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  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 22, 1989
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9
Family Matters Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Starring: Darius McCrary, Jo Marie Payton, Shawn Harrison
  • Summary: A perfect spin-off from Perfect Strangers: Family Matters focused on Harriet Winslow (the elevator operator from the Chronicle) and her family of sorts. Carl Winslow, her husband, was a dutiful cop, and a gruff and lovable father to three kids: Eddie Winslow, the rebel son; Laura Winslow, the smart-aleck daughter; and cute little Judy Winslow. They had opened their home to Harriet's sister, Rachel Crawford and her little baby son Richie, and in the very first episode, Carl had to open his home to his cool and streetwise mother, Estelle Winslow, whether he wanted to or not. Everything was going along just fine until one day, Steve Urkel, the inventive nerd, barged into their home and eventually, into their hearts. Steve had a killer crush on Laura, but she would never give him the time of day. Steve Urkel was intended to be a one-shot appearance, but his popularity with the fans won him the number-one spot as America's favorite nerd.As the show went on, the characters and the stories evolved. Richie grew from a little baby into a rambunctious and impressionable little boy. The stories started revolving around Steve and his incredible inventions, which became the greatest sight gags on the show. In almost every episode, Steve ends up breaking furniture, windows, and Carl's patience. Eddie and Laura each had best buddies to hang out with: Eddie had dim-witted yet lovable Waldo Geraldo Faldo,and Laura had faithful and true-blue gal pal Maxine. The greatest mystery of Family Matters is Judy and Rachel's sudden disappearances from the show, but Rachel made guest appearances whenever possible.To stop Steve from chasing her, Laura matched him up with perky-yet-pushy Myra Monkhouse. Steve loved Myra physically, but his emotions will always go to Laura. Eddie had his share of steady girlfriends, and even he had an Urkel chasing him- Myrtle May Urkel, Steve's cousin from Biloxi (Jaleel White also). Every so often, Steve uses one of his inventions to turn himself into debonair, irresistable lover Stefan Urquelle or karate hero Bruce Lee to draw Laura closer to him, much to Myra's chagrin.At the end of season 6, the Winslows welcomed Steve into their home when Steve's family went to Russia. Pretty soon, Richie hung out with 3J, a tough, streetwise kid always running from the children's home. The Winslows then adopted 3J as one of their kids, as they did with Steve.In the final season, Family Matters - along with Step by Step - moved to CBS, and Steve slowly matured from the annoying nerd that he used to be. This was when Laura started falling in love with Steve, and Myra got kicked to the curb, but she vowed to get her "Stevie-kins" back. Also, the original Harriette, JoMarie Peyton, had left the show in mid-season and Judyann Elder took her role. Steve and Laura got engaged, but they never had a wedding because CBS dropped the ax on the show. But, nevertheless, Family Matters had a great successful run and is one of the longest running African-American comedies ever.
    In Germany the show is known as Alle unter einem Dach ("Under One Roof").In Spain it is known as Cosas de casa.In France it is known as La Vie de famille ("Life of the Family").In Italy it is known as Otto sotto un tetto ("Eight Under One Roof").In Sweden it is known as Räkna med bråk.
  • Genre(s): Comedy
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 8
  2. Negative: 3 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jun 7, 2013
    Family Matters offers a picture of black family life that takes its middle-class ordinariness for granted, which is unusual for TV. Even more unusual, it's a show you can watch with your whole family, and chances are, everyone will get a few good laughs out of it.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Mink
    Aug 16, 2013
    Family Matters has assembled one of the most broadly appealing casts seen in recent years. Reginald VelJohnson, who played the sympathetic cop in the movie "Die Hard," is almost irresistible as a character. And yet the show's concept is so familiar that Family Matters will have to struggle to be fresh, to avoid going over old ground, to give its characters texture and definition. The potential for some excellent comedy is certainly here. [18 Sept 1989, p.1D]
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Aug 16, 2013
    Remarkable for one reason only: It achieves levels of warmth that are rare for such shows. It may not make everybody laugh, but a decent human being would have a hard time not smiling. [22 Sept 1989, p.B1]
  4. Reviewed by: Rick Kogan
    Aug 16, 2013
    Though inoffensive, this is as standard as sitcom gets. [22 Sept 1989, p.1]
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Stein
    Aug 16, 2013
    Family Matters is a spinoff from "Perfect Strangers," but not nearly as good. [22 Sept 1989, p.C-16]
  6. Reviewed by: Ed Siegel
    Aug 16, 2013
    There are plenty of black faces on this show, but there should be red faces at producing a comedy with so few laughs. Family Matters makes "The Cosby Show" still look fresh. Family Matters makes "Father Knows Best" look fresh. The writing is practically nonexistent. [22 Sept 1989, p.29]
  7. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Aug 16, 2013
    One of the most forgettable [newcomers].[22 Sept 1989, p.C28]

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Sep 3, 2010
    Family Matters is a great show. Jaleel White was simply hilarious as Steve Urkel,embarrassing Laura Winslow and driving Carl Winslow nuts. I hope it comes out on DVD at some point. Expand
  2. Nov 21, 2011
    Family Matter's was a great show. It always put a smile on my face when I started watching. And not to mention the facepalms I gave myself when Urkel fell clumsily over and knocked things over and practically destroying whatever in his path and then the cheesy line "Did I do that?" really made the awesome impression. Expand