In the 1990’s, television attempted to diversify. Attempted is the word here. But there are two shows that added some color to our screens and still makes audiences laugh years after the final episode aired.
The first show I am going to talk about is Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996).
Will Smith (Will Smith) is a young man from a troubled neighborhood. After getting into one too many fights, Will is shipped off to California to live with his wealthy relatives. His mother hopes that living away from the mean streets of Philadelphia will refine her son into a respectable, proper young man. While Will does grow up, his family also changes due to the new addition to the house hold.
Then rapper and budding actor Will Smith added an urban flavor to television. He was funny, charming, incorrigible, but also sincere with a good heart. Just under 20 years after the final episode aired, Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is still funny, relevant and just fun to watch.
The other show I am going to talk about is Family Matters (1989-1998).
The Winslows are a middle class African-American family living in Chicago. Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) is a police officer. His wife, Harriet (Jo Marie Payton) works at bank. They have three growing children, his mother and her sister and her son living with them. It sounds like the typical family sitcom, right? Wrong. Enter Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) and you have a character that is instantly recognizable.
While this show had the typical saccharine moments and “very special episodes” that often appear on the schedule, there was a reality to this world and this show that kept the viewers coming back.
I recommend both.