5 Reasons Why No One is Here for Aunt Viv 2.0 From Fresh Prince
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of those shows that immediately makes me think of my childhood. I’ve watched every single episode, and I can recite some of the lines. Plus, I’ve memorized Will Smith’s drum juke, surely keeping other types of knowledge out my brain. It’s fine. It’s allowed.
My (and a lot of other’s) major complaint with the show is about the abrupt character switch that happened. For the first three seasons, Will’s Aunt Viv was played by the beautiful Janet Hubert. Then ALL OF A SUDDEN, we turned on the TV and Uncle Phil’s wife was about 8.5 shades lighter, and played by the gorgeous Daphne Reid. I ain’t got nothing against Mrs. Reid. I’m sure she’s a nice lady but I was immediately not here for this change.
How you gon have a Dark AND Light Skinned friend looking like Aunt Viv??? Who did it? Who was in charge? WHY??? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t dislike her because she was light skinned. Nawl. It was more than that. Her being wayyy lighter just felt like another way the producers/directors/Will Smith stopped giving a damb about that character.
I was not pleased with the switch. And a lot of it has to do with the way they wrote the character after Janet left. They took out all relevance for Aunt Viv being in that family. She just became thrown to the side and honestly, they coulda done without her if they were gonna make her all pointless. They coulda given her a job that forced her to move to Fiji or something and just wrote her out.
We loved Aunt Viv 1.0, also known as Dark Aunt Viv. She was the truth. Fierce. Strong. FAHN. We loved her FIERCELY. And they say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. They fixed it and broke it!
20 years later, I still watch scenes with Brand New Viv (e’em though she was on half of the shows) while side-eyeing my TV. I am not, nor have I ever been, here for Aunt Viv 2.0. I have reasons. Many of them.
1. Light Aunt Viv had no personality. She was so doggone boring. I don’t ever remember anything she said nor any important scenes she was in. And she had no chemistry with the rest of the cast. When she was on-screen, she was so forgettable. I get that she came on after everyone had already formed bonds but lawd! Did they have to make her scenes so forgettable? Did the writers make a pact to just stop trying with her character? Sheesh. Yawn-fest.
2. Aunt Viv 2.0 dressed all matronly. Like a Golden Girl reject. Like she was Blanche, Sophia, Dorothy and Rose’s next door neighbor we never saw. Starter Aunt Viv had some flare to her ALPHETS! She was always in some ornate suit with gold buttons and dope shoes. Or she’d have some fabric draped in the same pattern as her curl and set.
YES, AUNT VIV 1.0! You better dress like AUTHORITY AND REGAL. Meanwhile, they just put Aunt Viv 2.0 in floral suits and sensible shoes. Nawl.
3. Aunt Viv 1.0 taught us to behave. And lessons. I remember many episodes where Original Viv would snatch Will and the other kids’ wigs into behaving after they do something ridiculous. She would let them HAVE IT and I’d be at home feeling scolded talmbout “Yes ma’am” after the scenes and feeling like I was on punishment myself. Did I act right the next day? I surely did. She let that Philly come through sometimes and I loved it! And then when she subbed for Will’s history class and dropped some Black history knowledge. I LIVED! She sang “Wade in the Water” and I was inspired. In fact, I didn’t e’em know that song until I saw that episode! Chile, you better TEACH ME BOUT THE ANCESTORS!
Meanwhile, all New Viv did was teach us that… I’m still tryna figure that out. I’ma get back to you on that once I figure it out. Speaking of teaching…
4. Light Aunt Viv ain’t have no job. Dark Aunt Viv was a professor, and she was like if Claire Huxtable had a BFF who took in her nephew. She had business. Meanwhile, Aunt Viv 2.0 was basically Tommy from Martin in a better suit. Also, she wore suits but was never going anywhere. Strolling in the kitchen fully dressed day after day but with nowhere to be. Girl, I guess. They didn’t e’em attempt to give her anything to do besides NOT take care of Lil Nicky (another pointless character but that’s another post for another day).
5. Aunt Viv 1.0 DANCED FOR HER LIFE! Everyone remembers when she went to that ballet class in a baby pink leotard with a body that looked like YES GAWD. And then she proceeded to slay all the people half her age to “Everybody dance now” and snapped in their faces in Z-formation afterwards. Yes. For that alone she was QUEEN. You can watch the video HERE because I can’t embed it here. Wayment. I found someone’s recording of it on their TV. LOLLL.
Late Aunt Viv could NEVER.
Dark Aunt Viv was Real Housewives of Atlanta (but classy) to Light Aunt Viv’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (All Bougie Everything). I’m here for the former, not the latter.
No one is here for Aunt Viv 2.0, and if they are, they cannot be trusted. This is fact that cannot be argued. Dark Viv will always be the truth and any other is an impostor for which we will not give props. And that is all.
