“Bel-Air:” Review Episode 1-3

I’ll start with my infamous line…I want to start by saying that I don’t view this as a remake but rather a reimagining, which I feel like someone has said about this series. Yes, they’ve taken the dramatic parts of the original series and ran with that content but it works. So let’s dive in, and yes, I will get to Carlton. Just wait.

I’ll start with Ashley. I’m just happy she’s here because I figured it would be a Judy Winslow situation where should would be there one minute and disappear next episode. We got to see her a couple of times and she had a speaking part. Was it significant? No, but the relationship between her and Will is the same as it was in the original without Uncle Phil being concerned about his influence on her. At the time of this blog, Peacock has only released three episodes, but I don’t imagine we’ll see more of Ashley. I don’t know what storyline they can give her in this dramatic reimagining, honestly. I’ll keep my eyes open. Maybe she’ll tell on Carlton.

Coco Jones as the new Hilary Banks is killing it! This new imagining of Hilary is what we needed. She still lives in the pool house, she still hasn’t really landed on what she wants to do in life, but she’s highly intelligent in this series. She knows she wants her own brand and has an idea of what it is she wants to accomplish but she lacks the plan of how to get there. She’s like me, she knows what she doesn’t want, like that internship with those frumpy people from that company Aunt Viv’s soror works for. I admire her for that, and the tension between her and her mom is a new addition to the plot. They just have different ways of viewing the world and how to maneuver through it. It will be interesting to see how this evolves throughout the series.

We all loved and adored the Dark-skinned Aunt Vic, as we affectionately call her in the Black community, and Cassandra Freeman is brilliant in this role. What we loved about the original Aunt Vic (the other name we use for her) is how real she was. You could tell she was the one in the relationship who hadn’t lost who she was before the money and the big house. Later in the original series, we learned that Uncle Phil had also not lost his way but he was working on being a judge so they way he presented himself to the world was just a little different than Vic. Remember in the original, if I’m not mistaken, Viv was a teacher of African-American history. Here, she is an artist who uses African-American life and culture as the focus of her pieces. We have to delve deeper into why she stopped creating, and please don’t let it be because of Phil’s career goals.

Geoffrey…he’s the house manager in this series, but I haven’t seen him manage anything. Have you? I’ve seen him play pool with Phil, drink with Phil, and flirt with Viv’s soror. I saw him in one scene with an iPad, but what else do you do, my guy? He’s real smooth and he’s younger than the original Geoffrey, but I need to see you do some type of managing in the near future. Please and thank you.

Uncle Phil is a role that no one should undertake lightly, and I wasn’t too fond of Uncle Phil in the first episode. Well, really any episode, but he’s growing on me. The original Uncle Phil (RIP) would never forget his frat, which I vaguely remember him being a part of one. This Uncle Phil is what Jazz was talking about when he and Will pulled over. The city will make you lose who you are if you’re not careful, and I think Yamacraw has lost who he is. The only reason why I don’t say he’s completely lost who he is is because of Viv. I don’t think he would let him stray too far from who he really is despite the field of work he’s in. I agreed with the Reverend in the third episode. You can’t have my endorsement when you haven’t been around when we needed you.

JAZZ. I’ve only seen him so far like three or four times but I love this Jazz, much like we loved the original Jazz. What worked for Jazz and Will in the original was chemistry, mainly because they were best friends in real life. I like the fact that in this imagining Jazz and Will’s meeting is more organic. Jazz was his Uber driver, he gave him some advice, and they are on that “He’s black, I’m black” vibe. Bonus, Jazz is fine! Pretty teeth, dark, smooth skin and a nice smile. He reminds me of actor Elijah Kelley. I’d love to see more of him.

Carlton….we hate him. Yes, I said hate. You know how some villain kind of make sense when you hear their villain speech? Yeah, we don’t get that here. We just don’t, and I have a theory about this Carlton. More so an observation. I believe that the reason Carlton changes himself so much to fit in with his white counterparts is because of his skin tone. If we notice, in this version, Carlton is a beautiful chocolate teenager, vastly different than Alfonso Ribeiro’s character. It seems like he’s trying really hard to be exactly like them so they don’t notice that’s he’s not actually like them. We’ll see how he comes around or if he actually does.

Will, played by Jabari Banks, has that same Will Smith goofy charm. It’s refreshing. He’s not being Will but he’s embodying the spirit of Will. Does this version of Will seem much dumber than the original even though I think he’s supposed to be smarter? Yes, yes he does, but I’m curious to see how this will get him into more trouble.

I know more twists and turns are to come. Carlton’s drug addiction can’t be the only secret here so fingers crossed that I don’t see them coming.

Bel-Air is streaming on Peacock, yet another streaming service that only has one show I want to watch on it, with a new episode every Thursday.

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