Family Matters: Life of the Party

Laura’s friend Maxine is hosting a cool rooftop party, and some guy named Waldo has brought a bunch of mini-bottles in little compartments on the interior of his jacket like one of those guys who sold fake Rolex’s on the street in 1982. Laura tries to kick them out, but Maxine tells her to stop ruining her party. After the boys have had a few drinks, Laura is sulking by herself and giving everyone at the party some side-eye. Maxine tells her to lighten up and Laura has to admit that nothing bad has happened, so maybe she is over-reacting.

Then Urkel shows up and crashes the party. And even though he’s the lamest guy in school, he gets everyone at the party to “Do The Urkel” to a pop song called “Do The Urkel.” Like this guy has the Macarena of 1991 and somehow people are calling him uncool instead of trying to ride his coattails. I don’t get it.

Cool kid, Willie, is jealous that Urkel is commanding such a crowd without the benefit of alcohol–so he decides to get an unwitting Urkel smashed. Steve doesn’t notice the burn of the alcohol in the punch and simply assumes it’s mango flavoring. It doesn’t take long before he’s way more intoxicated than the rest of the party and everyone is laughing at him.

Then he decides to do The Urkel on the ledge of the building. He falls off and luckily catches on to another ledge at a lower level of the building. Laura’s Aunt Rachel, who is catering the party, walks across a clothing line like a tightrope in order to reach him. Then the two kids who brought the booze actually get arrested when the cops show up. I feel like we usually get a lecture or a heart to heart talk in these episodes, but nope. This is the real deal. Off to juvie!

The cool thing about this episode, is that Steve doesn’t get in trouble for drinking since he is so naive and this was really just a dangerous episode of bullying. So Carl makes him a hangover remedy and he’s so nice to him for once. Steve’s so pathetic right now, he can’t even be annoying. Oh yeah, and Steve vows never to drink again.

Very Special Lesson: Party punch is dangerous.

Block Party Summer

I don’t know if anyone remembers when Nick at Nite used to show some quality classic TV back in the 90’s, but I was quite a fan of Block Party Summer. It was really just three hour blocks of one TV show, but for some reason it felt like serious Summer fun to me. This should have been the first sign of a serious pop culture addiction, but it’s only an addiction if you want to stop, right? No? That’s not how that works? Anyway, I’d like to bring back Block Party Summer on The Very Special Blog.

This may be a bad decision because Summer is apparently our “crazy time” at work and as this is my first Summer at this job, I may be biting off more than I can chew with this little challenge. But I have an odd coping mechanism when someone gives me a ton of work. I’m kind of like Oh yeah? Well I’ll complete all of the “work” things you gave me but then I’m going to make my own work things to do on my own time but those work things will be FUN.

So there you go, The Very Special Summer will be my fun self-imposed non-work, work thing. So this July get ready for weekly lessons from your (my) favorite shows as follows:

Monday: The Brady Bunch
Tuesday: Boy Meets World
Wednesday: Full House
Thursday: Family Matters
Friday: The Facts of Life

Disney Episode Showdown: Family Matters vs. Full House

We have made it to the first matchup of the semi-finals! As you will remember, Family Matters has taken a trip to Disney World so that Steve Urkel can show of his DNA altering machine. And yes, he needs to bring the entire family next door in order to do so. Laura breaks the machine so that Steve is forced to remain Stefan Urquelle. They nearly get married, but Laura begins to feel guilty about essentially murdering Steve. She only begins to feel this way because Steve’s girlfriend Myra cries about how Steve is gone forever. (Is it cheating if your DNA was technically different at the time?)

Full House is at Disney World because Jesse has a gig at Cinderella’s castle. Becky comes along so that they can spend their anniversary together. Joey comes along so they can do their radio show live from the fish tank at Epcot. The rest of the family comes along just because. Stephanie learns to love Michelle even though she’s a jerk, Michelle learns not to be a jerk, DJ sees Steve everywhere, Steve actually joins their vacation, Danny proposes to Vicky, and Kimmy Gibbler was there.

I think Full House deserves the point for best overall plot. I guess Family Matters had the better plot setup, but it’s weird that Laura just sorta feels bad about breaking Steve potentially-Noble Prize winning machine. The horror is over almost as soon as it began. And I worry that’s more true to life. But Full House still wins because they managed to have good subplots. I think the main plot is Uncle Jesse works too much, but all of the subplots are so good that it’s hard to tell the B’s from the A.

Family Matters had a cute cover of “Kiss the Girl,” but Uncle Jesse still wins this round for his impromptu performance of an anniversary love-ode after he misses his picnic with Becky. That’s one way to get out of a fight. Full House also wins for best integration of Disney setting. The showed so much park property you could almost plan your trip from it. Also, I’m kinda bummed out that these attraction haven’t changed that much in the past twenty years…

But Family Matters still wins best vacation attire. This is mostly because there are too many sweatshirts tied around waists, Vicky’s dress is really ugly, and Becky wears open-toed clogs.

