16 ambitious TV crossover episodes

4. Full House/Family Matters, “Stephanie Gets Framed” (1991)

Like Happy Days before it, Family Matters seemed to both explode and implode after a recurring character—Fonzie in the former case, Steve Urkel in the latter—stole the spotlight from the original cast. It’s no surprise, then, that the poor Winslow clan is nowhere to be found in the show’s TGI-eriffic crossover with Full House. Nope, it’s Jaleel White’s Urkel who headlines “Stephanie Gets Framed,” a fourth-season episode in which the cheese-loving dweeb—a cousin of D.J.’s pal, Julie—recounts his own birth, trades walking tips with Uncle Jesse (John Stamos), and helps a vision-impaired Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) cope with having to wear a pair of coke-bottle glasses. Unfortunately, we have to call bullshit on his advice; if he believes his glasses make him look “studlier,” then why doesn’t Stefan Urquelle, the “cool” version of Steve introduced in Family Matters’ fourth season, wear them? We don’t buy it, Steve, and his advice to “make the bullies laugh with you, not at you” only ends up getting Stephanie in trouble. In the end, it’s Uncle Joey (Dave Coulier), not Urkel, who helps her embrace her new pair of specs. Never trust someone who talks like Mickey Mouse. [Randall Colburn]

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