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How the Families From 'Family Ties' and 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-air' Are Almost IDENTICAL!

Did you notice the similarities between the Banks and the Keatons?

By Jonathan SimPublished 6 years ago 3 min read

I pulled up to a house around seven or eight, and I yelled to the cabbie, "Yo holmes, smell ya later!" Looked at my kingdom, I was finally there, to sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air... sha-la-la-la.

Oh, hai. Didn't see you there.

So, last year, I got into watching Family Ties, after I watched Michael J. Fox's performance in Back to the Future. And I LOVED Family Ties.

And a few months ago, I watched Men In Black, liked Will Smith's performance, and therefore started watching his TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

I still love watching both shows. They're both so hilarious and I just have an awesome time watching them. And I started to notice how similar the families are between the two shows.

Yes, I'm here to say that the white middle-class Keatons are extremely similar to the black upper-class Banks. Just hear me out. I'll be doing this character by character.

Geoffrey and Will won't be included, because they're not actually part of the literal Banks family.

Alex P. Keaton and Carlton Banks

Similarities: Both Alex and Carlton are preppy conservative Republicans, who are highly intelligent and obsessed with their college and future. They're also both relatively short.

Also, Alex interviews for Princeton, but ultimately cancels his interview to care for his sister. Carlton's dream school is Princeton, and eventually goes to the school at the end of the show.

Differences: Carlton's height is made fun of more often in the show, usually by Will.

Mallory Keaton and Hilary Banks

Similarities: Both are considered to be attractive dim-witted characters. Mallory always rejects Alex's friend, Skippy, when he asks her out, and this is similar to Hilary rejecting Will's friend, Jazz. Both are uninterested in college and prefer clothes and going to the mall.

Differences: Hilary is considerably more self-centered than Mallory is, and Hilary is also relatively famous, unlike Mallory.

Jennifer Keaton and Ashley Banks

Similarities: They're both the younger siblings of the family, and are considerably nice and intelligent.

Differences: Ashley appears to like music more than Jennifer, and Jennifer was slightly more tomboyish.

Elyse Keaton and Vivian Banks

Similarities: They are the matriarchs of the family, and are relatively intelligent. Both are caring towards their children and can have fun, while also being rational and levelheaded. And they have also demonstrated instances of great singing voices.

Differences: Viv is more strict and no-nonsense than Elyse. Also, Viv has worked as a doctor and a teacher, while Elyse is an architect.

Steven Keaton and Philip Banks

Similarities: The patriarchs of the family. There is an episode in both Ties and Fresh Prince where Steven and Phil have heart attacks, and they can be humorous at times. Both care a lot about their families

Differences: Steven is much less strict and more good-humored, while Phil is more strict with his children. Steven works at a TV network, whereas Phil is a judge. Also, Steven is a liberal, and Phil is a conservative.

Andy Keaton and Nicky Banks

Similarities: Both were born in the middle of the series and entered preschool at the beginning of season 5 of their respective shows. They are both witty and loved by their families.

Differences: They are slightly different due to the families they grew up in. Andy grew up with Alex teaching him everything he knew about politics and by the time Andy was a toddler, he supported Reagan, and watched Wall Street Week. Nicky seemed more like his own individual.

And that's it!

So, these are some character-by-character comparisons and contrasts between the characters of Family Ties and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. If you haven't seen one of these shows, you need to watch them. They're two of my favorites.


About the Creator

Jonathan Sim

Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings.

For business inquiries: [email protected]

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