Whereas this is a total class act. Look at those platform jellies and pressed slacks:

Point Break Down:
Full House: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Music (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  = 4 pts

Family Matters: Vacation Attire (1 pt)= 1 pt

Very Special Winner: Full House 

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Disney Episode Showdown: Family Matters vs. Roseanne

This is difficult to judge and a horrible matchup to start off with because both of these episodes kind of suck. I think they suck pretty evenly so I stand by my decision to pair them off with each other, but I’m sorry that they are the first things I wrote down on the bracket.

Family Matters definitely wins on the overall plot. That’s mostly because there is not much of a plot to the Roseanne episode.  I watched a little bit of an interview with Roseanne in which she admitted that the entire reason for this episode was due to the fact that they lobbied the network to let them film a Disney episode simply because they were jealous that lots of other shows were getting a free trip. This makes sense if you think about it because Family Matters is an obvious choice for a Disney promo whereas Roseanne is well not…

In Family Matters, Steve wins a chance to compete with his DNA altering machine (you know that thing that switches him from nerdy Jaleel White to cool Jaleel White) at Innoventions in Epcot. Laura decides that she wants to be with Stefan (cool Jaleel White) forever, so she disables the machine mid-demonstration. This is pretty creepy since basically she’s just killed Steve Urkel or is holding him hostage. I’m not quite sure which, but I guess if Stefan is a legitimate person too then like is Steve always holding him hostage??

Anyway, Laura is definitely not having this major crisis of conscience and neither is the rest of her family because they are going to allow her to marry Stefan after he proposes to her on the steps of the castle (with Cinderella’s help) while all of the theme park attendees look on. I know everyone hates Steve Urkel, but this feels like a crime against nature/humanity/why am I the only one distressed? I don’t know, but ultimately Laura feels guilty about the fact that she basically murdered her next door neighbor in order to date a cooler version of him, and she makes Stefan fix the machine. This leads Steve to withdraw from the competition because he realizes that mankind cannot handle a DNA altering machine. No shit. Have you seen Jurassic Park? Meanwhile Carl learns how to be a kid again by chilling out and riding a ton of rides. He almost moves the entire family to Orlando just to be closer to Disney World. (I too have had this fantasy in times of desperation). But ultimately Carl realizes that this is ridiculous and they all return to Chicago happier and healthier.

Sorry, Darlene.

The plot of Roseanne is that everyone in the family goes to Disney World. And also Darlene really really likes Winnie the Pooh. I super like that because I also really like Winnie the Pooh and totally had lengthy conversations with him at Disney World long after I knew he was a person in a body suit. And the magic of Disney is that you can seriously trust that it’s not at all creepy to have that conversation, even though I was eight and Darlene is like eighteen. But even this charming moment is not enough to salvage the plot.

I almost want to give the fashion point to Roseanne because I’m really digging Darlene’s leather jacket, but other than that they all look awful. Also, it’s unfair to ask them to compete with Laura Winslow and Stefan because they are a gorgeous couple. So once again, point for Family Matters.

I am totally torn about who to give the point to for overall integration of Disney setting. In Roseanne, you get to see more of the park locals, but they are pretty much just running through everything. Dan seems to be doing the Drink Around the World thing at Epcot, which is cool. But other than that they are mostly like “OH HEY LOOK AT THIS” and yet you barely see them on a ride. At one point, two of the characters even list all of the rides that they just did, but you don’t get to see those. Because of this, I think Family Matters has to win. Also, I like that they set a lot of plot development conversations at yummy restaurants. For example, when Stefan asks Carl for Laura’s hand in marriage (ugh) they are eating at that little outdoor cafe near the Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios. They also show Carl meeting a ton of characters, and he announces his plan to move the family to Orlando on The Tower of Terror just before the elevator drops…so yeah that’s some good setting integration right there.

The music sucked the most as far as I’m concerned. The only redeeming factor was once again Family Matters, which had a cool cover of “Kiss the Girl.”

One other notable thing happened in both of these episodes that I’m hoping someone can please explain to me. In Roseanne, Dan offers one of the kids a summer sausage from the minibar fridge after telling the whole family not to worry about cost at all the entire time they are in Disney World. In Family Matters, Eddie’s friend Waldo offers hitchhiker a summer sausage in. The Roseanne incident happens on Disney property, whereas the Family Matters incident happens in the car and neither Eddie nor Waldo ever make it to Disney World. (They accidentally drove to Canada.) I’ve never heard of a summer sausage before this. Am I just not up on my sausage or was Disney trying to run a promo on sausage of the summer variety?

Point Break Down:
Family Matters: Vacation Attire (1 pt) + Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  4 pts

Roseanne: 0 pts

Very Special Winner: Family Matters

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