Anyone that grew up in the early ’90s couldn’t get enough of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Over 20 years since its end, people still quote their favorite lines from the show. The series became a success for NBC with various accolades. Looking back, five things stood out the most.
A Change Will Do You Good
At the start of season four, fans noticed a major change about Aunt Vivian. Janet Hubert, who originally played the character, was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. The switch was done because Hubert wanted the show to be about her. “She said once, ‘I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show,'” Will Smith told The Atlantic Journal in 1993. Years later, Hubert still has hatred for Smith. “He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011.
You Look Familiar
Some people managed to appear on the show in two different roles. Musician Branford Marsalis played himself and a repairman named Duane in season four. Richard Roundtree played Dr. Mumford in season one and Rev. Sims in season six. Queen Latifah portrayed Hilary’s boss Marissa Redman in season one and Dee Dee in season two.
Break The Wall Down
One of the best things about the show involves breaking the fourth wall. When Reid debuted as Aunt Vivian in season four’s premiere, Jazz jokingly states, “Since you had that baby, there’s something different about you.” In the episode “Same Game, Next Season,” the family brags about their riches. Will states, “If we so rich, why we can’t afford no ceiling?” before looking up at the set’s spotlights.
Hip Hop Hooray
Hip hop in the early ’90s was plagued with bad press from every corner. Luckily, the show helped bring the genre to televisions everywhere. At that point, having a rapper on primetime television was a struggle. “The media were freaking out about controversial rappers like 2 Live Crew, and even though Will’s rapping had zero in common with theirs, NBC was irrationally nervous about how the network audience would respond to a show starring a rapper,” show creator Andy Borowitz told Time. The Fresh Prince also helped rappers such as Ice-T and LL Cool J to dive into acting.
How Come He Don’t Want Me?
The most memorable scene in the show’s history involves Will and his father Lou. As Will and Uncle Phil hug, a female crying can be heard off-screen. Karyn Parsons was so overwhelmed by the performance that she broke down. “I remember when he had to do that scene, he spoke to me about it ahead of time, and he particularly spoke with James Avery (aka Uncle Phil) who gave him advice on how to approach the scene. And whatever he said, and acting with James, as you can see from the performance was invaluable,” she said in a Reddit Q&A.
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