Have we, as a society, outgrown Steve Urkel? Have we derived all the lessons available from this long-running sitcom nuisance, a be-spectacled, suspendered nerd stereotype of extraordinarily dusty vintage? Do the children speak of Urkel? Do they shudder at his name? Who the fuck is an animated Christmas special about Steve Urkel, written and produced by Daily Show alum Wyatt Cenac, and set to air in 2021, actually fucking for?
We’re forced to confront all these questions and more this evening, as WarnerMedia announces that—as part of its new ACME Night block of Cartoon Network programming—the media conglomerate has green-lit a Cenac-penned holiday movie in which Jaleel White will reprise his Family Matters character in order to, yes, save Christmas. Is it titled, every nasal syllable sliding into place in your brains with the practiced ease of a hundred syndicated repetitions, Did I Do That To The Holidays?: A Steve Urkel Story? You know goddamn well it is.
Hey, real fast: Don’t think about a 44-year-old Urkel. Not a 44-year-old White, who seems like a perfectly pleasant man. 44-year-old Urkel. No, stop thinking about it. You’re visualizing the suspenders, aren’t you? Jesus Christ.
Anyway, the animated nature of the special precludes us having to fully contemplate that particular horror, but it does see White (who, to be fair, is a veteran voice actor, and who actually brought the character back a few years ago for an episode of Boomerang’s new Scooby Doo show) return to voice the awful little man, who “has already ruined his local celebration by publicly humiliating a shopping mall Santa” and must now “find the real Santa to see if together they can help the city rediscover the holiday spirit.” The most irritating thing of all about this is that it’ll probably actually be at least somewhat funny, because Cenac is a smart and funny guy—which is not necessarily enough to get us to tune in to an animated special whose Solo-esque subtitle suggests it might only be the first of many.
Meanwhile, Warner also floated a couple of other animated specials, including Merry Little Batman—also Christmas themed—and a new Daffy Duck/Porky Pig movie in which Porky Pig will hopefully not rap. ACME Night is also getting that Gremlins animated series that’s been in the works for years now, because, verily, Cartoon Network has complete command over the brands the kids are raving about today.