The eighth season of the family sitcom on Family Matters which originally aired on ABC from September 20, 1996 to May 9, 1997. The season consists of 24 episodes. It was release from DVD (Region 1) on September 20, 2016.
In early 1997, CBS picked up Family Matters and Step by Step in a $40 million deal to acquire the rights to the programs from ABC. Then ABC then promised to pay Miller-Boyett Productions $1.5 million per episode for a ninth and tenth season of Family Matters. However, tensions had risen between Miller-Boyett Productions and ABC's corporate parent, The Walt Disney Company (which had bought the network in 1995 as part of its merger with ABC's then-parent Capital Cities/ABC, Inc.). Miller-Boyett thought that it would not be a big player on ABC after the network's recent purchase by Disney. In turn, Miller-Boyett Productions agreed to a $40 million offer from CBS for a 22-episode season for both Family Matters and Step By Step. CBS scheduled Family Matters, along with Step By Step, as a part of its new Friday lineup branded as the "CBS Block Party" and scheduled the family-oriented block against ABC's TGIF lineup, where the two series originated. Near the end of the ninth season, the cast was informed that a tenth and final season was planned, so scripts and plot synopses were written for the show.
|Reginald VelJohnson||Carl Winslow|
|Jo Marie Payton-Noble||Harriette Winslow|
|Darius McCrary||Eddie Winslow|
|Kellie Shanygne Williams||Laura Winslow|
|Jaleel White||Steve Urkel|
|Michelle Thomas||Myra Monkhouse|
Main supporting cast
|Bryton McClure||Richie Crawford (Recurs)|
|Orlando Brown||Jerry Jamal "3J" Jameson (Main)|
|Rosetta LeNoire||Estelle Winslow (Recurs)|
|Cherie Johnson||Maxine Johnson|
|Tammy Townsend||Greta McClure|
Rebecca Misra becomes Rebecca Falk.
- Bryton James and Rosetta LeNoire became as supporting and recurring characters.
- Orlando Brown joins the supporting regular cast in this series.
- Shawn Harrison is no longer part of the series.
The eighth season is often seen as the show’s weakest season as many felt the show was becoming too dependent on Jaleel White’s multiple characters. However, the development for the new character 3J was met with praise. Another element praised was the slow evolving relationship between Steve and Laura, a subject that would lead to their engagement in the next season.
Season eight consists of 24 episodes.
|Title||Original air date||Director||Writer(s)|
|170||1||Paris Vacation (Part 1)||September 20, 1996||Richard Correll||Fred Fox Jr.|
|The Winslows travel to Paris, France with the help of Urkel's teleportation device (the Urk-Pad). There, Eddie has to work at a restaurant to avoid going to jail, while Stefan and Laura become models. Meanwhile, Urkel is seduced by Nicole, a lovely French girl, whose cousin Andre is out to steal the teleporter.|
|171||2||Paris Vacation (Part 2)||September 20, 1996||Richard Correll||Jim Geoghan|
|Stefan and Laura participate in a fashion show, while Nicole and Andre capture Urkel and hold him hostage inside the Paris Opera House, where he is forced to build a new teleporter.|
|172||3||Paris Vacation (Part 3)||September 27, 1996||Richard Correll||Fred Fox Jr. and Jim Geoghan|
|When Urkel finds out he will be killed when the Urk-Pad is finished, Nicole turns for Urkel, and Carl rescues Steve. Soon after, Andre chases Carl, Nicole, and Urkel throughout the city. They split up at the Eiffel Tower and Steve is thrown off by Andre. The French police arrest Andre. Down on the ground, Carl and Nicole activate the Urk-pad under Steve while he's falling to teleport him to Chicago and save him. After going back to the Winslows' house, Myra tells Steve that it's a dream come true. At the end, Stefan decides to fulfill his career as a model, and stays in Paris.|
|173||4||Movin' On||October 4, 1996||Richard Correll||Gregory Thomas Garcia and Fred Rubin|
|Urkel finally enrolls in BIT, the Boston Institute of Technology, a fictional prestigious college (a spoof of MIT), which is miles away from Chicago. At first, the Winslows are happy to finally be rid of the pesky nerd, but then take pity on him when they learn he is homesick. Meanwhile, Laura (who has recently reached adulthood) moves into an apartment with Myra, but the two do not get along.|
|174||5||3J in the House||October 11, 1996||Richard Correll||Meg DeLoatch|
|Orphaned 3J sneaks into the Winslows' attic, afraid that he may be forced to move to another orphanage. Harriette suggests to Carl that they adopt 3J, noting that beneath that sometime smart-mouthed demeanor lies a sweet, innocent young boy who is pining for a family.|
|175||6||Getting Buff||October 18, 1996||Richard Correll||Stephen Langford|
|Eddie argues to his girlfriend about her modeling when Steve sees Greta nude in Laura's art class, only for Laura to reveal the shocking truth. Meanwhile, Neidermeyer takes Richie and 3J's football and he refuses to give it back. Nick is soon in for a hard lesson in respecting people's property when he is nearly arrested for trying to break into his own home.|
|176||7||Stevil||October 25, 1996||Richard Correll||Gregory Thomas Garcia and Fred Rubin|
|A ventriloquist's dummy, which looks exactly like Urkel, comes to life and terrorizes the Winslows, and Steve must stop it.|
|177||8||Karate Kids||November 1, 1996||Richard Correll||Joseph Cvar and Gary Menteer|
