The 6 Most Shocking Moments From ‘Bel-Air’ Season One

While the series is on hiatus, we highlight the breakout moments from the Morgan Cooper-crafted show.

The remake of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, known as Bel-Air, has come to an end. The Morgan Cooper-created series conflicted longtime fans of the OG show while impacting the TV ratings with an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 72% and an average IMDB rating of 6/10.

Viewers were reintroduced to Will (Jabari Banks), Carlton (Otto Sholotan), Aunt Viv (Cassandra Freeman), Uncle Phil (Adrian Holmes), Ashley (Akira Akbar), Geoffrey (Jimmy Akingbola), Hillary (Coco Jones), and the rest of the Banks family and friends. In a unique twist, Bel-Air added nuance and drama to their lives and infused the ’90s classic with modern-day sensibilities.

When the series premiered, we ran a list of Easter eggs that tied the old with the new as a nod to just how far Bel-Air has brought us. And now, with the season finale in the rearview and a new one on the way, reminisces about the most shocking moments we’ve seen during its inaugural showing.

  • Will’s Infamous Fight

    Will’s fight in the original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was only depicted in the intro, it was as goofy as you’d expect it to be for a sitcom. But this next-gen version of Will’s fight in Bel-Air was way more intense! 

    He and his best friend got into it on the basketball court with a local gangsta who didn’t take too kindly to losing. It’s a real-life hood story that has happened often across America, but in this case, Will has a happier ending. 

    When the Philly royal noticed that his friend was getting stomped out, he grabbed a gun and shot it in the air, which encouraged everyone to scatter. It was such an intense, but a necessary moment, it propelled the story (and audiences’ interest) forward.

  • Carlton Pushes Will Into The Pool

    Carlton was a high-achieving anxious mess, so Will’s arrival complicated his already angsty life even further. It also didn’t help that Will started pushing up on his ex-girl, Lisa, played by Simone Joy Jones

    Carlton first physically took his frustration out on Will at a pool party. He pushed Will into the pool, assuming he could swim. When Will showed that he couldn’t swim, Lisa jumped in to save him which led to a squabble between the two cousins. 

    What Carlton thought was a flex only brought Will and Lisa closer together. But for audiences new to Bel-Air, seeing Carlton getting physical with Will, plus the drug use we find out about later, made for a major departure from Alfonso Ribiero’s square naive version of the star from Bel-Air Prep.

  • Carlton Does Xanax

    Bel-Air is as much about Will as it is about Carlton being an anxious, high-achieving mess. Olly Sholotan plays him as rich and as one of the few Black kids at his school and in his circle. 

    With a lot of pressure there, on top of his cousin’s arrival, his life is disrupted and his usual routine had the potential of sending someone who is dealing with an anxiety disorder into a spiral. It’s not surprising to audiences then that he was on Xanax, but it was jarring to watch him snort it. 

    Initially, we all thought it was coke, including Will, who walked in on it happening twice. However, Carlton cleared up what it actually was. And for the record, it turns out that snorting Xanax is a popular way to use the drug, intended for treating anxiety and panic disorders.

  • Hillary’s Thirst Traps

    Coco Jones’ version of Hillary is a rising social media star trying to make sense of that world in pursuit of her desired career. She had a lot more career ambition than Karyn Parson’s version and wasn’t as much of an airhead. 

    However, despite that, she found herself in a bind when she agreed to move into an influencer house without reading the fine print of her contract. Basically, the man who was in charge of the influencer house basically owned everyone’s content. So, when she published a sexy cooking video that she made she was upset but decided to go with posting thirst traps since those videos got more views. 

    That was a surprising move for Hillary Banks but at least she eventually came to her senses and fought harder to regain control of her content and career.

  • Will Confronts His Pops

    Will meeting his father, played by Marlon Wayans, is the stuff of TV legend. People who remember that initial moment when O.G. Will broke down in tears asking why his father didn’t love him, it was damn fine acting. 

    In the new version, Will, as Jabari Banks, gets to confront his dad, who did a long stretch in prison from when Will was a small child and made no real effort to contact him. 

    Pops was not trying to take any accountability for his part in neglecting his son and that did not sit well with Will. Their discussion got so heated that it almost seemed like they were going to come to blows.

  • Will’s Bully Dies

    The gangsta that wanted Will dead put a hit out that reached out all the way to Los Angeles. Thankfully, Geoffrey squashed any would-be assassination attempts, to make it so that Will can return to Philly without major problems. 

    Geoffrey definitely made that go away in a way that belies the gangsterism only hinted at throughout the series. What this meant at first was that Will wasn’t cleared to safely return to Philly, but eventually, Rashad’s murder marked a surprising turn of events, even for this version of the show, and proved to be a shocking turn that only hints at more calamity to come now that he’s (spoiler alert) on the run.

    Starr Rocque is a Brooklyn, New York-based writer, and author, whose book, Bloggers Can't Be Trusted, is available for you to enjoy here!

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