The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Season 4 Episode 24

Papa's Got a Brand-New Excuse

Aired Monday 8:00 PM May 09, 1994 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
191 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Will's long-lost father, Lou, breezes into town and promises Will the moon, which angers Phil and Vivian, who give him the cold shoulder for walking out on Will and Vy. When Will was 4 years old, his father went to get a pack of cigarettes and never came back. Years later he became a trucker, but Will was going to college by then. When his father abandons him a second time, Will accepts the fact that Uncle Phil is the closest thing to a father that he has ever had.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • A great episode

    After 14 years of absence, Will's dad makes an appearance, and then leaves him again. What really saddens me is: Will expresses a mixture of anger and sadness, and Philip being a real father figure to Will. The statue was a perfect touch in the end.
  • Will and his dad

    Can words describe how brilliant, amazing, awesome, gut-wrenching, and great this episode was? No. This is one of the best if not the best episode of the series. This was Will Smith at his most brilliant. It wasn't just Will Smith. All the actors stepped up their game in this episode as well. The guy who played Will's dad did a great job as well. While he is no way a great father or even average or a father, the actor who played him in such a way that you didn't turn him off. You get to see where Will gets his charm. Very quickly Will warms up to him. It was interesting how Will introduced his dad to other people. I think he did an amazing job with that. The scene in the carnival was also good too. There was also some comedy with Geoffrey as well. Maybe he went too far with some of his comments but it needed to be said so it wasn't too much. I only wish that there was a commentary on this episode. Maybe this would've toke away from this episode but I kind of wished Will's mom was in this episode. Despite those comments this was still a perfect episode as TV shows can be. Besides Will, I think Phillp did the best job in this episode. You get to see how much he really cares for him. This episode also was even better with the little things the producers to set up this episode.

    The final scene in the episode was most emotional filled times I have ever seen. If you are not affected by this, you need to check yourself. This episode is probably one of my ten favorite episode of any TV shows (other then Lost). It's an episode that everyone should see.moreless
  • Will Smith True Feelings

    At the end of this episode, Will Smith puts on arguably the best performance of his career. He had pre-scripted the final scene where Lou is leaving. Near the end when he asks "How come he dont want me?", he sheds very realistic tears. The reason behind this is that Will Smith (the actor) was talking about his father, the hug James Avery (Uncle Phil) gave him was completely genuine
  • I'm not much of a crier normally, but this ep just made me SOB!

    We all know Will Smith is funny, his ability to crack jokes just at the right moment is remarkable. But this episode proves that he is more than just a TV comedian - it shows his more serious acting side.

    The scene when Will is ranting to Uncle Phil about how he sucessfully grew up without the help of his so-called father and later breaks into tears is perhaps one of the most memorable in the entire series, as it displays the relatively hidden vulnerability in Will's character. Another thing about this scene that makes it so special is the hug between Uncle Phil and Will at the end which speaks volumes about their relationship; that Uncle Phil isn't there just to whip Will's behind as we see in almost every other episode, but that he's the only father that Will has ever had and that no altercation between them could ever change that.moreless
  • I can Relate

    My Dad abandoned me, so I can really relate to Will in this episode. This episode is very emotional. It starts with Will meeting his Dad at college. Then he brings him home. It seems he has forgiven Lou, his father. And it seems others have too. Except Uncle Philip. Uncle Philip thinks Lou will make the same mistake and leave again. So Lou just runs off, after Vivian tells him "If you walk out on Will now, don't bother coming back."

    This is a very powerful and moving episode, that I can relate too. Very sad with wonderful acting.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Will is wearing a Fred Flintstone shirt. Fred Flintstone is the main character from the cartoon The Flintstones, which is about a stone age family.

    • The episode ends with a shot of the Best Dad statue throughout the closing credits.

    • Goof: At the carnival, Will looks at a who's laughing and with his father; however, it's obvious that the laughter is not coming from the child at which Will is looking.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Lou: (about his trucking business) I'm making a little money.
      Philip: Really? Why didn't you send any back to the wife and child you abandoned?

    • Vivian: Lou, if you walk out of Will's life now, don't you ever come back.

    • Philip: I have done everything for Will, and suddenly its like none of that matters. I can't believe he could be so selfish.
      Vivian: Philip, listen to yourself. Someone is being selfish alright, but it isn't Will.

    • Vivian: Philip, stop moping. You know Will didn't mean any of that stuff he said.
      Philip: Yeah, then why did he say it?! For four years I treated that boy like my own son. Whatever he needed, whether it was a pat on the head or a kick in the pants, I was there for him. I worked my ass off trying to keep him in line!
      Geoffrey: And yet its come back with avengance

    • Will: Hey, Uncle Phil, that is not cool, man, the way you dissin' my father like that.
      Philip The hell with your father!
      Vivian: Philip, for God's sake.
      Philip: He waltzes in here after 15 years.
      Will: 14!
      Philip: Oh, excuse me. 14 years ... and acts like nothing has happened. Wake up, Will. This is the same guy who didn't think enough of you to pick up the damn phone.
      Will: He made a mistake. I'm sorry that everybody can't be as perfect as you, Uncle Phil. But if I can forgive him, how come you can't?
      Philip: Because he's not doin' this for you. He's doin' this for himself. And if you think any differently, then you're a fool!
      Vivian: Hey, hey, just cool it. Just cool down. We can talk about this another time.
      Will: You know what, Aunt Viv? Ain't even nothin' to talk about. I've been waitin' for this a long time, my whole life, and ain't nobody going to stop me. Come tomorrow, I'm outta here.
      Philip: Oh, yeah? I don't think so.
      Will: Who cares what you think? You are not my father!

