Changes Through The Years

A fair amount of shows change their structure throughout the seasons depending on the different producers and ratings of the show. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is no exception. The show started with a very basic three plot structure, but later transformed to a two act plot and sometimes even one. Nearing the finale, it was obvious that certain plots would be present throughout many episodes instead of just one. This is unlike earlier in the show, when random situational problems seemed to highlight the show. A good amount of this change probably had to do with the fact that the show had nine different executive producers throughout the show’s six seasons. Change is bound to happen. Luckily, this change did not affect the shows quality.

Besides plots, characters also changed. The most noticeable change would have to be Vivian, considering she is played by a completely different actress after the third season. Must have been convenient that after the third season Uncle Phil divorced one Vivian and quickly married another before the fourth season started! If I didn’t have a keen eye, I may have never noticed this. Of course, the original Vivian left for personal reason and because she apparently hated Will Smith. This I do not understand. How can anyone with a pulse detest Willard Smith? Baffling. Although the actual actress changed, the character of Vivian did not.

I can not say the same for Carlton and Geoffrey who have a noticeable change from the first season to the last. Carlton may stay preppy and nerdy throughout the entire show, but the emphasis on it lessens as the show goes on. In the first season, Carlton is expressed as a goody-two-shoes who would never do anything wrong and is the complete opposite of the overly ghetto Will. By the sixth season, Carlton is out partying and partaking in dangerous things along with Will and Jazz. Carlton never would have snuck out of the house to see a Ziggy Marley concert like he does later in the show. Geoffrey is very similar. He claims that he is required to call Will “Master William”. Geoffrey is very well-mannered and never cracks jokes in the first season. Eventually Geoffrey is caught saying “Willy” instead of the formally known “Master William”. Geoffrey also takes over Will’s role of making fat jokes about Uncle Phil. His British accent truly makes his insults and sarcasm even funnier. This is a move I am glad the producers made.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was not a show of consistency, but I’m not one to complain about it!

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  1. I think it is very important for shows to change throughout their lifetime, otherwise viewers get uninterested. By changing the structure and characters, “Fresh Price of Bel-Air” managed to be a success for six season, which is quite impressive.

  2. I used to watch reruns of Fresh Prince frequently, usually randomly late at night before bed, but I remember the first time I realized that Vivian was a completely different actress and it literally blew my mind. I guess I had never seen one of the really older episodes with the old Vivian or something, but I remember literally be like “Um. What? Who is this?” It’s such a weird occurance for a show to just completely change a main character and there not be any real explanation in the storyline itself (I mean obviously they couldn’t just get a new mom so there really wasn’t a possible explanation). I similar occurance happened in New Girl after the pilot where one of their roommates randomly changes and you’re like ..where’d the other guy go? It’s odd, but I guess it’s gotta happen sometimes.


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