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Laura Lee Winslow was a supporting character and soon one of the main attractions in later seasons on the hit ABC/CBS sitcom, Family Matters. She was portrayed by Kellie S. Williams. Laura's original name in a draft of the Perfect Strangers episode Crimebusters, is Felicia Winslow.[1]

Character backgroundEdit

Laura Winslow is the middle child and daughter of Carl and Harriette Winslow. She was born in 1976 in Chicago, Illinois. She has an older brother, Eddie, a little sister named Judy, and eventually had an adopted little brother named 3J. During the early years of the series, Laura was the smart-aleck, know-it-all child of the Winslows. In junior-high and high school, Laura was a straight-A student; her goal was to enroll in the Harvard Law School. She attended Illinois Occidental University (IOU), a fictional school.

In an early episode, titled "The Quilt," Laura learned about responsibility when she accidentally sold a museum curator her grandmother's family heirloom, a quilt that had been in the family for more than 200 years. Laura sees that Mama Winslow (who manages to veil her extreme disappointment) has been hurt, Laura goes to great lengths to get the quilt back, and gives a tearful plea to the curator; although the curator tries not to let emotion get in the way, she eventually agrees to give it back. When she and Carl return home with the heirloom, an elated Mother Winslow (after telling the story of the quilt) sees that Laura has learned to become responsible and lets her keep it in her room.

In addition to being an outstanding student, Laura was involved in cheerleading; several episodes revolve around her participation in the activity.

Friends and adversariesEdit

Steve UrkelEdit

Throughout the series, Laura had several potential suitors; although several of them were very nice and had nothing to hide, more often than not these young men had hidden secrets. Sometimes, it was a hidden agenda to have sex, the boyfriend would have other girlfriends or allow false rumors to be spread, or the boyfriend would be a reckless driver.

Then, there was Steve Urkel, the nerdy next-door neighbor to the Winslows. Urkel — who is the same age as Laura — had a huge crush on Laura, although her feelings were clearly (at least early on) not the same. In fact, Laura countlessly rejects Urkel's requests to go out on a date; Urkel supposedly has kept track, and counts the 1,000th rejection as a milestone in their relationship.

Although it has often been said in the series that Urkel has maintained a crush on Laura since kindergarten (when she supposedly made him eat Play-Doh), the first time that they are paired together is in the first season episode "Laura's First Date." In that episode, Laura has trouble finding a date for a school dance, and Eddie, Carl and Mama Winslow all agree to help out. Carl's choice was Urkel.

Despite the friction and differences in feelings between the two, Laura appreciated Urkel's efforts to be a friend, although this often was not realized until after Laura tries to cancel their friendship because of a mistaken belief that he is meddling in her life (such as when Urkel warns Laura about a potential boyfriend being a wolf in sheep's clothing). Urkel and Laura were often paired together for class assignments, and the two always helped each other out in their times of need.

Laura also did agree to date Urkel on several occasions, but those early dates were out of pity and wound up being unmitigated disasters. In one episode, Urkel's clumsiness, weird food likes (e.g., frog's legs) and just him being himself annoyed Laura. Another time, when Urkel vowed to hold a rooftop vigil until Laura agreed to date him, Laura finally gave in, only for the overjoyed nerd to slip from a snow-covered roof, fall to the ground, and have his date in a hospital room.

In 1993, Urkel created a transformation chamber and, in the process, an alter ego: Stefan Urquelle (White in a dual role). Stefan was everything Laura hoped her one-day suitor would be: handsome, suave, having good social graces; all traits Urkel did not necessarily have. Urkel created Stefan so that he could finally realize his dream of capturing Laura's heart. The Stefan-Laura relationship bloomed for several years, and at one point the two are nearly married at Walt Disney World Resort.

However, as the years wore on, Laura's feelings for Urkel began to change. Like the rest of her family, she warmed up to Urkel and accepted him as a loyal and true friend. Much like her father and her brother, Laura had a chance to see what it was like to walk in Urkel's shoes (i.e., getting yelled at for clumsiness and being a perceived pest), gaining an appreciation of the nerd.

At one point during the series' final season, Laura agrees to accompany Urkel to a polka festival, where — instead of becoming annoyed once and for all at Urkel's interests and larger-than-life friends — she realizes that Urkel is the man her heart was after all along. The two are eventually engaged, but not until after Laura makes a heart-wrenching decision on whether to marry the nerd or Stefan. In the series' finale, when Urkel goes into outer space (and his well-being is in jeopardy), Laura constantly watches television reports about the endangered space mission. Eventually, Urkel salvages the space mission and returns home to his first (and only) love: Laura. Laura makes Urkel promise never to go into outer space again, to which Urkel replies, "Only when we kiss" would he do so.

Myra MonkhouseEdit

In early 1993, Laura and then-boyfriend Ted Curran were becoming frustrated that Urkel was trying to meddle in their relationship. So Ted thought of a solution: pair Urkel up with his beautiful cousin, Myra Monkhouse (a pretty girl who happens to have her heart set on dating a nerdy boy who enjoys polka music). Urkel and Myra hit it off, allowing Laura to breathe a sigh of relief ... at least temporarily.

Very quickly, Myra sees that Laura and Urkel are still friends, and Myra drew the conclusion that Laura was her competition. Many times, Laura would try to correct the misunderstanding, although it only made Myra more convinced that Laura was out to steal Urkel's heart. The two had a very testy relationship from there on, even when it would not concern Urkel; for instance, the two briefly lived together and once competed for a job at the department store where Harriette worked. Myra tried to break up Steve and Laura when they started dating, but ultimately failed.

Maxine JohnsonEdit

Laura had several friends throughout the series, including Penny Peyser (Ebonie Smith) during the series' first year. However, Laura's longest-lasting best friend was Maxine Johnson (Cherie Johnson). Maxine was introduced in Season 2 and remained for the rest of the series' run.

The two were engaged in the usual teen-aged girl capers, which were not nearly as far-fetched as those of their male counterparts, Eddie and Waldo Faldo. Laura was instrumental in helping set up Waldo and Maxine as boyfriend and girlfriend. Although they sometimes fought over boys and petty matters (and the fact Maxine's feelings for Urkel were much softer than Laura during the early years), Laura and Maxine maintained a loyal friendship.

DerekEdit

Derek (played by Kevin Mambo) was Laura's date during a drive-in movie screening in "All the Wrong Moves". He tried to get Laura to have sex with him during the movie, but she hotly rejects him.

TedEdit

Appearing in the episodes "Rumor Has It" and "Muskrat Love", Ted Curran (played by Patrick Dancy) is one of Laura's former boyfriends. In the former, he circulates a rumor around the school that he and Laura had sex which both Steve and Eddie hotly refuse to believe. Eddie chews out Ted for this.

See alsoEdit


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