much smaller compared to the first three seasons and is eventually Put on a Bus. She is the first family member to be removed from the opening credits, even before Judy.
  • Put on a Bus: After Season 4. Ironically, her son Richie apparently still lived with the Winslows. She only makes rare appearances in later seasons.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In "Life of the Party", she tightrope walked on a clothesline several stories in the air (in heels) to save a drunk Steve from plummeting to his death.
  • Widow Woman: Her husband died before the series started.

    Richie Crawford 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/richie_1.jpg
Portrayed by: Joseph & Julius Wright (Season 1), Bryton McClure (Seasons 2-9)

The youngest member of the family and Rachel's only son.


  • Advertised Extra: Despite being a member of the family and credited as a main character in Seasons 1-7, he is entirely absent in many episodes, especially from Season 4 onwards, and rarely important to the plot, save for the occasional A Day in the Limelight. That said, he gets much more focus than Judy and unlike her, he keeps appearing sporadically until the end of the series.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: The youngest of the family who's literally a baby in Season 1.
  • The Bus Came Back: In some episodes, after being Put on a Bus.
  • Cheerful Child: Most of the time, he's a friendly and happy kid.

    Waldo Geraldo Faldo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/waldo_6.jpg
Portrayed by: Shawn Harrison

Eddie's best friend, known for his dimwittidness.


  • Ascended Extra: Seen as an extra in the Season 1 episode "The Party", where he's credited as "Guy in Towel".
  • Beta Couple: With Maxine.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Initially, he was this to Willie, the school bully and a minor villain. Starting in Season 3, he becomes this to Eddie.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He goes from being an idiot who can't do anything right to being an idiot who also happens to be the best Supreme Chef in town.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Cool".
    • "No prob, Bob!"
    • "Sup".
  • Character Development: He eventually becomes a Supreme Chef who goes off to culinary school.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: "If you cut me, do I not sneeze?"
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Occasionally towards Maxine.
  • The Ditz: Sometimes you have to wonder just how Waldo made to high school.
  • Dumb Is Good: Invoked when Eddie and Laura set Laura's friend, Maxine, up with him. She's initially put off by his stupidity, but in the end, she finds him at the same time to be a charming and sweet guy.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: In "Whose Kid Is It Anyway?", Eddie lets Waldo take Richie trick or treating. Waldo manages to take home the wrong kid and Eddie lambastes him for it:
    Eddie: This is the dumbest thing you have ever done!
    Waldo: You left a little kid with me and you calling me dumb?
  • The Dutiful Son: Implied in "Best Friends." He notes that his entire family counts on his paychecks.
  • Easily Forgiven: In the Season 2 episode "Life of the Party", he's involved in a cruel prank that almost kills Steve and is even arrested for it. Starting in Season 3, Steve and the rest of the cast seem to have forgotten about it and they all think of Waldo as a nice (if stupid) person. His transition from enemy to friend was made without explanation.
  • Epic Fail: His tenure at Mighty Weenie was one disaster after another (culminating in an explosion) until Eddie made him a chef.
  • Genius Ditz: He's an excellent cook. In "Food, Lies and Videotape", he surprises everyone when he takes a home economics course and proves a natural genius as a chef. His talent is so good that in one episode, he reveals that he was trading recipes with Wolfgang Puck. His mom is a lousy cook, so he had to fend for himself.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Sort of. He was originally the sidekick of Willie, the school bully who picked on Steve, until he presumably stopped hanging out with him after they got arrested. Afterwards, he was rewritten as a good guy and one of Eddie and Steve's best friends.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Eddie.
  • Hidden Depths: Besides his talent for cooking, he's also revealed to be good at tap dancing in "Twinkle Toes Faldo". Also, despite being generally an idiot, he has shown a strong sense of morality in more than one episode.
  • Honor Before Reason: He would rather fail a test than cheat to get a good grade.
    Waldo: I may get Fs, but by God, I earn them!
  • Insecure Love Interest: In "Scenes From a Mall", he reveals that Maxine is the first girl who ever likes him back, and can't understand what she likes about someone like him.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: One of the most innocent and good-natured characters, except in his early appearances.
  • Malaproper:
    "If you cut me, do I not sneeze?"
    "Wake up and smell Juan Valdez!"
  • Nice Guy: After he becomes Eddie and Steve's friend. Unlike most people, he actually doesn't mind Steve.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In Season 4.
  • Put on a Bus: After Season 7. A Season 8 episode reveals that he had been accepted into a cooking school in New York.
  • Repetitive Name: Waldo Geraldo Faldo.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Eddie's Manly Man.
  • Straw Loser:
    • Eddie isn't the smartest person in the world, but next to Waldo, he looks like a genius.
    • Waldo is there to show that Steve isn't Eddie's only friend who is a loser. Eddie's friendship with Steve makes more sense because all his bad qualities can be seen as not that bad when you consider that his other best friend is kind of dumb.
  • Supreme Chef: After he discovers his talent for cooking.
  • Wacky Guy: He plays this along with Steve, but in a different way.

