It’s been nearly 20 years since Reginald VelJohnson, who played Carl Winslow for nine seasons on Family Matters, had a formal reunion with his TV family.
“I love these people… Every one of them,” the famous TV dad, 65, said when he and the cast recently got together for the latest issue of EW. “I didn’t realize I was going to see everybody. … To see them now, the way they are, is wonderful. It’s heartwarming. It makes me cry.”
There were occasional tears but mainly laughs on the staple of ABC’s TGIF block of family-friendly programming (where it lived before moving to CBS for its ninth and final season). The comedy — which signed off July 17, 1998 after 215 episodes — was a spin-off of Perfect Strangers, on which Jo Marie Payton’s Harriette Winslow was an elevator operator at the building where cousins Larry and Balki (Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot) worked. (Both shows, plus other TGIF favorites such as Full House and Step by Step, are now available on Hulu.)
“It just feels so natural and so normal,” Hopkins explained of getting back together. “It’s like we haven’t been apart all these years.”
And if they had their way, they wouldn’t be apart much longer. In a day and age where revivals of old sitcoms are all the rage — Full House (as Fuller House), Will & Grace, and Roseanne among them — this cast seems ready to jump at the chance to bring their Chicago clan back to the small screen.
“Jaleel and I were talking just a little while ago and he said, ‘You know, we can do this.’ And I said, ‘If they dropped a script at our feet when we walked out of here, we would come back in tomorrow, and the next day we’d have a show shot,” Payton said about how quickly and easily they could fall back into their roles.
“Because we all have that rhythm,” Williams chimed in. Added Hopkins: “And we haven’t lost it. As soon as we’re together, it’s back to normal.”
To read more from the Family Matters reunion, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday.