The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot is exactly what society doesn’t need right now
Another day, another reboot. Recent cultural lightning rod Will Smith has teamed up with West Philly guy Jabari Banks to reboot “The Fresh Prince.” Entitled “Bel-Air,” the show has been marketed as a grittier version of the original. Great, I’ve never heard that one before!
The hour-long “Bel-Air” will premiere on Peacock (of course) right after the Super Bowl. A one-minute teaser was released right before Thanksgiving, which I’m not sure how I missed. The most likely story is that I watched it and turned right to the bottle.
Before I tear into it too much, go ahead and give it a watch if you so choose:
Goddammit, I am still cringing so hard at this. I’m a huge “Fresh Prince” fan, but this teaser hurt both my eyes and my spirit. Will Smith’s dramatic reading of the theme song really takes the whole experience to a lower ring of hell.
I mean, the opening shot alone damn near gave me an aneurysm.
Maybe I’m being unfair. It is only a one-minute promo clip, after all. And admittedly, I went into it wanting to hate it, an endeavor in which I was successful. So, scratch that, I’m definitely being unfair. It’s what I do.
At the same time, though, you have to look at the greater context of entertainment these days. There are so many reboots these days that it sometimes feels like there are hardly any new stories being told.
There is more content out there than ever before, giving us an unprecedented array of choices, but I think a large percentage of it is content for content’s sake.
This “Bel-Air” reboot falls into that category for me. This isn’t even a shot at the people making it, but more the direction of the industry in general.
Why make “Bel-Air” when you could make something totally new?
The creators could easily tell the stories they want to by distilling the themes they want to focus on and writing a new script. But, instead, they’ve opted to continue the streak of reboots nobody asked for.
Seeing as Smith and his “wife” Jada are producers on the project, I’m sure elevating their personal brand is an important factor. Plus, it’s easier to keep the framework intact and just remodel the facade instead of rebuilding the whole thing.
Who knows, I could be totally wrong. “Bel-Air” might end up as a smash hit that delivers searing commentary on modern American life through a recognizable lens from our youth. Or, it’ll blow fucking chunks.
We’ll just have to wait until after the Super Bowl to find out.
Mandatory Credit: Peacock