In which Uncle Phil purchases an alarm for his pencils.
So, of all the places we've been visiting on our journey through time and space and nougat, we've yet to really hit the jackpot with our treats. I know, I know, we've done okay for ourselves - sure, Belvedere was handing out Mars bars, as his countrymen would do, and Obie was trying to get those goodie bags into circulation, though they were made up of variouis health foods (as come people of the early-90s would do), and sure, even the Clampetts have come away from things with waxy pumpkin-faces filled with what I assume must be sticky, candy from a stickier, less-refined era. But we haven't really hit the house, the one where you just know you're getting king-sized Zagnuts, or some such monstrosity - a candy bar to feast on and exploit like the Sioux would've done with the bison.
We haven't hit that place... until right now.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Again, explaining what this show is "about" is completely beside the point, as this show is as omnipresent as air - think The Beverly Hillbillies with less oil and more dancing, and you've pretty much got it. No, the real point is that we've finally struck gold with our trick-or-treating needs, and we have the tools with which to evaluate such a haven, as will be outlined in the words to come.
Space: Bel-Air, CA
Time: October 29th, 1990
Episode: "Someday Your Prince Will Be In Effect (Parts 1 and 2)" Season 1, Episodes 8 & 9
Granted, we're in Bel-Air, which is some pretty rare-air to begin with - there's a very good chance we're going to come away from this neighborhood with a gilded Snickers or a crumpled handful of Elon Musk's business cards. But how do you know you've struck paydirt? Or Paydays, rather?
1.) What's your couch like?
Considering the time period we're tromping through, a great rule of thumb is "the lighter-in-color your couch is, the more wealth you possess." Now, as this is a clip-show (Really, Fresh Prince? A clip show after seven episodes?) from the first season, we are pre-Banks' living room rehab (aka P.B.L.R.R.), meaning the couches aren't too light, but they are covered with innumerable flower patterns and golden fringe fit for Versailles. Embroidery = wealth, you can expect no less than a half-pound of chocolate.
2.) How are your walls?
If your walls are embossed with several layers of molding, so that it seems your home was constructed with an extra-Escheresque lack of dimensional ending, then you probably have crates of full-sized tropical Skittles to rain down on the serfs of your choosing; no end to your paneling-spiral, no end to your wallet.
3.) Are you wearing a sweater?
If you are, then you are already one step towards living on the right side of the tracks - just by virtue of your ability to wear two shirts at once and not worry about your wardrobe being drastically depleted - or by your ability to not wear it, and drape it over your shoulders instead!
4.) What's your sweater look like?
You know what it looks like - it's got autumn leaves all over it!
5.) How do you decorate?
Look at how proud Geoffrey is of his handiwork, as well he should be; this guy's been hitting the autumn harvest look with extra-aggression! Ooh, and there's that posh couch again... no decorations required there.
One need look only as far as Uncle Phil and how overwhelmed he is by the amount of dead-harvest that has filled his beautiful home to know that this is a house worth visiting. Autumn Harvest = King Size Reese's:
The party is on! I mean, after an extraordinarily long prologue, in which the family goes to the mall (on location, no less!) to buy costumes and get dates. As you do. But finally, after an episode-and-a-half, the party is blowing up, and Geoffrey couldn't be more pleased:
For he knows that if a guy shows up dressed like a bunch of grapes, this will be a party to long-remember. He's grapes - that's crazy!
Carlton somehow manages to get himself a fancy lady for his date, and while it's inexplicable, it's not nearly as unbelievable as the outfit Will shows up in. Everyone reacts to the look as they should:
At this point, he is one green face-paint away from being Jim Carrey as The Mask. I keep waiting for his tongue to roll out of his head like a staircase, replete with "ah-ooh-ga" sound effects.
Will's date - the girl who works at the mall and has glasses and a hairnet, and therefore no apparent value in the dating world - eventually shows up and is given a regal introduction:
Oh, she might look like a swan now, but no matter how hard she wants your attention, Geoffrey's Autumn Harvest look wins the evening - please note that despite being partially-obscured, those dried corn stalks are still larger in-frame than her - with ballgown! Needless to say, hardly anyone at this classy soiree can fucking believe it:
Oh, and Carlton's date? Yeah, turns out she's a thief, kind of like a sexier version of the old lady shoplifter in that one ep of The Andy Griffith Show ("...An' old ladies ought never to clink."), but with a little Carlton-betrayal on the side. That's cold, girl, but I get it. He just oozes 'weak one of the herd.'
Needless to say, no one can fucking believe it:
I get it, sit-com writers - no Halloween is complete without a visit from the local constabulary ringing-up a character for something stupid while dressed in something equally ridiculous. Which does make it a wonder they didn't get Carlton for trying to be taken seriously in that autumn leaves sweater - now that is criminal.