The Right Opinion is the world’s first interactive opinion column. You submit the opinions, and I defend them to the death.

This week’s RIGHT OPINION: Family Matters was a revolutionary reality show. ~Submitted by DJNewStyle

Get out your dictionary, because you’re about to be intelligented.

I realize that some of you may cry foul. “Foul,” you may cry, “Family Matters wasn’t a reality show!” Give me a break. The evidence starts with the actors’ names: Reginald velJohnson, JoMarie Peyton-France, Rosetta LeNoire, Kellie Shanygne Williams, Telma Hopkins. Have you ever heard of a velJohnson? Is Shanygne even a word? Clearly the credits are fictional, and it’s the characters’ names that are real.

Paving the way for Road Rules, Family Matters placed a heavy emphasis on physical challenges. Remember when Eddie had to hang by a thread from a fire escape? He won that segment, but the others were not always so lucky. For instance, Carl Winslow once fell into a frozen pond, costing his team 20 points. In another episode, Urkel fell out of a hot-air balloon, and the opposing team won immunity. The most intense physical challenge that the cast members ever faced was having to learn the Urkel Dance, but in a dazzling display of courage and coordination, they survived that episode with ease.

Like modern reality shows and documentaries, Family Matters held up a magnifying glass to social issues like teen alcoholism, dysfunctional families, racism, sexism, cancer, death, dyslexia, gun violence, hiked-up pants, and pies in the face. Junkyard Wars is a clear rip-off of Family Matters, since Urkel clearly invented (with limited resources) the Urkel Bot, a Teleportation Machine, a Transformation Chamber, and a Shrinking Machine.

Long before Survivor, Family Matters pioneered the concept of cast members being “voted off.” Early on, it was clear that Judy and Rachel Winslow were emotionally and physically the weakest of the clan, and so they were given a dishonorable discharge in 1993. Waldo left a few years later, and both Mother Winslow and Harriette were gone by the last season. Thus, it can be said definitively that Steve Urkel was the “winner” of Family Matters. Many attribute his landslide victory to his sly ability to successfully deny responsibility for his harmful actions by asking “Did I do that?”

Incredible Piece of Trivia: The network canceled Family Matters without warning, and so the series ends on a cliffhanger — with Urkel being shot into space. If you ask me, current reality shows should reward their winners with the very same technique. And that’s not just my opinion – that’s The Right Opinion.

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