|A street gang, known as "The Piranhas", has intimidated Richie and 3J from playing at the local park, and when Urkel tries to intervene, he is quickly roughed up. The street gang begin celebrating their possible new place to deal drugs and play rap music until Bruce Lee Urkel (and similar Richie and 3J variants) show up to even the score. After slipping in the Winslows home, Nick fakes needing a wheelchair and threatens to sue Carl. However, his plans are foiled when Harriette and Eddie exploit and expose his scam and send him on his way.|
|178||9||Home Again||November 8, 1996||Richard Correll||Stephen Langford|
Story by: Stephen Langford and Jaleel White
|Urkel reunites Stefan and Laura. Meanwhile, Carl and Harriette try to spend time alone but are constantly interrupted by Richie and 3J.|
|179||10||Nightmare at Urkel Oaks||November 15, 1996||Kelly Sandefur||Gary M. Goodrich|
|Eddie has a nightmare where he is the reluctant groom to Myrtle Urkel. When Eddie refuses to marry Myrtle, her wealthy father steps in and bribes him with $10 million. Greta comes and crashes the wedding. After the nightmare, Eddie tells Urkel that he will not marry anyone for money now matter how much he's bribed. Meanwhile, Harriette tries to get Carl to go on a diet again.|
|180||11||Chick-a-Boom||November 22, 1996||Joel Zwick||Fred Rubin|
|Carl once again hopes to impress Police Commissioner Geiss (Dick O'Neill) with a full-course banquet. Myra steps forward and volunteers to cook a stuffed chicken-type dish for dinner. However, things start to get explosive when she mistakes Steve's mini fireworks for pepper causing the Chickens to blow up after Eddie's band plays "Roll out the Barrel" triggering the explosions. Meanwhile, 3J encourages Richie to perform a scam to get enough money to go to the movies.|
|181||12||The Jury||December 6, 1996||Joel Zwick||Gregory Thomas Garcia|
|Urkel and Carl are selected to serve on a jury for a store robbery suspect. Urkel is the only one who is convinced that the evidence is not what it seems and proves whose really guilty of robbing the store that leads to the guard's arrest. Meanwhile, 3J believes he is being sent back to the orphanage, so he begins working in the house and causes problems. Harriette convinces him that when she and Carl adopted him, he'll always have a home with them.|
|182||13||It Came Upon a Midnight Clear||December 13, 1996||Gregg Heschong||Meg DeLoatch and Gary M. Goodrich|
|Steve and Carl search for a Christmas tree from within the Wisconsin woods, but wind up getting lost. Carl is annoyed and freezing, but Urkel's knowledge of astronomy saves the two from becoming icicles on Christmas. Meanwhile, Laura is caught in a love triangle with Stefan and Curtis and must decide once and for all to whom she is most loyal.|
|183||14||Revenge of the Nerd||January 3, 1997||Gregg Heschong||Jim Geoghan|
|Laura is invited to join a sorority and is excited about becoming a member, until she learns that they constantly ridicule Urkel (and all nerds for that matter) and plan to crown him "king geek". Laura refuses to join the sorority until they change their policy around Steve. Also, after realizing how his feud with Nick Neidermeyer has become a bad influence on the kids, Carl attempts to see how well they can be as friends. This eventually reveals Nick's own jealousy over Carl for having a wonderful family, while he was ditched by his wife.|
|184||15||Love Triangles||January 17, 1997||Richard Correll||David W. Duclon and Gary Menteer|
|With Waldo having broken off his long-standing relationship with Maxine, Laura encourages her heartbroken best friend to begin dating once again. Maxine soon comes home with none other than Curtis, Laura's ex. The two get into a huge fight as a result, but then Stefan and Urkel convinces them to compromise. Meanwhile, Carl becomes concerned about Estelle's babysitting habits and tries to get her to compromise.|
|185||16||Father Time||January 31, 1997||Richard Correll||David W. Duclon and Gary Menteer|
|Steve and Carl use a time transporting device to travel back in time. In spite of Steve's warnings not to tamper with the past, Carl leaves a note for himself to make investments in stocks that will skyrocket. When Carl and Steve return to the present, they find out that Carl is the richest man in the world, worth about $247 billion. Although excited at first when he comes inside the penthouse, Carl quickly learns there are consequences in altering the past, especially when he finds out that the Winslows are more miserable than before. He finds out that he has never hugged Estelle and Harriette is divorcing him due to his negligence. Carl sees Urkel depressed over learning that not only Eddie and Laura have never existed, but also that the Winslows never adopted 3J. After fixing the past, Carl learns a valuable lesson in being the richest man because of his family and not out of money.|
|186||17||Beauty and the Beast||February 7, 1997||Richard Correll||Meg DeLoatch and Gary M. Goodrich|
|The ladies (including Myrtle Urkel) enter the 4th Annual Miss Downtown Chicago Beauty Pageant. Cutthroat tactics and all sorts of similar antics ensue, especially by Myrtle to get Eddie's heart.|
|187||18||Le Jour d'amour||February 14, 1997||Richard Correll||Stephen Langford|
|Urkel hosts three Valentine's Day short stories involving various members of the cast going through the three stages of love. At the end of the episode, he gets his own Valentine's surprise in Myra dressed as a polka cupid.
