Ted Wilson Reviews the World: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Electric Lit relies on contributions from our readers to help make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Please support our work by becoming a member today, or making a one-time donation here.
Hello, and welcome to my week-by-week review of the world. Today I am reviewing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
When a young man named Fresh Prince is sent away by a mother who no longer wants to care for him, she offers only the flimsiest of excuses — that it’s for his own safety. (She works for the post office, an agency with offices in literally almost every town. She could have moved with him anywhere if she truly loved him.)
Fresh is handed off like a hot potato to live with his extended family, a family so rich they live in a mansion with a butler, yet can’t be bothered to greet Fresh when he lands at the airport, and he’s forced to take a 45-minute taxi ride. This is the premise of a television show called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Fresh uses humor to mask the grief he feels over his mother’s rejection. On the outside he is happy and irreverent, but knowing his backstory makes his jokes reek of desperation and a desire to be loved, just like Carrot Top or the late Johnny Carson.
It seems that Fresh’s zany personality is the reason he doesn’t fit in with this family, but at its heart this is a tale of classism. These one-percenters want nothing to do with a poor, young man from a dangerous neighborhood, but are forced to take him in for unexplained reasons. Fresh’s mother must have some real dirt on his aunt.
Fresh manages to make only one close friend on the show, another young man named Jazz. Jazz is as unlikable as Fresh believes himself to be, but smaller and for some reason always wearing sunglasses. I assumed he was blind but he doesn’t seem to be. He may just have ugly eyes.
Fresh’s mother could easily have abandoned him at a fire station — there’s no age limit on that — but she clearly wanted him as far away as possible. Eventually guilt must take over because she begrudgingly manages to visit him a couple of times over the six-year run of the show.
To be honest, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air rarely held my interest but not because I’m racist. I don’t relate to the super rich characters portrayed in this show. I mean they had a butler! The closest I’ve ever had to that is when I order a pizza and a man drives it to my house.
I wrote several letters to the producers of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air suggesting they have a crossover starring ALF in order to attract more viewers. They never responded to my letters or implemented my idea. Not surprisingly, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was cancelled.
BEST FEATURE: The catchy theme song.
WORST FEATURE: Fresh Prince never returns home to live with his mom.
Please join me next week for a special edition of Ted Wilson Reviews the World.