‘Bel-Air’ Executive Producer Says Show’s Legacy Wasn’t Altered By Last Year’s Oscars Scandal
The new season of Bel-Air is in full swing and we wanted to share our interview with one of the people responsible for making it a huge success.
BOSSIP Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden spoke with ‘Bel-Air’ Executive Producer Carla Banks-Waddles ahead of the second season about people’s doubts regarding the reimagining of the iconic Banks family, how the new season is reflective of current times and why the Oscars scandal didn’t affect the show.
First things first, we all know that as much as we loved Morgan Cooper’s short film inspired by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, most fans of the show were worried about whether the reboot could live up to the legacy of the originally.
We asked Carla Banks-Waddles about the negative chatter that existed before the show aired and living up to the success of the first season with season two.
“It is challenging because everyone was talking about, obviously, the Banks family as an iconic family that we all grew up on, that I grew up watching and so the challenge in that first season was how do you sort of introduce this family in a fresh new way and people already being a little bit leery of reboots and reimaginings, and ‘What are they going to do with it?'” Banks-Waddles told BOSSIP. “It was such a perfect show and it ended perfectly so it’s like, ‘Now you’re going to bring them back?!’ People were rightfully a little nervous about what that was going to look like. So I think the challenge season one was showing everybody that, yes, these are characters that you know, but in a different way. And to sort of let go of the expectations of that past and give yourself the freedom to experience the Banks family in a whole new fashion and I think the biggest challenge last season with all the chatter seemed to be Carlton and he was a big change that people were definitely tweeting about, and not really sure they liked this new Carlton, but they ultimately were already on that journey with us to see how that would evolve with Will.”
Banks-Waddles added that Season 2 will continue to hone in on Will and Carlton as their relationship grows and changes to become even more close.
“In season 2 [we’re] just really looking at especially those two and that nostalgic bromance and how do we evolve them in season 2 so that they can come together more as cousins as brothers, as friends, but also keep the friction, because they are so different,” Banks-Waddles continued. ” Season 2 is really starting off strong with What are they going to become? Carlton and Will this season. He went from hating Will, fighting early in Season 1, and coming back in Season 2 with Carlton feeling like, ‘I kinda lost my crew and I am better in a dynamic duo’ will is naturally charismatic he moves through the world, people love him and is asking Will ‘will you be my guy, will you be my wing man’ and it’s a little be careful what you wish for because the ease with which Will moves through the world is not the ease for Carlton so it’s also pushing Carlton in ways that make him a little uncomfortable, but Will ultimately trying to have his best interests at heart.”
Banks-Waddles also gave some added insight into the show’s third episode, which aired last Thursday, revealing how the episode was already written and filmed before Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis started putting restrictions on AP African-American Studies curriculums in the state.
“It’s so interesting because the third episode is our big protest episode and we’re talking about the books and topics people are uncomfortable talking about when it comes to African American history in this country and now recently seeing how the AP curriculum is coming under fire with people not wanting to have certain conversations or wanting to remove certain dialogues, that came out after our episode so I can’t for people to see it because it’s like, ‘Wow we just told that story in a very different way,'” Banks-Waddles told BOSSIP. “It was definitely for us and our writers validation that we are tapping into something that feels current so I like we can have those conversations without hitting people over the head with it. It just feels like a natural part of who this family is and it feels like a natural part of just conversations that would be important to them as a Black family in this country today. And knowing they can tell that story through a very specific teacher that’s personal to them, it means a lot because all of their kids have grown up under that teacher, it felt like a cool well to tell that story.”
With this year’s Oscars approaching, we also had to ask Banks-Waddles if the legacy of the Banks family been altered by the scandal over Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during last year’s show.
“No, we’re all very much still excited about telling these stories and these characters and letting the legacy live on and evolve,” Banks-Waddles said. Not at all. We’re still very committed to telling great stories that are hopefully going to resonate with the audience in a bigger, deeper way in Season 2.”
That’s a relief, right? Have you been enjoying Season 2 of Bel-Air? What’s been your favorite part so far?
Season 2 of ‘Bel-Air’ is currently streaming on Peacock, with new episodes dropping every Thursday.