In a Jam is the nineteenth episode of the first season from the television sitcom on Family Matters, which was aired from ABC on February 23, 1990. It was directed by Richard Correll and written both by Alan Eisenstock and Larry Mintz.
Urkel is being harassed by a huge thug named Bull, who intimidates the diminutive nerd into handing over his lunch money. When Urkel asks Eddie for assistance, he thinks he's merely seeking attention until Rodney sees the bully threaten Urkel with serious injury when he declines to give him any more money. Eddie realizes he needs to stick up for Urkel and fight off Bull. Meanwhile, after Carl busts up a bank robbery, he gets an opportunity at a part-time job as a traffic reporter. Rachel convinces Carl to incorperate some jokes into his first report but Harriette disapproves. She is proven right when he eventually realizes that Rachel's jokes are flat and that he needs to be himself while giving the reports. Carl does and ends up getting the job.
Urkel's quite hungry these days, eating from everybody's plate at the local burger hangout. That's because he never has enough money to buy lunch at school and it isn't because his parents don't give him the money. A huge bully named Bull always intimidates and harasses the diminutive nerd into giving up his money. Urkel goes to Eddie for help but Eddie thinks it's just a play for attention.
Meanwhile, Carl gets a job at a local news station as a traffic reporter. Rachel tries to help him out with some of the jokes that she wrote for him to read. Only Harriette doesn't find it funny and tells Carl to just be himself when giving out the report. Rachel thinks she has no sense of humor and tells her that he can be himself and incorporate a few jokes but Harriette refuses to budge.
Then one day at the burger hangout, Leroy's, Urkel decides he's no longer going to give money to Bull. Rodney witnesses Bull threaten Urkel with serious bodily harm if he refuses to comply in the future. He tells Eddie what happened at Leroy's asks for him to intervene and face Bull. He isn't sure he should stick up for Steve, since he pesters him all the time. Carl gives Eddie some fatherly advice, telling him that he should stick up for Urkel and fight Bull on his behalf. He mentions that unlike Steve, Eddie does have the skills and the strength to fairly defend himself.
On Carl's first day, it goes bad until he remembers what Harriette said about being himself after realizing the flatness of Rachel's jokes when giving out the traffic reports. He does exactly that and makes his family proud.
That afternoon at Leroy's, Bull confronts Urkel, again demanding money. While Rodney tries to take advantage of the situation, Penny shows genuine concern for his well-being when he refuses to give money to Bull. She and Laura both beg Steve to give up the money to him. He refuses because he doesn't want to live in his fears anymore and is tired of having no money to buy lunch for himself. An angry Bull decides to make good on his threat to hurt Urkel. Just as Bull cocks his fist back to assault him, Eddie walks in to confront the bully. He demands the bully to leave Steve alone. Bull orders Eddie to leave at once because this is between him and the nerd. He refuses, pointing out that everyone knows that Bull is tough and doesn't need to prove it by hurting Urkel. Bull tells Eddie off that he'll let the nerd off the hook in exchange of getting at him instead. He tries to punch Eddie, but misses. His punch connects and hits Bull in the stomach to the cheers of the crowd. Realizing he had lost, Bull tells Eddie he got the point and will not take Steve's money anymore. Carl comes in to check up on the two and finds the situation handled.
- Reginald VelJohnson as Carl Winslow
- Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow (credited as Jo Marie Payton-France)
- Rosetta LeNoire as Estelle Winslow
- Darius McCrary as Eddie Winslow
- Kellie Shanygne Williams as Laura Winslow
- Jaimee Foxworth as Judy Winslow
- Joseph and Julius Wright as Richie Crawford
- Telma Hopkins as Rachel Crawford
- Ebonie Smith as Penny Peyser
- Rick Scarry as Reporter
- Markus Redmond as Bull
- Tom Henschel as Jimmy
- This episode marks the first and only time Urkel was scared of his bullies and needed Eddie's help. In season 2's Requiem for an Urkel, Steve was brave to stand up to Willie