‘Family Matters’: Steve Urkel’s Pants Had to Be Loosened In the Last Season to Hide His ‘Bulge’
With his growing popularity, merchandisers wanted in on the good stuff and took advantage of his famous image to create talking dolls, branded clothes, and even cereals.
Urkel provided Family Matters with the comic relief it needed and managed to keep the show afloat for nine glorious seasons. However, as time went by, the actor who played Urkel, Jaleel White, grew up, and soon his tight high-waisted pants couldn’t conceal the truth about his growth spurt. The wardrobe department, therefore, decided to do something about it.
‘Family Matters’ was a popular show in the ’90s
The ’90s had an impressive lineup of sitcoms starting from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends and Family Matters. Family Matters ran from 1989 until its cancellation in 1997 after a glorious nine seasons. The show revolved around the Winslow family, which consisted of Carl, a police officer, and Harriette, his wife, an elevator attendant at a newspaper factory.
The show’s cast also included Carl and Harriette’s three children Judy, Eddie, Laura, and Rachel, Harriette’s sister who’d moved in with the Winslows with her infant son after her husband’s death. Carl’s street-smart mother, Mother Winslow, also joined the show in its pilot.
In the show’s fourth season, the youngest Winslow left the series and never returned. Judy was sent upstairs to her room after her grandmother’s wedding as punishment but never came back down. Rumors speculated that the youngest Winslow had been fired from the show because she demanded more money.
However, Jamie Foxworth’s mother said that the producers told her that Foxworth’s character Judy started becoming irrelevant after they introduced Urkel to the show. Foxworth then got fired due to budget cuts.
Urkel wasn’t supposed to be a series regular
Urkel mania wasn’t supposed to happen. Steve Urkel was introduced to the show as the Winslows’ annoying nerdy neighbor. Urkel was only supposed to appear on the show for one episode in Family Matters‘ first season.
White was a natural with the character, and audiences immediately fell in love with Urkel. The audience reaction towards White’s character was so positive that the producers had no choice but to write him in as a series regular. Although Family Matters was doing well with its storyline, introducing Urkel as part of the plotline saved the show for eight more seasons.
Audiences loved the clumsy but brilliant neighborhood scientist. His signature go-to look included suspenders, supersized glasses, pants that rode high up his waist, a nasally high-pitched voice, and snort enhanced laughter. Urkel was also known for his trademark line “Did I do that?”
As the show progressed, Family Matters turned into a Steve Urkel show as producers opted to center storylines around him. The producer’s decision didn’t sit well with the other cast members. They, however, found common ground with White and his character’s fame and managed to give fans more entertaining episodes.
Urkel’s pants had to be adjusted to accommodate his bulge
Long-running shows usually find themselves with the problem of dealing with child actors growing up. Some shows choose to replace these actors with younger ones while others decide to accommodate the actor’s growth. For Family Matters‘ Urkel, the producers decided to adjust his pants to accommodate his growing bulge.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, White said that the network kept giving him notes on the bulge of his sack. White said, “I wore my pants so freaking tight, and it was like, after a while, we got a problem there.” To fix the growing issue, the wardrobe department had to loosen up his pants in the last season to prevent his manhood from stealing the show.