'Bel-Air' Episode 7: Why did Vivian Banks give up on her art career?
'Bel-Air' managed to do something that 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' couldn't afford to. Partly because of its runtime and mainly because of the genre it falls under, 'Bel-Air' showed a whole new side to the Banks family. Instead of depicting them as replicas of the characters from the hit 90s sitcom, the reboot created by Morgan Cooper, portrayed them as people with problems, and showed the family overcoming them, coming out as better people.
Right from the beginning, we're aware of Vivian Banks' career as an artist in the past and as the series progresses, we see her address the reason behind her giving it up. Choosing to be a mother and wife over an artist, Vivian quit her art life 15 years ago. We also see her consider starting over, as she begins to get back in touch with people in the scene. Everybody seems to be of the opinion that Vivian is a gifted painter and appears to push her towards restarting her career. In what comes as a somewhat elaborate backstory, Episode 7 of 'Bel-Air' touches upon the past and sees Vivian and Phillip talk about her life as an artist and why she had to turn her back on it.
While Carlton and Will were throwing a party at the mansion and Hilary was out to get Kylo with Jazz, Vivian ended up at an art gala at Santa Clara after arguing with Phillip over him digging into the Bank's personal funds without even informing her about it. Phillip follows her to the gala after being informed about Reed's tendencies to exploit women who come to him asking for assistance with their respective art careers. Unaware of his motives for being there, Vivian takes his visit as a pleasant surprise but she leaves his side after finding out.
The couple have a heated argument at their hotel room after the gala, and Vivian asks Phillip why it's hard for him to accept that someone might actually believe in her work and why he has never asked her whether she'll return to being an artist. Over the course of the argument, Phillip opens up to Vivian that he's never seen anything more beautiful than watching Vivian "in her element." He goes on to talk about how Vivian was struggling at the time, complaining about having to prove herself to a system that wasn't built to accommodate her or her art. Phillip reveals to Vivian that she "got tired even before she started" and that she was constantly questioning whether she was as good as her contemporaries and second-guessing every single piece of hers. Having let her insecurities cripple her, Phillip adds that he only opened an escape hatch for Vivian, and it was her choice to jump right through it. Phillip ends the line of discussion by telling Vivian that his efforts to convince her failed because she couldn't convince herself.
Episode 7 of 'Bel-Air,' titled 'Payback's a B**tch,' ends with Phillip suggesting that they go for a drive to cool down but Vivian asks him to go home, having made up her mind to "rescue" herself this time.
Fresh episodes of 'Bel-Air' drop Thursdays at 5 am ET on Peacock.