The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Season 1 Episode 1

The Fresh Prince Project

8
Aired Monday 8:00 PM Sep 10, 1990 on NBC
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
171 votes
28

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Will comes to live with his aunt and uncle in Bel-Air. Philip isn't too impressed by Will's behavior, especially teaching Ashley to rap and ruining his image with the members of the law firm. Vivian tries to remain neutral in all this. Carlton and Hilary look at Will with disdain.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • excellent

    10
    This is perfect can't wait to watch
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starts off in grand style

    8.5
    This was a great episode, it really was. What more makes it great, its the fact that this is actually a pilot episode. The characters were introduced in a great way, in particular Will and Phillip. I loved Geoffrey and his constant attitude. Those who fear that pilots aren't always great will be wrong here as the episode is terrific!
  • Awesome way to start the series! This episode gave us a straight-up intro to what we would be seeing in future episodes.

    9.5
    This is the episode where Will first gets sent to his Aunt and Uncle's house in Bel-Air. His mother wants him to stay out of trouble and graduate High School, and felt Bel-Air would offer more to him.

    Problem is, the way he is used to living life is completely different than the way his Aunt, Uncle and cousins have been living theirs. After an afternoon of antics (including taking a cheese cube and throwing it into the air and landing it into his mouth in front of important lawyers his Uncle works with), Uncle Phil harshly talks with Will before he goes to bed. Then he sees Will playing a classical piece of music on the piano (to me, this scene expressed his Uncle realizing that there is hope for Will after all).moreless
  • The Pilot

    8.0
    I think was was a great start to a great season. I have seen this episode many times and come away impressed with the pilot. I still laugh when I hear some of the lines like when Will said the plane ride was neat in a geeky voice. It's interesting to see how much the characters have grown. The up and down relationship of Phil and Will. The big brother little sister relationship with Ashley and Will. And the relationship of Will and Carlton. Hard to believe from seeing this first show how much Hilary has grown. In fact all of them have grown from stiff to very likeable characters. This was a show from childhood and I will always enjoy it.moreless
  • Pilot episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"

    10
    I thought that this was an excellent pilot episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". The writers handled the pilot episode very well since pilot episodes in great sitcoms or other genres can be weak sometimes. The pilot episode is about Will Smith (Will Smith) who moved to Bel-Air to live with the Banks family. All of the introductions to all of the characters are absolutely hilarious. His uncle Phil Banks (James Avery) wants to make sure that Will has good manners. Will also meets his cousin Carlton Banks (Alfonso Rebeiro). I'm not gonna list the actors in the parentheses because I don't know the name of the actors but the other characters are Ashley Banks, Hilary Banks, and Vivian Banks (Phil's wife). We also have Geoffrey the Butler who also manages to make me laugh very hard. The dinner scene with the whole family. Will teaching Ashley how to rap made me laugh pretty hard as well. I really loved how the whole introduction went. Will playing the piano after Uncle Phil had a serious conversation with Will about being respectful and having good manners is also very good. So yeah, the pilot episode was handled very well in my opinion. Overall, an excellent episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" that every fan of this show should watch. 10/10moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (9)

    • The cab driver in the opening sequence is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's executive producer, Quincy Jones.

    • Will Smith recorded The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song which is on his Greatest Hits CD.

    • In the opening scene of the episode, Will sings Back 2 Life, which was a hit by Soul 2 Soul in 1989.

    • At the end of the episode, Carlton is singing Silly Love Songs in the shower. Silly Love Songs was a 1976 hit by Paul McCartney & Wings.

    • Geoffrey introduces himself to Will verbally as Geoffrey (but never tells him how it's spelled). A short time later, Will refers to him as G even though the common U.S. spelling would seem to call for the letter J.

    • Will was 17 when he first moved in with his aunt and uncle, but Will Smith was actually 19 when he taped this pilot episode.

    • In the scene where Will sees himself looking like Carlton, the mirror was actually covered by a rectangle with another scene in which Will wears clothing like Carlton's.

    • The song Will played on the piano after the party is Fur Elise by Beethoven.

    • Goof: When Will dashes over and smashes the staple gun into his poster of Malcolm X, the wall is shaking. Later on, the camera moves out as Will moves backwards and it's noticeable in the top left corner of the screen and showing a bit from outside the set. The camera then quickly moves down to cover it up.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Vivian (to Ashley): Sweetie would you say grace?
      Ashley: Yes Mommy. (raps) Hey there Lord, my name is Ashley Banks. My family and friends want to give you some thanks, so before this dinner's all swallowed and chewed, thank you God for this stupid food.

    • Philip: You deliberately tried to embarass me tonight and I don't get it. Your aunt and I went through a lot of trouble to bring you out here. And this is the thanks we get?
      Will: I ain't asked to come out here. Everyone's talking about shippin' me off, dressin' me up and changing me into something that I don't want to be.
      Philip: Nobody wants to change you.
      Will: You told me yourself I gotta straighten out and when in doubt act as Carlton. I don't want to be like Carlton. I'm a joker, I play around, I have fun.
      Philip: Being a joker is what got you into trouble. Now you may think its cool to out on the streets, but when you're my age its a waste.
      Will: Well, I can't think that far ahead.

