Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seven Questions with Jaleel White of Family Matters; Centric Pulls What's Happening Now!! Marathon

Today, we've got another one of our recurring Seven Questions interviews featuring Jaleel White, who was best known of course for playing TV's Urkel on the series Family Matters (a role so popular that some people simply refer to the show as Urkel even). Despite playing that breakout character, though, he is much more than just Urkel, and we are interviewing him in advance of the movie The Wrong Woman, which stars Danica McKellar (another favorite from sitcoms past, previously playing Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years). The movie, based upon the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Wrong Man, follows McKellar's character, a wife and mother who is accused of attempted murder and is forced to go to trial to prove that she is innocent. White plays Detective Hamer, who is a detective with a definite bias.

The Wrong Woman debuts Saturday, December 28 at 8 PM ET/PT on Lifetime. It isn't the first time that White and McKellar have worked together, though, and we discuss this and more (including a little about Family Matters, naturally) in our latest "Seven Questions."

"Seven Questions with Jaleel White of Family Matters"



SitcomsOnline: Tell us a little about your character Detective Hamer. Does he actually think Ellen is the woman who committed the murder?
Jaleel White: Detective Hamer is very straightforward. He is definitely approaching this case from an immediate bias and it's written right on his face that he believes Ellen is definitely guilty, in how he talks to her and how he deals with her. It's always designed to unnerve her.



SitcomsOnline: What was it like teaming up with Fred Dryer, who was famous for playing a detective before in Hunter?
Jaleel White: Great! I'm getting a chance to do these things now that people wouldn't necessarily expect of me, and we're definitely on paper an unlikely detective team. But anytime I get place beside a veteran, it's just a great experience. We feed off of each other and I can't really say enough about the guy.



SitcomsOnline: You and Danica McKellar both were sitcom stars from the same era, and you've even appeared in a made-for-TV movie, Camp Cucamonga, around the same era. Were you two friends and how was it like working on this project with her?
Jaleel White: Oh man, Danica is cool! I've known Danica my entire life, though. I've known her since we were kids, and this whole business can be really full circle at times. So when I saw her on the set, she was just like "Jaleel!" The first time we worked together, I was probably like 13 pushing 14, and she was about 14 pushing 15. It was nice nostalgia. For Camp Cucamonga, if anything, it just reaffirms the fact that this is a community, and you should feel lucky to be part of it. There are so many people from even that cast, such as Jennifer Aniston, John Ratzenberger, to Danica, who I just continue to cross paths with, and I hope I will continue to cross paths with.



SitcomsOnline: Family Matters is turning 25 next fall. Do you think that will there be some sort of TV reunion you think? Maybe a sit-down retrospective or better yet, an actual reunion movie? Also, what was it like being the breakout character in the series that many people simply just refer to as "Urkel?"
Jaleel White: Oh, no, I don't think there will ever be any sort of reunion. Some things, they should stay in their pure raw form. I don't think it has to do with the cast not wanting to get back together. I continue to talk to some of the cast members through Facebook and whatever. The business of what TGIF was, well Warner Brothers has moved well beyond, and so has ABC, and those are really the players that decide whether or not reunions are talked about and possibly executed. You know, breakout characters don't happen anymore due to the nature in which deals occur in Hollywood, a star would have the autonomy to squash that. We should almost enjoy the fact that they did occur. I definitely enjoyed being part of that era.



SitcomsOnline: You started off so great on Dancing with the Stars on week one. We think you were eliminated way too soon. How was the experience like and was it a positive one? Do you keep in touch with your partner Kym? And do you think that we would have seen an appearance from Urkel had your run continued?
Jaleel White: Well, I don't keep up with Kym anymore, only because she is in Australia, I did before she moved to Australia. She is on that version. It is a tough show. I have so much respect for the dancing that goes on there. You know, I lost 16 pounds on that show. There's a lot more to the show than the fluff and tabloid crap that comes with it. It's an artistry, and I feel really blessed to have survived it, because they try to throw you off your game a bit and you have to step up when you have to dance in front of that many people on a Monday live. As for Urkel, you just never know. It's one of those things you could just guess about now, but you never really know.

