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

Episode Fan Reviews (26)

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out of 10
191 votes
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The exact moment of Will Smith's emergence as one of this generation's finest actors.

    For as funny as this show was, it's kind of ironic that the most well known (and most beloved) episode is one that's firmly rooted in dramatic performances. It's no secret now that Will Smith is among the greatest dramatic actors of this or any other time. But in 1994, few people viewed him as more than just a goofy rapper/actor. "Six Degrees Of Separation" featured a fine performance, but while critics took notice, the mostly indie picture did little to expose him to a mainstream audience. It wasn't until "Papa's Got A Brand New Excuse", during the peak of the show's popularity, that most of us were first treated to the true breadth of Smith's talents. Sure, he'd shown flashes of dramatic brilliance in previous episodes, but nowhere near the magnitude of this performance. I can vividly recall seeing this episode for the first time and knowing when it was over that we would be seeing this guy for a long time. It was glaringly obvious that Smith's talents were too much for a network sitcom to contain. It was one of those rare "very special episodes" that actually delivered what it promised. It was truly special. Smith's ability to work seamlessly between humor and raw emotion is something that few actors attempt and even fewer do well. While you may not have ever been in Will's "absentee parent" situation, his performance makes it instantly relatable and you have no choice to ache for him and feel his pain.

    If you've ever wondered when the exact moment of Will Smith's coming of age as an actor occurred, it's right here in this truly remarkable episode.
  • 424

    There was a time when Will Smith was not a good actor, just look at some of the early episodes of this show, but he was unbelievable here and it is incomprehensible how anyone could have beaten him for the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series if he submitted this episode. He just hit it out of the park with the serious scenes, the funny scenes, he just did a really good job at making this a special episode and not just the cliched "deadbeat father comes back to town only to leave again" thing. Great episode of the show especially for the lack of laughs.
  • Will meets his father after 14 years and tensions grow in the Banks' mansion between him, his father and Uncle Phil.

    This is a must-see episode from any point of view. It squeezes some of the best acting in the whole series.

    Will's father reappears after 14 years when he abandoned Will and his mother. 14 years ago Will was a kid, but now he was in his freshman year in college. While Will tries to remain conciliatory toward his father, Aunt Viv doesn't share the feeling, much less Uncle Phil who gets angry seeing how Will's father comes out of nowhere and just acts as if nothing had happened. At the end of the episode, Will's father abandons him again.

    Throughout the series I found Uncle Phil not a very likeable character but this episode changed my mind. While most viewers will side up with Will's character, I'm more on the side of Uncle Phil. Too bad that speech Will gives Phillip at the end on how his father wasn't there for him, he didn't give him to his father who was the one who really deserved it.

    Thumbs up to the actors; thumbs down to the writers of this episode.
  • Catch this one and don't miss a MINUTE of it!!!

    This is the ALL time best "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" show. Probably the best tv show period. I love, love, love this episode. Honestly, it brought tears to my eyes. They are such GREAT actors, particularly in this episode. See it and teevo it(if you have teevo). DON'T MISS IT!!!!!!!
  • Will's dad comes back, only to disappoint him again. Will then realizes how important Uncle Phil is to him.

    What an amazing episode. It is so different from all the other Fresh Prince episodes, which, in this case, is not bad at all. This shows a totally different side of Will. It shows his vulnerable side and how much he misses having a father. It was so heart-wrenching. I never thought I would cry in a Fresh Prince of Bel Air episode, but I was proven wrong after this one. I really felt for Will. He does an amazing job of acting in this episode. It's great that he finally realizes how much he needs uncle Phil. This is one of my favorite episodes.
  • Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse

    Until this episode, I was well aware of how hilarious Will Smith can be but this episode shows Will’s great acting talents when it comes to emotion, playing anger, confusion and despair perfectly in the instalment, the last scene really making you feel for Will’s character.

    The episode itself is a great idea as Will’s absent father has been mentioned several times throughout the series and this episode goes into more detail about how difficult it was growing up but the fact that Will still came out a man until his father came back briefly to raise his hopes before abandoning him again and the range of emotions both Phil and Will go through was very well written and acted and even managed to bring in humour aswell, the end credits of the father-son statue gift being a perfect way to end the episode, so the blooper reel doesn’t take away from the dramatic ending.
  • The end of this episode gets me every time.