    Myra Monkhouse 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/myra.jpg
Portrayed by: Michelle Thomas

A pretty and bubbly girl who is madly in love with Steve Urkel.


  • Alliterative Name: Myra Monkhouse.
  • Ascended Extra: She's introduced as a cousin of Laura's current boyfriend Ted. Like Steve, she was supposed to be a one shot character but eventually becomes part of the main cast and gets a Promotion to Opening Titles, even if her cousin Ted disappears after a few episodes.
  • Ax-Crazy: In the last season.
  • Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Laura's Veronica for Steve's Archie. But again, Myra's the only one actually interested in him (at first).
  • Big Bad: In the later seasons, she causes most of the trouble for Steve and Laura.
  • Black and Nerdy: She shares a lot of common interests with Steve.
  • Characterization Marches On: Upon her introduction, Myra is simply a nice gal who just so happens to really like Steve. By Season 6, Myra, now a main character, becomes something of a Seemingly-Wholesome '50s Girl who starts taking a shared interest in Steve's hobbies and is jealous of Laura. By the latter seasons, she goes completely off the rails by having her room into a shrine of Steve where she monitors his every move.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Especially in Seasons 5 and 9.
  • Cute and Psycho: Myra is batshit insane.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Myra's Clingy Jealous Girl behavior towards Steve is turned Up to Eleven in the final season, even after they breakup, to the point where she installs a spy cam in his glasses so she can watch him through a monitor in her bedroom. This so Steve, who'd been happily in a relationship with Myra for years, can be paired with Laura.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Was originally supposed to be one for Steve, just less clumsy and more attractive.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In the seasons where she and Steve are a steady couple, Myra's on friendly terms with the main cast and she even forms an Odd Friendship with Laura. By the last season, after her breakup with Steve, she becomes a villain and an Ax-Crazy Psycho Ex-Girlfriend trying to destroy Steve's relationship with Laura.
  • Flanderization: She goes from being a perky girl who has a crush on Steve to being a borderline Ax-Crazy Yandere.
  • Genki Girl: She can be very perky.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Is supposed to be geeky like Steve, despite being played by a gorgeous actress.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: She takes this to rather frightening extremes, going so far as to blame Steve's infatuation with Laura on Laura herself.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Definitely. While not a Dude Magnet like Laura, she's considered beautiful in-universe and out.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Becomes a semi-regular in Season 6 and is added to the opening credits.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: In the last season, after her break up with Steve, and especially after he starts dating Laura, she becomes increasingly antagonistic and insane, and an even worse Clingy Jealous Girl than she was initially.
  • Romantic False Lead: Before the last season, she's treated like a legitimate love interest. But Steve was meant to be with his first love Laura.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Totally and absolutely Steve-sexual.
  • Stalker with a Crush: She is as creepy as they come. At one point, Steve finds out that she's painted a portrait of him. He notices that the background has his computer and other details of his bedroom that, to his knowledge, Myra has never been in. And most disturbing of all:
    Steve: "That's me ... As naked as a jaybird."
  • Teen Genius: The reason why she starts liking Steve is because she's an intellectual herself and is implied to be almost as smart as him. She also proves to be an Evil Genius in the last season, going so far as to install a special device in Steve's eyeglasses that allows her to track his every move.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Eventually, she becomes this with Laura until the final season.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Many have wondered how a hot girl like Myra can be attracted to Steve.
  • Yandere: Especially in the last season where she secretly puts a camera in Steve's glasses so she can see what he's doing at all times.
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    Maxine Johnson 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maxine.png
Portrayed by: Cherie Johnson

Laura's best friend.


