Before he was an action star in films like Independence Day and I Am Legend, Will Smith was on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Admit it; you loved the show. From Uncle Phil’s temper to the “Carlton Dance,” you couldn’t wait to watch your favorite inner-city smart ass put a bunch of rich snobs in their place. Unfortunately, sometimes the show did try to teach you a lesson, but it was a small price to pay for all those hours of free, mediocre laughs.
Here’s a look back at the 15 most memorable moments.
1. Jazz Gets Thrown Out For The First Time!
Tile: “Bang The Drum, Ashley”
Air Date: September 17, 1990 (Season 1, Episode 2)
We all wait for it! The moment when Uncle Phil gets so annoyed with Jazz that he throws him out the door, followed by the beloved “aahh” screem from Jazz.
Jazz is Will’s best friend, and though he has a kind heart, it doesn’t stop him from ruining one of Aunt Viv’s priceless vases or making fun of Uncle Phil’s obvious weight issue. It’s hard to believe this stuntman was the same person who helped Will Smith top the charts with “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand” and “Summertime.”
2 The Big Feast!
Title: “Talking Turkey”
Air Date: November 19, 1990 (Season 1, Episode 12)
Thanksgiving episodes are always classics among sitcoms, especially when Will Smith is cooking.
For the first time we meet Vy, Will’s Philadelphia-based mother, who is visiting her sweet baby boy for the holidays. Now, growing up in Philly, Vy raised Will to take care of himself without anyone’s help, so when she realizes that her son makes another man, Geoffrey the Butler, do his chores, she’s outraged. Vy tells Vivian she spoils the children, and Viv doesn’t like it one bit! She then changes the responsibility of cooking Thanksgiving dinner from Geoffrey to the kids, making this the Banks’ first meal to include frozen yams and burnt turkey.
3 Will And Carlton Jump On It!
Title: “Strip-Tease For Two”
Air Date: May 4, 1992 (Season 2, Episode 24)
Remember when your aunt gave you her most prized bracelet to take to the jeweler to be reset, but instead you sold it to a pawn shop to get the money to buy stock on a hot tip? Yeah me too, right?! Well, that’s exactly what Will and Carlton get into when Carlton suggests investing in a company that later goes bankrupt. In order to buy back Aunt Viv’s $500 bracelet, the boys get the brilliant idea of becoming male strippers. Their first job is at a party for an organization to which Hillary and Aunt Viv belong! Donning half-cut shirts and sweat pants, Will and Carlton perform their infamous dance to the music of the Sugarhill Gang.
4 Will’s Back From Philly
Title: “How I Spent My Summer”
Air Date: September 14, 1992 (Season 3, Episode 1)
For Uncle Phil, the summer of ‘92, when Will headed east to Philly, life was, to put it lightly, heavenly! No fat jokes for three months, perfect grammar all around, no trouble with pool sharks, no crazy house parties; just peace and quiet. So what could Will possibly do for his grand entrance back to the quiet streets of Bel-Air? He could try walking in with his boom box blasting insane levels of hip-hop (better known as trash to Uncle Phil), making the entire house rattle. Donning a new ’so 90’s’ haircut and a baggy ensemble, Will’s new Philly attitude starts rubbing off on Ashley, angering the big man of the house and causing Will to get kicked out!
5 That’s Your Baby Sister, Man!
Title: “That’s No Lady, That’s My Cousin”
Air Date: September 28, 1992 (Season 3, Episode 3)
Newly enrolled at the prestigious Bel-Air Prep, freshman Ashley’s innocent ‘look’ doesn’t really seem to be the catching eyes of the testosterone induced boys at school (Will being one of those horny boys). So ladies, what does Ashley do to change this? She goes straight to the source: Will. She knows Will’s the cool kid. She slyly asks Will what he looks for in a girl, what girls usually say to catch Will’s attention, and ultimately how they dress. The next day at school with mini-skirt, makeup and all, Ash can’t keep the boys off her, even catching her very own brother’s attention! Carlton: Wow!! Will, check out the talent! She’s cool, she’s hot, she’s…
Will: YOUR BABY SISTER, MAN!!
6 Carlton Dances To Oprah Theme
Title: “A Night at The Oprah”
Air Date: November 19, 1992 (Season 3, Episode 9)
Poor Will, always being left out! In what he thought to be his big break, Oprah Winfrey invites the Banks family to join her on her show. Only one problem: Uncle Phil wants nothing to do with Will being on the show. He points out that Will is not a true Banks and therefore would feel “out of place” on the show. Big mistake. Will comes up with a crazy scheme to get his way and shun Uncle Phil on live TV.
7 Nicholas Andrew Banks!
Title: “The Baby Comes Out”
Air Date: February 22, 1993 (Season 3, Episode 20)
Little Nicky is born after months of a crazed and pregnant Vivian giving the family hell. A week overdue and with only Geoffrey and Ashley to help her, a crazed TV-sitcom birth is no exception to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After crushing Geoffrey’s hand in an intense bout of labor pains, Ashley’s the only person around to help mom. Vivian is already in labor and in dire of need a hospital, the only problem is Ashley can’t drive!
