‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ vs ‘Friends’: Was the Will Smith Starrer Really Better Than Jennifer Aniston’s Iconic Sit-Com?

Published 08/25/2023, 6:20 AM EDT

via Imago

Even after decades pass by, there are some shows which do not leave the viewers’ hearts. Fans follow shows like The Office, How I Met Your Mother, and even not-so-old shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Big Bang Theory, and Two and a Half Men religiously. Amidst the popularity of all these sitcoms, there is a debate about which is better: Will Smith‘s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air vs Friends starring Jennifer Aniston and others.


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The Fresh Prince gave a kick start to Will Smith’s career in Hollywood. The rapper-turned-actor became a huge name after his brilliant performance in the sitcom. On the other hand, Friends also gave the industry some of the finest actors. Although some of the stars were already famous, this show gave their careers a new height. However, even after all these years of the show’s finale, fans are still wondering about the best of these two shows.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air vs Friends: The Battle Between the best


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It is certainly a little unfair to compare two different shows as each one has their distinctive qualities. However, for the sake of the ongoing debate among fans, here are some reasons that make the 54-year-old actor’s show better than NBC’s other fan-favorite sitcom and vice versa.

 Theme Song of The Fresh Prince

Right from the very first episode of the show, the theme song catches the viewers’ attention. The catchy tune and brilliant lyrics, depicting the character’s story, sets the mood for the show. The theme song is so catchy and easy to remember that it actually became one of the most loved introduction songs of any sitcom.

Even after 27 years of the show’s ending, fans still love it. Not long ago, the Emancipation actor got a beautiful reminder from a fan that she still loves the show as she sang the theme song while in the hospital.

The Will- Carlton friendship

While the show is about much more than friendship and love, the bond between Will and Carlton became one of the highlights of the sitcom. They both complemented each other with their distinctive qualities.

Carlton was the preppy, hapless sidekick to Will’s street-smart confidence. Both these characters made an entertaining, mismatched duo. Although Carlton had a totally opposite personality to his famous cousin, he became just as loved for being unapologetically himself.


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From the very beginning of the show, the contradictory aspects of both characters are displayed. Therefore, the show prepared the viewers for the upcoming awesome adventures of Will and Carlton.

Addressed serious issues blended with humor

It is hard to address serious social, economic, or any prevailing issues on a public platform without being sensitive about it. However, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air touched upon them with brilliance. In the very first episode of the sitcom, Will addressed the issue of pollution. Starting from there, the show also dealt with systemic racism in America.

Moreover, the NBC sitcom also dealt with gun violence and drug use. As far as Will was concerned, The Fresh Prince showcased the father who abandoned him. The fan-favorite show was ahead of its time.

The ’90s fashion

Sitcoms are one of the best fashion trendsetters. Therefore, when the King Richard star appeared dressed all funky, the viewers loved it. As the name suggested, The Fresh Prince; Smith’s costumes set a new and fresh trend back then.

The show fully embraced the ’90s era throughout the show. Along with the high-beat music of the show, it also introduced bold, colorful, and inspiring fashion for the youth of the time.


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Although the show ended soon after Friends started to air, there are still a lot of Smith fans who are loyal to the show. But Friends also gained wide viewership worldwide and is still one of the most-watched shows. Why is this NBC sitcom still trending?

Affirming theme song

I’ll be there for you. ‘Cause you’re there for me, too,” confronts the viewers so much so that even after 19 years of the show’s ending, fans still believe the show is there for them. The theme song of the sitcom takes fans through the reality of life. Despite all the tests and trials in your life, these friends promise to be there for each other till the end.

They all do so as well. Therefore, this theme song lives in the viewers’ souls. Not only do the fans love it, but the American pop star icon, Taylor Swift, also loves it a lot. She is a huge fan of the show and sang the theme song in one of her concerts as well.


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Did you know, Courteney Cox also played the song on piano and posted it on her Instagram? Well, this only goes to say how much the song, ‘I’ll Be There for You’ by The Rembrandts has confronted uncountable fans.

Friendship Duos

All 6 characters are an individual story which creates the entire plot of the show. However, it gets interesting when all their stories cross paths with each other. That is when all these characters come closer and create unbreakable bonds. For instance, Ross and Chandler knew each other from their high school. Yet, only when we see the flashbacks do we get to know the root of their bond.

And throughout the show, iconic friendship duos have been showcased. The best example is Rachel and Monica’s bond. Fans also still adore the beautiful friendship between Joey and Chandler. Although Joey and Phoebe are really the outsiders in the group, their bond with each other holds a high significance for the show, too.

Guest Stars

Not only the actors in the show but also the guest stars added a lot more fun to the plot. Stars like Robin Williams, Brad Pitt, Billy Crystal, Julia Roberts, and many more appeared at different stages in the sitcom.

Interestingly, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt starring with each other on the show added more numbers to the show’s viewership. Additionally, George Clooney, Danny DeVito, Charlie Sheen, and many other well-known stars graced the show with their appearance.


Despite the show ending in 2004, there are fans from across the globe who still religiously follow the show. The show affected different generations with different comforts. Therefore, because of its flexibility in connecting with various audiences, the show remains timeless.


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Love, friendships, heartbreaks, family, and the promise to be there for each other are some of the most-longed human emotions. Still, the show provides it to its viewers.


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One has all the music and dance in it, while the other has a lot of sarcasm and emotions. While one lasted 6 years, the other lasted for 10 years. Amidst all the several differences, both shows have their own charm that makes the audience fall in love with it.

Which is your favorite show? Share, who, according to you, is the winner between The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Friends?



Neha Chande

1694 articles

Meet Neha Chande, an entertainment writer at Netflix Junkie, who has written more than 1100 articles. With a Master's degree in English Literature, Neha believes in unbiased journalism. Before delving into her passion for writing and cinema, she taught English and communication skills as a facilitator and lecturer.