The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Christmas Show

c9df4f74b38b4aa0d7c9f6e137bce254Will and his extended family are hitting the slopes for the holidays, which Will says is “for white guys named Sven and OJ Simpson” (because this was back when people thought OJ Simpson was delightful and hadn’t yet realized he is a colossal turd person). They’re all driving separately to the airport (omg please say this is going to turn into a Home Alone episode) and Uncle Carl hands out the tickets in advance.

Hilary is horrified to learn that the tickets are coach. I don’t know if any of you flew coach in 1991 (and granted my legs were a lot shorter back then) but I remember the seats being a LOT roomier. I shudder to think what Hilary would say if she got a coach class ticket these days. She’d probably opt to stay in Bel-Air and skip out on the ski trip all together.

The whole extended family goes skiing. Even Will’s mom join them. When they all meet up at the rental house (where sadly, Carl is left without a bedroom because of some kind of rental mixup) Will is horrified to learn that his mother has a boyfriend. She won’t share much info about the new relationship.

Later on, a man knocks on the door of their chalet and asks to use the phone. Carlton invites him in, but Will shuts the door in his face. Everyone tells Will he is being callous, but I get it. YOU DON’T KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE! Will says, “unless he is on a mule with a pregnant virgin he ain’t getting in here.” Aw, Christmas jokes, guys!

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Will gets out voted and they let the guy in. He doesn’t immediately kill them and because this is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and not Dateline he probably won’t. OH MY GOSH HE HOLDS THEM UP. DUDE PULLS OUT A GUN.

To all the haters who judge a healthy dose of paranoia, let this be a lesson to you.

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The thief take literally everything, including some toilet paper and a used pregnancy test. Uh. Okay. They better be sending the Special Victims Unit when the cops respond to this because what the actual f***(this is a family blog…well not really…).

With no gifts and no possessions, the family gives each other the present of their presences. They go around the table and say what they plan to do for their families and how these commitments will be their Christmas gifts. They plan to spend more time together, listen to each other more, and be more like the best qualities that they recognize in each other. Ugh, I’m tearing up. The holidays, dammit.

Then they all sing “Oh Holy Night.” It’s pretty. (Carlton wanted to sing a solo. They act like he cannot sing but Alfonso Ribeiro has a lovely voice. But they all sound great together too.)

Very Special Holiday Lesson: The best gifts are immaterial.

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Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Someday Your Prince Will Be in Effect

This is a two-part Halloween episode. That’s serious business. But Amazon lied to me and told me Part II was really part I. So what follows is Part II plus what I’ve filled in from Part I:

Carlton and Will have some kind of a bet over who can be the first to find a date for Hillary’s Halloween party. This all boils down to them fighting over the same girl. That feels pretty unrealistic, but we’ll go with it. This mostly consists of them insulting each other in front of this poor girl who should not be considering either one of them at this point. Carlton even uses the R word as an insult (my, how far we have come since the 90’s).

Meanwhile, Hillary has been falsely arrested for shoplifting while she and the rest of the family attempt to find Halloween costumes. It seems pretty ridiculous that fashionista Hillary would wait until the day of a party to find an outfit, but whatever.

Will and Carlton have reached a stalemate in trying to win this girl’s affections, so they start flat-out lying to her. Will describes a “typical” night with him, which involves hanging out with Bo Jackson and Heavy D. Plus, Malcolm Jamal-Warner calls him from the set of The Cosby Show and asks for dating advice. Oh and then Quincy Jones shows up and begs him to sing on a track. But the Fresh Prince is too busy, so he calls his buddy Al B. Shure to fill in for him. Just as Al B. Shure and Quincy Jones are leaving, they talk about how they have to be sure not to miss A Different World–which is so convenient because Kadeem Hardison just happens to be hanging out at Will’s house!

