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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Series [22 Discs] [DVD]

Release Date:05/16/2017
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Rap star Will Smith plays West Philadelphia teenager Will Smith (!) as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air launches its first season. Worried that the family's ghetto neighborhood is getting too dangerous for her son, Will's mom packs him up and ships him out to his rich relatives, the Banks family, in ritzy Bel-Air, CA. In the first few episodes, Will's irreverent, streetwise attitude rubs his new family the wrong way, just as their snooty airs drive him crazy; but before long, everyone likes everyone else, and it is clear that the series is in for the long haul. Most of season one is devoted to establishing the characters of the Banks clan: Wealthy, snobbish attorney Philip Banks (James Avery); his down-to-earth wife Vivian (Janet Hubert-Whitten); their nerdish, preppy son Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro); their spoiled-brat older daughter Hilary (Karyn Parsons); and their smart-mouthed younger daughter Ashley (Tatyana M. Ali). Viewing the entire culture-clash spectacle with haughty disdain (and commenting on the same with hilarious pithy putdowns) is the Banks' "veddy" proper butler Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell). Occasionally, Will's jive-talking buddy Jazz (played by Will Smith's real-life musical partner Jeff Townes) would pop into the Banks mansion. Among the highlights of season one are a guest appearance by future award-winning actor Don Cheadle as Will's "homey" Ice Tray; Jasmine Guy in another guest-star turn as a scholarship student who briefly falls for Will; Queen Latifah as a flamboyant actress who hires Hilary as an assistant but only under certain "conditions;" the sudden realization when Will and Carlton are wrongly arrested that even in Bel-Air some people judge others by the color of their skin instead of the content of their character; and a wild family Christmas party in which former President Ronald Reagan (played by impressionist John Roarke) makes an extended cameo appearance.~Hal Erickson