Aight so… y’all tell me. What made you side-eye Light Aunt Viv? Or are you one of the Benedict Arnolds who actually liked her?
I preferred Janet too. I feel like I don’t see enough of her. Is she on Broadway or something? Anywho, I think she had a lot of sex appeal. When she was on the show, Phil and Viv were more intimate with each other.
But as far as I know she had a no pregnancy clause in her contract and when she became pregnant they had to write it in so that explains Nicky LOLOL! After she gave birth she and Will could not see eye to eye. She says she didn’t like his attitude. I think he never really forgave her for breaking her contract. But hey, shit happens. They didn’t have to replace her.
I feel like the show suffered a little because of the switch because a lot of people could not warm up to Daphne.
Years back I read an interview where she stated that Will blackballed her after the firing. She’s been writing and running a small theater company.
Blackballed? Damn! That’s harsh. The last time I remember seeing her act was on an episode of “The Jamie Foxx Show” when she played a hypersexual drama teacher who wanted Jamie to sleep with her for a part in her play. Or you can correct me if I’m wrong. It was a long time ago. I remember being so excited when I saw her. She’s a great actress. Glad she’s still in showbiz.
I saw her in “For Colored Girls” in Boston, circa 2000
I received ALL FORMS of LIFE after watching the video of her dancing. Did I MISS that episode? Anyways. I need nothing else. ::turns off computer/throws it out window::
And to Aunt Viv 2.0, you get a resounding Hell Nawl!
I saw her too in FCG that same year in Baltimore. She was the Lady in Red. But didn’t she say in that TVone interview that she was primarily a theater actress?
TBH, all Daphne did before TFPOBA was Franks Place produced by her own husband, so yeah.
Yes, yes, and yes. Love it, love her!
side topic: Will Smith has always come off as very controlling to me in spite of his goofiness
He needs to work on controlling them last two kids he has with Jada…they forced ripe and of the world for no good reason at all! Damn shame!
I actually stopped watching it as dedicated as I was when
Viv 1.0 was let go. I thought it was just me.
Wow that’s ridiculous.. It’s not like she meant to break her contract.. Why was that part of it anyways? I preferred Janet as well.
Luvvie, you are a fool…and I love it! Co-sign on everything!!! I basically stopped watching after the New Aunt Viv came on board. No shade to Daphne Maxwell Reid, but the show just didn’t have the same flavor….
I agree 100%! Lightskin Viv had the personality of a stuffed teddy bear. They say Chocolate Aunt Viv was a terror on set but aren’t most great actors and actresses? I think it was the worst ever and I would honestly turn the tv when she walked in with her Hilary Clinton two piece on. Aunt Viv 1.0 def gave me the new Claire Huxtable with a twist. Them fools ain’t get that right!!
I thought I was the only perso n who saw Hillary Clinton when I looked at Aunt Viv Blanc.
Black aunt bib forever.
Fuck jada & will.
Its not that I liked the second version better but it was bound to happen. They had a really big falling out and she accused him of putting down women who were dark skinned among other things. I don’t understand as to why they couldn’t just make the new Aunt Viv at least somewhat like her old character. Shows change actors/actresses but at least try to keep the character in their original form. I guess it was Will Smith’s way of saying to Janet publicly how much she was not needed and how much they could change the new Aunt Viv while completely forgetting about her.
And not to be a Benedict Arnold but the show was still the ish even if (as most sitcoms do) the show did have unnecessary characters and plot lines introduced. It still did well and I never stopped watching just because they added a new Aunt Viv.
Will Smith is too damn controlling. The original Aunt Viv was the BOMB…..nobody like her. The other one was too sterile
YES @ number 3!!!! I remember the episode when Will bet Carlton he couldn’t survive in the hood and Aunt Viv was all “McARTHUR PARK?!?!?!?! NONE OF YOU ARE GOING TO McARTHUR PARK!” Luvvie, lemme tell you that as an adult, I interviewed for a job that was across the street from McArthur Park and I was like “Nope. Not McArthur Park. That’s where Aunt Viv said NOT to go!”
YES, LAWD-T about that job!!! Hilarious!!!
LMAO!!! I remember that episode!
LOL…..I remember that! Hilarious.
I know that this is an older post but I just had to add to it. I live in L.A. and I refuse to live and/or work anywhere near MacArthur Park simply because of that episode. Lol! I always hear Aunt Viv’s voice yelling about nobody going to MacArthur park and I won’t go near it. I’m 30 damn years old and that shit still has me psychologically conditioned.
That is, without question, my favorite episode. She went in on all those kids like a REAL BLACK MAMA (“Boy, do not test me!”). I felt it!!!!
No, I was never here for DMR, and she and Uncle Phil looking like Sarah and Abraham holding little Nicky, the promised babe of the Bible, was just ridiculous!!!
