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The Brother Who Came to Dinner is the twenty-third episode of the eighth season in this television sitcom on Family Matters, which was aired from ABC on May 2, 1997. It was directed by Richard Correll and written by Reginald VelJohnson.


Carl's estranged brother Frank Winslow 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 or fixing a long-broken relationship with his brother. After accidentally breaking Laura's laptop computer, Steve and Eddie try to win $3,000 towards getting a new laptop at the carnival and Steve's latest invention might give Eddie a boost against "Butterball".


The scene begins with Eddie and Steve wrestling for the use of Laura's newly purchased laptop and both of them breaking it. They managed to cover it up from her and Urkel comes up with an idea. To get $3,000 to replace her laptop, they have to go to the Sullivan Family circus and defeat Butterball, a titanic wrestler, using his new force field belt invention to give Eddie an advantage.

Commissioner Geiss hands Carl the task of arresting his brother for several counts of fraud. During that time, Frank Winslow comes to visit Harriette as a clown. She's happy to see him and invites him to join them for dinner. Even though he's happy to see her, he knows his older brother won't because he's in trouble with the law. When he shows up, Carl is not happy to see him and places him under arrest for fraud charges.

At the carnival, the Countdown to Cash match is underway and Steve and Eddie are horrified to see the other contestants before them fail against Butterball in the ring. They both wonder how long would his force field belt would last against him and that they should have reconsidered telling Laura the truth about them breaking her laptop because they were wrestling for it.

At the house, Frank accuses Carl of arresting him as punishment against him for skipping out on their father's funeral. An angry, Carl shouts at him that he should have been there because their mother was devastated and needed his support. He even says that their father's death deeply affected him and their brothers. He tells Frank that they were at least there to lend Estelle, their support when she needed their support throughout the hard times. Harriette convinces Carl to hear his brother's side of the story. Frank revealed that his father's death deeply affected him the most and that he could not be there for the funeral. He says that he has tried calling him ten times to tell him why he could not be there but he was convinced that Carl hated him so much and finally gave up. He tells Frank that he would have understood if he just came to him in person to tell him that, instead of trying to call him. He also reveals the truth about what really happened to his last paycheck when he was managing a restaurant, years earlier. Things were going well for Frank until the restaurant lost money and closed, causing his last paycheck to bounce. Before Carl could say anything, Harriette tells him that it happened before with their friends and family. She also says that he should not criticize them about it. Carl asked Frank if he was looking for a job to make money to pay off his debts. Frank tells him that he already has one as a clown in a traveling carnival which pays him very well. Carl realizes that his family does come first over his job and decides not to arrest him after all and loans his brother, the money to pay off all of his debt and rebuild a long forgotten close relationship between them. This decision makes Harriette and Frank real happy with him.

Back to the Sullivan Family Carnival, Eddie is secured in the force field belt that Urkel set up for him and he faces Butterball. For a while, he has the upper hand against him, until the force field belt goes wrong due to overheating(mostly from Eddie's sweat). Butterball regains the upper hand and defeats him. Steve refuses to give up and challenges Butterball to face him. The titanic wrestler laughs in his face as Eddie reminds him the belt is broken and he'll kill him. Steve reassures him that he'll be fine because he's good at both outrunning big guys who try to hurt him and outsmarting them with trickery. Urkel learned it from personal experience when bullies try to hurt him. This proves to be true as Butterball has a hard time trying to hurt Steve because he has the upper hand against him. Urkel quickly follows Butterball around, much to his dismay and easily defeats him by having him ram himself out of the ring in a game of matador and bull. The crowd cheers for Steve and he gets the money, while the host runs to Butterball who is knocked unconscious out of the ring. He is embarrassed that his reigning champion got beaten by a nerd.

Cast and Characters[]




  • Dick O'Neill as Commissioner Geiss


  • Ted Lange as Frank Winslow
  • Tony Longo as Butterball
  • John Mariano as Ring Announcer
  • Brian J. Williams as Man in Tires



  • Steve has invented a transformation chamber, cloning device, time machine,etc. In other words, He could have just fixed Laura's laptop.
  • The original post credits scene shows that Laura has learned of what really happened to her laptop and gives both Eddie and Urkel a piece of her mind. She points out that Stefan bought the laptop as a gift to her and they should've told her about it.
  • There was an entire circus scene written for the episode to help bring closure to Frank’s character. Since the episode already contained a wrestling scene, it was deemed far too expensive for one episode to add a circus set on top of it.


Steve/Eddie: "Look what you did!"
  v - e - dFamily Matters Season 8
Paris Vacation (Part 1)Paris Vacation (Part 2)Paris Vacation (Part 3)Movin' On3J in the HouseGetting BuffStevilKarate KidsHome AgainNightmare at Urkel OaksChick-a-BoomThe JuryIt Came Upon a Midnight ClearRevenge of the NerdLove TrianglesFather TimeBeauty and the BeastLe Jour d'amourWhat Do You Know?Odd Man InFlirting with DisasterPound FoolishThe Brother Who Came to DinnerA Pirate's Life for Me