We all know the rap. Even the members of One Direction and I know the rap and the last episode of the amazingness that is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired when we were all like under seven years old... we didn't watch the show for the first time until it came into syndication!
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of the TV shows that made up my childhood as a kid growing up in the '90s, along with the also amazing shows Boy Meets World and Saved By the Bell. Carlton Banks dancing to Tom Jones? Classic. Uncle Phil's trademark throwing DJ Jazzy Jeff out of the Banks' mansion? Funny. Will Smith's creative and hilarious jokes towards Uncle Phil? The very best.
Then, there were those really good episodes (of the many that there were, well, I mean, like ALL of them) with really serious endings. When Will and Carlton were stopped by police on the way to Palm Springs and were arrested for "stealing" Uncle Phil's law partner's car and Carlton didn't understand why? So good. When Will's father comes back into his life and then leaves again? Tearjerker. When Will gets shot and he tearfully asks Carlton to give him his gun in the hospital? Epic. All of Ashley's coming of age episodes? Terrific.
I'm currently watching all six seasons again and it's still just as classic, funny, serious, tearjerking (if that's a word), epic, and terrific as it was when I first watched them as a kid. It's still the very best.
But enough questions and adjectives in italics, here are the reasons why I LOVE The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and ALWAYS will:
1. Two Words: Hilary Banks
"Daddy, can I have $300?" If I had to choose a TV character who I most resemble, it would be Hilary (which could be a good thing or a bad thing). We both talk like Valley girls (even though she, like, hates "The Valley"), love wearing perfectly-matched outfits (just saying), and love shopping and spending money (again, just saying). When she wasn't saying things that made her family and Geoffrey look at her with puzzled expressions or fighting off her ever-persistent suitor Jazz, Hilary had her heartwarming moments.
But, as a recent college graduate, she also reminds me of what not to do and say the next time I have a job interview:
Well, at least her outfit looks really chic, right?
2. The Carlton Dance (And Basically Carlton Banks In General)
Gotta love how he swings his arms and hips as Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual" is playing! The great Carlton Banks wasn't only smart, well-dressed, and ambitious, he was an awesome singer and dancer too. He said some of the best lines in the show and the close friendship as cousins that he and Will had (despite their constant jabs at each other) was the best.
No one on the show could suck up to people and brag as articulately as Carlton and his hilarious comebacks towards Will were too funny! Most of all, he was the ultimate prep.
Oh and Carlton was very caring too: "...it was a constant reminder of how unfair this world can be. I can still hear them taunting him...'Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids.'"
A "Carlton Dance" compilation, you say? Yes, please:
3. Uncle Phil and Will's (Not Always) Loving Relationship
Oh Uncle Phil and Will. The scenes they shared together were some of the best in Fresh Prince history and Will's constant jokes towards Uncle Phil became one of the show's trademarks. When they weren't arguing or when Uncle Phil wasn't punishing Will for getting in trouble (of the many times that he did during the course of the show), there was real love between them and Uncle Phil treated Will in the same kindhearted manner that he did towards his own kids Hilary, Carlton, and Ashley.
Here's one of my fave scenes between them... don't mess with Will, because if you mess with him, you're messing with the "Big Guy." STOP. Ghetto time.
4. Will & Carlton Going to Jail = HILARIOUSNESS.
Before the seriousness of the end of the episode that I mentioned earlier when Will and Carlton get pulled over and arrested on the way to Palm Springs, there was the dynamic duo's short (but hilarious) stint in jail. Comedy gold.
From their cell mate "Bob" singing to Will and Carlton to the pair going on TV to get Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian to notice that they were in jail, this episode was simply great. "Yeah we done it... word to Big Bird."
5. Will Smith is a Great Actor
YES, he's hilarious in every episode of The Fresh Prince, but it was Will Smith's sad and serious scenes that showed just what a great actor he really is. It so foreshadowed his Oscar-nominated performances in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness.
The best proof of this? The end of the episode where Will's father comes, then leaves again...TEARS.
6. The Aunt Vivian Battle (aka the Battle Between the Two Actresses Who Played Her With Three Names)
That battle, that is, between Aunt Vivian #1, played by Janet Hubert-Whitten during seasons one through three, and Aunt Vivian #2, played by Daphne Maxwell Reid during the last three seasons of the show. Okay, so maybe not everyone chooses a side, and maybe some people really don't care, but as much as I liked the second Aunt Viv, my pick was always the first Aunt Viv.
My greatest evidence? This right here:
And when she snaps at those two dancers...so good.
What's your fave Fresh Prince moment? Let me know in the comments below!
Follow Maureen Elinzano on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Princess__Mo