Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This Open Letter to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Dear Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,

I can't believe that your last new episodes aired in 1996. It's been sixteen years since your series bowed out gracefully, and that boggles my mind. I suppose it's hard to realize your show ended when it never stopped being on the air. If I wanted to watch an episode today, I can find at least three stations airing reruns. I'm not complaining, having you around is kind of comforting.

I was in junior high and high school when you were on the air. You taught my generation what was dope, funky, and fresh. We learned a whole new set of fat jokes from you ragging on Uncle Phil, and we also learned to appreciate Tom Jones for the musical genius he is. We learned how to properly place the brim of a cap and the instant syle upgrade one gets by wearing a blazer inside-out. You changed our lives.

Of course, there's one other gift you blessed us with; you gave us Will Smith, actor. Where would we be without the great Will Smith? Aliens wouldn't be welcomed to earth with a punch in the face. Robots would be free to take over. And most tragically of all, we would be forever stuck with the old and busted and not have the new hotness.

When I watch your show now, I get taken back to those simpler times. The early to mid-nineties seem so quaint now, with a barely functioning internet, brick-sized cellular phones, pagers, parachute pants, and non-reality television. Yes, we've made a lot of progress over the decade-and-a-half. Time will always march forward and can never be turned back. I get that. But that doesn't mean I can't pop back for a nostalgia-fueled visit.

I don't know what your legacy will be in the next few decades, but I predict you will always be on the air, teaching new generations the story all about how your life got flipped, turned upside down. We could do a lot worse.

Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool,

Charles B. French

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