The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air VS. The Cosby Show
After 8 years of being aired on American television, The Cosby Show became one of America’s most popular television sitcoms airing from 1984 to 1992. Starring an American comedy mogul by the name of Bill Cosby. Other major character that starred in this American television sitcom include: Phylicia Rashad ( as Clair Huxtable), Lisa Bonet (as Denise Huxtable), Malcolm Warner (as Theo Huxtable), Tempestt Bledsoe (as Vanessa Huxtable), Keshia Pulliam (as Rudy), and Raven Symone (as Olivia Kendall).
From top left: Denise Huxtable, Theo Huxtable, Clair Huxtable,
From bottom left: Rudy Huxtable, Cliff Huxtable, Vanessa Huxtable
Differences from these shows are obvious in the content of it. The Cosby show is more focused on the Huxtable family, an upper-middle class family living in Brooklyn, New York. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable and his attorney wife Clair Huxtable presided over a loving household. In every way, they were an utterly typical traditional American sitcom family, with the notable exception that they were African-American. The topics of the show involved the usual difficulties of children growing up, an example being son Theo experiences of dealing with dyslexia, based on Cosby's real-life child Ennis who was dyslexic. The show was very much centered on Cosby's real life, and portrayed his children's lives as well.
Bill Cosby having fun with his family as always in memorable episode.
Like The Cosby Show,The Fresh Prince of Bellaire became one of the most popular television sitcoms in American history airing from 1990 to 1996. This show was based off of a talented young actor by the name of Will Smith, who at the time was also at the top of his music career in the mid 1990s. Will Smith was by far the main and most important character in this sitcom, however there where also many other major characters they starred in this sitcom like, Alfonso Ribeiro (as Carlton), James Avery ( as Uncle Phil), Karyn parsons ( as Hilary), Tatyana Ali (as Ashley), Dj Jazzy Jeff (himself), Janet Hubert ( as Aunt Viv 1), and Daphne Reid ( as Aunt Viv 2).
From top left: Hilary Banks, Geoffrey, Vivian Banks, Carlton Banks
From bottom left: Ashley Banks, Philip Banks, Will Smith
In The Fresh Prince of Bellaire, Will Smith is sent to live with his Aunt's family in Bel-Air to escape the dangers of inner-city Philadelphia. Of course, Bel-Air has dangers of a different type notably Will's uncle Philip who is a lawyer has quite a different outlook on life. More of a disciplinary and a controlled authority. They clash just like any other two opposing forces would do. Will tries to find is identity in Bel-Air, while all the time he antagonizes uncle Phil and Carlton.
Will Smith making fun of Uncle Phil’s authority.
Over the years of the both of the show’s production, the format has changed drastically. In the Cosby show, it starts off as a typical wealthy family lead by two parents raising their four children. Bill Cosby was the centerpiece of all the drama in the shows, a father always wanting to take control and run the family in a funny way and having special relationships with all the characters. Obvious comedic obstacles for Bill Cosby where presented in the early episodes like when (in the picture below) Bill or Cliff demands that his daughter (Denise) must go on her first date in a more appropriate manner. In episode 1 of season 1. Demonstrating how young Denise is and how young the kids are.
Following the original episodes, As the years of the show pass on, the family gets larger and new characters and more different personalities evolve. An evolution of the family is noticed more by the children of the show. Their appearance and comedic problems become more mature. As seen in this picture below Denise is noticeably a lot older than she was in the previous picture when the first pilot episode was aired.
Similar to The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bellaire begins as a family with typical comedic issues. The family opens with Uncle Phil allowing star performer Will Smith to move in with the family. Will is a troubled young teen from Philadelphia loaded with street knowledge and swagger moving to Bellaire to try to find his identity and better his life from the troublesome streets of Philadelphia. His immaturity and humor is apparent from the very first episode when Will first gets to Uncle Phil’s house and is singing and making jokes toward Geoffrey ( the butler) not knowing that Geoffrey is not uncle Phil at all.
Will like Cliff, (from the Cosby Show) has a very unique connection with all of the characters, especially the kids. Will always seems to atagonize Carlton because of his height. He seems to always give Ashley the wrong advice that Uncle Phil doesn’t like. Hilary is known as the pretty girl with no knowledge that Will always gets confused with. As the show gets older Will gets more mature and seems to be getting on his feet with his life. Still funny, but a tad more serious as far as his approach towards his identity.
Style and Content
In both sitcoms the main scene for drama stems in the living room and the kitchen. I believe the producers of both shows wanted the drama to be in those places because that’s where all of the family is most of the time. Most of the memorable scenes have either took place in the kitchen or in the living room. Space is needed in both houses because both families are so large. Both families obviously are wealthy so the living rooms and kitchens are a nice size which allows interactions between characters to happen. Coincidently both shows are products of NBC. So camera angles towards the events are pretty much the same.