Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

From ArticleWorld


In the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Philadelphia native Will lands himself in trouble in his hometown and his mother sends him to Los Angeles, California to live with his aunt and her family, The Banks’ in Bel-Air. Coming from a poor upbringing, Will clumsily adapts to the new lifestyle, while wreaking havoc on the lives of his new family.

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Characters

Will Smith

Sharing the name of the performer who plays him on the television series, Will Smith, the character was developed with Smiths’ real life upbringing in mind. In the story, Will uses his resources to act on schemes developed to get him money and/or girls. Often, Will enlists the unwilling help of his cousins in making his plans a reality. However, is aunt and uncle frequently beat him at his own game in unfurling his schemes. Over the course of the series, Will matured into a responsible young man, who had learned from his mistakes as a teenager.

Aunt Vivian Banks

The sister of Will’s mother, played by both Janet Hubert-Whitten (1990 to 1993) and Daphne Reid (1993 to 1996) Aunt Viv, as Will called her, was a Professor in Black History and Literature.

Uncle Phillip Banks

A no-nonsense judge, Will’s uncle Phillip Banks was played by James Avery. A former civil rights activist during the 1970s, Phillip understood Will’s personality and his desire to do things differently.

At the beginning of the series, Phillip was an attorney with plans of becoming an elected judge. By the third season, he had become a judge as a result of the death of his incumbent.

===Carlton Banks===

Alfonsa Ribeiro potrayed Carlton, Wills preppy, badly dressed cousin with aspirations of attending his father’s alma mater, Princeton. Although he geared his teenage years to gaining admission to the university, he failed to gain admission until the end of the sixth season. In the series finale, Carlton gained admission.

Hilary Banks

Portrayed as a ditzy, fashion obsessed snob, Hilary was the oldest of the Banks’ siblings. Played by Karyn Parsons, Hilary grew out of her snobbishness as the series progressed although she lacked true ambition other than landing a famous husband. Hilary briefly attended UCLA, but later stopped attending to accept a job as a weather forecaster.

Ashley Banks

The youngest of the Banks’ children, Ashley was the most down-to-earth of all the kids. She was played by Tatyana Ali. She ends up as a fashion model, after a brief career as a singer, a one-hit wonder, during her teen years. Ashley was often the unassuming accomplice in Will’s schemes throughout the series.

Geoffrey Butler

The Banks’ British butler portrayed in the series by Joseph Marcell was called ‘G’ by Will and the interactions between the two provided much of the shows comedic affects. Geoffrey’s history included a career as an Olympic runner, but that ended after he was caught cheating in a race. He then came to America and was hired by the Banks’. Geoffrey alone provided sarcastic humor while pointing out the issues of low wages, Phillips’ obesity and the overall spoiled and lazy nature of the family.

Political Impact

Besides for being touted as one of the funniest sitcoms on television, this show brought light to many social issues in the U.S. during it’s running. Most commonly, the show addressed issues faced among the [[African American] community. Other issues addressed included the use of handguns for self-defense, teenage sex and pregnancy, absentee fatherism and single parenthood and alcohol and drug use/abuse.