Cliff Jackson
Dr. Cirucci
Intro. to Mass Communications

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Cosby Show are two very similar shows. The two shows represent two very successful black families having an impact on the life they live. These shows were out during the time when America was still trying to recover from racism. These shows were looked at as bad because they did not depict the common black family back then did not have full families such as a husband, a wife and kids. Also they did not live in large houses and they did not live privileged lives because they were not looked at as equal in our society. Questions that are usually asked are how can they not show that the Cosby’s went through a struggle? Or how did the Cosby’s get so successful being an all black family? A lot of people want to know how the Cosby’s and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actors differ in real life? How are their para-social relationships?
The Jhally and Lewis book explains deeply on how The Huxtables class position may be unusual in real life for black and white people. The success of the Cosby show has lead to a curious divergence between media images and social realities. Bill Cosby has broken the mold of black media stereotypes (Sut Jhally, 1992). Jhally and Lewis were trying to really argue enlightened racism also. The example from the Cosby show is that if you’re black and you do not make it and live a happy fulfilling life then that is your fault. That is why Jhally and Lewis are arguing that very few comedy shows had the same racial impact as the Cosby show. Also Jhally and Lewis are trying to say people are disregarding that in the early 50’s a large majority of white people moved from the inner city, and that black people are not fully accepted in our society from slavery. That is enlightened racism because people are forgetting what black people had to go through to get to where they are today.
The cosby family on screen

Now the Fresh Prince and the Cosby show are two very similar shows that both portray successful black families but they are also different in many ways. For example the kids from both shows act different and are portrayed different in each show. In the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Will Smith who is the nephew and star of the show is showed as a stereotypical black person who is loud, obnoxious and funny. The other three children are characterized as stuck up, bourgeoisie, spoiled kids that seemed to have never gone through the struggle of being black. The Fresh Prince kids grew up very spoiled and privileged. For example they had a butler that did everything for them. They dressed very proper with cardigans and collared shirts and also they spoke very articulately.(The way the kids are dressed)
The Cosby kids were more urban and in touch with more black kids. It seemed like the Cosby kids knew more about their past and their culture. They had to do their own chores and work unlike the kids from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The Cosby kids were more outgoing and did more things around the house. It seemed like they had more fun because they were not so stuck up and tight.Cosby kids more outgoing Even though both shows kids grew up with successful parents they both lived very different lives. The Cosby show kids had to work for everything unlike the Fresh Prince kids. It seemed as though race was not as big to the Cosby family and they did not worry about it as much as the fresh prince children.
The Nephew of Phillip Banks is Will Smithimages.jpg who lived in West Philadelphia and was kicked out by his mother, who gave up on him to get his act together, and sent to Bel-Air with the Banks family. Will as a character is already showing examples of a stereotypical young black male by being given up on by his mother and getting kicked out. In most episodes they show the difference between Will and the Banks family and how he does not act the same way as they do and they show the difference from where Will comes from.
In episode 23, season 1 Carlton gets mad at Will and Jazz because they keep saying that he is less black then they are because of how he grew up. At the beginning of the episode Carlton stays with Jazz in his apartment which is right in the middle of the hood. From the start you see that Carlton is not comfortable in the situation that he is now in and he is scared because he is not used to going through a struggle and all the things that go on in the hood. Later in the episode Carlton adjust to the surrounding and ends up acting exactly like someone that lives in the hood. Carlton eventually says that he will go to one of the worst parks in the hood called MacArthur Park where a lot of killings happen. Will eventually convinces Carlton not to go and after they talk Carlton says to Will that he is black just like him and the way they act and where they are from should not matter. In that episode Will and Jazz were trying to say that Carlton was not really black because he was not raised in the hood like most stereotypical black kids were.Carlton being a gangster The episode is portraying that if you are black then you are black, where you grew up does determine your “blackness”(Smith, 1991). The shows are trying to state that it does not matter what type of stereotype that blacks have it matters what you do in your life and how you want to change that stereotype.

Between Will Smith from the Fresh Prince and Malcolm-Jamal Warner from the Cosby show they both have different para-social relationships.will_smith1_300_400.jpg Will Smith’s para-social relationship is different from Malcolm’s because his name in the show and in real life is Will smith. So that leads to believe that in the show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Will Smith acts the same on camera as he does off camera so he screen character is based off of what he does off screen.malcolm_jamal_warner_cosby_show.jpg Malcom-Jamal Warner is different because in The Cosby show his name is “Theo” so he has two different personalities from off screen to no screen. People only know Malcolm Warner as “Theo” from the Cosby show and they think that they know him off of the show and episodes that they have seen.
The Cosby show paved a big path for future shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sanford and Son, and in Living Color. The Cosby show really showed that a black family could make it. I think that the Fresh Prince went even deeper into the race description because they had more detail shown in the show as to where Phillip and Vivian came from and how they got where they are. I think Phillip and Vivian were prime examples of being black and making it out the hood because several times in the show they let it be known that Phillip and Vivian had marched and did sit on for the black community when they were younger. They are trying to do better for their kids and give them everything that they did not have when they were younger.

Smith, W. (Performer) (1991). 72 hours [Television series episode]. In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Philadelphia: NBC. Retrieved from

Jhally. (1992). elightened racism. 28. Retrieved from
72 hours. (2011). Retrieved from