Thank you for “Sarah and Abraham”
I thought that was Compton?
This is one example of my whole point why they should have simply written out her part – there’s no way in hell I could see Daphne Maxwell-Reid saying half the stuff Janet Hubert said. I don’t even watch the ones with 2.0. Janet IS always to me, Aunt Viv!!
Remember when Aunt Viv 1.0 sang “Proud Mary”??!?!?! YES GAWWWWDDDDD!!!!!! She sang like she was Anna Mae Bullock!!!! **fanning myself with my MLK fan**
And that’s one of many reasons why Aunt Viv 1.0 was more awesomer than Aunt Viv 2.0….she was more than just a pretty face, taking care of home…she had some TALENT!!
Hmmm, why did Aunt Viv 2.0 quit her job?? iNeed answers!
Also Janet Hubert wrote a bit of a sternly worded letter to Wendy Williams (posted on curly Nikki’s blog).
Chock full of “have a seat” and #shade.
She wrote the letter after Whitney Houston died. She was blasting phoney Wendy Williams for hating on Whitney over the years then when she died acted like she was such a loyal friend. Janet Hubert was right for what she said.
I know exactly what you mean. Dark Aunt Viv was my favorite and very memorable. As I was reading this in the beginning, my favorite DAV moment came to mind and that was the dance scene, so thanks for the video. Also, DAV meshed well with her sisters. They really all made me feel as though they were sisters. Great chemistry. LAV felt more like an older, least favorite aunty that tried to be cool but nobody really liked.
“No job like tommy but better suits” is all I’m taking away from this. Hilarious
Yeah, Aunt Viv 2.0 was not kosher. 1.0 was just authentic. I loved her. I’m feelin a kind of beef with Will now knowing he was a hater.
That dance scene just killed a few of the germs tryna attack me because my nose cleared up some from the fierce attitude of that snap. She so bad she slayin E. Boli and Influenza out this mickey flick.
And that last video Rina posted disoriented me, because the way those clips were put together, I feel like I’ve never seen an episode LOL. For a comedy, there was a lot of turmoil LMBO
Aunt Viv 1.0 had all the flavor. She was coffee, black. Aunt Viv 2.0 was half coffee half skim milk.
I truly believed 1.0 singing old Motown, wearing a dashiki and braids during civil rights protests on her college campus while she was a student, etc. She was from the hood and it fit with Will’s character. Plus she fit with the characters that played her sisters.
2.0 looked to me that she went to a Connecticut boarding school. The only braids she had were two, one on each side and couldn’t tell you a song by the group WAR.
I think the big mistake for me was that I knew who Daphne Maxwell Reid was and watched he on some previous shows. Janet Hubert was new to me so this was her role.
Ummm why cain’t I like this : Aunt Viv 1.0 had all the flavor. She was coffee, black. Aunt Viv 2.0 was half coffee half skim milk.
I have not and will not ever like Viv 2.0!!!
Girl yes. I was reading this whole thing going “When she gon get to the dance episode?” cause that was life! But when you went in on the outfits I had to take 2 dollars out my purse for the collection plate.
I really like dark Aunt Viv cause she reminded me of my mother (my dad was light and my mom was dark) so when they trotted out that new Viv I was like “Nawl somebody stole my tv momma!”
2 dollars for the collection plate…….bwaaaahaaa….too funny.
[email protected] momma
I totally agree with everything Luvvie said. I know she was kind of beast to deal with according to everyone but I wish they could’ve worked it out. I am not at all here for Light Aunt Viv whatsoever.
My fav parts of Dark Aun’t Viv was her facial expressions. Her side eye was everything especially when she had to endure Phil’s partners lunches and stuff. She brought attitude to the role that Light Aunt Viv didn’t have. Something which was necessary as she was supposed to be from Philly.
P.s. she killed that dance routine. She got two snaps a twist and a kiss for that. Long live Dark Aunt Viv.
There was another aunt Viv after Janet???? I never saw her O_____o
The funny thing was that little Nicky could’ve come from Aunt Viv 1.0!
You’re right, Luvvie, Viv 2.0 had no flavor (no offense to Ms. Reid)and no chemistry. I still give Will the side-eye over the way he bumrushed her off the show.
I’m feelin’ you on this post! I never understood the switcharoo. Will started getting away with way too much after Viv 1.0 left the series and it just wasn’t the same. The only thing that kept me marginally interested was Uncle Phil’s slightly over the top blowfish attitude. Honestly the show “jumped the shark” then later “dove under the dolphin” when Hillary’s boyfriend, Trevor hit the pavement.
