About Christmas TV History

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fresh Prince of Bel Air Christmas (1991)

I enjoy honoring Black History Month (BHM) on my blog because there are so many excellent Christmas episodes, specials and TV movies with exceptional African-American cast members.  There are also many outstanding and touching Christmas TV story lines aimed at black audiences.  This month I'm highlighting just a few of my favorites.

The 1991 episode, "Christmas Show," is the third Fresh Prince holiday episode I've written about here on my blog so far.  Previously I shared about the 1990 Christmas episode entitled "Deck the Halls" and the 1993 Christmas episode "Twas the Night Before Christening."  Click on the two links to return to those reviews again.

Remember Will's three aunts?  The four sisters are Vivian, Helen, Janice, and Will's mother Vy.

The second season episode "Christmas Show" sees the Banks family traveling to a ski resort in Utah to spend Christmas.  Aunt Vivian's three sisters and their families are joining the Banks in a rented cabin for a deluxe ski holiday.  After everyone arrives and settles in, several family matters come to issue.  Vy is behaving far more easy going than usual.  With a little prying, it is revealed that Vy is in love with her new boyfriend Robert.  The newlyweds Janice and Frank are enjoying married life.  After several complaints of nausea, the sisters begin asking Janice if she's pregnant.  And, Helen and her husband Lester are bickering as usual.  Although Les says he knows how to ski, during the first hours on the slopes, Les' leg is injured and he is assisted back to the cabin by a rescue team.  Helen and Les's young son Bobby is a constant nuisance to Ashley. 

Carlton wants to contribute to the festivities by loudly singing "Silent Night."  He's silenced when each member of the family throws whatever they have in their hands at him!

Enjoying each others' company, the family decorates the Christmas tree and prepares for the holiday.  When someone turns on the radio, the adults all begin to dance, showing off the slick moves from their youth.  The adults want the party to continue and they all leave for the ski lodge together.

A stranger wants to come in and use the phone--what could go wrong?

After the adults leave, there is a knock at the door.  A stranger explains that he's had car trouble and requests to use their telephone.  Hilary, Carlton, and Ashley are filled with the good will of the season and want to let the man in the cabin but Will urges them to use caution around a stranger.

Cut to: the kids strung together with Christmas lights and Will wearing the tree topper as a hat.  They've been ROBBED!

Sure enough, the stranger ties up Will, Carlton, Hilary, Ashley, and Bobby and then robs the cabin of nearly all its contents.  Not only are all the presents gone but so is the tree, the decorations, Christmas dinner, and all their luggage. 

Geoffrey prepares a meal from what little food they have left: hot water and chewing gum.

After the local sheriff fills out the theft report, he informs them that they will probably never see their stuff again.  Feeling down and out about their stolen Christmas, the family doesn't feel much like celebrating.

The family re-discovers that sometimes the best gifts are free.

That is, until the discussion turns to what things they can still exchange as gifts.  One by one each member of the family takes his or her turn expressing what they'd like to give the others: their love, their time, more of an effort at closeness, their gratitude, etc.  And before they know it, the family has found the Christmas spirit!

Carlton once again is denied his solo.

My favorite moment is when Carlton takes his turn to speak and he offers everyone the gift of music.  As he begins to sing "O Holy Night," the family lifts their voices to join him.  Carlton stops the group and insists that his gift is a solo performance!  Once again, Carlton is denied his spotlight as the family refuses to listen to him.  A rowdy, boisterous version of "O Holy Night" sung by the entire family continues under the closing credits.  As the final production credits roll, even Geoffrey is given a solo performance--continuing the snub of Carlton and his desire to be the center of attention.  It's hilarious.

This episode does include a scene with Alfonso Ribeiro doing the Carlton dance!

Although this second season episode isn't my favorite of the four Christmas episodes of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, (I think "Deck the Halls" is my favorite), it does embrace a positive message about making the best of what you have at Christmas time.  Which is your favorite Fresh Prince Christmas episode?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen this since it first aired. Have to do a re-watch!