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In the 1990’s a television show called ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ revolutionised the genre of family sitcoms. It primarily focused on the character Will, a black teenager who comes from a very poor urban area of Philadelphia to live with his very rich aunt’s family at their big mansion. It is very different from the few all black casts TV comedy series before it e. g. The Crosby Show. The show deals with family problems and teenage troubles through the eyes of the main character (Will Smith).
America quickly came to love this show and soon after ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ had a world wide audience of passionate viewers. The Title Credit Sequence which aired right before every single episode played a large part in this success. The Fresh Prince was hugely popular amongst teenagers in particular. Teenagers felt that he represented their values, their sense of humour, and sense of style. The Fresh Prince also expressed an articulate view on adolescent difficulties.
Young people across the world aspired to be like and many copied his style, mainly his fashion style: In the Title Credit Sequence it is evident that he was a fashion icon as you him in very bright coloured clothes, baggy trousers, fashionable sunglasses, and a sharp stylish haircut which did become very popular. The Fresh Prince also has a very interesting lifestyle which mirrors many teenagers, as he usually gets in trouble and punished. This is seen in the opening sequence where he gets in trouble because he was painting graffiti on walls; his problems soon worsen when gang thugs harass him.
His mother decides that the best option is to send him Bel-Air to live with his Uncle and Aunt. All this blended with a bit of cheekiness, attitude and great sense of humour were the perfect ingredients to attract large audiences’ week in week out. In the Title Credit Sequence you can see the story format of the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. The first images you see is the Fresh Prince spinning around in a throne retelling his story of he ‘… became the Fresh Prince Bel-Air’. This is shown before each episode to help explain why he lives with his Uncle and Aunt.
First the audience to a impediment that faces the young protagonist, here he gets in trouble by the police, then his problems get complicated even more when gets bullied by a gang of thugs. The situation gets too critical and his mother sends him away. When the scene ends he arrives at the big white mansion, from there one might suggest that he adjusts easily to his new home and family. The theme song to ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ demonstrates one of the many talents of actor Will Smith, for here raps to the theme tune and in addition retells his story.
The genre of music used is fittingly Hip-Hop. The Title Credit Sequence helped make this genre of music the popular music type it is today as it rose with the shows popularity. Back in the early 90’s it was popular but not as it is today where hip-hop artist have overtaken rock groups on the music charts in many countries. When ever one heard the theme tune of the show you would immediately associate it with the start of the show, depending on how frequently one watched the show. Fundamentally the Title Credit Sequence would have been very dreary without the theme sound.
Directing of the Title Credit Sequence is done very well, to clarify the situations. The first image you see is The Fresh Prince himself spinning around in a throne. The camera has been placed perpendicular to the throne so that it emphasizes the meaning of the phrase: ‘… my life was spinning upside down’. When the Fresh Prince is attacked by bullies the camera angles gives a spectators view of the incident. This makes the viewer feel as if you are a friend of him, but still want to keep your distance to avoid involvement in the fight. The same exact same method is used when he enters the taxi which takes him to Bel-Air.
Another element which makes the Title Credit Sequence intriguing is the font of the title itself, where graffiti is used to match the Hip-Hop urban theme: ‘The… and… Bel-Air’ are exceptions because it is only ‘The Fresh Prince’ who is written in graffiti as he is the only who is urban. You can also see that in the Title Credit Sequence that the Fresh Prince is painting graffiti. Bright light green colours are used to show that it is a comedy as they are ideally used light-comedy. The Title Credit Sequence is very short, but in that dismal space of time you are introduced to the life of The Fresh Prince.
Will is a great role model for young kids. He might get in trouble sometimes but is a very moral person who loves his family and expresses family values to the world via comedy consequently being a family sitcom. The Fresh Prince lives in luxury at his Aunts house but he didn’t always live this way as we discover in the Title Credit Sequence he once lived with his mother in the poor urban area of Philadelphia. His fashion sense was hugely admired by teenagers across the world so was his attitude, sense of humour and the love and respect he had for his family.
Even though the Title Credit Sequence is shown before every single episode you never tire of it and you spot something new almost each time you watch it, this is mostly attributable to the complex attention to detail by the directing and production teams. The music, fashion, fonts, camera effects remain thematic throughout the entire sequence. This Title Credit Sequence is possibly the best in television history. Rabile Mahamud Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.