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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an American sitcom series starring Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself, a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to move in with relatives in affluent Bel Air area. The show is centered around Smith's relationships with his uptight cousin Carlton and other family members.
In 1989, American rapper Will Smith was approached by the television network NBC about a sitcom centered around a fictionalized version of himself. Struggling on the brink of bankruptcy at the time, Smith accepted the contract offer and the pilot episode began filming on May 1st, 1990. The first episode was aired on September 10th, 1990 and ran for six seasons consisting of 148 episodes over the course of six years.
The Opening Theme Song
The opening theme song "Fresh Prince" was written and performed by Will Smith and composed by QD3. At the beginning of each episode, an abridged version of the song is used to explain the context of the show during the opening sequence. Due to the general popularity of the TV series, Smith's song and his character had been a topic of online discussions prior to its usage in trolling, such as the YTMND tribute site "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" originally created on October 13th, 2004.
Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air
In west Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool
And all shootin some b-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys
Who were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
She said 'You're movin' with your auntie and uncle in Bel Air'
I begged and pleaded with her day after day
But she packed my suite case and send me on my way
She gave me a kiss and then she gave me my ticket.
I put my walkman on and said, 'I might as well kick it'.
First class, yo this is bad
Drinking orange juice out of a champagne glass.
Is this what the people of Bel-Air living like?
Hmmmmm this might be alright.
But wait I hear they're prissy, wine all that
Is Bel-Air the type of place they send this cool cat?
I don't think so
I'll see when I get there
I hope they're prepared for the prince of Bel-Air
Well, the plane landed and when I came out
There was a dude who looked like a cop standing there with my name out
I ain't trying to get arrested
I just got here
I sprang with the quickness like lightning, disappeared
I whistled for a cab and when it came near
The license plate said 'FRESH' and it had dice in the mirror
If anything I can say this cab is rare
But I thought 'Now forget it' – 'Yo homes to Bel Air'
I pulled up to the house about 7 or 8
And I yelled to the cabbie 'Yo homes smell ya later'
I looked at my kingdom
I was finally there
To settle my throne as the Prince of Bel Air
The series was widely regarded as a commercial success and a well-written ensemble comedy, while serving as a breakthrough for Smith's acting career. It was subsequently released to syndication via Warner Bros., followed by WGN America, TBS, Nick at Nickelodeon, Disney and ABC Family. In addition, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has seen success overseas as well, including Australia's Nine Network, UK's BBC Two and Canada's CBC. The show became especially popular in Spain, where the national broadcaster Antena3TV broadcast two daily episodes, seven days a week for many years.
The series has received dozens of awards and nominations, including two Golden Globes nominations for Will Smith, a Primetime Emmy Award and two Image Awards nominations.
According to several references, the online popularity of the series began to surge on 4chan circa 2004 with a bait-and-switch copypasta based on the lyrics of the show's opening theme. Throughout the 2000s, the meme spawned dozens of notable iterations and went on to inspire musical remixes on YTMND and YouTube. On Facebook, the fan page for the show has accrued more than 4.8 million likes over the course of three and a half years.
On December 30th, 2013, James Avery, the actor who portrayed Smith's uncle as the Honorable Judge Philip Banks in the show, passed away at age of 68. As people on Twitter began reacting to the news with messages of condolence, a fake Twitter account for Will Smith was created with the following message:
The screenshot, which purportedly shows the actor and an NBC representative discussing a possible reunion episode of the show in remembrance of James Avery, gained more than 228,000 retweets and 25,000 favorites in less than 48 hours.
Fresh Prince of X
Fresh Prince of X is a series of mash-ups based on various songs set to the vocal track from the theme to the American sitcom series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as performed by Will Smith. The remix song series is derived from the bait-and-switch copypasta Bel-Air which initially became widespread through 4chan’s /b/ as early as in 2004.
To Bel-Air, when used as a verb, means to copy a story that another Inter user has posted online and switch out the last half of the story with the lyrics to opening theme song of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” an American sitcom series starring Will Smith as a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who lives with his relatives in Bel Air. On 4chan, the lyrics of opening theme song is used as a popular “bait and switch” copypasta.
Pillowy Mounds of Mashed Potatoes
“Pillowy Mounds of Mashed Potatoes” is a quote attributed to the character Uncle Phil from the television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in a scene where he indulges himself in a daydream about all the fatty food that he swore not to eat. The line has since inspired the creation of many pages on the site YTMND and has been used in several YouTube poop remix videos.
Carlton Banks Dance
Carlton Banks Dance, also known as "The Carlton", is a comedic dance routine performed by Alfonso Ribeiro on the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The dance features Ribeiro as the character Carton Banks gyrating his arms and hips while moving his knees back and forth and is meant to satirize poor dancing for humorous effect.