West Philly teenager Will Smith (played by rap star Will Smith) enters his second year as permanent house guest in the magnificent California mansion of his wealthy Uncle Phillip (James Avery) and Aunt Vivian (Janet Hubert-Whitten) as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air enters its second season on NBC. The series' basic culture-clash premise is still up and running, though by now, Will has become accustomed to his social-climbing but basically likable relatives, just as they have adjusted to Will's street-smart insouciance. And of course, family butler Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell) can still be counted on for those hilarious lip-sneering putdowns. Virtually all that has changed this season is the Banks house, the interior of which has been completely redesigned. Highlights of season two include Will and his cousin Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) coming to the rescue when Carlton's sister, Ashley (Tatyana M. Ali), comes up against a bully -- and end up needing rescuing themselves; Aunt Vivian's traumatic and ultimately surprising reaction to her 40th birthday; Former Cosby Show co-star Malcolm-Jamal Warner's appearance as a stuffy lawyer who is dating Carlton's other sister, pampered-and-pouty Hilary (Karyn Parsons); the totally unexpected guest-star turn by Zsa Zsa Gabor, clearly capitalizing on her recent arrest after beating up a traffic cop; Hilary's frenzied efforts to prove her worth as a caterer's assistant (with Will's help); butler Geoffrey uncharacteristically falling in love but not with someone of his "class;" and the trouble encountered by Phillip and Vivian when they welcome a '60s radical into their home only to arouse the interest of the FBI. Also worth noting is actress Nia Long's supporting appearance in the episode "She Ain't Heavy," three years before Long would join the series' cast in a different role. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air proved to be a hit with black and white audiences alike during its sophomore season, ending up as the year's 22nd most popular network show.
by Hal Erickson synopsis