The Banks family, a respectable Californian family, take in a relative - Will Smith, a street-smart teenager from Philadelphia. The idea is to make him respectable, responsible and mature, but Will has got other plans...
A teenaged genius deals with the usual problems of growing up: having a girlfriend, going to parties, hanging out with his best friend, all this on top of being a licensed physician in a ... See full summary »
Neil Patrick Harris,
When Will, an inner-city teenager from Philly is sent by his mother to live with his relatives (the Banks') in Bel-Air, everybody is in for a surprise. It is funny how influence can go both ways... Written by
Steve Richer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The part of Aunt Vivian Banks was portrayed by two different actresses during the series run. 'Janet Hubert-Whitten' portrayed the original Vivian during seasons 1-3, but growing problems between Will Smith, the producers, and Hubert-Whitten caused her to depart in 1994. The producers offered Hubert-Whitten a 12/25 contract for season four, but she declined. Daphne Maxwell Reid replaced her in the role from 1994-1996, seasons 4-6. See more »
In the episode where Hillary obtains a job as a caterer there is a scene where Hillary is talking to the assembled group of her family. In this scene Will's apron disappears and reappears during shots. See more »
[a pretty girl walks into the room]
Ooh, special bulletin. Hormones to Will, hormones to Will.
See more »
For a couple of episodes, the show was entitled 'The Fresh Prince of Philidelphia???' for when Will decided to stay in Philly. See more »
I like to think of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" as a memorable rap song from a time when it wasn't afraid to be creative or witty. Think of a song by Public Enemy, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, or hell, even The Fresh Prince's duo with DJ Jazzy Jeff (who guest stars frequently as Jazz), as the two were known back in rap's Golden Age as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.
Of course, this show flourished during a time when rap was still good, and I can't help but make comparisons to the hip-hop community. There is no question that Will Smith is a born entertainer, and he got his break in stardom outside of hip-hop with "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." In it, Will Smith pretty much plays Will Smith (I bet creators Andy and Susan Borowitz had a lot of difficulty thinking up that name), a Philadelphia ghetto youth who gets shipped out by his mother to the posh excess of Bel-Air to live with relatives - The Banks.
Once out there, he finds rivalry with cousins - the preppy Carlton and airheaded would-be blonde Hilary Banks (Alfonso Ribiero and Karyn Parsons), young cousin Ashley (Tatyana M. Ali) emulates Will's hip-hop attitude, and Aunt Vivian (alternately played by actresses Janet Hubert-Whitten and Daphne Maxwell Reid) keeps husband and successful lawyer Uncle Phil's (James Avery) head cool when Will gets into trouble. To keep everything tidy and in order, their loyal, sarcastic British butler Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell) is there too.
It's still fresh after all these years. It never fails to stir up careful, thoughtful, moving, and intelligent laughs from the viewer and I'm surprised I avoided it for so long. (Why do I do this to myself all the time?)
The acting is cool and fresh by all, especially from Smith, and the ladies of the house, Karyn and Tatyana, are both pretty cute to look at too.
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