The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air and In The House

The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air (1990-1996)
In The House (1995-1998)
Type: Crossover
Group 1

    And here is one just designed to make you think you're losing your mind. Something to make you sit there going, "I know Alfonso Ribeiro played his Fresh Prince character Carlton on In The House. I know he did. Only... in another episode they call him Maxwell. But he still seemed to be Carlton. Maybe he's just playing a similar character there is no crossover and I'm making a mistake. Except I know they called him Carlton before. And I think his sister from The Fresh Prince was on the show too. Only look! There are other people from The Fresh Prince doing a guest shot on In The House and they're playing different characters then they did on Fresh Prince. So... maybe the girl who played his sister was playing a different part too. Maybe? I'm so confused. Reality is blurring. I'm going to do crack in a desperate attempt to escape this madness."

   Science believes 92% of crack addiction begins in this way. So very sad. Especially because there was no need. There is a logical explanation, friend! Come back to us!

   Are ya back now, my crack addicted friend? Good because I lied. This really isn't very logical but you are also not crazy.

   Let's back up a bit. In 1990 NBC premiered the sitcom The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. It starred rapper Will Smith. Not yet a movie mega-star, this was the show that launched the acting half of his career into high gear. He played a kid from West Philadelphia who, as the theme song explained, got into some trouble in his home town and so as a result was sent to live with his rich aunt and uncle in Bel-Air California. Will's attitude and behavior clashed with those of his aunt, uncle and their kids. Comedy genius of a dangerous, world threatening level followed. Along with some monster ratings.

   And, of course, when you have a show that is hugely successful because of its uniqueness, what do you do? Well what any self-respecting network would do. You try and copy that uniqueness. Taking a rap star and packaging him as a family sitcom star worked once? Well then let's see if it will work again. And thus hard core rap star Flesh Rip Killa, the power behind the monster hit "Whack Smack Massacre" and "Punch To Da Troat!" became the star of the sitcom The Bestest Kindergarten Teacher Ever. No, wait...

   What I meant to say was that rap star - and bona fide cool guy - L.L. Cool Jay became the star of the NBC sitcom In The House. It was a sort of hip hop Who's The Boss. This is one confusing set up so try and follow along. L.L. Cool J played Marion Hill, a former pro football player trying to rehab and get back into the game. To keep some cash flow coming in while he recovers he rents his house out to Debbie Allen's character Jackie Warren. Jackie is a divorced mom trying to get her law degree. Marion ends up working as nanny for her kids while Jackie goes to work. So, they are living in Marion's house and he's their landlord. But his house is technically now their house. And he's working for his own tenant. Science believes 92% of... never mind.

   So, you're NBC with two sitcoms centered on rap superstars, one a huge hit, the other one pretty new. Obviously you want to find a way to get fans of the hit show to try the new one. Whaddya do? Hello? This site is all about crossovers! What do you think you do? Geesh, pay attention.

   So after having had a short 6 episode first season, the second season of In The House premiered with a crossover with The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. Turns out Marion is good friends with The Fresh Prince's stuffy cousin Carlton Banks (Because super cool pro jocks are always friends with uptight geeks. Huh?). Carlton and his sister Ashley popped over for an episode in which Marion and Carlton discover that the guy Ashley is dating is not such a nice guy and so decide to inflict some sitcommy justice on him. And who played the boyfriend. Yes, you guessed it: hard core rapper Flesh Rip Killa.

   Wait a minute... again, that's not what I meant to say. Someone has again been messing with my notes.

   Here is where things get a little more confusing. Cut to 1996 and a lot of changes. At the end of the 1995-1996 season The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air ended a successful six year run on NBC. At the same time after a season and a half run In The House also left NBC. But it didn't leave TV altogether. It just moved over to the new upstart UPN network.

   The changes for In The House weren't limited to what network it was on though. The whole premise of the show got a major revamp. All that "He's her landlord and her nanny" jazz? Outta there. Jackie Warren and her son Austin moved away! Buh bye (Her daughter Tiffany decided to stick around though). Marion discovered that he could rehab all he wanted, it wasn't going to matter. He would never be able to play pro ball again. No football career, he just lost his tenants and his nanny gig. You'd think he'd be suicidal over having no cash coming in. Nope. He was happy to have his house all to himself again. Plus he had some money saved up and a plan for how to use it. Seems the sports clinic he went to was going up for sale. Who better to run the place than a former jock? Well, maybe Marion's rehab doctor Maxwell Stanton, played by Alfonso Ribeiro.

   That's right. The same guy who had already appeared as Marion's friend Carlton Banks. With The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air off the air, the guy needed a new gig. So they brought him in to play a character very much like his Fresh Prince character and to cause much confusion in the minds of casual viewers.

   But why didn't they just bring him over actually PLATING Carlton Banks? There are a bunch of good reasons actually. First, In The House was now on a different network. Even though The Fresh Prince was off the air I'm sure NBC still wouldn't have been very happy to have a character from one of its hit shows jumping to a show on another network. On top of that there were good plot reasons as well. Carlton Banks was not a doctor. At the end of The Fresh Prince he was also headed off on a path that wouldn't jive with him showing up on In The House. So right away they would have had to have come up with an utterly different concept for the new direction the series was going in. The idea of season three was that Marion and Dr. Stanton end up partners in the clinic. While Carlton could have been written in as a partner, for Carlton it would only have been an investment. Ribeiro's character being a doctor put him IN the clinic on a day to day basis. Plus part of the plot is that Marion and Maxwell Stanton are sort of a bickering odd couple. You don't want them being total buddies. And Marion and Carlton were best friends remember.

   And just so nobody writes and complains, there was a third partner in the clinic, Marion's neighbor Tonia who was also a physical therapist. After all what fun are arguing partners unless you have some poor peacemaker who's stuck in the middle?

   But wait. We need to make this Fresh Prince thing a little more confused. How to do that? Simple...

   The end of the 4th season of In The House ended with Maxwell Stanton marrying his girlfriend. Well what is a wedding without family? Maxwell's mom and dad show up for the wedding and who should be playing them but James Avery and Daphne Maxwell Reid, the actors who played Riebeiro's parents on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. I want to see the episode where Marion's friend Carlton stops by with his parents for a visit and they run into Dr. Stanton and his folks. Marion would just walk in, see this major freakish case of "The Patty Duke Show" syndrome and his head would explode.

   Oh yeah, on top of the parents, Joseph Marcell who played Geoffrey the Butler on The Fresh Prince also appeared in the same wedding episode as the minister who performs the ceremony. From servant of the rich to servant of The Lord. And God willing, this article will help put some people's troubled minds at ease. Again, I know the pain this confusion has caused to so many of you.

Other Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Crossover Links
The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and Blossom
The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and Diff'rent Strokes
The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and The Jeffersons
The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and Out All Night

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