Family Matters

Season 1 Episode 1

The Mama Who Came to Dinner

Aired Unknown Sep 22, 1989 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
49 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Mother Winslow moves in and immediately begins to usurp Carl's authority. Eddie wants to go out with his friends, but he has a strict curfew that complicates things with Carl.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Not that impressive, but better than most.

    This show was a little shaky to me. Actually the entire first season was a little shaky to me. While they portrayed the family as a loving middle class American family, as far as structure, it was nearly identical to "Full House", another Miller-Boyett production. Outside of the minor differences, (stature, location etc.) this was a mirror of Full House's first season, with the "Full House Moment", a heartfelt moment always signaled in by soft piano music and a strong lecture from some adult in the house. This was usually used for the children on Full House, but it was used on the adults more on Family Matters. Overall, this show is remembered for what it became, not what it was pre-Steve Urkel/Steffan Urquelle.moreless
  • Great start to the series!

    This episode introduces us to all of the characters and we learn stuff from the past we don't hear in other episodes.

    Carl- Doesn't want his mother living with him, was reluctlant to let Rachel and Richie live with them(previously)

    Harriet- Gets annoyed at Carl for being bossy, wants Mother Winslow to live with them.

    Mother Winslow- Can be pushy, young hearted, met many interesting people.

    Rachel- Is a writer, currently working on a novel, her husband died.

    Eddie- Rebellious, bribes his parents to get what he wants

    Laura- Is trusted taking care of Richie, picks on Judy

    Judy- Is jealous of Laura, because she's too young to take care of Richie

    Richie- Babymoreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The set for the pilot is set similar but obviously different than the design of the following episodes; the front door exits out into a hall; that's clearly seen when Estelle makes her appearance. The makeup of the living room is a bit closer together than the set becomes and doesn't have as many doors off the main room like for the downstairs bathroom that Rachel uses in a later episode. The kitchen is the only set that remains fairly the same when the show moves into the series.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Estelle: What's for dinner?
      Harriet: We're having meatloaf.
      Estelle: Is there going to be meat in it?
      Harriet: Yeah? Otherwise we'd just call it "loaf"

    • Judy: (about Richie) Let me hold him!
      Laura: No, Aunt Rachel said I could take care of little Richie.
      Judy: I wanna hold him!
      Laura: You can hold him when you get older.
      Judy: When I get older he won't be a baby anymore.
      Laura: Hey, stuff happens.

    • Estelle: Why won't your parents let you go to the party?
      Eddie: I don't know! All we were gonna do is watch a Rambo marathon! The problem is my curfew is at 10:00 and the first movie doesn't start until 9:30.
      Estelle: Well, that stinks. Rambo won't even blow anything up until after 10:00.
      Eddie: That's what I told dad.
      Estelle: You know, he's forgotten what it's like to be 15. I'll handle your father at dinner. Your grandma is gonna fight for your right to party.

    • Eddie: Today I'm gonna do the laundry and after that wash the car and mow the lawn.
      Carl: Who are you, and what have you done with our son?
      Harriette: Who cares, let's keep this one!

    • Carl: Son, I hate to tell you, but you're not going to that party.
      Eddie: You mean I was nice for nothing? I tell you, that's the last time I do anything in this house! (he begins to walk out)
      Harriette: (handing Eddie a tray of glasses) Here, take this with you.
      Eddie: Yes, mom.

    • Rachel: Girls, who's watching my baby?
      Laura and Judy (pointing to each other): She is!

    • Harriette: Girls, have you cleaned up your room yet?
      Judy: I cleaned up my half.
      Laura: No you didn't, you just threw all your junk on my half.
      Harriette: Girls, upstairs.
      Laura: But mom, she always.....
      Harriette: NOW!

    • Carl: Are his parents going to be there?
      Eddie: Yes.
      Carl: Beer?
      Eddie: No.
      Carl: Girls?
      Eddie: No.
      Carl: 'Till when?
      Eddie: 2:00
      Carl: Bingo! Book him!

  • NOTES (10)

    • The German episode title is "Hilfe, Mama kommt!", meaning "Help, Mom's Coming!".

    • The scenes in the opening credits for this season go as followed: Carl is walking down the stairs with a newspaper under his arm.

      Harriette is playing the piano.

      Mother Winslow is reading a magazine on the porch.

      Eddie is bagging groceries at the store he works at.

      Laura is listening to a walkman in her room.

      Judy is playing with her dollhouse in her room.

      Richie is sitting on Rachel's lap.

      Rachel is picking flowers in the back yard.

    • This marks the only time Laura and Judy's room can be seen is in the opening credits.

    • Eddie is 15.

    • This is the only episode where Laura and Judy share a room.

    • For the first five episodes of the series, the theme song was the classic "What A Wonderful World" performed by Louis Armstrong, with a longer opening. After the original airing of those episodes the theme song was changed to the regular "As Days Go By" theme song. They made a new version of the intro for the pilot episode to feature scenes with Valerie Jones and not Jaimee Foxworth. Some stations, such as ABC Family retained the original "What A Wonderful World" intro for the pilot only. The first season DVD set features the "As Days Go By" version.

    • Valerie Jones plays Judy Winslow for this episode only.

    • At the end of this episode, the family sings "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" together, and then it goes into a similar rendition of the ending music.

    • This episode appeared along with the "Head of the Class" pilot on a Warner Bros. 50th anniversary DVD that came with the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" Season 1 DVD set.

    • This show was actually a spin-off of Perfect Strangers, which featured Larry and Balki and their adventures in the Chicago Chronicle. Harriette was featured on that show as an elevator operator. This show focused more on her family life outside of the elevator.