24. Family Matters
Did you know Family Matters was a spin-off of Perfect Strangers? It’s true. Harriet Winslow, played by Jo Marie Payton, first appeared on that show. Producers decided to pair her with Reginald VelJohnson from Die Hard to create Family Matters. The two would be the leads of yet another boilerplate wholesome family sitcom. It likely would have been yet another forgettable TGIF show like Going Places or a Baby Talk if something strange hadn’t happened halfway through the first season.
Enter Steve Urkel, played by Jaleel White. No one knows how or why it happened, but audiences loved Urkel. He completely took over the show.
While disappointing for Payton who saw her role diminish over time, it kept the show on the air for nine seasons. In that time the show would jump multiple sharks, getting increasingly more ridiculous. Yet, it remained the anchor for ABC’s TGIF lineup for more than half a decade.
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