    • Philip: Will, we promised your mother you were here to work hard, straighten out, and learn some good old fashion American values.
      (Hilary walks in)
      Hilary: Dad, I need three hundred dollars.
      Vivian: Hilary, your cousin Will is here.
      Hilary: Hi. Dad, I need three hundred dollars.

    • Vivian: We used slang when we were kids. Do you remember our first date? You took one look at me and said Vivian, that is a bad dress. Now you could've just said it was a good dress.
      Philip: I could've if I liked it. Actually, it was a bad dress.

    • Will: I remind you of where you came from and what you used to be. Now I don't know somewhere between Princeton and the office, you got soft. You forgot who you are and where you came from.
      Philip: You think you're so wise. (Will looks away from Philip) Look at me when I'm talking to you. Let me tell you something, son. I grew up on the streets just like you. I encountered bigotry you could not imagine. Now you have a nice poster of Malcolm X on your wall. I heard the brother speak, I read every word he wrote. Believe me, I know where I come from.
      Will: You actually heard Malcolm speak?
      Philip: That's right. So before you criticize somebody, you find out what he's all about.

    • Ashley: I'm really glad that you're living here, Will.
      Will: Oh thanks, Ash.
      Ashley: You're like the big brother I never had.
      Will: Oh, wait. What are you talking about? You got Carl... You're right. I see your point.

    • Vivian: Ashley, would you say grace, please?
      Ashley: Yes, mommy... Hey there, lord. My name is Ashley Banks. My family and friends want to give you some thanks. So before this dinner's all swallowed and chewed, thank you God for this stupid food!

    • Vivian: Did you enjoy the trip?
      Will: Oh, yo, the plane ride was stupid. I was looking for first class...
      Philip: Excuse me?
      Will: No, I was sayin' the plane was dope. So, I was lookin' for...
      Philip: Excuse me?
      Will: No. Stupid. Dope. Oh. No, that doesn't mean what you... Um... How would he say it? Oh, the flight was really neat, yeah.

    • Geoffrey: (reffering to what to call Will) What would you prefer?
      Will: Check this. His Royal Freshness. That's dope!

    • Hilary: I need a new hat.
      Philip: For what?
      Will: Probably her head.

    • Will: Hey Uncle Phil!
      (Hugs Geoffrey)
      Geoffrey: I am not your uncle.

    • Philip: I want to talk to you.
      Will: What about?
      Philip: You know. From the minute you walked through that door, you've been a one-man wrecking crew, trying to tear down what's taken a lot of hard work to build up, skewering everything with your flippant shenanigans!
      Will: I was with you up until skewering.

    • Carlton: Wait till we come downstairs in these tuxes. People may not think we're twins, but I'll bet they'll think we're brothers.
      Will: You know, I don't think you'll have to worry about anybody mistaking you for a brother.

  • NOTES (10)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic - Přílet (Arrival by Air)

    • Alfonso Ribeiro's last name is incorrectly spelled 'Ribiero' in the credits.

    • Will wears the same outfit he wears in the opening credits.

    • Ashley spells Will's name with only one L on her painting.

    • In this episode only, the hallway on the left side of the living room has an arched opening into the dining room. For the rest of season 1, there are doors in that spot.

    • In the pilot episode, the back of the living room set has 2 windows. For the rest of season 1, there are doors leading out of the house.

    • According to the retrospective included as an extra feature on the first season boxset, Vivian Banks name was to be Wendy Banks. However, director Debbie Allen felt Vivian would be a better name and the producers loved it right away.

    • All episodes that use the extended opening credit Janet Hubert-Whitten as "Janet Hubert".

    • In this series, Will's full name is William Smith. In real life, Will Smith's name is Willard Smith.

    • The first three episodes featured the extended version of the theme song:
      Now this is the story all about how
      My life got flipped, turned upside down
      And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there
      I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air
      In West Philadelphia born and raised
      On the playground is where I spent most of my days
      Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
      And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school
      When a couple of guys who were up to no good
      Started making trouble in my neighbourhood
      I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
      And said "you're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air"

      I begged and pleaded with her the other day
      But she packed my suitcase and sent me on my way
      She gave me a kissin' and she gave me my ticket
      I put my walkman on and said I might as well kick it
      First class, yo this is bad,
      Drinking orange juice out of a champagne glass
      Is this what the people of Bel-Air livin' like,
      Hmm this might be alright!

      I whistled for a cab and when it came near the
      License plate said "Fresh" and had a dice in the mirror
      If anything I could say that this cab was rare
      But I thought naw forget it "Yo homes to Bel-Air"
      I pulled up to a house about seven or eight
      And I yelled to the cabby "Yo, homes smell you later"
      Looked at my kingdom I was finally there
      To set on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Will tells Ashley "Here's Ashley my little Fly Girl". The Fly Girls were dancers on In Living Color, a show that had comedy sketches. The series ran from 1990-1994.

    • Will: Hey, look who's here Benson.
      This is an allusion to the butler on the 1970s sitcom, Soap. A successful spin off series entitled Benson was created in 1979 and ran until 1986.

    • Philip: Will, this is Firth, Winn, and Meyer.

      This is an allusion to the 1970s musical group, Earth, Wind & Fire. They had hits such as September, Serpentine Fire , and Sing A Song among others.

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