|Tips for a Better Life|
|Season 7, Episode 16|
|Air Date||February 9, 1996|
|Writer(s)|| David W. Dulcon |
|Previous||Random Acts of Science|
Tips for a Better Life is episode sixteen of season seven from the television sitcom on Family Matters. This show was originally aired from ABC on February 9, 1996. It was directed by Joel Zwick and written both by David W. Duclon and Gary Menteer.
Eddie battles the bottle when he begins coming home drunk from a frat party. He soon learns that his drinking is alienating both his family and friends. Meanwhile, in order to pay off Carl for accidentally damaging his bedroom floor with his latest invention, Urkel takes a second job at Cafe Java, transforming into his alter-ego Stefan Urquelle, and playing smooth jazz.
In the beginning scene, Urkel's new invention involving the Winslow's TV set by adjusting it's height for additional viewing takes an adverse effect when it damages the floor of the Winslow's master bedroom. Steve opens the door and is relieved that no one got hurt. Carl tells Urkel not yet and gets out of bed in his pajamas. Then, he chases Steve around the house.
Eddie's problems with alcohol and how it has a negative effect on his family and friends takes center stage in the whole episode. He has come home from a frat party and is recovering from his hangover. However, even the slightest sound that Richie makes by dribbling his basketball, annoys him. Carl tells him to leave so he can talk to his son alone. He's very upset with Eddie for drinking for the first time and tells him to quit while he's ahead since he's underage. Because the next time he's drunk again he'll be kicked out of this house. Eddie accuses him of not letting him have his fun and his father interjects that he's not against having fun. Carl tells him about roads and that drinking will take him to a road that leads to a dead end.
In the subplot, in order to repair the damages done the floor of Carl and Harriette's master bedroom by his latest invention the TV adjuster, Steve auditions for a job at Cafe Java. However, the manager hates his choice of music and turns him away. Undaunted, Urkel uses the transformation chamber and transforms into his alter ego. He gets the job as Stefan, playing smooth jazz on the piano and giving out tips for a better life. The ladies are impressed and crowd around him.
Two weeks later, it turns out Eddie has ignored his father's warning to stay off alcohol, by coming home drunk again from another frat party, singing while slurring his words. Waldo tries to shut him up because his parents are sleeping, but he refuses and calls him an old lady. Then, a furious Carl heads downstairs and busts him in the act. He's upset to learn that Eddie's been drinking again, against his wishes and came home at 4 in the morning. Then he asks if Waldo was drinking too. He says no because he swore off alcohol and explains that he was the designated driver. He mentions that Eddie was a lot worse before he threw up in his designated car. Eddie is upset at Waldo and insults him by telling him he'd win the gold medal in the Stupid Olympics. Carl is fed up with his drunken nature that he sends him to bed. After sobering up, he imediately kicks Eddie out of the house and gives him an ultimatum to find another place to live within the weekend.
For Stefan's final night at Cafe Java, he grants Laura's request by performing a song that professes her love for him. She sings it on the microphone, while he plays the piano. No matter how much of the costs she has to pay for, she'll still be saving all her love for Stefan.
The next day, Eddie is packed up and tried to convince Waldo to let him live in his house because he's homeless. However, he refuses and immediately sets him straight for hurting his feeling by insulting him while he was drunk. Waldo mentions that anyone who drinks at a party and insults their friends are no friends of his. He leaves and Eddie tells Carl that he's forced to consider living with his frat brothers in a house with six bedrooms and one bathroom. As he leaves, he immediately apologizes for ignoring his father's warning to quit drinking while he was ahead. He realized how much drinking was a dead end road for him (losing his best friend in Waldo and being kicked out of his house). Carl admits that he didn't realize how much the negative effects of drinking does to him until it's too late. Eddie resolves to never drink again even if his frat brothers give him alcohol and his father gives him a second chance living in the Winslow house.
Cast and Characters Edit
- Reginald VelJohnson as Carl Winslow
- Jo Marie Payton-Noble as Harriette Winslow
- Rosetta LeNoire as Estelle Winslow (non-appearance)
- Darius McCrary as Eddie Winslow
- Kellie Shanygne Williams as Laura Winslow
- Bryton McClure as Richie Crawford
- Jaleel White as Steve Urkel
- Shawn Harrison as Waldo Geraldo Faldo
- Tangie Ambrose as Girl #1
- Greg Proops as Cafe Manager
- Lasondra Zarif as Girl #2 (as La Sondra Zarif)
- This is one of the few times in the series when Waldo appears to be much smarter than he looks and shows that he has more dignity and self-respect than he lets on, as he stands up to Eddie and puts him in his place regarding how he acts when he drinks, putting his foot down and refusing to let Eddie live with him, stating that people that get drunk and insult him under the influence are no friends of his.