Wait was the dolhpin dive before or after the shark jump? (Did Trevor hit the concrete before or after Viv 2.0?) It was so long ago since I last watched I can’t remember! And while we’re on the topic, was I the only one who got a sore throat immediately and a case of the giggles after singing the “started making trouble in my neighborhood…” lyric? :p
Co-Sign. Light Aunt Viv = Light Harriet Winslow (but i’m sure that’s another post for another day lol)
Light Harriet?? I’s confused…..
O__O You mean you didn’t know? Yep, in the last season (that’s when I stopped watching)…
I HATE it when TV shows replace a character with another actor, or get rid of a main character too soon. I don’t have deep reasons like you do, I just don’t like it. I was born in ’92 so I blame my trust issues on Charmed. And more recently, the UK’s Misfits and Being Human. *McKayla Maroney face*
Charmed irks me to this day. How are you going to kill of the most interesting character? You summed it up perfectly Luvvie, Aunt Viv 1.0 had soul and sass. She dressed well, was cultured, and regal but you knew that she was still Vivian from the block and that she could throw down when provoked.
Misfits ruined my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE when they started getting rid of Characters. All the originals are dead now. Honestly, i lost interest when Nathan was written off. But most def when they got rid of Simon.
I was DESTROYED when Alisha died. Like it happened and it didn’t hit me at first then the next day I was like “WTF is this shit?” I was crying talm bout “It’s a modern day Romeo and Juliet”
YES!! When Alisha died, my goon hit the wall, and crashed and burned. And when Nathan got written of? I almost cried. Misfits hasnt been the same since. 🙁
LOL @ “my goon hit the wall” I have to say, I really miss the original characters, but Rudy grew on me a lot. The last two episodes of the most recent season had a thug crying. :'(
Dark viv the character was pretty awesome, but janet hubert was not a joy to work with according to the staff. They brought in light viv to sweep janet’s character under the rug and put the spotlight solely on will smith.
She should of stayed in her lane insted of diva’d out. We’d of had clair huxtable #2, and before you aim your claws at me, consider this….
Uhurs from star trek wanted to quit for personal reasons, but dr. king asked her not to. She stayed in her lane and became a great actress in black culture. (first interracial kiss, first black woman in an autheritative position on television.)
However, Tiamak, lead in my favorate movie of all time (the last dragon… Judge me if u dare), was a black culture dynamo who could of helped us look a lot better on the world’s stage. However, he didn’t stay in his lane and held out for a 3 picture deal.
We never got a last dragon 2, and chances are we never will.
My point is that janet killed dark viv, not the producers. Could they have gotten a darkskinned woman with the same skill set as janet?
Maybe… More than likley…
But after viv switched, the show was was more focused on will, and it got will where he is today.
And where janet…. Or taimak for that matter?
Outside the lane… And the spotlight.
Mind ya buttah.
The film clip on the bottom made my day. Now I need a post on a different world and my weekend will be made.
OMG! I am so glad I found this blog! Is you name “Luvvie”? That’s my sisters name and she is AWESOME. 🙂
I totally agree with you. My sister and I have talked about how we can’t stand the 2nd Aunt Viv. I have all the DVDs of Fresh Prince and can’t even watch the seasons with Aunt Viv 2.0. She is sooo boring. So glad someone else sees it too. Sometimes I feel like I’m an anomaly, but you basically spelled out everything my sis and I don’t like about Aunt Viv 2. NO PERSONALITY WHATSOEVER. Great read! Thanks!
That video just made me holler and spit my good minute maid juice out!
Janet had an episode about her on “Life after” on TV one. To summarize, once Will started getting noteriety (and $) from his movies, everyone kissed his butt but her. She was the Alvin Ailey dancer, the broadway actress, and when she didn’t subscribe to the needs of the star, the star pulled rank. Very interesting to see her perspective.
CLASSIC Janet Hubert: “If you want me to kiss your ass, then you should have put it in my contract!”
Thank you! I was wondering if I was the only one who saw her Life After and heard her explanation!!
Yeah I definitely wasn’t here for Aunt Viv 2.0. After Janet Hubert was replaced, Aunt Viv just seemed like a a fluff character, almost like a permanent extra! (No shade, but Lil Nicky wasn’t needed either). She didn’t do anything exciting or bring anything new or different to the show. It’s a shame Janet Hubert and Will Smith had their differences and she was replaced because everyone on the cast had chemistry! Luvvie you said it best, they definitely fixed it and broke it! The show didn’t go downhill or anything, but Aunt Viv 2.0’s entire storyline was BLAH.
To be fair, Viv 2.0 did have a job. It was mentioned a few times that she was still a professor. But it was all very casual. You never saw her go anywhere or do anything.
I really wanna meet someone who actually likes the second Aunt Viv. I just wanna talk to them. I wanna know what they’re going through.
