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It's a Mad, Mad Mad House is the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Family Matters, which aired on ABC on February 19, 1993. It was directed by John Tracy and written by Regina Stewart.


After Eddie pulls a classroom prank, his teacher (Debra Jo Rupp) wants to refer him to the principal. Knowing he could face dismissal from the basketball team for this offense, he relates a sob story about how he comes from a dysfunctional family. The teacher is so upset that she later confides in Urkel, who recommends that she pay a visit to this family, unaware that she is talking about the Winslows. What Miss Connors observes is exactly what Eddie described: she sees a highly chaotic household, thanks in part to Harriette having gone "on strike" after she became frustrated with her family constantly henpecking her. Having ignored Mother Winslow's warning not to push her, they must endure fending for themselves.


At the Winslow house, Richie, Judy and Laura are playing Monopoly when Harriette comes home with the house in a mess. Laura and Judy blow her off and begins henpecking her for their stuff. Eddie and Carl makes it worse by annoying Harriette for their own things. Estelle confronts the family for adding to her stress by henpecking her for their own material things. She points out that Harriette doesn't have the time to help them pick up their stuff and clean the house herself.

Practical jokester Eddie gets caught misbehaving in class; this time, he puts a picture of a bikini-clad girl on a pull-down chart, which his math teacher, Ms. Vivian Connors, fails to notice initially, although Steve does and tells her. However, after the bell rings and the students are leaving, Waldo reminds Eddie to forget about retrieving his poster. Ms. Connors tells Eddie to go to Principal Shimata's office, to which Eddie pleads against as getting in trouble with Shimata again would cause him to remove him from the basketball team. So, to keep his spot on the team, he tells Ms. Connors that he as problems at home with his family. This upsets Ms. Connors, who, after Eddie leaves, pours out her sorrows to Urkel. Steve unaware that the family she's talking about are the Winslows and encourages Ms. Connors to investigate the matter.

Meanwhile at the Winslow home the next day only to find out that her family is still nagging her for stuff as soon as she comes home. Reprimanding them, she mentions that they ignored the warning by caring for their own interest. Harriette mentions that now the four will pay the price for their ignorance. As of this moment, she announces that the family will have to learn to fend for themselves because she's on strike. After Harriette leaves, Eddie cluelessly asks Carl if that's legal and he is hit with a tin pan.

Five days later, Harriette continues her strike by reading a book in a dirty house. Laura comes in with Mother Winslow's evening dress from the dry cleaner and complained about the mess. Harriette orders her to clean it up herself because she's still on strike and continues reading. She cleans up some of the mess off the couch and informs her that she has to help Mother Winslow get ready for tonight. Harriette is interested and asks Laura about the special night. She mentions that it's the annual Charity Bachelor's Auction at the Senior Citizens Home. Harriette asks Laura if she remembers last year when Estelle bought a date with the retired underwear model. She remembers it very well and her grandmother's reaction. Laura mentions that Mother Winslow immediately demanded her money back after learning that he used to model ladies underwear.

Harriette laughs as Laura leaves to help Estelle get ready for the Charity Bachelor's Auction. Carl comes down the stairs in his robe and tells her he doesn't have anything to wear. He chauvinistically tells her that if she wants to continue playing the strike game with the kids, that's fine with him. However, she crossed the line with him and he wants her to do his laundry. He continues demanding her to clean up the mess and his old clothes (ripped jeans and bandana) because he needs them for his undercover drug bust for tonight. Harriette refuses and tells her sexist husband off that she will not do the laundry as long as she's on strike. She mentions that if Carl needs them for tonight, he'll have to wash his clothes himself and leaves him in the living room.

Later on, Ms. Connors decides to take Urkel's advice to investigate the troubled family. Ms. Connors is immediately disgusted and horrified by what she saw. She tries to bolt for the door and leave the house. However, Carl catches Ms. Connors and asks what she's doing here. She informs them that she is Eddie's math teacher and confronts the Winslows about their influence on him. Carl states that they are a loving family, but she's not convinced by it. Harriette offers to explain to Ms. Connors about what is really going in the house, while Carl hauls Eddie to the kitchen for an explanation.

In the kitchen, Carl informs Eddie that he's very upset with him, and that the families who live in abusive and dysfunctional situations are not something he should joke about. Harriette comes in soon after and she informs him that Miss Connors has understood why Carl mentioned buying drugs and why the house was under three feet of trash, although Harriette couldn't explain Estelle's comments about 'buying men.'

Carl tells the family they must help out with the cleaning of the house, but gives Harriette money to take the family out to dinner, claiming that they would come home to a spotless house. As they exit the living room towards the kitchen, the doorbell rings, and Carl opens the front door to let in a cleaning crew whom he hired.






  • This episode is intended to be the eleventh episode of Season Four, and was originally scheduled to air on November 27, 1992.
    • Despite airing out of order as "Season 4, Episode 17", it is correctly listed and placed as "Season 4, Episode 11" on home video DVD releases as well as on streaming services.
  • Debra Jo Rupp as Vivian Connors was initially written to be a recurring role on the show but Rupp couldn’t agree on a contract with producers and elected to just sign on to the one episode.[citation needed]


Ms. Connors: [oblivious to a poster of a woman in a swimsuit behind her] Play with them, see how much fun they can be! Once you get to know them, you'll wonder how you ever lived without them. What is so funny?
Steve: Vivian! Look at the chart! There's a girl with enormous boom-booms!

Carl: Harriette, would you please explain to Ms. Connors that we are a very loving family?
Harriette: I'll try.
Carl: Good. While you're doing that I'll be in the kitchen killing our son.

  v - e - dFamily Matters Season 4
Surely You JoustDance to the MusicDriving Carl CrazyRumor Has It...Number One With a BulletWhose Kid Is It Anyway?An Officer and a WaldoJust One DateThe Oddest CoupleIt's Beginning to Look a Lot Like UrkelMuskrat LoveHot WheelsThe Way the Ball BouncesA Thought in the DarkTender KissesHeart StringsIt's a Mad, Mad, Mad HouseHigher AnxietyMama's WeddingPulling TeethWalk on the Wild SideHot StuffStormy WeatherBuds 'n' Buns