Skip to main content

As Bel-Air’s Carlton Receives Hate From Fans, The Series’ Co-Showrunner Is Sharing Thoughts On The Matter

Olly Sholotan on Bel-Air
(Image credit: Peacock)

Since making its in February, Bel-Air has been a topic of conversation for a variety of reasons, as critics have been mostly mixed on the modern "reimagining" of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. What's arguably been the biggest subject, though, is the dramatic transformation of Carlton Banks. After seeing his antics on the reboot, fans have been going in on the character, leading actor Olly Sholotan to respond to the online hate with an honest social media post. As the formerly-beloved dork continues to receive online hate, the series’ co-showrunner has shared his thoughts on the matter.

On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Carlton Banks was the obnoxious, but lovable, nerd whose relationship with his cousin Will morphed over the course of the series. The hilarious duo went from frenemies to brothers on the classic sitcom. However, Bel-Air paints the young man as his cousin’s primary antagonist, who only yields in moments that serve both parties. It's the amplification of Banks’ worst qualities that has caused fans – new and old – to roast him. When addressing the vitriol, co-showrunner T.J. Brady offered NBC’s Today a tempered take on the situation:

All of that is intentional. If people are talking about it or feeling any emotion at all, we feel like we’re doing our job right, whether it’s anger or joy or anything. The enemy of us as storytellers is apathy. So, we’re just trying to make people feel something and react to it and get engaged.

So the creative team knew the anxiety-filled prep school student would provoke conversation as soon as the revival premiered. It's worth mentioning that viewers already knew the actor’s take would be completely different after Bel-Air's first trailer dropped. They just didn’t know Carlton would act be so egotistical and vicious towards Will. Still, T.J. Brady is correct in saying that such a public response can indicate compelling storytelling, and that’s saying a lot for a reimagining of a classic sitcom.

The producer's response definitely isn't as sharp as Olly Sholotan's. The star took it upon himself to answer the Carlton hate train in his way, which was by providing them with a hi-def photo of his polarizing character. He had grown tired of seeing what he called “a pic with 7 pixels” being used to roast the wealthy bad boy throughout the interwebs.

Despite the blowback, the up-and-coming actor doesn't seem to have the disapproval of OG Carlton Alfonso Ribeiro, who has stressed the show's status as a "reimagining" and not a reboot. Ribeiro made a major impression as the Banks' oldest son years ago, though the America’s Funniest Home Videos host resented the iconic character for a time as he faced being typecast and public misconception of him outside of his Fresh Prince role. He eventually got over the hump, however, and is currently thriving in other ways in the entertainment industry.

It'll be interesting to see what lies ahead for this new Carlton Banks as Bel-Air's first season prepares to conclude. To see the character for yourself and to form your own opinion, you can check out the drama series by subscribing to Peacock Premium. I'd wager that there will be big things in store for Carlton when the season finale airs on March 31st.

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).