TV Review: Bel-Air, 1×8, “No One Wins When The Family Feuds”

User Rating: 9

I have no problems with “No One Wins When The Family Feuds.” This episode of Bel-Air highlights the long-awaited confrontation between Aunt Vivian and her sister Viola. The setting for the conflict is Bel-Air and Will’s birthday. Vy doesn’t exactly appreciate Vivian being well off in terms of financial stability. She takes every possible opportunity to offend her sister with comments about her level of wealth. Will spends most of the episode trying to keep peace with his mother and his Aunt Viv. The other central plot point focuses on Hillary and her status in the influencer house. It’s clear that Hillary has decisions to make regarding how her content shapes her viewership.

This was a great episode because it finally brought to the forefront the challenges of the past that were never addressed by two members of the Smith family. I love that instead of Vy feeling left out because she didn’t achieve the same wealth as her sister, her issue is with the fact that she spent so much time, money, and energy supporting her mother at the end of her life while Vivian was climbing both the social and financial ladder. When a family member is hurting, especially if they know a loss is coming, sometimes all they need to feel supported is another family.

That seems to be true for Vy. The negative with her character is that she didn’t really know how to express her emotions positively because she felt so much resentment. I think that’s something many people who have conflicts with other siblings or extended family can relate to. I’m glad that the show decided to dive into that generational problem. The argument that climaxed the episode between the two sisters was legendary. Both were taking blows from each other because neither really felt appreciated or supported, but once it was discovered that mistakes had been made on both sides, the two siblings finally healed.

I also love that this episode kept the audience on pins and needles about whether or not Will would get the opportunity to learn about his father, Lou. Those familiar with how The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air handles that story know what to expect, but it doesn’t make the drama involved in his eventual return any less entertaining or useful emotionally for the main character.

The resolution to Hillary’s problem with the influencer house was swift, but I’m glad that she took the opportunity to stand on her own two feet and respect herself and the content she makes. Coco Jones did a great job portraying Hillary’s conflict and the joy in her resolution to the main problem she had been dealing with. My only issue with this storyline is that Jazz deserved an apology as he was one of the few people who knew her true intentions and value as a person.

What makes this show incredibly strong is the dynamics between the characters, not just those that are part of the main cast but also those who happen to have guest roles. April Parker Jones was the scene-stealer of the episode as Vy. I will say the only negative I can give this episode is that it feels very familiar with the conflict in the original series. Enough different aspects of the story were put in. However, it makes it worth watching and worth discovering what might happen next to Will and his mother. I would eventually like some resolution to the idea that Reed Rodrick is after Aunt Viv. For now, “No One Wins When The Family Feuds” continues the strong streak of episodes that this dramatic take on an old favorite excels so strongly at providing.

Bel-Air is now streaming on Peacock.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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