|188||19||What Do You Know?||February 28, 1997||Richard Correll||Fred Fox Jr. and Jim Geoghan|
|After Urkel refuses to attend a game show called "What Do You Know?" in Eddie's place and tells him off to study for the show, he pays Urkel back by getting into the transformation chamber to transform Eddie Winslow into Eddie Urkel to gain Steve's smarts to clean up on the show. However, Eddie learns a hard lesson about working hard when Urkel is one of his opponents. Meanwhile, Maxine invites Laura to see Blackstreet & Dr Dre in concert, but it just so happens to be on the same night that Laura promised Carl that she would spend some time with him.|
|189||20||Odd Man In||March 14, 1997||Joel Zwick||Fred Fox Jr.|
|Harriette is invited to participate in Carl's poker night and cleans up. Meanwhile, Urkel fills in for Eddie as peanut vendor at Soldier Field (while the latter is at a bikini model shoot), but thanks to the nerd's clumsiness, things go as one would expect. In the aftermath, Eddie loses his job and blames Urkel (even going as far as to break off their friendship), forcing Laura to have a talk with her big brother and make him realize that, as usual, he has no one to blame but himself.|
|190||21||Flirting with Disaster||March 28, 1997||Richard Correll||Story by: Darius McCrary|
Teleplay by: Fred Rubin
|Urkel becomes dismayed after learning he is responsible for Carl's homeowner's insurance skyrocketing (thanks to the nerd's clumsiness), and decides to move out. However, Carl saves the day when he makes his insurance agent believe that Steve will be his next door neighbor in an apartment complex that he lives in. Meanwhile, Eddie learns that it's best to act your age and remain loyal to your current steady when he falls head over heels in love with an older woman.|
|191||22||Pound Foolish||April 25, 1997||Jason Bateman||Stephen Langford and Fred Rubin|
|Urkel's Aunt Oona (Donna Summer) returns from Altoona for another visit, this time seeking help in losing weight. The nerd suggests his new weight compression chamber, and she loses weight, but soon, Oona regains her weight in an instant. Meanwhile, Eddie teaches 3J his methods for getting a girl to notice him.|
|192||23||The Brother Who Came to Dinner||May 2, 1997||Richard Correll||Reginald VelJohnson|
|Carl's estranged brother Frank (Ted Lange) comes to visit with a devastating secret: He's in trouble with the law. Even worse, Carl is the one who's assigned to bring him into custody. Carl faces a big moral dilemma as he considers loyalty to his job vs. fixing a long-broken relationship with his brother whom he's still angry with for not attending their father's funeral. Eventually, he realizes family comes first and decides to help Frank out. Meanwhile, after accidentally breaking Laura's laptop computer, Steve and Eddie try to win $3,000 towards getting a new laptop at the carnival. Steve's latest invention a belt shield, might give Eddie a boost against "Butterball". However when his latest invention overheats and Eddie is knocked out, Urkel challenges "Butterball" himself and subsequently wins (using the techniques to outwit bullies).|
|193||24||A Pirate's Life For Me||May 9, 1997||Joel Zwick||Fred Fox Jr. and Jim Geoghan|
|Urkel and Carl go back in time on board a 1700s pirate vessel, where they are made to walk the plank after Urkel accidentally drops his time travel watch overboard. Fortunately, Myra (along with Laura and Maxine) comes to rescue Urkel and Carl with a copy of a time travel watch he gave her.
Note: This was the last episode on ABC, as the show would be moving to CBS next season.
- This is the first season to feature Jerry Jamal Jameson as the support main characters.