Sooo, Luvvie is a spy….bcuz I was JUST talking about this about a week ago. I was talking about the episode where Will and Lisa go to therapy and the conversation kinda took off about the different characters on the show and we were all gushing over how much we loved Aunt Viv 1 and it pretty much crickets for Aunt Viv 2. I stopped watching it until I heard Nia Long (who is one of my favorite actresses if all time) was on the show.
I barely remember the new Aunt Viv, so I couldn’t say what made me not like her. But I trust your comparison HAHAHA All I remember was that I loved the old Aunt Viv and I wasn’t havin it, either, when she was replaced with this light skinned chick. Made me sad and I guess I stopped watching hahaha
* The only thing Brand New Viv had going for her was that she’s the real-life wife of Ray from “Sister, Sister”
* The only thing worse than replacing Aunt Viv was replacing Harriette in the 304842393rd and final season of “Family Matters.”
* Did you see “Life After?” They didn’t even TRY to negotiate with her.
– That’s what I loved about Bill Cosby – Lisa Bonet quit The Cosby show and they didn’t replace her. She had a season off and they talked some sense into her and got her back
Interesting remarks from Alfonso Ribeiro…
I agree w/ everything, but what irked me the most was the way they joked about the character switch the first episode that Viv 2.0 was on.
LOL! This was too funny, or sad, depending on how you look at it! I remember when the made the switch. I was confused for weeks, wondering what happened to Aunt Viv. I just couldn’t get used to her looking so different. Even now, when I watch the show, I remember the switch. You are so right about everything you said about new Aunt Viv. They should have just sent her to Fiji.
I too was never here for Viv 2.0. I had so many questions. Why the change? She seemed bland compared to Viv 1.0. To me, the show lost its spark when they brought Viv 2.0 on. No chemistry, no nothing between her and any of the characters.
“No one is here for Aunt Viv 2.0, and if they are, they cannot be trusted.” I can dig it, very well written and… I don’t usually comment.
Yesssss Ms. Sista Viv was the Truth. I see her at auditions in NYC and she is always very nice to me. I Love her.
I remember seeing an interview about the Aunt Viv switch. It was due to Will Smith making a remark about her pregnancy and who the birth father was. Janet Hubert heard about it and asked for an apology which Will refused to give. Mrs. Hubert said that if she did not receive one, she was not coming back. Since, to this day, Will has yet to apologize the Aunt Viv character was switched by the next filming session. I lost A LOT of respect for Will Smith after that!
In the end she lost a power struggle with Will Smith and while she was indeed the better actress, her refusal to return to work (as I understand it) was why they had to go with who they could easily get to play the part. She was hard to deal with and I think she underestimated the power and intelligence of who she was up against.
I will not b party to the hateration toward light viv! Dont bring me in it!! 😉
they both should b bringing to the table albeit i dont REMEMBER any episode with daphne reid. No not one. Lol Im sure she could have brought some presence if they had cast it right light or dark phylicia rashad isnt the brownest but she was memorable. Just my mo
It was only a tv show …
Nylon: la fusión de la contracción, hervida olor frijol, gris topo de cordón dureza era difícil.
Who cares if they got another actress to play and Viv? She’s just a run of the mill black woman. Not all that important.
Aunt Viv 2.0 had that aqua net helment hair I could not get with… And she was dumpy and boring as hell
I 100% agree! I lost respect and interest in the show when they replaced Janet Hubert as Aunt Viv. The new Aunt Viv didnt even fit in; u almost forgot that Will was her nephew and not Uncle Phil’s! There were so many layers to the original Aunt Viv that were beautiful, regal, interesting, funny, intelligent, etc. The Aunt Viv 2.0 character was just a lump of clay to symbolize Will’s connection to the family! The lil Nicky character was useless once the original Aunt Viv 1.0 was fired since she was the only reason he was wrote in the show in the 1st place! If she were kept on the show I could see so many more avenues they couldve explored with his existence. He and Viv 2.0 served no purpose in the show after the firing of Viv 1.0. there wasnt even any chemistry between Uncle Phil and Viv 2.0. Hell Viv 1.0 and the chemistry between Uncle Phil made u forget how “Big” he was compared to her small stature. Hell I think she even made him forget how big he was in the quality of writing and how they eloquently portrayed them; he acted like “Hopping John” from Shirley Caesar song “Hold My Mule” around Viv 1.0. Viv 2.0 NOT SO MUCH…ijs LOL
Janet said Will made derogatory comments regarding dark skin black women and that he acted like an ass and I believe every word she said. I believe she refused to kiss his arse and that’s why they got rid of her and got a passive, light skinned woman at Will’s request. I will always love chocolate Aunt Viv. She owned that role. Will was funny but he didn’t out shine Aunt Viv or the clever Jeffrey.
I’m from Atlanta and have a friend who met Will in Atlanta and she said he acted like an arrogant, pompous prick.
I remember to this day when Aunt Viv 1.0 DANCED!
