The Fresh Prince of Bel Air - A Civil Rights Analysis

Discussion in 'Music, TV, Movies & other Media' started by Warm Potato, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. Warm Potato

    Warm Potato Newly Registered

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    Have you seen the Fresh Prince of Bel Air? Its a show about a black family in America, written by white people. Because that's a smart idea... At times, racial issues were conveyed with clarity and care - like in the first episode - and the show truly shined! Still, there were certain episodes in the show that sent mixed signals or even downright - conveyed the message that violence and breaking the law is what it means to be a civil rights leader.

    The character of Uncle Phil is built up as a Martin Luther King aligned figure in the show. While other characters constantly look to Malcolm X as an idol, Uncle Phil says that working through the law is the best way to create lasting change. It seems to be a fair dichotomy, between the ideals of MLK & Malcolm X - a good show for demonstrating both sides of the conversation.

    HOWEVER - late in Season 2 of the show they give up on this message. They write Uncle Phil completely out of character and it comes off as pandering and unrealistic. For near 40 episodes so far, Uncle Phil has constantly said that working through the system is the route to success but now - he flips! He lies to the FBI about a wanted terrorist and its played off as some incredible and heroic action! Typical white hollywood writers - had to stroke racial tension to bring in the big bucks. Very sad. And every viewer could see - placing shock value first was what led to the overall decline of the show...

     
  2. ArmySoldier

    ArmySoldier Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    The show is about a rich family taking in their nephew from a poor neighborhood and giving him a better life.
     
  3. Warm Potato

    Warm Potato Newly Registered

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    Yes. Anyone who's seen the first minute of the show knows that.
     
  4. Aleksander Ulyanov

    Aleksander Ulyanov Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone explain why the rich uncle left his sister and her child in a very poor neighborhood and environment when he was well able to to take them in for several years and was apparently very willing to do so the whole time? Even if we're saying that Will's mother was very proud that doesn't explain why she just up and sent him away after one fight or why she stayed behind herself.

    Except for the fact that there wouldn't be any show, Will and his cousin should have grown up together and been much alike. A major plot line shouldn't be so unrealistic IMO but then what do I know?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
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  5. ArmySoldier

    ArmySoldier Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Uncle Phil tried to help Will's mother in a couple episodes. She declined it. She also cried in an episode apologizing for sending Will away, but she wanted him to get a better education. It was the episode where Will wanted to go home with his mother after all the sisters came to visit.
     
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  6. Aleksander Ulyanov

    Aleksander Ulyanov Well-Known Member

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    hmmm, proud w
    Mmmm, proud woman eh....Okay...that kind of thing DOES happen in real life from time to time. Still. I'd appreciate not having to so seriously suspend my disbelief every time I watched the show.

    And I did watch, it was consistently hilarious, but that was because it was mainly a cover for a Will Smith standup routine. I think what's being complained of here is that after some years they had milked the original premise dry and thought it would attract viewers back if Uncle Phil became an "activist" judge, big mistake, one of the shows charms had been that it didn't take itself all that seriously. Oh well, the shark tank awaits them all, I guess.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  7. ArmySoldier

    ArmySoldier Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Shows' messages change as the show evolves. They do focus studies to see what people like about a show, and what people don't like. Parks and Recreation and the Office are two shows who's messages kept evolving. Happy to go into detail about those if you wish.

    Fresh Prince was just like any other show. It quickly gained notoriety and they wanted to keep it that way. So they asked the public in focus studies HOW can we make this show better so you'll continue to watch?
     
  8. Aleksander Ulyanov

    Aleksander Ulyanov Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, never caught Parks or Office, just never on when I was there, I guess, also they weren't big on eye candy were they? Nice looking girls can even make something as excreable as Big Bang bearable, at least to me.

    The only shows i've really followed in the last 10 years were Black Sails and Killing Eve. Oh, and Game of Thrones, but I really wish they would just end it already
     
  9. ArmySoldier

    ArmySoldier Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I haven't those except GOT. Are Black Sails and Killing Eve family sitcoms?

    Regardless, do you see what I mean about sitcoms and focus groups? It's the viewers that dictate how the show evolves.

    I've volunteered for several when I was living briefly in DC. Not for anything major. Got free dinner out of them.
     
  10. Aleksander Ulyanov

    Aleksander Ulyanov Well-Known Member

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    Black Sails is historical and Killing Eve a thriller. I truly can't remember any sitcom I ever liked. OK, Seinfeld, but EVERONE liked Seinfeld, and was it really a sitcom? (one could argue strangely that it was the purest sitcom, being entirely about the situation and having no dramatic content at all, the 'show about nothing' as they called it; but I don't agree. It was very clearly about some comedian's strange lives, a situation comedy in the classic mold)

    Haven't focus groups been criticized as being why sitcoms are so bland, and how did focus groups deal with Seinfeld?
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  11. ArmySoldier

    ArmySoldier Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    You don't remember how Seinfeld evolved? It went from being a show about "nothing", to 3 seasons of them creating a show about "nothing".
     
  12. Aleksander Ulyanov

    Aleksander Ulyanov Well-Known Member

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    That's right, it was a show about itself as time went on. That may have been why it was still popular even at the end, it reinvented itself instead of jumping the shark.
     
  13. ArmySoldier

    ArmySoldier Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Fun fact about that show. Larry David HATED writing Seinfeld. He wanted to do two seasons and call it quits. After that he was furious that it took off and did so well.

    I think it's Season 2 on DVD that has the full interview. Give it a google. I was surprised at how much he hated writing that show...which he created in the first place.
     
  14. drluggit

    drluggit Well-Known Member

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    Liberal self entitlement ?
     
  15. Aleksander Ulyanov

    Aleksander Ulyanov Well-Known Member

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    I watched "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" just one time. Not only unfunny but downright depressing IMO, that's just me though, I can see how the show is well-written
     

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