In the pilot episode, viewers meet the rest of Chicago Chronicle elevator operator Harriette Winslow's family. The first plot centers around her husband, Carl, a police sergeant with the Chicago Police Department. He's uptight when he learns that his mother, Estelle (aka Mother Winslow), is moving in - especially since his position as the family's "Head Kahuna" is threatened.
Harriette loses her job as elevator operator at the Chicago Chronicle when she asks for a raise. The lack of a second income into the Winslow household puts additional strain on the budget, prompting Harriette to apply for an opening as head of security. Initially, she's turned down, but her impassioned speech about what skills she has makes quite the impression.
Early in the series, Harriette's widowed sister, Rachel Crawford, is a budding freelance writer who has just written a short story. She's really excited when Tomorrow's Woman magazine wants to buy the story, but no one else (except Eddie) wants to celebrate. It seems they've read the story, see negative representations of themselves in Rachel's characters and are offended that she's using her story as a way to express her frustrations about them.
To everyone's surprise, Eddie comes home with a report card with straight A's. Eddie's even more surprised, since he knows his academic performance has been what could be best described as marginal. Eddie later finds out his buddy Rodney Beckett was behind the scheme. Things soon become a matter of conscience: Don't say anything and have his parents be proud of him, or tell the truth?
Carl wants Eddie to become a big-time basketball star, and invites star player Will "The Thrill' Morgan over for encouragement. But Morgan sees through Carl's desire to live out his dreams through Eddie and helps set him straight.
Rachel decides to treat herself to a spin in Carl's vintage police car and promptly gets into a minor accident. Can she repair the damaged front fender before Carl gets home to drive it in a Columbus Day parade ... knowing that she was not to drive the car in the first place?
Carl wants to build a bathroom for Mother Winslow. Ignoring Harriette's plea to call a contractor to do the work properly, Carl recruits Eddie in an inept attempt to renovate one of the unused rooms downstairs.
Carl and his attractive new partner, Vanessa, are involved in a stake-out in a hotel room. Harriette worries (over nothing, as it turns out) that Carl will put aside his professionalism and try to woo Vanessa.
Working security at a television studio, Carl makes a simple request to actor Buddy Goodrich to move his parked car from a fire lane. Buddy is very rude and refuses to move the car. He presses his luck and is arrested when he tries to punch Carl. Carl thinks the matter is settled ... until the family learns about the arrest and won't talk to him. Later, Buddy shows up at the Winslows home in an attempt to bribe Carl with free tickets to his TV show, where again he runs his mouth off and lets slip the truth. The others then decide to give Buddy back the tickets and ...
Estelle shows off an heirloom quilt that's been in the Winslow family for more than 200 years. Despite being told not to sell the quilt at the family's garage sale, Laura accidentally does so when a museum curator offers $200 for it. Laura then goes all out to get the quilt back, using a tearful speech to soften up the stubborn curator. Estelle is impressed and lets Laura keep the quilt until it's her turn to pass it down a generation.
The episode that ensured "Family Matters'" success. It all began with Laura bemoaning her inability to get a date with cute classmate Mark for the school dance. Eddie and Carl make well-meaning attempts to set Laura up with someone. It is Carl who - in a decision he'd live to regret - sets his daughter up with Steven Q. Urkel. The quintessential nerd drives everyone batty just being himself. Even though Laura eventually gets over her shyness and asks Mark out, Urkel decides to stay until 10 p.m. - the earliest his folks want him home - and makes himself at home!