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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

‘Do the Urkel’ at 30: Jaleel White looks back at his iconic ‘Family Matters’ dance

by A.P.

On the evening of Feb. 8, 1991, America witnessed the birth of a dance craze that put the Cabbage Patch and the Roger Rabbit to shame.

That’s the night that super-geek Steve Urkel showed the nation how to hitch up their pants, bend their knees and stick out their pelvis (we’re telling you, folks, it’s better than Elvis) in order to “Do the Urkel” — the centerpiece sequence of a classic Season 2 episode of Family Matters. At that point in its run, the ABC family sitcom was already a hit, but “Life of the Party” pushed the series — and Jaleel White’s breakout character — into a new realm of pop culture dominance.

“Holy smokes,” White says when Yahoo Entertainment reminds him of the momentous 30th anniversary of “Do the Urkel,” adding that neither he, nor the rest of the cast, had any expectation that “Life of the Party” would make viewers want to get up and dance. “It was just another episode to do, and choreography to get down. Any long-term thought that we were going to have the whole country or kids doing this — you didn’t think like that. In 1991, you didn’t try to go viral!”

On the timeline of ’90s TV dances, “Do the Urkel” debuted months after Fox’s still-new animated comedy The Simpsons went supernova with the music video for “Do the Bartman” — the hit Bart Simpson-sung single off of the 1990 album, The Simpsons Sing the Blues.

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