    • Philip: Carlton, am I a good father?
      Carlton: Yes, you're the best! Now can I have early access to my trust fund?
      Philip: Not a chance
      Carlton: I HATE YOU!
      Philip: Oh, yeah? Well, TAKE A NUMBER!

    • Geoffry: When I am depressed, I think of the poem my mother taught me when I was a lad - The master lives a life of ease while we live life upon our knees. Waste not your ears, nor your breath, for he will soon die a violent death.

    • Lou: The day you were born was the happiest day of my life. When I held you, I thought I would never put you down.
      Will: So why did you?

    • Will: Hilary, this is my father.
      Hilary: (Laughing) No, Will's father is a deadbeat who left Will and his mom flat!
      Lou: Thats right.
      Hilary: Uncle Lou!!! (she hugs him)

    • Vivian: Geoffery, please show Lou to the family room while Will helps me clean the something.

    • Vivian: I wish you had told me Will . . . I really wish you had told me.
      Will: I asked Geoffery to tell you!
      Geoffery: I thought it would be more fun to do it this way . . . And I was right!

    • Carlton: Wow, 14 years, you must feel like you are on a roller coaster of emotions.
      Will: No man, ain't no big thing.
      Carlton: Let me hold you.

    • Will: Carlton, you ever feel like you being watched?
      Carlton: Of course. When you look this good, you have to get used to it.
      Will: And when you sound this stupid, you've got to get used to this! (Slaps Carlton)

    • Philip: If you'll excuse me, I think I'll skip dinner. I don't have much of an appetite.
      Geoffrey: Should I call 911?

    • Philip: Sit down.
      Lou: Ain't got time for no lecture.
      Philip: I said sit down, Lou!
      (Lou sits down)
      Philip: You know, Will was doing just fine until you showed up. But now that you're back you have responsibilities to him.
      Lou: Hey, look, we're still gonna take the trip.
      Philip: Oh, bull! BULL!!! Will is not a coat that you hang in the closet, then pick it up when you're ready to wear it. His life goes on. He's not supposed to be here for you! You're supposed to be here for him!
      Lou: You get off my back! You think I want this?! IT JUST HAPPENED!!! Now, when Will was a baby, I was scared...
      Philip: CUT THE CRAP, ALL RIGHT?! CUT IT! 'Cause I've been there! But I didn't run out of my family. I was there everyday from them, because that's what a man does.
      Lou: Fine, Philip! You win. You the man. You a better man than me. You happy? Now, are you gonna tell Will or not?
      Philip: I'm not gonna do your dirty work for you.
      Lou: Fine. I'll call him from the road.
      Philip: Yeah, why don't you do that?
      Lou: Yeah, I'll do that.
      (Will enters)
      Will: Daddy-o! Whazzup?
      Lou: Will, man I'm glad your here. Some business came up I gotta have. So, were gonna have to put our trip on hold. You understand right?
      Will: Yeah, yeah that's cool.
      Lou: Just for a couple weeks.
      Will: Mmhm, I understand.
      Lou: Maybe a little longer.
      Will: Yeah, whatever, whatever.
      Lou: Look, I'll call you next week, and we'll ion out the details, okay?
      Will: Yeah, yeah.
      Lou: It was great seeing you son.
      Will: You too, Lou.

    • Philip: I'm sorry, Will.
      Will: You know what? Actually, this works out better for me. You know, the slimmies of Summer are coming to class right next to now, you know what I'm saying?
      Philip: Will, it's all right to be angry.
      Will: Hey, why should I be mad? For saying, at least he said good-bye this time. I just wish I hadn't wasted my money buying this stupid present!
      Philip: I-I'm sorry. If there was something that I...
      Will: Hey, you no what? You ain't got to do nothing, not now, Uncle Phil. You know, it ain't like I'm still 5 years old, you know? It ain't like I'm gonna be sitting up every night asking my mom "When's daddy coming home?", you know? Who needs him? Hey, he wasn't there to teach me how to shoot my first basket, but I learned, didn't I? And I got pretty damn good at it, too, didn't I, Uncle Phil?
      Philip: Yeah, you did.
      Will: Got through my first date without him, right? I learned how to drive, I learned how to shave, I learned how to fight without him. I had 14 great birthdays without him! He never even sent me a damn card! THE HELL WITH HIM!!! (pauses) I didn't need him then, I don't need him now.
      Philip: Will...
      Will: No, you know what, Uncle Phil? I'ma get through college without him, I'ma get a great job without him, I'ma marry me a beautiful honey, and I'ma have me a whole bunch of kids. I'ma be a better father than he ever was, and I sure as hell don't need him for that, 'cause there ain't a damn thing he could ever teach me about how to love my kids! (long pause) How come he don't want me, man?

  • NOTES (2)


    • Will: You was up there screaming so loud I thought I was sitting next to Patti LaBelle.
      Patti LaBelle (nee Patricia Louise Holt) was the leader of the LaBelle, an American disco group that melted dance music with funk and glam rock. One of their biggest hits was Lady Marmalade. Patti LaBelle later had a successful solo career.

    • Title: Papa's Got a Brand-New Excuse
      This title is a pun on James Brown's 1965 album Papa's Got a Brand New Bag.