SitcomsOnline: Obviously the movie premieres on December 28 on Lifetime, but what other projects do you have going on?
Jaleel White: I constantly stay working! I've got CSI coming up in January, I think the second week of January. There's a movie I did called Dumbells that's coming out. I always stay busy, but it is just one of those things that these things come out when they come out, and they seem to come out in clusters. I love doing these interviews, but it is more important for me for my daughter to see me work. I like sneaking up on people!


SitcomsOnline: Would you like to work in a sitcom again?
Jaleel White: Definitely! For me, it's just about doing work that people would watch, something I would watch. Even when I was hosting Total Blackout, it was something I would watch. It was something I'd enjoy going to work to everyday. There's just so much out there in the media today, you almost feel guilty telling people to watch things you wouldn't watch yourself. So whenever I get a chance to be part of something that feels like artistry, or just something I would watch myself, then I get excited.

We appreciate Jaleel taking the time to talk with us! We're hopeful that we do see him on a sitcom again in the future, and considering that he is still very young, we're mostly just wondering when and where it will happen. In the meantime, we encourage fans to check out the movie The Wrong Woman on Saturday, December 28 at 8 PM ET/PT on Lifetime.





Two weeks ago we told you about the What's Happening Now!! marathon on Centric on New Year's Day, but now they have pulled the stunt. Instead, we will get another marathon of Girlfriends instead on January 1 from 9am-8pm. No word on if and when What's Happening Now!! marathon will be rescheduled. We will certainly let you know, though if they do decide to reschedule. Perhaps they will add What's Happening Now!! to the regular schedule soon? We hope so at least, stay with us for further updates.

With the success of middle-class African American shows of the 1980's, Bud Yorkin made an attempt to resurrect What's Happening!! with the majority of the original cast. What's Happening Now!! debuted in first-run syndication in 1985. This time around, Raj (Ernest Thomas) and best friends Rerun (Fred Berry) and Dwayne (Haywood Nelson) have matured and were trying to juggle the pressures of their personal and professional lives. Like its original predecessor, What's Happening Now!! was well received in the first couple of seasons. But by the third year, audiences had faltered and the production company pulled it from the air at the end of the season.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, April 22

Bob's Burgers - "Cheer Up Sleepy Gene" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Gene gets invited to his first sleepover, and things don't go as planned; Bob and Linda record themselves while sleeping to prove who snores more.

Bob's Burgers - "Go Tina on the Mountain" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
The Belcher kids go to Outdoor Education only to have it rain; Tina meets a hermit living in the woods; Bob and Linda experience what it's like to be empty nesters.

The Simpsons - "Lisa Gets the Blues" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When the Simpsons' flight is rerouted to New Orleans, Lisa rediscovers her passion for jazz; Bart is intrigued by voodoo; Homer is intrigued by drinking.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Gray Star Mutual" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When a fire destroys Charles' food truck, Pimento unexpectedly shows up to the scene as the insurance agent; Rosa helps Amy to see that it's okay to get excited about picking her wedding dress; Gina and Terry coach Holt in the art of social media.

Family Guy - "'Family Guy' Through the Years" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
A reimagining of the show as a series that's been on the air for 60 years; a look back at the cultural events and issues tackled on the show through the decades.

The Last Man on Earth - "The Blob" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
A thermal heat detector reveals a potential sign of life, but Tandy doesn't want the group to split up to investigate; Todd and Erica have trouble seeing eye to eye.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 16)

Sunday, April 22

  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Catch Wendi on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March/April)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season

02/06 - All in the Family - Seasons 1-5
02/06 - Bosom Buddies - The Complete Series
02/06 - Women of the House - Complete 12 Episode Series
02/13 - Broad City - Season 4
02/13 - Three's Company - The Complete Series - Come and Knock on Our Door Collection
02/27 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season
02/27 - Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season
02/27 - Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest