It was 30 years in the past… The Prince of Bel-Air, the sequence that made Will Smith a star


We’re in 1990: a sure Will Smith arrives on our screens, in Bel-Air and within the lifetime of the Banks household.

What’s the Prince of Bel-Air? Will Smith (himself) is a teenage boy who lives within the suburbs of Philadelphia. When he’s arrested for having tagged a wall, his mom is apprehensive to see him fall into delinquency. To provide him higher probabilities in life, she sends him to Bel-Air, within the household of her uncle Philip Banks (James Avery), a profitable lawyer. The younger rapper from an underprivileged neighborhood discovers life in certainly one of Los Angeles’ chicest residential areas, alongside these rich and snobbish mother and father he hardly knew existed. 

A few of us are going to get fairly outdated. Within the 1990s, once we turned on the TV on Antenne 2 once we got here house from college or faculty, we got here throughout the sequence The Prince of Bel-Air  and we adopted the adventures of a younger rapper who discovered himself propelled into this very stylish neighborhood of Los Angeles to dwell with the household of his maternal uncle. Additionally it is due to this sequence that we had met a sure Will Smith, earlier than he pursued his musical profession and turned to the large display, till he grew to become the world star that the we all know. 

However let’s begin from the start. On the finish of the 1980s, Jeffrey Allen Townes and Will Smith had been two younger rappers from Philadelphia; below the names of Jazzy Jeff and The Contemporary Prince, they meet with some success with their sympathetic tracks with catchy melodies. NBC then had the thought of ​​a sequence vaguely impressed by the lifetime of Will Smith, which tackled the venture with its producer, the well-known Quincy Jones. Launched in 1990, the sequence is a convincing success, specifically throughout the African-American group which welcomes it because the successor of The Cosby Present .

The story is straightforward: a dispirited younger man from a tough suburb of Philadelphia is shipped to California to dwell along with his maternal uncle’s household within the upscale Bel Air neighborhood. The dynamics of the sequence are primarily primarily based on the distinction between Will and his mother and father. On the one hand, the rowdy teenage rap fan, along with his cap the other way up and his phrases punctuated by “Yo! », Grew up in a modest atmosphere the place he gathered escapades. However, Uncle Philip, his spouse and their youngsters dwell in a big home on this upscale neighborhood of Los Angeles. Carried out by Will Smith (with Quincy Jones within the position of the driving force), the credit summarize the beginning scenario.

Will and the Banks, an uncommon cohabitation

Banks and Will differ of their gown, language, habits or cultural references, and the humor of the sequence is predicated totally on this discrepancy. Will is impressed by the luxurious wherein the Banks dwell, however can be very ironic about their life-style which he considers superficial and disconnected from the realities he is aware of. The Banks, of their opulent home and frequenting the most effective bourgeois circles within the metropolis, are perplexed in entrance of this dissipated younger boy, whom they intend to place again on the proper path by providing him a second alternative. However steadily, Will will get used to this elitist atmosphere and mature (effectively, barely…) whereas the family members and Philip specifically will develop into conscious of their privileged standing and reconnect with their origins. Every of the characters will subsequently evolve, develop due to the others.

If there’s a social facet this filigree all through the sequence, no must look far pm: The Prince of Bel Air will not be supposed to deliver a couple of sociological or political, it is nothing greater than a comedy. That mentioned with none condescension, as a result of it is a superb sequence which has delighted the general public for six seasons with its episodes stuffed with gags, comedian conditions and misunderstandings, within the middle of which we systematically discover Will. Will Smith (the actor) who performs his first position right here, instantly offers a glimpse of a uncooked expertise. In actual fact, the sequence introduced him fame, gained him worldwide reputation and gave him the chance to develop his sport on the job, in a very intuitive manner. 

