Will Smith recently stated that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air began to deteriorate after the storyline involved Carlton purchasing a firearm.
Fans of the beloved sitcom have long pondered what motivated Smith to end the show in the 1990s; and focus on his expanding film career. Now, perhaps this explanation will assist them in comprehending what occurred.
The Fresh Prince started on NBC on September 10, 1990, and ended on May 20, 1996; after a six-year run. Smith’s acting career was established by the series at the time. He was well recognised for his music before the series. The show also became a cult favourite; with viewers tuning in every week to see Will and Carlton; as well as the rest of the family, go about their not-so-ordinary lives in Los Angeles’ opulent Bel Air area.
During a recent interview with EW, Smith declared unequivocally that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air began to deteriorate following the episode with Carlton and the pistol. The episode in question, “Bullets Over Bel-Air,” has long been regarded as one of the show’s darker episodes; with Carlton purchasing a gun to protect himself after witnessing Will get shot at an ATM.
While many fans like the dramatic tale, Smith believes that this is when The Fresh Prince “jumped the shark,” as do many others. As he puts it:
“Anyone who has ever been on a sitcom can tell you the episode in which their show jumped the shark. Ours was season 5, episode 15, ‘Bullets Over Bel-Air,’ the one in which I got shot and Carlton started carrying a gun.”
Will Said It Became “Increasingly Hokey”
“The storylines were becoming increasingly hokey and it was difficult to maintain the ‘Freshness,'” Smith said of this episode. After much internal debate, he decided to discontinue the series while he could still assure the people involved; whom he referred to as “my family”, had a dignified goodbye.
Smith was struck by this idea after speaking with guest star John Amos (of Good Times fame). Amos advised Smith to leave before the executives pushed him to like they had done to him. Surprisingly, many people consider the gun storyline to be the most powerful and fascinating aspect of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
However, for a humorous series to go so deeply into sorrow, it’s understandable for the program’s creators, such as Smith; to see it as the show failing to find its footing in its later years. Ironically, the new Bel-Air relaunch, which Peacock recently picked up, will be a dramatic reinterpretation of the original and executive produced by Smith.
It will be interesting to see if the new programme can reach the same dramatic lows, or occasional hilarious highs, like the one that started it all.