When they replaced her, it cut me deep. IT really did change the dynamic of the show with a soft matriarch!
I hated the original aunt viv. she was cold and bitchy both on tv and in real life (which is why she got kicked off the show. she was too bossy behind the scenes) She wasn’t even a main character so who cares?
Uncle Phill was the head of the family and the breadwinner. Theres no need to fool the audience with some bullshit about feminism. The show isn’t about aunt viv. It’s about the interaction between Will Smith (a.k.a. the STAR of the show) and his family. DON’T get it twisted.
[…] 5 Reasons Why No One is Here for Aunt Viv 2.0 From Fresh Prince | Awesomely Luvvie […]
THAAANNNNKKKK YYYOOOOOUUUUUU! i stopped watching after she disappeared.
To me there’s no Aunt Viv 2.0. The new lady was a merely a houseguest with the same name as Uncle Phil’s wife who took a teaching job in New York. At least that’s what I told myself as a child! Lol
I last saw her in 2002 as she performed in the New York premiere of Regina Taylor’s Gospel stage play “Crowns”. She performed excellently, and was very warm and cordial at the party which followed. I haven’t viewed any performances since.
So, clearly I’m in the minority here, but I like Viv 2.0 (ducks and hides from rotten produce being thrown my way).
I think it has more to do with the fact that I was all of three years old when the show first aired, so I literally wasn’t here for the Viv 1.0 seasons. Light skinned Aunt Viv was all I knew – I literally did not find out there was another Viv before here until I was an adult, in college at Alabama State. One of my friends took it way too seriously and did a paper on Light vs. Dark skinned politics in the Black community as illustrated by Fresh Prince. Can you imagine how stunned and uncultured I felt learning there were two Aunt Vivs at the ripe old age of 19?
That said, I have only seen a handful of episodes with Viv 1.0 in them, and I admit that she is the definition of FIERCE!
But I also find the way she has decided to talk about Will Smith in recent years hella petty. She left the show 20 years ago – it’s time for her to build a bridge and get over it.
I ‘members when TVOne did some sort of “Where Are They Now” story on her sometime ago, she said that her and Will had a disagreement. She was like “If you wanted me to kiss your ass…you should have put in my contract!” I was all BOOM! All the Welps that ever Welped.
Why does lightskinned vs dark skinned matter so damn much to our people? We are all black. There’s no place in our culture for this elitest nonsense. It’s not that hard see people. Aunt viv 1 was a great actress who fought with will and the producers so they fired her. Its bullshit but it happened. Then they decided to get an actress who would just do her job. Not knocking aunt viv 2. She had moments. But unless we stop seeing black in different shades no one else will.
[…] the Carlton dance. This was just a real cool show. And other than the random change from Aunt Viv to Aunt Viv, the show remained consistent throughout the […]
Thank you for this post. I’ve been fussing about this for years and I’m glad I’m not the only one. Watching an episode on Nick at Nite right now and I got curious to see if anybody else had an opinion. LOL
It’s got nothing to do with Maxwell-Reid’s color – I’m light-skinned myself – it’s simply because the role had morphed into someone completely different. I couldn’t watch the show anymore after she got there. She had no fire. Could you see her on the Soul Train episode? The one when Will and Carlton went to Compton? Did they even have the sisters on there anymore after that? I LOVED it when they were on there. I can’t see her there. It just wasn’t a fit.
To me, there’s really no 2.0. I don’t know who that character was. As I said in a reply above, Janet Hubert is always to me Aunt Viv!
In my opinion, Aunt Viv 1.0 actually added some flavor to the show. She was like Will’s (Mama in the absence of Mama). To me she represented the strong Black women who were so instrumental in helping raise me. She embodied values, boldness, love, and parental nature that made her a memorable character.
Aunt Viv 2.0 on the other hand was not bad. But, she did not have the same personality. She was prim, proper, and prissy. She was not as active in teaching those good old fashioned values that strong Black mothers imparted. And she was not very bold. She put up with some things that Aunt Viv 1.0 would have never allowed in her house.
[…] I thought it was just something I did when I was a kid and, sadly, grew out of. A few weeks ago, Awesomely Luvvie — one of my favorite blogs — did a post on Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and […]
It’s the same thing they did on ” Family Matters”. We loved the original Harriet Winslow, then the next thing we get is the rejected Aunt Viv 2.5, that had no chemistry with the cast, had no purpose, she was just there for looks. No one could hem up Carl Winslow when he stepped out of line, like the original Harriet. No one could regulate Laura, Eddie, Steve, Maxine and even Waldo like the original Harriet. Hell when she yelled at the kids, my butt got quiet too, I felt like I too was being scolded, but then again that is the power behind the craft of acting…..making the character relatable and real. Duplicate’s can never replace an original because they are the true Masterpiece
Girl you ain’t told nothin’ but the truth. I can’t remember anything thing about Aunt Viv 2.0 except for how she looked and what her voice sounds like.