8 Trevor Proposes To Hillary (…And Dies)
Title: “Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way”
Air Date: September 20, 1993 (Season 4, Episode 1)
Perhaps the saddest but most hilarious clip of airhead Hillary and her fiance Trevor. The entire family sits down in the living room to watch Trevor’s long-awaited proposal. And how does Trevor ask Hillary to be his wife for all of eternity? By bungee jumping of course! On live television, newscaster Trevor reports from one of the highest bridges found in California to ask his girl five special words, “Hillary… will … you … marry… …” SPLAT! The live feed turns off with the family left in shock not knowing what to do, except for Hillary who ecstatically jumps around in her wedding dress shouting “Yes Trevor! I will” without the knowledge Trevor is dead.
9 Will And His Dad
Title: “Papa’s Got A Brand New Excuse”
Air Date: May 9, 1994 (Season 4, Episode 24)
The closest thing to a father-figure Will has ever had is Uncle Phil. Will was raised by his mother Vy in Philadelphia until he was sent to Bel-Air. Abandoning Will at the age of four, Will’s father Lou, now a trucker, locates his son in California and tries picking up things where he left off 14 years ago. Though Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian are less than ecstatic for Lou’s return, Will is filled with so much happiness to have his dad with him again. Reacting the only way Will can, he plans out baseball games and camping weekends to catch up with his “long lost” father. It seems Will has finally found the missing link in his family until Lou decides to take off on his son for a second and final time in the tear-jerker finale.
10 Will And Carlton Dance Off
Title: “Sooooooooul Train”
Air Date: November 7, 1994 (season 5, Episode
Invited to Soul Train’s 25th anniversary reunion, Aunt Vivian is excited to go back to the set where Phil proposed to her on air. Reminiscing about his ’70s glory days, Uncle Phil makes a decision to skip the reunion in order to prevent thousands of television viewers from watching Phil make a fool of himself in his balding, bulging state. Left angered and with no choice, Vivian takes the kids and Geoffrey to the reunion where Will ditches her for a flyer hunny, Geoffrey goes incognito as a 70’s pimp superstar and Carlton challenges Will to a Soul Train dance-off where he busts out his Michael Jackson moves and famous Carlton dance swagger. It’s always fun watching Will play pranks on his dweeb of a cousin but it’s nice to watch Carlton win every now and then, especially when he does it so hilariously.
11 Will’s Fat Suit
Title: “Will Steps Out”
Air Date: November 28, 1994 (Season 5, Episode 11)
Bad boy Will goes out on a date with another woman (even though it’s with Lisa) and finally realizes he loves her and wants to quit his cheating ways. In another storyline, Uncle Phil, finally feeling the need to cut down on calories, hires a personal trainer who has him working out constantly throughout the day and is monitoring his food intake. Tired of hearing Will make fun of him, Phil’s trainer challenges Will to walk one day in a fat suit to prove it isn’t as easy as it looks. Agreeing, Will takes his fat suit with him to the supermarket where he spies on Lisa, and yells out “I love you!”. Oh, and we also get to see Will hand Carlton the power of his “chicktionary” now that he won’t be needing it anymore.
12 Will Gets Shot
Title: “Bullet’s Over Bel-Air”
Air Date: February 6, 1995 (Season 5, Episode 15)
In one of the sitcom’s most somber episodes, Will and Carlton go to an ATM machine before heading out to a camping trip. Both are approached by a robber at gun point who eventually shoots Will. Thankfully, Will survives and has to spend a week at the hospital, though he, his family, and Carlton are severely shaken and distraught that such a thing could happen. In a powerful scene, Will has to talk Carlton into giving him a gun he purchased (for protection) as a trade-off for saving his life. Compton ain’t got nothing on the mean streetz of Bel-Air. Click Here To See a Clip
13 Will And Lisa’s Wedding With Shaft Theme
Title: “The Wedding Show… (Psyche!)”
Air Date: February 27, 1995 (Season 5, Episode 18)
Feeling their wedding plans are being ignored, Will and Lisa decide to elope to Las Vegas and get married in a small chapel that does weddings in themes. Just Will’s luck, they have his all-time favorite hero’s theme; a Shaft wedding equipped with afros, platforms, leather and all. But before making Lisa his lifetime soulmate at the hands of Isaac Hayes (their Scientology wielding “pastor”), Lisa gets cold feet about getting married in such a tacky-themed wedding and decides to call the whole thing off.
14 Will’s Pick-up Line
Title: “Love In An Elevator”
Air Date: May 8, 1995 (Season 5, Episode 24)
“I think I’ve seen your picture somewhere before… Oh yeah, that’s right, it was in the dictionary next to KABLAM!!” Enough said.
15 The Carlton Dance
Air Date: September 10, 1990 – May 20, 1996 (Seasons 1-6)
Admit it, you’ve all done it; “The Carlton Dance!”
“It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone, it’s not unusual to have fun with anyone.” Alfonso Ribiero’s contribution to the art of dance was seen throughout the entire six seasons of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.