The unspoken rules of gathering the cast of a beloved TV show for a reunion special are familiar: Gin up the nostalgia and warm, fuzzy feels. Montages and clip reels highlight the memorable on-screen moments from years past, as everyone jovially reminisces about the time spent playing and creating together on set. If a key member is absent because of behind-the-scenes drama or personal setbacks, try to avoid acknowledging that the person was ever a part of the show in the first place, and/or gloss over any tensions that might spoil the lovefest. Put on a happy face.
And while they may never share the same strong ties as Smith has with the rest of his co-stars, she at least seems at peace. For those few moments, funnily enough, the special feels like an actual family reunion with real stakes, as the estranged relatives awkwardly and uncomfortably confront one another, let it all out and, finally and cathartically, reach reconciliation.
Thirty years after a sitcom starring a young rapper with no acting experience debuted on NBC, the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air returned to the Banks mansion for a hilarious, emotional, and raw HBO Max reunion special.
Known as Smith's star vehicle into television, and later his film career, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a top hit for NBC, running for 148 episodes over six seasons. A reunion special/retrospective reuniting the original cast debuted on HBO Max in November 2020. A more dramatic reimagining of the series, titled Bel-Air and based on the fan film of the same name, was given a two-season order for Peacock, and released on February 13, 2022.
Will Smith and the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air came together for a 75-minute reunion special on HBO Max, which dropped a day early Wednesday, and they took a moment to remember the late James Avery, who played the beloved Banks patriarch, Uncle Phil, for six seasons.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special, which also saw Smith and "the original Aunt Viv" Janet Hubert reconciling after 27 years, is streaming now on HBO Max, as well as the original series. For more on the groundbreaking sitcom, watch ET's video below.
Has hell finally frozen over?!? Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the premiere episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and in order to celebrate, the cast got together to tape an unscripted reunion special that is set to air on HBO Max around Thanksgiving. Will Smith, ever the hype-man, posted photos from the taping on his Instagram, and the first photo was a nice group shot of Smith and the rest of the cast that included Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, and Alfonso Ribeiro, as well as the recurring DJ Jazzy Jeff. The real surprise came when you swiped left and saw another photo of Smith and the original Aunt Viv, Janet Hubert. Why is this a big deal? Well, in the picture they appear to be smiling and getting along which is a far cry from the feuding they have endured since she departed the show after the series' third season.
Everyone is clamoring for that Friends reunion special on HBO Max but this Fresh Prince reunion couldn't come fast enough for me. Will YOU be watching? The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special, which is billed by HBO as "a funny and heartfelt night full of music, dancing, and special surprise guests, in honor of the series that ran for six seasons and 148 episodes," will air around Thanksgiving.
Having responsibilities is hard. Life is hard. This reunion special did what sitcoms do best : take you away from life and show you a romanticised version. A version that is heightened and for the most part happier, but can also not just serve as an escape from reality but can also be useful in order to process reality.
This reunion special isn't the only way Will Smith is revisiting the show that launched his acting career that put him on the path to superstardom. Smith is also exec producing a dramatic series reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 781b155fdc