A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Family and friendship are celebrated and are at core of documentary. Discussions about what makes a fun but productive working environment. Communication is key to resolving disputes. Multiple references to some of the positive messages and themes on the show -- e.g., sticking together as a family, learning from each other, compassion.
Positive Role Models
All-Black cast reminisce and regale with amusing tales about their time on the show. They discuss importance of being just one of three "Black shows" on TV at the time, how their characters were positive role models. They talk about how they came to feel like a family, replicating the one played on-screen. All the cast are open with their emotions, laughing and crying. Will Smith seeks the opportunity to make amends with former cast member Janet Hubert. They discuss their relationship honestly and openly, seeing from each other's perspectives. Hubert calls Smith out for calling her a "difficult woman," which she says led to damaging stereotypical assumptions being made about her.
Violence & Scariness
In various clips from the original show, characters are seen being thrown out of doors, hit behind the back of the head, having pillow fights. After a minor explosion, a character falls dramatically down the stairs. A character places a gun on someone's hospital bed. Reference to earthquakes, being shot by the police, the death of a pet. The cast reminisce about a fellow actor who died. Actor briefly discusses being in an abusive marriage.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married couple seen kissing and hugging. Two young characters share a kiss; the actor says it was her "first kiss."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language is rare but there is one use of the racist terms "darkie" and the "N" word. Also "damn," "dammit," "Jesus," "hell," and "oh my God."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Bel-Air setting is grand, with the set replicating a luxury mansion. Actors discuss receiving and wearing expensive clothing items, some of which hadn't even been made available to the public. Reference to TikTok.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief reference to someone being drunk at their birthday. Scenes include characters drinking Champagne. Other alcoholic beverages are seen on a dining table.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion is a one-off TV special that reunites the original cast, who exchange stories and memories from their time on the show. Some of the clips from the show depict slapstick violence, such as being thrown out of the house, falling down the stairs, and being smacked 'round the back of the head. A gun is briefly seen, and there is a reference to being shot by the police. In the real world, there is also a brief mention of an abusive marriage, and the death of actor James Avery is discussed at length, causing many tears to be shed. There is one single use of the "N" word and the racist term "darkie," used when Tatyana Ali is telling a story. There are also multiple uses of "oh my God" and "damn." Central star Will Smith, along with his fellow cast members, discuss how their characters were positive role models and the important fact that their show was "just one of three Black shows on TV at the time." There's a chance for Smith and former cast member Janet Hubert to resolve their relationship, achieved by listening, communicating, and understanding each other's positions. The set is re-created to replicate a luxury Bel-Air mansion, and the actors discuss wearing expensive items of clothing, name-checking some brands. Fans of the original show will get the most from this documentary, but so likable is the cast that viewers unfamiliar with The Fresh Prince may be drawn in to revisit the '90s sitcom.
Is It Any Good?
Filmed 30 years after its pilot episode, this one-off reunion episode provides the audience with a nostalgic trip down memory lane, and the cast with a chance to reminisce and even make amends. It's easy to forget how pivotal The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was to pop culture when it aired between 1990 and 1996. This was a show that if you missed an episode -- this was a time before catchup TV -- you needed to be prepared to be left out of the conversation in the schoolyard. It was also one of just a few primetime sitcoms to boast a predominately Black cast. And, of course, it introduced the world to Smith, who went on to become one of its biggest stars.
It's no surprise that Smith takes center stage with this reunion. This is his party, and it's a role that both he and his former cast members are happy for him to take on. Smith provides the energy and anecdotes, meaning the pacing never drops. That's not to say the rest of the cast aren't given their own chance to relate their favorite Bel-Air stories. Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton) and Tatyana Ali (Ashley), in particular, are most at ease with their chance to reminisce. Plenty of tears are shed, particularly when the cast are shown clips of the late James Avery, who played Uncle Phil throughout the show's entire run. But the most memorable moment comes when Smith goes alone to meet Janet Hubert, the original Aunt Vivian. The two had an acrimonious falling out, which -- at least in part -- led to Hubert leaving the show after season three. The setup is staged, but the way the two discuss the situation from their individual viewpoints feels honest and, hopefully, provides some closure. A heartfelt get-together of old friends, this will have you seeking out old episodes of this iconic '90s sitcom.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Best Sitcoms for Your Next Family Binge-Watch
TV Shows with Black Leads
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate