What Urkel and Family Matters can teach us

family matters photo

I finished watching all seasons of Family Matters in the last week and it has some mixed messages. I’m going to try to pull out the best from this series.

family matters photo
family matters photo

Pros

  1. It is a fun series and so silly that it made me laugh. The lesson is that you have to laugh when things get ridiculous.
  2. It features many important black role models and accomplished people. I especially liked Donna Summer, Ted Lange, Sherman Hemsley, Whitman Mayo, and so many others. It also had many musical guest stars who were iconic in the black community. The lesson is that historical figures need to be remembered and respected.
  3. It allows people who are not black to understand a little of the black community. The lesson here is listening to others is important.
  4. It had many important Public Service announcements that featured non-profits and correctly demonstrated life-saving skills. The lesson here is that this show saved lives by its existence.
  5. The actors/actresses gave all they had to the role. Some like Michelle Thomas even worked when they were sick. The lesson is that they choose their legacy to be laughter and joy.
  6. The friendships that the actors/actress was real and they continued to impact their life after the show was over.
  7. Emotionally touching moments on the show like when it looked like Urkel had gotten injured in a car race. I felt worried for him and was relieved when he was okay. Only the actor could have made that believable.

Cons

  1. Lots of mixed messages. So many things were not politically correct and were stereotypes. The writers were lazy. Frankly what the writers did to the characters was a crime. They put them in repetitive situations and didn’t allow them to grow except for the last season when ratings were going down. They were going down because people were bored with the same situations. The lesson here is that you can have silly situations, but there also has to be some reality.
  2. There was way too much science fiction on the show. We saw Urkel go back in time, change his DNA, clone himself, fly into space and so many situations that frankly were just too incredible. He also broke the fourth wall regularly like on the Halloween special so that means that either this show is his fantasy, or he is a demigod where he realizes that his reality is not real. I don’t want shows to break the fourth wall. If it’s not intact, it isn’t reality. The lesson here is that when you don’t have a meaningful reality, then it becomes too mentally difficult for the average viewer to watch it.
  3. The relationships were sick and unhealthy. Pursuing someone who repeatedly tells you no isn’t romantic, it is stalking. The show understood this when a girl who liked Urkel was booked for stalking. What Urkel did was wrong. Also, they didn’t have good boundaries. They would repeatedly come into rooms without knocking which led to all kinds of ridiculous situations. If you don’t respect someone’s boundaries, you can’t have a healthy relationship. They also treated each other like trash. The writers were completely unrealistic in the emotional impact that the kind of rejection that Urkel suffered does. A normal person would become suicidal and violent. Urkel should have gone postal on everyone. Urkel did nothing but give to these ungrateful people. He saved Carl’s life at least 5 times I could count and saved Laura’s life probably more. The lesson here is that nothing on this shows healthy relationships.
  4. The show failed to show family values. There isn’t anything family about a show in which 4 main characters disappear without being acknowledged. A sister, mother, wife, and best friend disappear without anything said. They were billed as main characters. The least could have been a reason why someone disappears. Instead, we are just expected to swallow it. It is disrespectful to the viewer and the actor/actress.  There isn’t anything family about a show in which they abuse someone Urkel who does nothing but save their lives and cook and clean and dance and entertain them. Urkel is a modern slave, and it isn’t cute it’s pathetic. It makes all the characters look shallow and evil. The lesson here is that don’t look to this to learn anything about love.
  5. The Halloween episodes weren’t scary they were creepy and in a bad way. It was creepy what the episodes implied and I didn’t find it cute or clever. Those episodes are not family and they should never have been written.  What else was creepy was the Urkel Bot. It almost raped Laura and that wasn’t cute either. I didn’t like the casual way that the Urkel bot was assumed to be okay when it was resurrected. I would have destroyed the plans. The lesson here is that when there are bad messages in media, recognize and understand them.
  6. Stephan Urkel the cool Urkel was an insult to the real Urkel. Yes, I understand it was meant to be a joke, but imagine if someone you loved said you weren’t good enough and asked you to improve yourself before they loved you. You would tell them to F off. Love is acceptance, not conditional. Every moment of Stephan was an insult to Steve’s self-respect and made Laura look like a jerk. Then Laura got tired of Stephan! Then she went back to Urkel. The lesson is that being cool isn’t enough. You have to be the best version of yourself, and that is good enough.
  7. Urkel was ethical and loving and the writers made him do things that were unethical because of stupid writing. Urkel was a role model and showed us how Nobel a person could be. He always wanted to protect people’s feelings and reminded others of that. He stood up to people no matter how he was threatened and he put his well-being second to others well being. I would love for Urkel to be a friend and we would all be lucky to know someone like him. He was dragged down by the Winslow family and that wasn’t a Family value. It was a short-term cash grab by stupid writers and inept direction. Family Matters became a shell once they thought exploiting Urkel was the only key to success. The lesson here is that one character can’t save a show, no matter how wonderful they are.
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