Carl Otis Winslow = }}is a fictional character portrayed by Reginald VelJohnson on the ABC/CBS American sitcom Family Matters from 1989 to 1998.He is the main protagonist.The initials in his name, which spells COW, is joked around several times throughout the series.

Background Edit

Personality Edit

Carl is a stocky, hard-working and humble man despite that Steve is driving him crazy. He is a Police Officer for the Chicago Police Department. He starts out as a Police Sergeant, next Lieutenant and then Captain. Carl takes his role as the bread-winner of the household very seriously. Because of this, his opinion of being the "man of the house" tends to get in the way of more personal issues with his wife, Harriette. His ego often gets him into trouble with Harriette, although he is somewhat quick to concede to his wife, as she often ends up teaching him a lesson when it comes to resolving petty marital disputes. Carl can be very cheap, he usually cut corners to save money or when he sees the bills and tries to pays his own taxes. He even builds things himself, when he sees the bill of how much it would icost (understandably) and decide to build it himself. That ends in disaster, however. Carl has a tendency to come down very hard on his only son,Eddie and occasionally his pesky neighbor Steve, while being protective of his daughters, Laura and Judy, at the same time. On occasion, Carl acts in an erratic fashion and usually blames it on his stressful job. However, deep down, Carl has shown he is a very loving and caring father. Once, he became offended when Laura wore a skimpy, revealing dress in Dumb Belle of the Ball and gave Eddie an ultimatum when it was revealed that he was drinking beers at his fraternity parties in Tips for a Better Life. In Hot Stuff, this had Eddie telling Carl "It's time you stopped acting like a cop and started acting like my dad!". His favorite food is doughnuts, something very stereotypical of policemen. Carl is the son of Estelle and Samuel Winslow. According to the pilot episode of the series, he has four brothers: Walter, Darryl, Calvin and Frank. Frank (Ted Lange) appeared in the eighth-season episode "The Brother Who Came to Dinner," and was portrayed as a long-estranged member of the family who was on the wrong side of the law. Carl, along with his son and daughter is mostly, constantly and always being annoyed, irritated, harassed, bothered and tormented by his pesky neighbor Steve who doesn't learn to leave him alone, keep his personal space and always never stop accidentally damaging to his house with Urkel's ill- fated invention machines.

10 things Carl likes so muchEdit

  • Carl chases Steve around the Winslows neighborhood
  • Punishing Eddie for his reckless behavior.
  • Trying to get Steve to leave him alone.
  • His nerd-free days
  • His house rules
  • His job as the police job
  • Steve paid him off for damaging the Winslow house.
  • Trying different ways get to rid off of Steve.
  • Try to set Steve straight.
  • Try to get Steve to value his personal space(which he does after going through a similar experience with Myra)
  • Keep Steve out of his house and away from him.

15 things that Carl Dislikes in his house Edit

  • Steve irritates him too many times
  • His extremely pesky neighbor, Steve Urkel
  • Eddie's irresponsible behavior
  • House Parties
  • Steve damages his Winslow house (which he has apologized for and paid for it's repairs).
  • Steve tried to kill him
  • Steve hitting him seen in the Words Hurt episode.
  • Steve damages his Winslow bedroom Tips for a Better Life.
  • Steve disturbs him in the middle of conversation with Eddie.
  • Lt. Murtaugh being an overbearing and unpleasant boss in his home
  • Nick's obnoxious, overbearing, not-so-neighborly and bad behavior.
  • Harriette going on strike against him and the "Man of the House" rules
  • His mother dating Fletcher Thomas.
  • Eddie endangering Richie by willingly leaving him with Waldo just so he can go on a date at a friend's Halloween party.
  • No one taking in account where he wanted to go on a family vacation(which Harriette set him straight)
  • Eddie's gambling addiction, explored three times.

11 Things Carl Likes about SteveEdit

Family Edit

Relationship with Steve Urkel Edit

Especially during the early years, Carl is openly vocal when it comes to showing his displeasure with next-door neighbor, Steve Urkel, who seemingly shows up at the house during inconvenient or inopportune times. Carl often becomes annoyed and irritated with Steve for one of several occasions:

  • Most often, when he is pressed into helping Steve test out his often useless—and accident-prone—inventions. The contraption would invariably backfire, and Carl would become the victim of its unpredictable and/or undesirable effects. Property damage and/or bodily harm to the Winslows' household caused by Steve's clumsiness (or the ill-fated machines) only adds to Carl's frustration.
  • When Steve disrupted him in the middle of the discipline Eddie, Carl become irritated.
  • When Steve is always picking on him, irritating his son Eddie and annoyed his daughter Laura.
  • When Steve is damaging his Winslow house 🏡 too many times.
  • When Steve tries to talk about an odd or esoteric topic that the Winslows have no interest in (e.g.- a visit to a cheese festival).
  • When Steve tries any one of a number of elaborate schemes to win Laura's heart (which usually fails or succeeds, but something happens at the wrong time)

