Earnest Pettie, comedy writer
The Fresh Prince begins by expounding on the universal inability of parents to understand their children, suggesting that neither time nor location would make a difference in parents recognizing their kids’ potential to err. He suggests, however, that it is incumbent on children to recognize the dimwittedness of adults and just accept it as a given.
To illustrate, Fresh Prince launches into the first of two vignettes, recollections from his own youth. In this first flashback, Fresh Prince’s mother takes him and the rest of the family shopping for school clothes at the Gallery Mall. At first, Fresh Prince doesn’t mind his mother’s efforts. Soon, however, she begins bugging. She begins selecting clothes for Fresh Prince that are horribly outdated, and he rebels, insisting that he does not want to look like a member of the rock band Sha Na Na. Unfortunately, she prevails, and, inevitably, the first day of school arrives. He goes to school where he is ridiculed, presumably because of his clothing. When he informs his mom, she retorts with the platitude that “if they were laughing you don’t need them ’cause they’re not good friends,” which, technically, is sound advice. Fresh Prince, understands, though, that the torment will not be a one-time occasion and attempts to convince his mother that mitigating the ridicule by purchasing more current clothing might be worth the effort. Unfortunately, she remains unconvinced. It is through illustrating his unsuccessful efforts at swaying his parent that Fresh Prince hopes he can convince other youths that the argument is not worth the effort.
Next Fresh Prince presents another scenario: In this situation, his parents have left town for a week, leaving behind their brand new Porsche (while his parents do not remain abreast of current trends in fashion, they are up-to-date on automotive trends). He experiences a moral dilemma over whether or not he should borrow the car but soon rationalizes that it would be ok if he were to take for just a little spin. While driving, he passes an attractive woman walking down the street. After getting her attention, he invites her to take a ride in the car. Understandably, she is wary of getting in a car with a stranger, but Fresh Prince soon convinces her that ownership of an expensive car should assuage any fears she’d have about his character. Convinced, she hops into the car and soon the couple find themselves at McDonald’s, which would seem to undercut the facade presented by the Porsche, but the woman is too interested in caressing Fresh Prince’s thigh to notice.
Fresh Prince is excited by having the girl’s hand on his thigh and begins speeding. Soon, they are pulled over by the police, who detain Fresh Prince but send the girl back home. It turns out she is a twelve-year-old runaway. The police inform Fresh Prince’s parents of the situation, and they return from their trip to take Fresh Prince home from the police precinct. Both parents, visibly upset, express their frustration through physical abuse. It is difficult for them to understand how easily a situation might arise in which a child would steal a car, pick up a prepubescent runaway with romantic intentions, and speed through a neighborhood. It is even more difficult for Fresh Prince to understand why they can’t understand how that might occur. So, one last time, he urges the youth of America to accept their parents’ lack of judgement.