Carlton can’t follow Will’s story at all, so he’s just like “come to the party with me.” And the girl is like well, I’m just more attracted to Carlton. So there you have it. Carlton won out over Will for like the one time ever in history. They all head to the party, and Hillary (who has been released from mall-jail) has invited the mall cop to party with them. Everything seems great for Carlton and crappy for Will (he invited a waitress from the mall to be his date, but she hasn’t shown up). But Carlton can’t really win anything, so it turns out that his date is actually the shoplifter that the mall cop was searching for. She’s also a kleptomaniac who was about to rob them out of house and home.

And then Will’s date shows up as this gorgeous, perfect, real-life but also dressed-up as Cinderella. She lives in Encino with her step-mother and step-sisters. They have a great time and Carlton is miserable. Balance is restored to the Fresh Prince’s world. But the story isn’t over yet. A group of trick-or-treaters show up after they’ve run out of candy. They’re so late because they’ve been watching Matlock. So Will just invites a random group of children into his home and tells them a “scary story” about the “Bel-Air Beast,” which is clearly a description of Carlton. Then all of the children run from the house when Carlton walks into the room. Poor guy, he must have developed some serious self-esteem issues when Will moved-in.

Halloween Lesson: Don’t pick up randos at the mall, be careful not to be mistaken for a shoplifter–and if you’re going to a 90’s Halloween Party, always remember the best costume is grapes.

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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: There’s the Rub

Carlton and Hilary volunteer at a homeless shelter on Thanksgiving, but they are only doing it to serve their own needs. Carlton wants the volunteer service for his college application and Hilary wants to film the experience for her talk show. Carlton picks a fight with a young homeless Brad from Home Improvement. Brad puts him in his place for being so stuck up, but then he says he was only kidding. I think Carlton is really humbled either way.Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 2.55.17 PM

Hillary gets annoyed at manual labor and starts clearing plates before people are done eating, then she is totally shocked and horrified when they run out of food. When she finds out that the supervisor who has been bossing her around is not some holier-than-thou volunteer, but rather a homeless woman, she realizes she has been a big jerk.

Meanwhile, Will takes Uncle Phil to a massage parlor after he throws out his back. They get arrested after they’re surprised to learn it’s, erm, not the kind of massage parlor they expected. In jail, Uncle Phil settles in to eat a prison Thanksgiving dinner and is only moved to tell of the detective when Will starts to wax on about the delicious meal that they are missing. He only lightly played the judge card when they were arrested, but missing out on the “little tiny onions” in cream sauce moves him to provide a litany of procedural errors that could cost the detective his job unless he gets the D.A. on the phone immediately. Pretty soon there after, Will and Uncle Phil get to go home.

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 4.57.56 PMCarlton and Hillary realize that they really do want to help the homeless, so they return to the shelter with a catered candlelight dinner. When the camera crew finally shows up, Hillary sends them away because she doesn’t want to exploit the homeless anymore. I guess she didn’t think of turning it into a public interest piece that might actually help the homeless. Oh well.

Very Special Lesson: Catering a candlelight supper for one night is far better than feeding the homeless for many nights.

Very Thanksgiving Activity: I have had the opportunity to volunteer at a couple of food pantries in the past. I can say firsthand that food pantries are often the first way to help underserved populations connect with the resources they need to improve their circumstances. Food pantries cannot operate without grants and donations from area food banks, many of which come from individual donations. If you really want to help this Thanksgiving or ever, I suggest finding your local food bank and making a donation: http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Hex and the Single Guy

This episode starts off on Halloween morning with everyone chatting about how mopey Hilary has been ever since her fiancee died, and when will she just let it go? I know, right. Hilary is so unreasonable being bummed about the fact that she’s lost the person she’s supposed to spend the rest of her life with. It has been two whole months since Trevor died in a bungee jumping accident, so it is clearly time to move on. It is so like her to be melodramatic and whiney! Thankfully, hope is on the horizon because Hilary has a date! Everyone is so excited for her, until they find out that her date is with dead Trevor. It turns out that Hilary has paid for a seance so that she can talk to her dead lover, and she needs the family to go with her to help her conjure his spirit.Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.44.39 PM Also, Carlton dresses up as his idol, Macaulay Culkin.

