Heart Strings is the sixteenth episode of the fourth season in this television sitcom on Family Matters, which was aired from ABC on February 12, 1993. It was directed by John Tracy and written both by David W. Duclon and Gary Menteer.
Laura and Ted agree to end their relationship. However, she’s heartbroken and has no one to love for Valentine's Day until Urkel pays her a visit. This time Laura appreciates Steve's efforts to cheer her up. Meanwhile, Richie tries to fight off Gwendolyn who wants him to be her "Daddy Mac"! Also, Carl has a brief argument with Harriette about the way she behaves at a romantic restaurant.
Carl and Harriette comes home from a miserable night at an unnamed new restaurant that opened in town. When Harriette complained about their services, Carl quickly points out that her loud and abrasive attitude got them kicked out. All throughout the night, he was so embarrassed by her constant demanding to the maître d that he move the two to another table. Harriette pointed out that their first table was near the entrance where the customers were waiting to be seated and doesn't like them crowding over and asking her when she's done eating. Carl mentions that he understood and told her that she made the wait staff pick up all of their stuff and moved them. Harriette mentions that their next table is near the bathrooms. Under normal circumstances, she usually like having a table near the water when it's on the port. However, Harriette doesn't like it if it's from someone flushing the toilet. Carl gets more sarcastic and reminds her that her complaining got them moved to a table next to a cigar smoker. He points out that Harriette embarrassed him when she put out the man's cigar that lead to him complaining to the owners. She is offended and accused him of caring what other people think about her. Carl tells her off that he was more concerned about the owners of the restaurant and how they'd react to her loud behavior. He mentioned that Harriette embarrassed them in front of everyone at the restaurant. The customers who had been watching her tirades, find the whole thing amusing and applauded when they finally left. Carl pointed out that the owners banned them from the restaurant, giving them a coupon for another restaurant and the valet tipped him for actually taking Harriette out of the restaurant. They go for days without speaking to each other.
During this time, Laura cries on Urkel's shoulders when she tells him about Ted cheating on her. She had found out about Ted's flirting with a classmate of his in the cafeteria and she got jealous. When he claimed nothing was wrong with them being friends, Laura pointed out they're dating and that Ted can't flirt with another girl. They argued for a long time and finally, Ted decided to dump Laura for it. Urkel comes up with his latest stunt to become Laura's valentine, by wearing a box of chocolates costume. However, Laura tells him to stop and agrees to be Steve's Valentine as a token of friendship.
Richie is facing another with Gwendolyn trying to be his Valentine. At night in a pretend restaurant setting in the Winslows' living room, he finally agrees to be her Valentine. They spend the rest of the evening watching cartoons.
Carl makes it up to Harriette buying her roses and chocolates. In return, she finally apologizes for her behavior. She realized that's unacceptable and Carl was trying to watch out for her. Carl then apologizes for caring about other people's thoughts and wanted to maintain decorum.
- Reginald VelJohnson as Carl Winslow
- Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow
- Rosetta LeNoire as Estelle Winslow (credit only)
- Darius McCrary as Eddie Winslow
- Kellie Shanygne Williams as Laura Winslow
- Jaimee Foxworth as Judy Winslow (credit only)
- Bryton James as Richie Crawford (credited as Bryton McClure)
- Jaleel White as Steve Urkel
- Telma Hopkins as Rachel Crawford
- Shawn Harrison as Waldo Geraldo Faldo
- Richie is able to read as of this episode, after not being able to do in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad House." However, because "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad House" ended up being broadcast after this episode, it creates a continuity error.
- Richie is able to read in this episode, although in the very next episode ("It's a Mad, Mad, Mad House") he is unable to read. This is because "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad House" chronologically takes place earlier in the season and was meant to air earlier as well.
- Richie: I'm going down to the basement to hunt for spiders.
- Gwendolyn: Why?
- Richie: You wouldn't understand. It's a guy thing. Gotta jam.
- Gwendolyn: Wait. Did you know this Sunday is Valentine's Day?
- Richie: So?
- Gwendolyn: So I was wondering... would you like to be my Valentine?
- Richie: Why?
- Gwendolyn: You wouldn't understand. It's a girl thing.
- Urkel: Laura Lee Winslow, will you be my Valentine?
- Laura: Steve, every year you ask me to be your Valentine, and every year I turn you down. What made you think this year would be different?
- Urkel: Oh, I don't know. I just thought that since you and Ted broke up, well, you might be feeling kind of lonely. And since I'm always lonely... well, I thought that maybe we could be each other's Valentine. And for a short while, a few bittersweet hours, we could help guide each other through the rocky shoals of human heartache.
- Laura: Oh, Steve, that's beautiful.
- Urkel: Thanks. Kermit said that to Miss Piggy in The Muppets Go Hawaiian.
- Laura: Listen, I might agree to be your Valentine.
- Urkel: Oh, oh, oh!
- Laura: But... But... But only on one condition.
- Urkel: Well, what's that?
- Laura: There can't be any lip contact.
- Urkel: Ah. The ignominious no-lip clause. You know, baby, I'm a pretty hard-nosed negotiator, and I...
- Laura: Take it or leave it.
- Urkel: I'll take it.
- Laura: Happy Valentine's Day, Steve.
- Urkel: Happy Valentine's Day, Laura.
- Gwendolyn: Would you care to dance?
- Richie: In your dreams, babe.