Will Smith within the eponymous position that launched his profession

At first, The Prince of Bel-Air appears like a succession of skits and jokes. The scheme and the comedic springs are at all times the identical, the sequence repeating them again and again within the context of house or faculty. Along with his propensity to get into hassle, his nonconformity in regards to the atmosphere he is been in and his style for pranks, Will does one thing silly, loses management of the scenario, and he finally ends up doing it. as a result of he is sensible, or as a result of Uncle Phillip intervenes. The plot of the totally different episodes is at all times mild, with out controversy and within the tone of pure comedy, even when some delicate topics have been mentioned – resembling racism, the abandonment of Will by his father (a very shifting episode) , medication or alcohol.

Whereas the construct stays largely the identical over the seasons, Will’s character evolves as his relationship with household calms down, turns into extra tender, and as every takes a step towards the opposite, the bond and the love substitute the preliminary misunderstanding and distrust. And this, even when Will at all times simply taunts the household – beginning along with his uncle Phillip (glorious James Avery). Authority determine, extreme however capable of present understanding and loving, he’s particularly ridiculed by his nephew for his chubby, but in addition for his gentrification.

Aunt Vivian was first performed by Janet Hubert for the primary three seasons. As a consequence of disagreements with the writers and contract points, she left the present and was changed by Daphne Maxwell-Reid, with the substitution giving rise to no clarification within the story – apart from a really humorous scene. the place Jazz is stunned on the change of look of the aunt earlier than shifting on.

Will’s favourite goal, nevertheless, stays his cousin Carlton, a classy and posh younger man, golden boy along with his little cashmere sweater on his shoulders, who tends to take him down and contemplate him a little bit thug. Over the seasons, Will and his cousin will nevertheless develop into nearer and even accomplices in every kind of nonsense and misadventures. Carlton is the opposite go-to determine within the Prince of Bel Air: his interactions with Will lead to among the most hilarious scenes within the sequence, and the character is performed superbly by Alfonso Ribeiro. After which there may be Carlton’s  dance  ” (above), a recurring and unavoidable sequence that may simply be described as cult and that no spectator will ever neglect.

The opposite youngsters within the household, the eldest Hilary (Karyn Parsons) and little Ashley (Tatyana M Ali) have extra secondary roles. The primary is a reasonably superficial spoiled woman, who interacts little with the hero; however, the youngest, mischievous child, turns into like a little bit sister for Will, who takes her below his wing. Lastly, two essential figures full the image. First the butler Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell): drawn with 4 pins and with a so British accent, he intervenes repeatedly by launching a lapidary sentence that cuts short any dialogue by suggesting that, regardless of all their efforts, the Banks stay a household of nouveau riche upstarts. Then Jazz, Will’s greatest buddy,  

Constructing on its reputation in the USA, The Prince of Bel-Air has additionally hosted many prestigious friends resembling Tom Jones, Dr Dre, the legendary BB King, Tyra Banks, William Shatner, Conrad Bain and Gary Colman (The Mr . Drummond and Arnold from Arnold and Willy ) and even animators Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey.

From 1995, Will Smith’s profession actually started to take off due to the Dangerous Boys and Independence Day movies . Captured by his new cinematographic actions, the actor asks to depart the sequence however lastly agrees to shoot a final season to correctly conclude the story. The conclusion in query is so simple as it’s apparent: the youngsters have grown up, they’re leaving the home and the mother and father are placing the mansion up on the market, whereas Will strikes right into a small condominium. The tip is subsequently nothing particular, however it’s logical and above all candy and filled with optimism since everybody continues the course of his life … And Will Smith, his profession within the cinema – for our biggest pleasure.

Launched in 1990, The Prince of Bel-Air is a sequence that viewers typically check with with affection and a smile on their face. With its easy and efficient screenplay, its ubiquitous humor, its cult scenes and the sympathy capital of Will Smith, it additionally propelled the actor in direction of the profession that can make him a mega star. Little question those that watched the sequence on the time keep in mind the dance of Carlton, the credit of the sequence or the acrobatic releases of Jazz… And we wager that the credit have a style of madeleine of Proust to the tunes of rap . 

The Prince of Bel Air (NBC)
6 seasons – 148 episodes of roughly 25 ′.
Out there on Netflix.