Jump to content
JJFP reunite for 50 years of Hip Hop December 10 ×
Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince Forum


Recommended Posts


Will Smith Says Fresh Prince Went Downhill After Carlton Got A Gun


During a recent interview, Will Smith claims that The Fresh Prince of Bel Air "jumped the shark" after the episode with Carlton buying a gun.



Will Smith recently revealed his opinion that The Fresh Prince of Bel Air started going downhill after the storyline involving Carlton buying a gun. Fans of the beloved series have long wondered what drove Smith to cancel the series and move on to his burgeoning film career back in the '90s. Now, perhaps this explanation can help them understand what happened.

The Fresh Prince premiered on NBC on September 10, 1990, and ended its six year run on May 20, 1996. In that time, the series launched Smith's acting career. Before the series came around, Smith was mainly known for his music. The series also became a cult-favorite with audiences tuning in every week to see the antics of Will and Carlton and the rest of the family living their not-so-ordinary lives in their wealthy Bel Air neighborhood in Los Angeles.


Smith definitively stated, during a recent interview with EW, that The Fresh Prince of Bel Air started going downhill after the episode with Carlton and the gun. The episode in question, titled "Bullets Over Bel Air," has long been noted as one of the darker episodes of the comedic series, with Carlton buying a gun to protect himself after watching Will get shot at an ATM. And while many fans enjoy the dramatic storyline, Smith points out that he, and many others, feel this is when the The Fresh Prince  “jumped the shark.” In his words:

"Anyone who has ever been on a sitcom can tell you the episode in which their show jumped the shark. Ours was season 5, episode 15, 'Bullets Over Bel-Air,' the one in which I got shot and Carlton started carrying a gun.”

Smith points to this episode as an example of when "The storylines were becoming increasingly hokey and it was difficult to maintain the 'Freshness.'" Not long after this, after much internal debate, he made the decision to end the series while he could still ensure the people involved, which he called “my family,” could exit with dignity. A notion that was hit home for Smith after a conversation with guest star John Amos (of Good Times fame). Amos warned Smith to get out before the executives forced his hand, which is what had happened to him.


The odd thing is, many point to the gun storyline as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s most powerful and compelling. However, for a comedic series to delve that deeply into tragedy, it does make sense for the creatives, like Smith, to see it as the show struggling to find direction in its later years. Ironically, the new reboot of the series recently picked up by Peacock, Bel-Air, is going to be a dramatic reimagining of the series and executive produced by Smith. It will be interesting to find out whether the new show will be able to reach the same dramatic lows, or occasional comedic highs, as the show that started it all.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...