Aunt Viv I or Aunt Viv II?


I don’t own the rights to these photos.

A few weeks ago, an actress made online comments about another actress who decided to boycott the Academy Awards because Black people weren’t nominated for awards this year. I heard a little of what both sides have said, and they are entitled to their opinions. Also, if anyone missed what happened, they can find it online with not much difficulty.

The whole thing about the Oscars is not what I want to talk about. I want to focus on the actress who starred on a show that the other actress’ husband also starred in and the character she portrayed, Aunt Viv. Aunt Viv was an important role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, at least I think so. As people know, there were two actresses who played the role of Vivian Banks, Janet Louise Hubert, who posted the online comments, and Daphne Etta Maxwell Reid. Hubert was reportedly fired due to contract violations, and Reid took over the role from season 4 onward. What is debated is which was better on the show, Aunt Viv I or Aunt Viv II?

I think Aunt Viv I was better for the show because she was the link to Will Smith coming to Bel-Air. I thought she was the glue that brought the family together, yet so was Uncle Phil. It was evident in the first 3 season, but I thought it faded away in seasons 4 though 6. I also thought Aunt Viv fell in the background. The plus side of Aunt Viv I was that she was involved in everyone’s life, more of a mother figure. The plus side of Aunt Viv II was that she brought more of the marriage side with her husband, Phil, and more supportive of his decisions in the house. What needed to be improved with Aunt Viv I is that she sometimes did things that didn’t benefit the family. What needed to be improved with Aunt Viv II is that she went in the background, and everybody else got their shine. She wasn’t much of the mother figure as I thought Aunt Viv I was. I felt Aunt Viv I was more of a mother figure and more likely to help balance out the other characters, even if there were times it seemed like it was about her.

On a side note, I found similarities with the attention of Aunt Viv I, Aunt Viv II and Harriette Winslow on Family Matters. Both mothers had a big part in the beginning and it dwindled later on. Check out Harriette Winslow, Family Matters was a spinoff from Perfect Strangers, a show that Harriette was in, yet later her role was being put to the side, enough for the original actress to leave before the last season. I wonder what would have happened if things worked out for those actresses, the relationships with the other actors, and the writing for the shows. I wonder if the quality would be different.

I have to say I can’t really watch either The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Family Matters. Some of the episodes seem like, “I used to like this stuff?” I don’t mean it in a bad way. It’s that my tastes have changed over the years, and I don’t see myself watching those episodes now as I did then. I wish that Living Single and The Steve Harvey Show were syndicated on channels I wouldn’t have to pay extra for, or at least give me the series on DVDs. I’ll pay for them. And no lie: I was going to type “Aunt Viv” on a search engine, and when I typed “aunt,” it automatically went to “aunt viv fresh prince.” Since that Oscars thing, Hubert has been getting some more spotlights. Some things don’t change in media.  So, whichever Aunt Viv people want is their choice.


And I’m just getting started.




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