The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was one of the funniest shows on TV for a while. Will Smith and the rest of the cast were comic gold most of the time, but there were some serious moments throughout the show that took time to reflect on serious issues and deal with very real problems that can be found outside the realm of TV. Some of them were heart-rending and actually made people cry due to the severity of the issues, while others were life lessons that were quite valuable and raised the estimation of the show tremendously.
Here are a few such moments.
Carlton Carries a Gun
Carlton is one of the last people on earth you would want carrying a gun. He’s highly emotional, doesn’t think things through all the time, and tends to be a bit edgy when he gets really nervous. His emotional state after seeing his cousin get shot is one of such anxiety that his fear and his anger begin to take control. The last thing he needs is a gun.
How come he don’t want me?
The pain of a father leaving a child is something that can’t be fully explained. Children need their parents, no matter how strong they might turn out. Will is a very strong-willed and adaptable individual. He knows that his father wasn’t here for him all those years, he knows how to stand on his own two feet. But the pain of knowing that his father wouldn’t stick around still cuts deeper than anything.
It’s easy to make assumptions about people without ever getting to know who they really are. Will, being a young man and having already lived a hard life, knows the streets and he knows where he’s from. But the assumption he makes towards Uncle Phil is one that he quickly learns is completely wrong. Uncle Phil knows more than Will ever imagined, but even Uncle Phil can still learn a few things about Will.
Carlton is called a sellout.
Being accepted by those of the same culture is sometimes a hard thing, especially when being seen as a sellout. The problem with such a label is that like anything else it’s an unfair assumption that just because someone has a great life and few if any real worries that they’ve turned their back on who they are and what it means to be a part of their shared culture. Carlton might be an oddball, but he’s not even close to being a sellout.
Will gets shot.
Carlton’s reaction in this clip is pretty much true to character. If someone sticks a gun in his face and demands money he’d probably give up his bank card and recite the PIN. But Will at least is the kind of guy that will act as the shield for his cousin when the stuff’s about to hit the fan. That kind of heroism is what family is all about, even if it has some extremely dire consequences.
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was just as much about teaching life lessons as it was about having a good laugh.