The long-running, long-favorite sitcom Family Matters is a household name in America. We grew up with Laura and Urkel over the years and watched their budding romance. In fact, many people refer to the show as just “Urkel” because for us, Urkel was the show. Now we’re learning there might have been some tension on the set for this very reason.
There’s also the fact that Jaleel White, the actor who played Urkel, was maturing from boy to man so quickly that he was instructed to shave every day and avoid lifting weights. That’s not all. The history of Family Matters is full of fun and interesting trivia.
Here we take you through some of the most interesting trivia we’ve learned about Urkel, the family, and creative decisions that were made on the show.
1) Urkel was only supposed to be in one episode.
He became so popular, though, that the studio couldn’t deny it, and he became a central character.
The character made crossover appearances in other popular sitcoms, too, like Full House, Step by Step, and Meego.
2.) Urkel’s popularity didn’t fly with the rest of the cast.
Considering some of the actors were employed under the impression that they would be the main characters, it came as a surprise when the neighbor character became the center of attention.
Jaleel White told Vanity Fair that things “were definitely strained in the early going. There’s no sense in hiding that. There was a division between myself and the rest of the cast, but over nine years and 215 episodes, obviously relationships get better. I still talk to certain cast members to this day.”
3) Speaking of 215 episodes…
Family Matters was the second longest-running sitcom series with a predominantly black cast. It ran for nine seasons. The Jeffersons beats Family Matters with 11 seasons. Tyler Perry’s House of Payne has only eight seasons but beats them both with 254 episodes.
Also, Reginald VelJohnson and Kellie Shanygne Williams, who played Carl Otis Winslow and Laura Lee Winslow, were the only two characters to appear in all 215 episodes of the show.
4) The house is still there and relatively unchanged.
Although there was a different set built to portray the inside of their house, the real house used for the exterior shots of the home from Family Matters is still standing and hasn’t changed much, if it at all. It’s located in Chicago.
One strange piece of trivia is that the original fictional address was 263 Pinehurst Street, but after several seasons it was changed to 263 Elm Street. No one ever explained why.
5) The theme song we know and love wasn’t supposed to be.
As Days Go By is the mainstay theme song of Family Matters that we all love to sing along to. But did you know it wasn’t originally the theme song? The first five episodes opened with Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.
In season seven the opening song was actually phased out altogether as producers decided to cut out that sequence entirely.