I remember the show when she was first introduced and I think it was Will that said, “There’s something different about you…”
I often wonder if Nicky’s contract was signed before they made the switch because he sure didn’t match.
Unfortunately I can’t remember the girl before the light skinned switch but they did the same thing with the older sister on My Wife and Kids.
The reason Janet left the show is because she tried to sue Will Smith for slander. So the network decided to replace her. She brought it upon her self. I met Janet about 18 years ago in a town called norco. She was friends with my son’s grandma. She was a self proclaimed diva. She had the nickname madame butterfly. She wasn’t very nice when I meet her at the am pm here in town ( while wearing her fresh prince of Belair cast hat on) but one think I can ask you. WHO FUCKNG CARES?
I don’t see how people are so offended by Light Viv other than the skin color issue. I think everyone is just defensive about that and is making up a buncha reasons why Light Viv is supposedly bad. It’s the same thing that happens in the black community. Light skinned and non black women are trashed by women of darker hues on a regular basis and its hidden behind an extra thin veil of whatever people can come up with. Neither Viv was memorable. Hillary and Tatiana weren’t even that memorable. It was a show about Will and to a lesser extent, Carlton, with Uncle Phil doing most of the good parenting. You could make it a gender issue easier than a color issue. It may fly in this forum due to confirmation bias but it’s obvious what the real issue is. The character was Wills auntie, not some pretty young thang starlet there to steal the show. Get real.
If you’re mad Dark Viv got booted, why not take it up with Dark Viv? People don’t get fired for not kissing butt. Everyone on that show has explained that she was a terror and horrible to work with and you really think it’s some grand conspiracy to take down dark chicks? Get your life. You’re not being honest with yourself. Everyone in here spreading gossip. “Well I met her gurrrl and she was a regal queen yaaaas!” Uhhhh. Okay. Well the people who worked with her ON THAT SHOW (yknow, the one you’re discussing) said she was mean and difficult and crazy. But don’t let me stop the takedown of any woman who isn’t darker than a paper bag. Yes, I said it.
Apparently dark aunt Vivian called Will an asshole in an interview three years ago…http://m.tmz.com/#Article/2011/12/27/fresh-prince-will-smith-aunt-vivian
So many times I watched the later seasons and I thought, “The REAL Aunt Viv would’ve never done that!” Honestly, Viv 2.0 made the parents on Full House look strict, she let the kids get away with everything. When she wanted to “punish” someone (which was usually Uncle Phil over something petty) she just stomped her foot and ran up to her bedroom and cried. Uncle Phil treated Viv 2.0 with kid gloves because she threw so many tantrums. It made me sick because I knew how the REAL Aunt Viv would’ve reacted, she was a bad ass! The writers totally screwed up her character. I’ve been watching the earlier seasons and there are so many great Viv moments…when she sang on the Halloween episode, when she let the cops have it for throwing Carlton and Will in jail, when she taught that black history class, when Will’s friend from Philadelphia came to visit and hooked up with Hilary and Viv didn’t like it and she had to tell Will why at the end of the episode…so many. I cannot think of one memorable Viv 2.0 moment. Anyone remember the episode where Will caught Ashley making out with a college guy at a party in the bedroom? The REAL Aunt Viv would’ve gone ballistic!!! But Viv 2.0 just made sad faces and was all like, “I’m really disappointed in you. You’re going to have to earn our trust back.” And that episode where she wanted to divorce Phil for entering politics was SUCH BS the REAL Aunt Viv would’ve never even thought about divorcing Phil. But I guess the writers wanted drama for some reason. The chemistry between her and the other characters was so forced. Even if Janet Hubert was difficult to get along with in real life, the chemistry was always palpable. Her and Phil were equals (the episode where Will’s dad came back and Viv 2.0 said, “You handle it Philip” WAS SO THE OPPOSITE of how the REAL Aunt Viv would’ve reacted) and they had a very passionate, loving, warm, committed relationship. You could feel the bond she had with all of her kids. And even if Will Smith and Janet Hubert hated each other in real life, in the show she was his biggest ally. She took up for him and babied him when Uncle Phil was being hard on him. I wish Janet and Will could have worked out their differences, but if they couldn’t they should have AT LEAST brought in another dark Viv and kept her personality the same.
Although I am years late on this…. What I believe bugs most people is HOW the show transitioned into the Viv 2.0. Regardless of whether or not Ms. Hubert was difficult or not, the way she was erased from the show was foul. When a character is abruptly dismissed from a show, or leaves on his or her own accord, a car accident (although sometimes tragic and unfortunate) is a more acceptable way to write him or her out of the show. That character is now gone, the family doesn’t have to focus on that person any longer. Uncle Phil could’ve remarried and the world would’ve then been introduced to Aunt Viv 2.0. It’s almost as if this thought never occurs to the writers and that puts a damper on the show itself. I watch very few (if any) of the episodes with Aunt Viv 2.0 because Aunt Viv 1.0 defined fierceness!
