Say what you want about Jaleel White, corny, whack, soft but after you finish saying those words one adjective you better use is PAID!
Or how about PIONEER!
As Steven Urkel the nerd that lived next door to the Winslow family Jaleel White was something that America had never seen before...A Black Nerd.
On television Black characters were either buffoonish (JJ EVANS from Good Times), oversexed (Martin Lawrence as Martin Payne on his show Martin), adorably annoyingly percocious (Gary Coleman as Arnold on Diff'rent Strokes) Loud and boarish (Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson) or just plain dumb (Kyle from Damon Wayans' show my wife and kids).
But never before had America seen a Black Nerd. A smart kid that worked on science projects and had a wholesome crush on the girl next door. The show Family Matters was not the best show but it was entertaining.
What started out as a family show with an annoying neighbor quickly became a vehicle for White's talents of physicality, funny looks and the repeat of the classic (albeit hacky) one liner, "Did I do that?".
At one point White became so tall that he was forced to kneel as he called Reginald Winslow's character the father "Big Guy." Sadly, White got so tall and big in the role that the writers were forced to become up with the alternative and yes shark - jumping character Stefan Urkale the debonair alternative to Steve. He got the girl and the show ended on CBS after ending it's run on ABC. While I haven't seen Jaleel White since, he will remain a pioneer and classic sitcom character. He carried the show on his back for the last five or six years.
HE IS LEGEND!