    Although it's hard to see Ben Vareen as a "bad guy" (per se), I found this to be a great episode. The end of this episode is a great example of why Will Smith was able to transfer so easily to the Big Screen; his acting is spot on! He takes what could potentially be a ham-fisted and overblown scene and keeps is real.

    It was also interesting seeing Uncle Phil get actually protective and "paternal" towards Will. He still manages to stay "in character", however - it's not like a sudden change of heart.

    All in all, a great episode.
  • A very sad episode

    This episode almost made me cry. It really shows how much Will struggled without a father and how Uncle Phil is the closest father figure he has ever had. The episode is plotted really well. It shows his father, Lou, who has the audacity to come back into his son's life after 14 years, gain his trust, and then abandon him a 2nd time. The argument Will had with Uncle Phil was also realistic because it showed how Will really wanted to know his father and how Phil didn't want to see him hurt and how much he really loves Will. The ending was really depressing (I mean that in a good way) because his father still acts like a kid, telling Philip how it was hard when Will was born and how he just ran away from his problems. Will tries to cover up his anguish by reassuring uncle Phil he was okay, then goes to anger about how he would finish college without him and be a better father to his kids than Lou ever was, and then breaks down in tears and hugs uncle Phil, questioning why his father doesn't want him. A truly sad and realistic episode on absent fathers.
  • The one episode of any show to ever make a tear in my eye.

    This is by far the best episode ever. I loe Fresh Prince I always have. The series finale made me sad and love the series even more. But this episodes shows you Will's father,a character you either beleve has changed or don't. You also see how Phil truley feels about Will, that even though will annoys him he still loves him like a son and is there to protect him. It not only goes into wills past but streghthens will and phils relaionship. When wills dad leaves again will finally understands that his dad is a lowlife and that phil is his only true father. The minute it shows will yelling about what his father has done to him it only shows that will hs grown up, he will go to college,get a great job,find a beutiful wife and raise his kids and be a father to them like hi dad never was. The minute wills dad leaves and to the final ending showing the present for wills dad from him of the father son statue with phil embracing will showing his love and how much he cares. Is in my book the most emotional time in tv I have ever expierenced. No show has made me almost cry. [laughs]
  • Very good epsiode

    There are very few episodes that make you cry, this is one of them. Because I am an emtional wreck. But seriously this will make you cry, along with the one where carlton takes the drugs. When wills dad leaves without taking him thats messed up. i dont seehow any father can fun out on their family reguardless of the circumstances. I dont think that will shoud be so forgiving. he should listen to his uncle phil. Phil has been there for him and his father hasnt. philip should have been so cool. i need one hundred words so this is it.
  • Different from all the others. What a great episode.

    What a special episode amongst the series. I wish there were episodes before describing how Will's father was coming, because I personally think how Will just so happen to meet him in the Peacock cafe, was kinda cheap. Don't get me wrong, I thought the rest of the episode had excellent acting, and a great plot, but it happened too fast. This episode was packed with drama, and unlike any other episode, could probably make a die-hard fan cry. I was very surprised to actually see that Will's father was showed, but he should of stayed for a little bit more than just like half the episode. They should of brought Will's dad back, after seeing this episode, which I'm sure would of been a great episode and a series classic just like this one. I never thought that Will's dad would of ever been seen on the show, and it almost ruined everything, but it was a good episode, which really showed Lou's attitude towards Will. This episode really showed the bond between Will and Uncle Phil, and after seeing Will father Lou, I could see what he had to go through. This episode had many touching parts to it for any person who really enjys this series, and this episode featured some of the best acting I have ever seen in the drama department. The silent pauses after the critical parts really set the tone, and I find this episode to be one of the most remembered episodes of the whole series, and a true classic amongst classics.
  • Just Showing Off

    Wow this episode is one of the greatest episodes ever. Will Smith just shows how good of an actor he is in the end. When Will's dad leaves him Will talks about how he dosen't need his father and he does the best acting I've ever seen. This whole episode was filled with drama and Will Smith is the whole reason for it.
  • This show is about Will's father, Lou coming back to see him. Just when Will thinks his father is making up for lost time he takes off just like before.