Killing off Aunt Viv would have been pretty dark for a sitcom but it wouldn’t have been beneath them. They killed off Trevor for no apparent reason then laughed it off. Think it was the same episode where Viv 2.0 was introduced and Nicky magically aged 5 years. If I wrote that episode, it would have started with Will going back to Philadelphia on a plane and Viv dies in a car accident on the way to the airport and after that everyone deals with the grief and Will deals with guilt. Trevor has to move away for some job related reason and Hilary can’t deal with the distance so they break up. Nicky stays a baby. I can’t stand it when writers are all like “this baby is boring, let’s make it a kindergartener so he can run around and say cute stuff”. They should have taken a note out of Full House’s playbook and let the baby grow naturally. Then next season Phil meets Daphne Maxwell Reid’s character and some romance starts to happen. In the episode where Will almost gets married but doesn’t he and Lisa should have got married anyway and the last season he is settling into married life. In the last episode Phil and DMR’s character announce they are going to get married and move East so Phil can be close to his kids. That’s how I would have wrote it. Don’t get me wrong, love Fresh Prince, but for the first 3 seasons were flawless while the last 3 seasons were so iffy. I think the writing just got lazy and they decided to focus on the humor rather than the back story.
When I said “Will going back to Philadelphia on a plane” I meant Will COMING BACK from Philadelphia on a plane back to Bel Air. Sorry.
Dang, how old were you that you didn’t know about the song “Wade in the water”?? lol
I’m not going to lie. I felt that Daphne was just someone they threw in because they didn’t have enough time to do a thorough casting call. And yeah it was a bit of a whim to hear in the episode Aunt Viv was pregnant. I mean her youngest was what, a sophomore in high school? I don’t know. But Jane was the best, I feel like she put her own personal motherly twist and personality into the character. It felt weird and out of place. Like they could have just found a way to write her off. She had no emotion, wasn’t funny, I don’t think she can act to be honest. Now I’m getting irritated thinking about it. I couldn’t stand her and stopped watching after the fourth season. I mean they could have done what they usually do and kill the person off. I mean I don’t mean that to say I want her to die it was just an natural thing Hollywood do on TV shows. Kill them off. Not add a new one. Janet was the best. I always thought that people who started out in theater before they moved to film knew exactly what they were doing. Theater is good practice and teaches you how not to mess up as much and gives you the discipline that comes with acting. It was heartbreaking knowing that she let Will’s control freak side get the best of her.
[…] know how I feel about Aunt Viv 1.0 from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, played by Janet Hubert. She was the best. In fact, we don’t recognize Aunt Viv 2.0 around […]
[…] Writer Luvvie Ajayi highlighted a debate on her blog, Awesomely Luvvie, in a 2013 post patrician “5 Reasons Why No One Is Here for Aunt Viv 2.0 From Fresh Prince.” […]
The show went downhill every year after Janet. By the end it had lost all of its bite and everyone in the house was acting just as crazy as will, which I don’t think was the point of a Philly kid moving to Beverly Hills. Poor Lil tink tink Daphne, tho ; it wasn’t her fault.
[…] both black and a woman (so I’ve been told). Second, it’s not okay to swap representations like sitcom mothers. Representation is a game of specifics; you cannot swap one type of person for another. The people […]
[…] I thought it was just something I did when I was a kid and, sadly, grew out of. A few weeks ago, Awesomely Luvvie — one of my favorite blogs — did a post on Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and […]
While I do agree with the statement that the writers lost all interest or productivity with Vivian’s character after Janet Hubert departure. I just have to say that this light Vivian Dark Vivian is just offensive. As if to say the darker complexion woman has attitude and the lighter complexion has no spice and is dull. What kind of statement is that. While you may not have bluntly put it like that. Perhaps the underlying meaning says just that. If you take a look at the Cosby Show season 8 when Clair has her friends over to talk about a professor they had in college. Maxwell’s character has plenty of spunk and spice. I’d like to say it’s as easy as saying she wasn’t a good actor or she couldn’t bring it like Hubert. But that isn’t fair. Answer these questions. What did the writers want her do, the dierector or even the audience. She was trying to fill in shoes of which she never had a fair chance of doing so. Acting is harder then 123 and people sometimes forget that just like any other job you have to find your place. So imagine an actor comming in 3 years into something trying to find the right fit but has no leverage or writing to do so. It isn’t just black and white. And in my opinion people need to open their minds and quit at the shallowness. Especially with the skin shaming part. It isn’t fair to both the beautiful and gorgeous Hubert or Ried.