Ernie Smith writing on Tedium about Jaleel White and the 1990s cultural goal post that he created as Steve Urkel:
Jaleel White, as Steve Urkel, successfully did this. But unlike the actors listed above, White successfully pulled this off, with the comic timing of a pro, when he was just 12 years old.
Now, to be clear, kids can have amazing comic timing in their own right—Nickelodeon has numerous comic franchises over its four-decade history that prove it, most notably You Can’t Do That On Television and All That—but White’s creation, a famously annoying kid with a high-pitched voice and a distinctive appearance that you can see from a mile away, felt much more fully-formed than similar comedy creations inhabited by kids.
And that is perhaps why White became an indelible part of 1990s culture.