At the seance, lead by a medium played by Glenn Shadix of Heathers and Beetlejuice, Hilary decides that the most important thing to ask Trevor where she left her black suede purse. While the medium/Trevor attempts to answer her, Will decides the entire thing is ridiculous and breaks the spiritual chain. The medium tells them that they will have to comeback tomorrow if they want to speak to Trevor again, and Will calls him a fake.

Naturally, the medium curses him and the entire family. No one takes this curse seriously (duh, the guy is a fake) until Uncle Phil gets a phone call and learns that he has been suspended from the bench due to taking bribes. Now, Uncle Phil is an upstanding dude who would never take bribes, but they have proof. The curse strikes again when Carlton’s hair turns into a rainbow color (which could be a by-product of his Macaulay Culkin hair color) and Ashley is attacked by a malfunctioning Tennis ball machine. Oh and also Jeffrey the butler (whose last name is Butler) gets arrested for being an illegal immigrant. When Hilary is about to marry DJ Jazzy Jeff, Will realizes he needs to go back to the medium and set things right.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.46.46 PMHowever, the medium’s house does not seem to be the same as it was before. In fact, the medium does not seem to be a medium either. He is just an average man who has never seen Will and assumes he is trying to rob him (you can take the Fresh Prince out of West Philly…) Then Will cries and shouts at him to “break the hex” only to wake up from a nightmare. Oh my gosh you guys, don’t worry. It is just a dream! Except that Will wakes up and he is reliving the same exact day/dream/what?? This is some kind of transcendental-metaphysical-Groundhog Day shit and Will cannot do anything to change the conversation! But I do appreciate that he names all of the members of New Edition in the exact order that Ralph Tresvant does during the rap portion of “Cool It Now.” Better luck next time Will.

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Halloween Lesson: Do not anger the spirits. Whatever you do, do not anger the spirits.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Just Say Yo

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 4.30.15 PMIt’s prom season in Bel-Air and Will is juggling a lot of activities. He’s working a job, playing basketball, studying, and trying to make time for his girlfriend, Cindy. His cousin Carlton, meanwhile, is upset because he has to deal with a pimple. Poor Will is basically falling asleep standing up, so a teammate offers Will  some Speed (which he calls “freeze dried coffee”) to help him have enough energy to get everything done. I think we all know how bad actual dehydrated coffee can be, Jessie’s Song aired 3 years prior, so if caffeine can be that intense then Speed must be really bad.

Just because Will is from a broken home in west Philly, doesn’t mean that Will is going to make poor decisions. He does not take the pills and instead falls asleep at the prom. Carlton, however, does take the Speed—by accident. He is still very distraught about his pimple and mistakenly thinks that the pills are some sort of extra-strength Vitamin E that will immediately clear up his face-situation. This leads to a lot of frantic dancing. Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 4.29.39 PM

Eventually, Carlton passes out and Will takes him to the hospital. Carlton awakes to learn that he has had his stomach pumped. The nurse tells him he is going to be fine, but he must to stay overnight in the “chemical dependency unit,” which is standard procedure for all substance abusers. Will and Carlton try to talk their way out of this, but the nurse (who used to be a drug addict) won’t hear it. Will’s aunt and uncle praise Will’s good thinking, but he feels guilty because he had the pills in his locker to begin with. It’s still pretty clearly Carlton’s fault for taking unmarked pills, but Will’s conscience gets the better of him and he confesses to his uncle that he had the pills in his locker.

As per usual, Uncle Phil yells at Will and is all like, “My son could have died because of you.” When really it’s like, no your son could have died because he is an idiot and took random pills. Why would Will have unmarked Vitamin E tablets in his locker anyway? He’s the Fresh Prince, he doesn’t get pimples!

Anyway, Uncle Phil makes Will cry and apologize to the entire family, while Carlton nods along like “yeah, you could have killed me.”

Very Special Lesson: If someone breaks into your locker and poisons themselves with something they found the you in no one encouraged them to ingest, then it’s all your fault if they almost die.