Watch This: Family Matters made a glass-half-full sitcom out of black respectability politics

Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by the week’s new releases or premieres. This week: With Lifetime debuting The Unauthorized Full House Story, we take a look at some favorites from the TGIF era.

Family Matters, “Original Gangsta Dawg” (season nine, episode 10; originally aired December 5, 1997)

Vulture recently explained the rise and decline of the “very special episode” in a video that naturally took a few jabs at Family Matters, one of several Miller-Boyett sitcoms to come at the tail-end of the social-issues sitcom age. Of all the TGIF shows, Family Matters was in the best position to pull off a very special episode, given its focus on the Winslows, a Chicago-based African-American family with a police officer patriarch. To delve into issues around race, class, and gun violence in urban communities was no more challenging for Family Matters than for Good Times, another sitcom …

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