However, Carl understands that Steve looks up to him like a father-figure, and often shows gratitude when he helps him resolve a series of tough personal crisis (ex., helped him conquer a fear of heights, thwarted a bank robber attempting to kill him, scaring away a cat with a match stick who tried to eat them when they shrunk, using his transformation chamber to defeat a dangerous gang, rescuing him from drowning and using CPR to bring him back after he got electrocuted). Other times, he helps him deal with tough situations of his own, such as learning how to swim to pass physical education class, while on occasion, Carl has to stick up for his nerdy neighbor. Carl eventually grows tolerant of Steve, and accepts him as a member of his family. At the end of the episode "Random Acts of Science" he reveals to Urkel "I couldn't be even more proud if you were my own son." since he saved his life five times. Carl even revealed it during season 5's Presumed Urkel that while Steve has caused a lot of damages, it's only really minor because he selflessly has saved his life before (something that Dexter Thornhill, Principal Shimata or anyone else in the makeshift courtroom obviously didn't notice). Like his children Eddie and Laura, Carl has gotten an opportunity to see what it is like to walk in Steve's shoes through different means. This happened to Carl in the sixth-season opener, "To Be or Not to Be", where he stepped into Steve's transformation machine in an effort to improve his eyesight without having to visit the optometrist. However, he ended up adopting a Steve-like personality and clothing, becoming known as Carl Urkel after his girlfriend, Myra Monkhouse, tampered with the machine thinking that Stefan will use it to return as Steve and realized her mistake when she learns that Carl is in there instead. He spends the next few days walking a mile in Urkel's shoes, indulging in things that he would never indulge in when he was normal. While Steve as Stefan found out what life was like as Carl and realized all the inconvenient times he let himself as Steve in without asking, leading to him bellowing at his nerdy neighbor. After returning to his normal self, Carl realizes that he could've spared himself the trouble by taking Harriette's advice and go see an opathomologist for glasses.

Trivia Edit

  • Steve's nickname for Carl, "Big Guy", is also a nickname used by Sonic the Hedgehog to address Miles "Tails" Prower in the first two Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons. Not surprisingly, Sonic is voiced in these cartoons by Jaleel White, who plays Steve.
  • Carl often bellowed at Steve for his foolish behavior with the Winslows.
  • Carl wondered if he ever disciplines Steve for his obnoxious and foolish behavior to him, Eddie and Laura by get him straight, Carl: (to Urkel) "Steven Quincy Urkel, you need to stop irritating people too many times because people don't like it when you irritate them"
  • The only punishment Carl gave to Steve was the chase the nerdy neighbor when Urkel irritated him.
  • Carl: (to Urkel) "Steven you also need to stop annoying my son Edward Eddie Winslow too many times because Eddie don't like it when you annoyed him".
  • Carl doesn't like when someone like Steve disturbs him.
  • It's unknown if Carl has ever talk with Steve Urkel's own father, Dr. Herb Urkel, about his son Steve's clumsy behavior with the Winslows and how he is always irritating him, his son Eddie, and his daughter Laura too many times.
  • Another common and running gag other than being the unwilling test subject for Urkel's experiments gone haywire, involves Carl attempting to fix things around the house that are more than outside his understanding. Despite Harriette's admonition to hire a qualified professional to get the job done properly, he refuses because of the costs (understandably) and commonly enlists Eddie in a futile attempt to get the job done themselves. The only time Carl was able to prove her wrong was in It Didn't Happen One Night, when he was able to fix the kitchen window himself(but then broke it again). His ineptness in fixing a defective lamp nearly cost him: his life in Saved by the Urkel. After ignoring Urkel's warning to unplug the cord, Carl is electrocuted and knocked out cold. Fortunately, Steve is able to save his life by administering CPR(Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to resuscitate him. This proved successful and the Winslows show gratitude. Carl's near death incident inspired Eddie, Laura and Waldo to learn CPR.
  • Carl's character was originally a fictional character on the show Perfect Strangers.
  • Carl didn't approve of his mother, Estelle, dating Fletcher out of fear that she would never get over his death like what happened to his own father and tried to keep them apart in a couple of episodes. However, he was convinced to give their relationship a chance when Harriette encouraged him to be open minded and stop hurting her by being cynical in keeping them away from each other. Fletcher is not seen in the ninth season, implying that Fletcher did indeed die.
  • Chicago Police Department Ranks
  • Police Officer - Perfect Strangers Crime busters and before Family Matters
  • Police Sergeant - Season 1-5
  • Police Lieutenant - Season 6-8
  • Police Captain - Season 9
  • The only character to appear in every episode.


Carl: (When Urkel drives him crazy too many) STTTTEEEEVEEEEE!!!!

Carl: (yells at Urkel when the clumsy nerd damaged the Winslows house by accident) STEVE!! YOU'RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT!

Carl: (When Urkel interrupted him in the middle of the discipline Eddie) Steve when I'm having a family conversation with Edward, You stay out of this!

Carl: (to Eddie about Urkel after interrupted of discipline Eddie) look Edward I know that Steve is driving us crazy with his antics, he's having the similar discussion with his father how annoy he is.

Carl: (when fed up with Urkel) GO HOME, GO HOME, GO HOME!!!

Carl: (to Harriette) Hariette, Steve is really driving me crazy every time!

Gallery Edit