When I tell people I am from Philadelphia three things generally happen, I am frequently followed up with the question, "...born and raised?" I hate to break it to you, but I am not in fact from West Philadelphia like our dear Fresh Prince of Bel Air . Sorry folks, but the furthest West I ever lived in the City of Brotherly Love was 34th and Hamilton and that's a far cry from Will Smith's old stomping grounds. And in case you were wondering, yes, I do know the theme song by heart, including the radio version, and no they didn't make us recite it along with the "Pledge of Allegiance" in school. What can I say, things have changed since the series graced TV screens — sorta makes you wonder what a 2015 Fresh Prince Of Bel Air would look like.
After all, along with our affinity for cracked bells, freedom, and offensively fattening burgers, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air has become part of Philadelphia's cultural identity. Though the show premiered 25 years ago and it takes place in California, The Fresh Prince and Will Smith helped put Philadelphia on the comedy map — along with the likes of Tina Fey and Kevin Hart and of course that gang from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (represent!). So, when I began thinking about casting 2015 version of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, my Citywide Special-loving heart was over-joyed.
So, here's how I would envision an updated Fresh Prince. Kick back and enjoy:
Nicole Byer as Willa Smith
It's 2015. DAMN STRAIGHT THE FRESH PRINCE IS A FRESH PRINCESS. If you're looking for someone with the same comedic energy and attitude as Will Smith circa 1990, look no further than Nicole Byer.
Issa Rae as Carly Banks
Carlton was the bookish sidekick with nervous energy who knew how to bust a move (in his own way). Issa Rae, the creator of Awkward Black Girl is the perfect choice.
Tim Meadows as Uncle Phil
His deadpan delivery and fatherly authority would make for a fantastic Uncle Phil. Just think about Mr. Duvall's reaction to his sister naming his nephew Anfernee in Mean Girls. Tim Meadows would KILL as Uncle Phil.
Maya Rudolph as Vivian Banks
Vivian Banks is full of sass and full of class. Maya Rudolph all the way.
Jessica Williams as Ashley Banks
Gone are the days of the youngest Banks being all boy-crazy and teeny-bopper. Today's Ashley is sophisticated, moody, and one hell of a one-upper.
Kali Hawk as Hilary Banks
I can just see her reporting the weather now...
Craig Robinson as Geoffrey
If you're gonna have a butler, you might as well have one who is this funny.