Family Matters (1989-1998)
Oh great! This was the crossover I just couldn't wait to write about! It was right on my to do list following stabbing forks into my eyes. Sorry. It's just this one hurts.
First of all we start with Family Matters. It was a simple little family sitcom about a middle class black family. Think an African American version of Happy Days set in the 90s and you have the wholesome flavor of this show. And just like how Fonzie moved from a supporting player to the main attraction on Happy Days, a small one shot character on Family Matters quickly turned into their star player. That character was Steve Urkel.. He was the Anti-Fonzie. He was not super cool, he was a super geek. He was clumsy annoying and a general nuisance. But, as much as it pains me to admit, Jaleel White who played Urkel was very good at making Steve funny. One scene at a time Urkel actually was pretty funny. But over the long haul, adding scene after scene together... NOOOOOOO!!! It's too much.
Family Matter quickly became the anchor for ABC's family friendly TGIF lineup of sitcoms. It was a warhorse for ABC for a loooong time. In 1998 though Family Matters jumped from ABC to CBS along with another ABC sitcom, Step By Step. ABC figured they weren't worth worrying about given that they were both getting a little long in the tooth. CBS was thrilled. They hoped to start their own family block of shows on Friday to go against ABC's TGIF and wanted to use Family Matters and Step By Step as a starting point. They hoped viewers would follow the shows to their new network.
But obviously it would take more than two show to fill the schedule. So CBS created some original shows of their own aimed at family. One of these was... here it comes... this is gonna hurt... Meego.
Meego was the worst show of all time. Bad bad bad. Okay, I'm sure you're thinking I'm overstating things and that I can't really prove that statement. Well I think simply stating the plot alone will prove my point. It was a cross between Alf and Charles In Charge. Start crying now. But allow me to expand on that description. Meego starred Perfect Stranger's Bronson Pinchot as Meego, a nanny who was really a space alien with magical powers watching over a family of kids that included Jerry Maguire's Jonathan Lipnicki.
Yipes! This was not an attempt to make a good sitcom. This was a crass cynical attempt by CBS to get kids to watch by creating a show that pandered to them. Screw coming up with something substantial. You don't have to try with kids. Bronson Pinchot is funny. Kids love aliens. Throw that in there. And kids all want magical powers so throw that in there. What big child star can we throw in there? How about that Jerry Maguire kid? Throw him in there. Does it work? Who cares? We got magic and aliens and celebrities. Does it matter if works?
But how to get kids to try this mish mash of fun elements? Well we just bought that Urkel kid the kids love. Lets have him appear on the first two episodes of Meego. If they see Urkel on there them kids will be convinced it must be a good show!
I am happy to report that kids have more brains and taste then they are often given credit for. Meego went 6 episodes and then with episodes still not aired it went away. The truth is the whole CBS family night just didn't work. The shows they took from ABC were past their prime. Plus CBS's 8pm block of Family Matters and Meego had to go head to head with ABC's established yet still relatively new hit shows Sabrina The Teenage Witch (a show about magic powers that did things right) and Boy Meets World (a show about kids that respected their target audience's intelligence).
If you are a fan of Meego and I have grossly offended you I am very sor... oh heck I can say it. I'm NOT sorry. IT WAS MEEGO FOOL!!! It hurt. Half an episode was enough at my house. At that point my brother threw himself out a window and I had to switch the channel before my brain imploded. AHHHHHHH!!!!Other Family Matters Crossover Links
Family Matters and Full House
Family Matters and Perfect Strangers
Family Matters and Step By Step
Other Meego Crossover Links
Meego and Gilligan's Island
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