[TV] The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Season 1 (Netflix)

“Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there.
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air…”

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air??

You’re probably wondering why I would be reviewing an old sitcom from 1990 when EVERYONE has seen it before.

Well, everyone has, but me. The Fresh Prince passed me by. I am a first-time watcher.

I wasn’t allowed to watch TV on school nights past 5:30 PM when I was young, and later in high school I really had to work hard to learn anything (studious, yet learning disabled, me) so I missed out on a lot of shows. I’ve caught up on many of them, since.  For example, I didn’t watch the Simpsons until I left for University in 1993. I started watching ER on re-runs in the late 90s. There are some exceptions, of course, but I missed out on a lot of the shows that aired.

Fresh Prince was one of those shows that just was not on my radar. Will Smith and his pal Jazzy Jeff’s funky “Parents Just Don’t Understand” was a big-time song for my sis and I when it first came out. We memorized the lyrics too. But, time passed, and I forgot about him. Then his TV show began, and everyone around me was watching it…except me. When I noticed a few weeks back the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was on Netflix, I decided to see what it was all about.

Will Smith plays a teen from West Philadelphia whose mom shipped him to live with his Aunt Vivian and Uncle Phil in Bel-Air, California to escape schoolyard gangs that were making trouble for him. His Aunt and Uncle are wealthy, live in an affluent neighbourhood and are raising their three children: The snobby fashion conscious Hilary, the serious Carlton and the fun-loving adorable Ashley. Along with butler Geoffrey and his best friend, Jazz (played by Jazzy Jeff Townes) Will attempts to get his bearings as he adjusts to a new family, new school and a new set of house rules.

What is fun about this first season is how the TV show tries to incorporate Will Smith’s rap career by using baseline tracks of his songs in the background of the show, as well as providing the audience with a taste of his talent for dancing and singing. This guy does have talent, and his neon-coloured clothing aside, he really shone in 1990. He certainly is fresh-faced; his delivery, very fun-loving. The story-writing  and humour are derivative, but hilarious. I will say the perpetual fat jokes are alive on Fresh Prince, and I have to admit, they are a bit cringe-worthy with the overweight butt-of-jokes Uncle Phil… who is big…. and loves to eat…You get it…

Overall, the first season of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a lot of fun. Light as a feather and full of hilarity. If you haven’t watched it yet, you are missing out!

4.5/5

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17 comments

  1. ehh…

    OK, I totally respect you and catching up on this show. No problem. I just…never…liked this show. I don’t know why. Just never liked it. Granted I’ve never seen a full season. I like Carlton but that’s about it. And Uncle Phil.

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          1. Viva la shows about pee! 🙂

            I’m glad you enjoy the weird silly stuff too. The Rush episode was just on. Oh man.

            Full points to Will Smith for this transition from music to screen career though. Not an easy thing to do.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. My teenage daughters really like this show due to Will Smith being in it! It’s true what comes around goes around! Some of it is pretty funny though even 20 years later…..

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  3. I was a huge fan & thus pleased to see it make an appearance here!
    From what I remember it might have been strongest in seasons 2 & 3, Will & Carlton were still in high school (and still with the original Aunt Viv).
    I’ll still greet some friends/family with the Will/Jazz handshake, 24 years later!

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    1. Wow, someone on here likes Fresh Prince? That handshake makes me LOL!
      We’ve started watching Fresh Prince season 2, but Netflix is having serious audio sync issues right now. We’re waiting until those are resolved.

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  4. I, like you, have gotten to 2014 without having seen it before. But for me, this is no real surprise. I don’t even have a TV, so just about everything has passed us by (unless we can sign it out of the library). And back when I lived with my parents (I moved out in 93), I didn’t watch all that much TV – I was always too busy playing basketball and reading and listening to music in my room.

    I have seen the Carlton dance, but that must’ve been online. Good on you for giving this a whirl, this long after it was actually aired. I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

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    1. Kevin talked about the actor who played “Uncle Phil” passing away, and I was all “Who?”. I missed a lot of shows growing up – up until Sept 93 when I moved out of my mom’s house and in with my TV-holic sister.
      We *just yesterday* got our new PVRs from ShawDirect. Our old ones didn’t work properly; could watch TV, not record. I had been living with a broken PVR for 3.5 years, so last night I taped my first show – the Young and the Restless. haha!

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      1. Sounds like you’re doing your catching up, though! I long ago gave up on seeing what I may have missed. We do get stuff loaned to us (Breaking Bad, Sopranos, Lost, series like that), or from the library (watching a cool one now called Americans, with Keri Russell in it. It’s TENSE). We do all the watching on my 21″ iMac, but we can go many nights of not watching at all in between episodes, even with something on which we are hooked. More often, after the kids are in bed and the day is done and it’s time to relax, we just pass out.

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