  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Before Waldo, she dated several jerks in the early seasons.
  • Beta Couple: With Waldo for most of the series.
  • Book Dumb: Unlike Laura, she gets poor grades.
  • The Cheerleader: Like Laura, she was one in high school, and while Max is generally a good girl, she's definitely not as smart as Laura.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Towards Waldo. As he says to another girl:
    "She's a sweetie pie, but if she saw us together, she'd rip your arm off and beat me with it."
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Laura.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the last season, she makes fun of Laura when the latter starts liking Steve as a potential love interest. This is coming from the girl who dated Waldo for many years.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Like Laura, she's a Horrible Judge of Character when it comes to choosing boys to date. They usually turn out to be opportunistic or unfaithful. It's the reason why she ends up accepting Waldo so easily, despite his stupidity.
  • Nice Girl: For most of the show, she seems more sweet and accepting than Laura.
  • Odd Friendship: She gets along quite well with Steve, likely due to the fact that they both have neglectful parents.
  • Parental Neglect: It's revealed that she has neglectful parents who don't care about her at all.
  • Popular Is Dumb: She's almost as popular as her friend Laura. And unlike Laura, she's a poor student.
  • Recurring Character: Despite appearing from Season 2 to Season 9, she never receives a Promotion to Opening Titles. She actually appears in more episodes than Myra, who becomes a main character from Season 6 onwards.
  • Satellite Character: Most of her character revolves around the fact that she's Laura's friend and rarely has significant interaction with anyone else, Waldo included.

    Jerry Jamal " 3 J" Jameson 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/3j.jpg
Portrayed by Orlando Brown

A young orphan adopted by Carl and Harriette in the last few seasons.


  • Alliterative Name: Jerry Jamal Jameson.
  • Cousin Oliver: He's introduced in Season 7. Ironically, Richie's still around when this occurs.
  • Foil: 3J finds some of Richie's pastimes to be boring, and is more morally ambiguous than he, but the two ultimately become best friends.
  • Happily Adopted: The Winslows adopt him.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In "Karate Kids".
  • Will They or Won't They?: In a different sense; the functional difference between fostering 3J and adopting him outright is that the former leaves open the possibility that 3J's biological mother, to whom he unknowingly spoke, will come back for him and take him home. Carl finds 3J's mother more than a year after the Winslows welcome him into their home, but she asks Carl not to tell 3J why she can't take care of him. Instead, Carl tells 3J that he couldn't find her. The two discuss the prospect of 3J being adopted by the Winslows, and 3J happily accepts.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Due to his street smarts.

    Stefan Urquelle 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stefan_1.jpg
Portrayed by: Jaleel White

Steve's charismatic Sexier Alter Ego.


  • The Ace: He's talented and good at everything. Unlike Steve, he also has social skills and is loved by everyone.
  • Ascended Extra: He makes a single appearence in the Season 5 episode "Dr. Urkel and Mr. Cool", when Steve changes his DNA as a plan to become cool. Later, he turns into Stefan several times and in Season 7, thanks to Steve's cloning machine, Steve and Stefan become two different characters.
  • Born as an Adult: Well, he's Steve's clone (originally alter ego).
  • The Charmer: His personality is apparently irresistible.
  • Chick Magnet: He's very popular with the ladies.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Laura chose Steve over him in the final season.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He retains most of Steve's smarts. While not as smart as Steve, he is still highly intelligent.
  • It's All About Me: Originally, in his very first appearance. Later, less so.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: He's this for Steve.

    Myrtle Urkel 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/myrtle_3.jpg
Portrayed by: Jaleel White

Steve's cousin who is madly in love with Eddie.


    Lt. Murtaugh 
Portrayed by: Barry Jenner

Carl's obnoxious boss in early seasons.


    Alex "Weasel" Park 
Portrayed by: Shavar Ross

Another of Eddie's friends from high school.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: He flirts with Laura in more than one episode. She doesn't take it well.
  • Characterization Marches On: Like Waldo, he was originally a crony of an antagonistic character in his debut episode before being retooled into being one of Eddie's friends. In this case, he was one of Ted's friends.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After being a recurring character in Season 4 and 5, he disappears for the rest of the series.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Except in his debut episode, when he's referred to as his first name Alex, he's only known as "Weasel".
  • Schemer: In several episodes, he involves Eddie in his schemes.
  • Those Two Guys: He's paired with Waldo, Eddie's other friend, in most of his appearances.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Eddie's parents believe that he's a bad influence on Eddie.
  • Wicked Weasel: Not a literal weasel, but he lives up to his nickname.
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