Family Matters” has provided reliable ratings for ABC, and the fifth season indicates there will be no break in its success. However, the character of Steve Urkel — with his big, red Sally Jessy Raphael-
style glasses and nasal voice — is growing older and, believe it or not, more bizarre. Only in showbiz could a character akin to fingernails scratching a chalkboard be this successful.
When the creators of “Family Matters” invented Urkel, they may have known that this strange character, in the midst of a typical middle-class black sitcom family, would raise eyebrows as well as ratings.
But has there ever been anyone or anything like this in real life?
In this episode, the efforts of Eddie Winslow (Darius McCray) to make money via sports gambling are failing.
But leave it to juvenile meddler Urkel (Jaleel White) to add comedy to the problem of compulsive gambling.
His role as liaison between Eddie and the bookie collector (former pro football star Bubba Smith) props up the comedy when it sags, a strength of Gary Goodrich’s script and the tight directing by Gary Menteer.
Urkel’s failure to cut a deal leads to the episode’s climactic act of stamp-stealing from Eddie’s dad (Reginald VelJohnson), who eventually finds out about the dastardly act. Ultimately, a lesson is taught while preaching is kept to a minimum.
Good prevails, evil is admonished and even federal worrywart Sen. Paul Simon would be proud that such family entertainment exists in Hollywood.