Today, we look at the time that Family Matters‘ Steve Urkel stopped by Full House to help Stephanie Tanner deal with having to now wear glasses
This is Somewheres in This Universe, a feature examining when characters from TV shows make guest appearances on other TV shows (in non-crossover stories), thus establishing that the two shows share a universe.
November is Someewheres in the Universe month!
Now, typically speaking, most of these cameos that I feature in this column make total sense in terms of using a popular character from one series to help promote another series, typically near the beginning (like Kramer guest-starring in an early Mad About You episode or Ross guest-starring in an early Single Guy episode). That’s what makes Steve Urkel’s guest appearance on Full House’s “Stephanie Gets Framed” in Season 4 of Full House make so little sense to me as a ratings gimmick.
Family Matters was in its second season at the time, but Jaleel White’s Steve Urkel was already a major pop culture sensation, and yet Full House was the slightly MORE popular series between it and Family Matters (Full House was the 14th highest-rated series and Family Matters was the 15th), so you’d think it would be a Full House character appearing on an episode of Family Matters, but it’s the opposite. In addition, Family Matters didn’t even air a new episode the night this Full House episode aired!
I guess it boiled down to Urkel just being such a big pop culture sensation that the shared producers of the two shows thought that it couldn’t hurt Full House‘s ratings to have Urkel show up.
In any event, Urkel is in San Francisco from Chicago visiting his cousin, who is a friend of DJ Tanner (Candace Cameron). DJ and her friend are hiding from Urkel when he shows up at the Tanner residence, so this allows Danny (Bob Saget) and Jesse (John Stamos) to get in some shtick with Urkel…
I sort of adore the notion of not just a grown man telling a kid he just met how to walk “smoother,” but the kid just, like, taking the critique right away. “Okay, strange guy I just met, let me echo your gyrations.”
Danny and Jesse then foist Steve on DJ and his cousin (while also allowing Urkel to get a scene with Full House‘s breakout character, Michelle Tanner, played by twins Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen), before he then inexplicably gets a private moment with Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin) to help her deal with the fact that she has to wear glasses now…
Steve gives her some RELATIVELY crummy advice of making the kids laugh WITH her before they can laugh AT her, which Stephanie takes to an extreme before Joey (Dave Coulier) essentially tells her that, really, no one cares that much whether she wears glasses or not (Joey also tells her that she is one of the most beautiful third graders he knows, which I know he meant nicely, but, well, that’s weird, right?).
Urkel would also have an outright crossover with Step by Step, which I’ll spotlight next month as December will be Can’t Cross Over month!
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com for suggestions for other good non-crossover guest appearances by TV characters!