Marlon Wayans is receiving his flowers after flooring fans with his performance on the series “Bel-Air,” a dramatic reimagining of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Spoiler Alert: For those who have yet to watch the show, major storyline plot points will be revealed. In the show’s season finale Will, played by new up-and-coming actor Jabari Banks, is faced with wanting to know why his father, Lou, abandoned him as a child. Many of the answers he seeks are spelled out in documents awaiting him in a sealed envelope he has opted to not open. But just as the Philly-bred teen attempts to move on without answers, his father shows up at the Bel-Air mansion as none other than Wayans.
Wayans’ character confronts the family patriarch, Uncle Phil, about wanting to see his son in a scene riddled with tension between the two men. The comedian best known for his countless comedy films ups the ante when he and Will finally share the screen in an emotionally palpable moment.
While trying to embrace the memories they once shared when Will was just a young boy, things go left when Lou is filled with rage as he reflects on the relationship he and Will’s mother shared. Tensions reach a climax as the two become embroiled in a yelling match, with Lou nearly choking Will.
For fans watching the show, Wayans’ visceral delivery of anger and pain made him unrecognizable as the source of laughter most have known him as. The shock was clearly spelled out on social media, where fans raved over actor’s ability to take on such a serious role.
“Marlon Wayans being Will’s dad on Bel Air was such a curve ball but man he can act his butt off!,” wrote a fan.
“The Bel-Air finale is astounding. Marlon Wayans, funny as he is, is Richard Pryor “Blue Collar”/Jamie Foxx “Ray” level good in it, and he needs a reoccurring next year. And then @jabaribanx and @africangodling and rest of the cast keep elevating it…just…great work all around.”
In part, another raving fan wrote, “was happy to see u as #RipCord in @Hasbro @GIJoeOfficial that was when I saw the real acting u can do and made me want to do it, bro u been deserved a #Oscars.”
Wayans, who caught wind of the praise, shared several of the messages on Twitter. It was also revealed that the powerful scene was full of unscripted authentic passion and talent as Wayans and Banks went off script for the bulk of the scene.
While scores of people are floored by Wayans’ acting range, his “Bel-Air” appearance is not his first foray into the world of dramatic acting. The “Marlon” show actor also has credits for roles in “Requiem for a Dream” and “On the Rocks.” Last summer the youngest of the Wayans brothers also wowed audiences and critics with his portrayal of Aretha Franklin’s first husband, Ted White, in “Aretha.”