Thursday, April 06, 2006

Yucking it up: traditional TV versus new media

I have a new hobby: watching "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" after "The Colbert Report." I watch it in disbelief that I relied on this show for laughs back in the day. Returning to the "Fresh Prince" is like, well going back to Disney World as an adult (which I did a few weeks ago). Yes, it's fun, but the thrill is gone. Basically, I have boiled the show down to six jokes:
  • Carlton is short.
  • Carlton is an "oreo." (black on the outside, white on the inside)
  • Uncle Phil is fat.
  • Will is not Bel-Air material.
  • Hillary is materialistic.
  • Geoffrey is a disgruntled, sarcastic butler.
What's so funny about the show watching it now is that it is so formulaic, as the dearth of origianl jokes evidences. As much as I think reality TV has needlessly overtaken THE WORLD, I have to say, with such contrived precursors as "Mad About You," "Full House," "Step by Step," and "The Fresh Prince," the old days weren't much better.

What I wonder is what I ever did for laughs without the internet. Here are some examples:
and a hilarious "Fresh Prince" chat board I found today with some choice quotes such as these:
When Daphne Maxwell Reid stepped in but also when the youngest daughters body began to develop. I don't know how old she was on the show but it's hard looking at girls on TV in a sexual manner when you remember them as pre-teens. That's sick. I couldn't watch after that.

when the original Aunt Viv. left due to pregnancy and that annoying replacement came to the show, the shorter heavy chick. i loved the original aunt viv and when she left thats when the show sold itself out.

Just because the show starred Fresh Prince didn't mean Janet Humbert had to have the "Prince" hair-do all the time.

There was an episode where Bel-Air High (or whatever) had a big basketball game, and Will single-handedly carried his squad to victory. The only thing is, the gym looked like the one from my preschool where the court was about half as long as normal and the rims were 8 feet off the ground. Jeez, I think Gary Coleman coulda slammed on that one. Speaking of basketball, was Carlton played by ESPN's current NBA analyst, David Aldridge?

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was one of the funniest shows ever put on television and I miss the hell out of it! Why are there no more shows about black families on TV anymore? Also, why are there no shows about rich families on TV anymore? Why are all television families white, dysfunctional, poor, and WHITE! TV sucks these days! They need more funny family sitcoms like the ones they had in the '80s and early '90s before the world got so cynical.

Some chat board posters also make some good points as well, such as this:
For me, FPofB jumped the shark when it started to become very popular and Will Smith began to develop a monster-sized ego, both on the show and off. I mean, every episode either had him scoring with women who found him so attractive or him putting someone down (Carleton, Phillip). No longer was the show about a Philly boy adapting to his new surroundings, it became about Will the comedian/stud It also became obvious, to me at least, that Will Smith, the actor, found himself to be the absolute be all and end all of TV comedy by the way he used to mug for the camera. It just got so that I couldn't stand him or his character. I mean how did Alfonso Ribiero and James Avery really feel about being the butt of this guys jokes every episode, week in and week out? I just found that his character became so unlikable, and when the show ended and since he has become a movie star, his ego has gotten out of control.

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