Now this is the story...
Rags-to-riches royalty like Cinderella may have had the luxury of living happily ever after in an enchanted castle, but in 1990, West Philadelphia native Will Smith landed on a Bel-Air throne and officially became the city's prince. WINNER.
For six seasons, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" followed the then-rapper's fictional alter ego as he acclimated to life in a ritzy Los Angeles neighborhood with his well-off relatives, the Banks. He may have been steps away from the Pacific, but he was humble Philly through-and-through.
Will's technicolor street style and penchant for hip-hop coupled with foie gras dinners and black-tie benefits made for some incredible television. And now, it'll make for some incredible MTV.
Starting Monday, MTV will air episodes of "The Fresh Prince" on weekdays from noon to 2 p.m. as part of its new #Throwblock, which also includes "My Wife & Kids" and "George Lopez." Yup, that's two daily hours of Carlton dancing, Hilary Valley-girling and, of course, Jazz being tossed out the Banks family's front door. CHRISTMAS ALREADY?!
So, in honor of the show that taught '90s kids everything from the best pick-up lines to use at pool parties to the sincere value of family, we put together a list of its most enduring life lessons. Check 'em out, and be sure to start tuning in Monday at noon!
It's not about where you come from, it's about where you're going.
Fearful that she'd eventually lose her son to violence on the West Philadelphia streets, it was Will's mother who sent him to live in a safer community across the country. Will was reluctant to part ways with his roots at first, but eventually, he made good use of his new opportunities and jumped on the fast track to the Ivy Leagues. Still, we're grateful he never let go of his sense of humor or sideways baseball caps.
Variety is the spice of life.
Let's just say it: The upper crust can be a real bore, but thankfully, the Banks family broke the mold. Under one roof, there was Will the Tornado, Carlton, who exclusively walked the straight and narrow, and the stern-but-fair Aunt Viv. Throw in shopoholic Hilary and the crushingly sarcastic butler Geoffrey, and you had one truly motley crew.
Family's always got your back.
Carlton and Will didn't always see eye to eye, but in tough times, they were each other's heroes, and the Banks family had a special talent for extending a helping hand. Will helped Carlton cope with his father's heart attack, Uncle Phil helped Will to see that he had family who loved him in spite of his negligent father and though Ashley was young, she could deliver some real sage advice.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
"The Fresh Prince" was a comedy, and each episode guaranteed guffaws, but once in awhile, it tackled serious issues like gun violence. In Season 5, Will was shot protecting Carlton and, later, had to tearfully beg his cousin to get rid of a firearm he'd reflexively bought after. By contrast, the day's typical trials -- being late to school or bombing a pop quiz -- didn't seem as heavy, and Will had a real skill for helping his clan just let stress go.
You've got to carve out your own path.
Hilary, Carlton, Ashley (and, later, Will) were guaranteed lives as lawyers, doctors or financiers as long as they followed the prep-school path that was laid out for them, but not all were willing to accept that destiny as scripture. Sure, Carlton decided to go to Princeton, but Hilary eventually went on to host her own talk show, and Ashley moved to New York with entertainment aspirations.
Don't judge a book by its cover.
Remember how rigid educator Aunt Viv had a secret passion for competitive ballet? And how Uncle Phil, a well-respected judge, had a wild past that rivaled Will's? From the outside looking in, it would have been easy to write off the Banks brood as across-the-board snobs, but no two family members were alike, and each was more surprising than the inside-out jacket Will wore around Bel-Air Academy.
There's never a wrong time to dance.
Need we say more?