The sepia filter of nostalgia can obscure some of the more screwed up moments from childhood — even with TV characters who, at the time, seemed like they had it all figured out. Was Zack Morris the popular King of Bayside that we all wanted to emulate, or was he something more sinister? What was it, exactly, that caused Steve Urkel to create Stefan? Here’s a clearheaded look at some favorite ’90s TV characters that may help you appreciate some of your own screwed-up moments from childhood.
Bel Air Was Worse Than West Philly
We all know how the song goes: Will Smith gets beat up in his hometown of Philadelphia. His mom freaks out about life on the mean streets of west Philly and sends him to live with his rich aunt and uncle in Bel Air. She thought he would be safe all the way in sunny L.A., but anyone who’s watched the show knows how terrible that plan turned out. In six seasons on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, we saw Will get shot, punched out, robbed, arrested, arrested again, and arrested again. He also fought an armed robber. Why the hard luck? Maybe the universe felt the need to punish Will Smith for something terrible he did (like when he got Carlton screwed up on speed and shamed him into joining a gang) or was going to do.