October 20th, 2022
For the second installment of my Halloween series, let’s take a closer look at Steven Quincy Urkel.
First things first: can we just give my mom a massive round of applause for acknowledging that her white boy loved Steve Urkel but also understood that he did not need to look EXACTLY like him?
Because I am clapping over here. 👏
Urkel was a cool nerd which, at the time, was a cultural paradox. He was too much for everybody, but too much in all the best ways: he was smart, of course, but he was also kind and loyal and funny as heck.
He also created a robot version of himself and robot versions of characters, to this day, is one of my favorite 90’s clichés.
But it wasn’t just Urkel that captured my imagination; it was the entire TGIF line-up.
It was a night of the week I sincerely looked forward to spending with my family. It instilled in me the belief that entertainment is and should be a community experience; it is always better to watch things with other people, and people always make watching things better. We would laugh together and cry together and talk about what we watched together; what we thought and how we felt about it, which is what I love about art.
I remember an episode of Full House that scarred us deep, when we briefly lived in an A-frame house in East Bethel; in it, Jesse’s grandfather died, and I remember feeling death in a very visceral way that day. My mom had to calm my sister and I down, reassuring us that even though, yes, everybody dies, nobody was going to do it soon.
Kind of feel a little lied to now, but I know where she was coming from.
I got a bad habit from her while watching stuff together. Since she couldn’t hear, she was constantly looking back into the room to see how everybody else was reacting to the show; even though I can hear relatively well, I am still looking around to see people’s facial expressions and it has to be creepy and I am so sorry to those of you who have to watch things with me.
These paper glasses I wore were obviously preparing me for my infamous driving glasses, which were clearly a pair of glasses once owned by a serial killer in the 70’s that I scored for a few bucks at a thrift store.
I love the image of this kid because he is what I still am today: absolute smiles on the outside and abject anxiety and trembling terror within.
I think about everything I’ve made it to the other side of and can’t help but ask myself:
Did I do that?