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Family Matters - S01E01

Family . Drama . Comedy
 

A spinoff of Perfect Strangers, Family Matters began as the at-home adventures of elevator operator Harriette Winslow and her multigenerational family. But midway through the first season, Jaleel White made a one-shot appearance as neighborhood nerd Urkel. With oversized glasses, undersized body, screechy voice and indomitable self-confidence, Urkel proved irresistibly funny, turning White into an overnight sensation and a new star of the show.

 
Episode Title: The Mama Who Came to Dinner
Airs: 1989-09-22 at
  • Ken Tucker

    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.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Eric Mink

    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]

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Tom Shales

    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]

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    A homogenous Cosby Show clone with no distinguishable character...It's inoffensive and sometimes affectionate, as when the clan pulls together in the second episode after Harriette loses her job. It might play, then, on ABC's benign made-for-baby-sitters Friday lineup.[21 Sept 1989, p.3D]

    USA Today Full Review
  • Rick Kogan

    Though inoffensive, this is as standard as sitcom gets. [22 Sept 1989, p.1]

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Joe Stein

    Family Matters is a spinoff from "Perfect Strangers," but not nearly as good. [22 Sept 1989, p.C-16]

    San Diego Union-Tribune Full Review
  • Ed Siegel

    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]

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Howard Rosenberg

    One of the most forgettable [newcomers].[22 Sept 1989, p.C28]

    Los Angeles Times Full Review