‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Was Ahead of Its Time With An Episode That Pushed to Break Gender Stereotypes

by Jeremy Spirogis
Alfonso Ribeiro, Will Smith, and Karyn Parsons in

Known for its extraordinarily catchy theme tune and introduction of Will Smith to the world, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is likely one of the most influential sitcoms of all-time. The present ran for six seasons on NBC, and is now a preferred program in syndication.

While it’s typically remembered for its comedic model, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air additionally featured many episodes that deftly handled many social points.

One of those episodes was an examination of gender roles within the present’s second season titled Granny Gets Busy. The episode was thought-about extraordinarily progressive for its time, and stays a superb illustration of constructive gender relations to this present day. 

What is ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ about? 

Alfonso Ribeiro, Will Smith, and Karyn Parsons in 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'
Alfonso Ribeiro, Will Smith, and Karyn Parsons in ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ | Ron Tom/NBCU Photo Bank

RELATED: ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’: Will Smith Broke Character in an Emotional Episode That Left Live Audience Sobbing

Set within the wealthy suburb of Bel-Air, California, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starred Smith as a fictional model of himself. The sitcom was primarily based on the lifetime of one of many present’s producers Benny Medina. Besides Smith, the present additionally starred Will’s fictional uncle Phil Banks (James Avery), aunt Vivian Banks (Janet Hubert-Whitten/Daphne Maxwell Reid), and their kids, Will’s cousins Hilary Banks (Karyn Parsons), Carlton Banks (Alfonso Ribeiro), and Ashley Banks (Tatyana Ali).

[embedded content material]

The present’s iconic theme tune was carried out by Smith himself, and was produced by the legendary Quincy Jones. The present additionally featured Smith real-life music accomplice DJ Jazzy Jeff, who appeared on the present many occasions as Jazz.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was additionally recognized for its particular visitor appearances together with cameos from such legends as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey, and the members of Boyz II Men. While the present was extraordinarily humorous, it did present commentary on social points in a means that was uncommon for its time. 

Why was ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ forward of its time?

Besides realizing the star energy of Smith, the present was superior as a result of means that it examined and spoke about varied social points. It additionally was one of many few reveals of its time that provided a large and nuanced take a look at being black in America.

Many reveals of the time didn’t present Black folks in positions of wealth or energy like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air did. The distinction between the upper-class Banks household and Will who was not used to their sort of life was the premise of each the comedy and in addition offered an fascinating examination of the Black expertise.

The present’s solid was almost all Black actors, who got the chance to showcase their comedy and dramatic appearing prowess. Besides its examination of being Black in America and race relations, the present additionally touched on points like alcohol/drug use, the way in which black folks had been handled by police and the authorized system, and gender roles.

Many of those points had been thought-about too controversial for reveals of the time, however The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was by no means afraid to speak about them, and speak about them in a means that’s nonetheless related today. 

What was the episode ‘Granny Gets Busy’ about? 

[embedded content material]

Granny Gets Busy was the second episode of the fifth season of the beloved sitcom. The episode is a battle of the genders, as the lads Carlton and Will, and ladies Ashley and Hilary, to attempt to full a process that’s usually reserved for the alternative intercourse.

The males are tasked with stitching a gown, and the ladies with constructing an train bike. Both pairs find yourself succeeding of their challenges, and the competitors known as a tie. All of the cousins be taught that gender will not be the definition of an individual’s means, and acquire respect for one another.

The episode additionally reveals that men and women had been in a position to do something that the opposite may, which stays a lesson that many individuals may stand to be taught today. 

Leave a Comment