‘Family Matters’: Jaleel White Couldn’t Get Fit Because He Played Steve Urkel
Steve Urkel from Family Matters was one of the most iconic television characters of the 1990s.
Urkel, who began as the Winslow family’s obnoxious neighbor, quickly rose to become the series’ unofficial star. Despite a cultural boom that resulted in toys, other television appearances, and actor Jaleel White’s indelible mark on pop culture, the journey there wasn’t always simple.
What was the show ‘Family Matters’ about?
Family Matters was a rare occurrence of a series offshoot outperforming the popular show that inspired it, according to Mental Floss. Harriett Winslow, played by Jo Marie Payton, became a popular character during season three of Perfect Strangers. While she remained a central character in the new series, her husband, Reginald VelJohnson’s Carl, was still the show’s star.
The Winslow family navigated their way through the Chicago suburbs in the first season of Family Matters. However, once a young actor named Jaleel White was cast in a one-off appearance, the show’s focus shifted away from the titular family and onto concerns involving their eccentric, nerdy neighbor named Steve Urkel.
Urkel’s ascension and ‘Family Matters’
Urkel was created as a one-episode character fascinated with the Winslows’ eldest daughter, Laura, according to Tulsa World. The episode, which aired midway through the first season, had a significant impact on the series’ trajectory. White’s dedication to disastrous geekiness and youthful romance made him much too excellent to be overlooked.
Urkel was a young prodigy whose parents were never seen through the course of the episode. What began as a grounded character with quirky science experiments quickly evolved into the show’s main focus. However, as Urkel’s celebrity grew, the tone of the show changed. He wasn’t merely a bright scientist towards the end of the series. He’d cloned himself several times and traveled to the farthest reaches of the universe… This is a condensed version of the narrative. I hope you found it entertaining.