    I absolutely looove this episode because Will really shows

    his acting ability. Lou starts to spend time with Will but

    out of the blue he has to take off....again. Will gets very

    emotional after Lou leaves and learns that Phil is the only

    father figure in his life. But he has a point when he says

    he has learn many things without his father. I'm glad he

    sets out to be a better father than his ever was.
  • best episode of any tv series

    The best episode that i have ever watched ever in the world i am just wiriting junk to movve up the latter in the words so i can make one hundred. I am am am am am ma ma ma ma mam m am sdm fsam sdmfk malkfjds sajfkl skfljj fksjfklj fjklsdjfk safsajf flsk k kd kdk jkdj fjdkf jksjfk jfsakl jlksafjklfklj s lkjslkj klsjfl, jlkdjflj lsfljdf lflkf siof klsjf lkklvjz kjlkasdlk jakljlksa lkasj j aofijdoifj ioej4i3w lkj lk k kkk k k k k i d ee ee e e e e fd dd d d d d d d d
  • This episode real hits home for some people who have had a parent walk out on them. WIlls father comes back in town and gives will false hope making him realize that Uncle Phil is the closest thing hes had to a father even thoghu early he said hes not.

    The episode is a fantastic display of emotion on wills part. It lets the audience more or less understand whats it like to have a parent leave and come and go. The episode shows a classic example a half time father only coming in to say hi and bye and not caring how the kid feels or is gonna feel after he hits the rode. The epsidoe ought to show kids it isn't their fault their parents leave and show the parents how their kids really feel when they have to grow up not having them there to teach them what a man should teach his son and what a mother should teach her daughter.
  • Best episode, and that's my word

    Simply put, this is the best episode of the series. It's very realistic. try to hold in the tears, it will be hard. This episode confronts the issue of will's deadbeat dad once and for all as it's his only appearance on the show and tells it exactly how it is. Broken promises and broken hearts, until you finally realize who matters in this world and who doesn't. Great acting jobs on everybody especially will, those tears look very real and since this actually happened to him i believe this is something that has loosely happened to him. Can't miss episode.
  • best episode ever

    the best, most heart wrenching episode of fresh prince... its like a car crash... you can see its going to happen but theres nothing you can do. it makes u really feel for will. by absolute miles the best episode of fresh prince. brilliant acting, especially from will smith. shows why he was plucked into hollywood
  • Wills father comes to see will after 14 years of no contact and he thinks that everything will be just fine but then when he tells will he can come with him on a trip and then says he can\'t take him with him things turn ugly.

    This episode is excatly why i watch this show it can make you laugh and it can make you cry! It makes me cry every time. I think it is so sad what Wills father did to him and Uncle Phil is there for Will even if Wills own father isn\'t. I think this is the best episode in the entire series. I love this episode.
  • one of the best episode of the fresh prince there is. makes you cry at the end.

    i think this episode brings out so many emotions. it makes you laugh, cry and get mad at his father. will smith shows alot of talent in this one. it also shows how much uncle phill cares about him. love this show well all of the shows but this one more.
    the show also is sad for me becouse it makes me think about my father and how he abanded me before i was born. i knew how he felt and it made me cry and become angry at my father. also the fact how my uncles are like the uncle phill on the show.
  • The best episode of the series

    Definantly my favorite episode ever, not for the comedy, but how sad it is. The last scene has terrific acting by James Avery and Will Smith, I was practically sobbing at the end. This episode shows that Will Smith can be someone other than a rapper and a comedian, and I applaud him.
  • This is the single best episode. It had the best acting from Will Smith. You can truly feel his pain as most people feel about those deadbeat dads. In the beginning, Will was not good at acting but this really showed his improvement.

    I absolutely love this episode. Not only is emotional but it is an issue that comes up a lot especially in Black homes. Fathers that aren't there for there kids shows that it really hurts the children no matter what the age is. I think this definitely help develop Will's usually funny character into a real, sensitive guy. I really love this episode. It brought tears to one of my best friend's eyes.
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