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The Way the Ball Bounces is episode thirteen of the fourth season in this television sitcom on Family Matters, that originally aired from ABC on January 22, 1993. It was directed by Jeffrey Gantz and written by Stephen Langford.

Plot Edit

Eddie and Laura both learn lessons in education and sleep. In Eddie's case, he is wooed by a slick-talking college recruiter, who wants him only for his basketball skills and not his meager academic credentials. In order to teach him that education is more important than sports, Harriette invites a college student working at a grocery store to explain the dangers of putting basketball over education. Meanwhile, a sleep famished Laura enlists Urkel to cover as her so she can go to the library to study for the PSAT and later learns just how important sleep is.

Synopsis Edit

Laura covets an opportunity to get into her dream college, Harvard. So much so she decides she must study like crazy to get an SAT score high enough to meet the college's entrance standards. So much so she foregoes sleep to study for the SATs, despite Carl's warnings about the consequences. Laura's lack of sleep begin to take its toll on her appearance, attitude and health. Carl demands she stay home and at least take a nap before resuming her cram session. Refusing to listen, she convinces Urkel to take her place in bed while she saunters off to the library to study. Carl comes in to have a heart-to-heart talk with Laura, unaware that Steve is lurking beneath the covers. He manages to fool Carl by disguising his voice, and somehow keeps his cover when he asks Carl to close his eyes before giving his "daughter" a peck on the cheek.

While all this is going on, Eddie is gung-ho on wanting to get into Illinois Occidental University ... IOU! A college recruiter wants Eddie because of his basketball skills and not his meager academic credits. But what about IOU's academic program. Well, never mind that, the college recruiter doesn't even mention this, even when Harriette asks about it. She soon grows concern while Eddie and Carl is impressed with the college and its basketball program.

In order to teach Eddie about the consequences of putting a basketball career over education, Harriette recruits a grocery bagger named Sam who had gotten into IOU on an athletic scholarship. He tells both Eddie and Carl that things went well for him until he suffered a career-ending injury. Then, everyone who was his friend suddenly turned on Sam, and when he was unable to keep up with the school's academic requirements, he dropped out. The only job he could find was at the local supermarket. Sam says he's now working on a college degree, but says he wishes he could buy back some time. Carl sees the error of his ways and so does Eddie. To avoid the same fate, he decides to put his eduacation before a basketball career. This makes Carl and Harriette proud of Eddie. As he leaves to play a little one-on one with Sam, a disshelveled Laura returns home from the library. Carl points out that she was supposed to be taking a nap, but she babbles out an explaination that she can't remember the atomic weight of titanium. Laura fears she'll flunk the SATs and will never get into Harvard. Carl and Harriette comforts her and tell her it is not necessary to put so much pressure on herself. They tell her that once she gets some sleep, she'll be refreshed and no matter what score she gets, they'll still support her. Laura is finally convinced to get some sleep and stop putting pressure on herself. While Carl and Harriette talk about the academic directions their children are taking, he suspects something awry. He had just spoken to Laura, who came back from the library. But, wasn't she in her room just a few moments earlier taking a nap. He soon puts it together when he learns it was Steve under the covers and chases after him.

During the end credits, Urkel attempts to kiss her, but Laura warns him not to think about it. Then, an enraged Carl enters the house and chases after him for fooling him in Laura's bedroom.

Cast and Characters Edit

Main Edit

Guest Edit

  • Christopher B. Duncan as Sam the Slam
  • Jack Reilly as Wayne

Gallery Edit

Trivia Edit

This is the first episode that Laura suffers from lack of sleep. This would later be repeated in Money out the Window.

Quotes Edit


Family Matters Season 4
Surely You JoustDance to the MusicDriving Carl CrazyRumor Has It...Number One With a BulletWhose Kid Is It Anyway?An Officer and a WaldoJust One DateThe Oddest CoupleIt's Beginning to Look a Lot Like UrkelMuskrat LoveHot WheelsThe Way the Ball BouncesA Thought in the DarkTender KissesHeart StringsIt's a Mad, Mad, Mad HouseHigher AnxietyMama's WeddingPulling TeethWalk on the Wild SideHot StuffStormy WeatherBuds 'n' Buns

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