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The Best Episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Updated August 11, 2020 2.8k votes 427 voters 17.9k views148 items

There are so many good episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but which ones really stand out? Do you like "Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse" the best, or is "Just Say So" your favorite episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? To determine once and for all what the best episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are, let's rank every The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode from best to worst.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was an NBC sitcom that aired for 148 episodes over six seasons, from September 10, 1990 to May 20, 1996, and starred Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself. The opening song for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, titled "Yo Home to Bel Air," explains the series' entire premise: Will gets into some trouble on the basketball court in West Philadelphia ("born and raised") and his mother insists that he move to Bel Air to live with his aunt and uncle. In addition to Smith, the main cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air also included James Avery, Janet Hubert-Whitten/Daphne Maxwell Reid, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali, Joseph Marcell, and Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks.

Vote up your favorite episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and downvote any bad episodes that you really didn't enjoy, despite how much you love the series as a whole. It can be painful to put one The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode over the other when there are so many good ones, which is why you can vote on however many episodes you like.

  • 1
    Papa's Got A Brand New Excuse
    Season 4 Episode 24: Will is reunited with his father (BEN VEREEN), but Philip and Vivian won't forgive him for abandoning Will and his mother 14 years ago.
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  • 2
    Mistaken Identity
    Season 1 Episode 6: Will and Carlton are arrested and accused of committing a string of auto thefts.
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  • 3
    Just Say Yo
    Season 3 Episode 19: During their high school prom, Will accidentally gives Carlton an overdose of an illegal drug.
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  • 4
    Bullets Over Bel-Air
    Season 5 Episode 15: Will is shot by a robber, and Carlton is traumatized, reacting excessively. Will asks Lisa to marry him. (Part 1 of 2)
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  • 5
    Banks Shot
    Season 1 Episode 22: Will almost loses the family Mercedes to a pool hustler.
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  • 6
    Striptease For Two
    Season 2 Episode 24: Desperate to raise some money, Will and Carlton perform as male strippers at a party, not knowing that Vivian and Hilary are in the audience.
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  • 7
    Knowledge Is Power
    Season 1 Episode 13: Will and Carlton learn that Hilary dropped out of college.
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  • 8
    72 Hours
    Season 1 Episode 23: Carlton hits the streets of Los Angeles with Will.
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  • 9
    Will Goes a Courtin'
    Season 4 Episode 6: When Will refuses to pay his rent to Philip unless Philip repairs the air conditioner in Will's guest house, the two stubborn men plead their cases in court before Judge Reynolds.
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  • 10
    Home Is Where the Heart Attack Is
    Season 4 Episode 10: After struggling to lose weight, Philip has a serious heart attack while eating a cheeseburger that he bribes Will to buy for him.
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  • 11
    A Night At The Oprah
    Season 3 Episode 9: When the Banks family members appear as guests on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," a television talk show, their personal bickering causes an uproar in the studio.
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  • 12
    The Butler Did It
    Season 2 Episode 11: With all of the adults away for the weekend, will and the Banks children rent the house out to a production company shooting a music video.
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  • 13
    The Alma Matter
    Season 3 Episode 18: Depressed and suicidal over having ruined his chances of attending Princeton University, Carlton is visited by his Guardian Angel (TOM JONES), who shows him how awful the Banks family would be if he weren't alive.
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  • 14
    Will Gets a Job
    Season 2 Episode 3: Feeling that the Bel-Air lifestyle is making him lazy, will gets a job so that he can start paying his own way.
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  • 15
    The Fresh Prince Project
    Season 1 Episode 1: Will Smith plays a young man transplanted from the tough streets of Philadelphia to live with his wealthy Bel-Air relatives, causing everyone to adjust how they live and think.
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  • 16
    Winner Takes Off
    Season 3 Episode 14: Geoffrey humiliates himself by insulting the Banks family and quitting his job when Will and Carlton trick him into thinking he has won millions of dollars in the lottery.
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  • 17
    Mama's Baby, Carlton's Maybe
    Season 3 Episode 5: The Banks family is in an uproar when Carlton's former girlfriend, Cindy, presents her newborn baby, Carlton Jr.
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  • 18
    Eyes On the Prize
    Season 2 Episode 19: When Will appears on a television game show and picks his brilliant cousin, Carlton, to be his teammate, Will's not-so-brilliant friends, Tyriq and Jazz get their revenge by arranging to appear on the show as the opposing team.
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  • 19
    Day Damn One
    Season 1 Episode 14: Will finds trouble on his first day at Bel-Air Prep School.
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  • 20
    Deck the Halls
    Season 1 Episode 15: Will's ugly Christmas decorations upset the neighbors.
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  • 21
    The Young and the Restless
    Season 1 Episode 18: Will sneaks out with Philip's mother to a rap concert.
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  • 22
    That's No Lady, That's My Cousin
    Season 3 Episode 3: Will is furious when Ashley transforms herself from an innocent adolescent to a sexy babe to attract boys at her new school. Hilary looks for her own apartment, and Vivian reveals that she's pregnant!
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  • 23
    Sleepless In Bel-Air
    Season 4 Episode 14: Will and Carlton try to concentrate on their schoolwork while surrounded by the noisy late-night distractions of the Banks family.
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  • 24
    Same Game, Next Season
    Season 5 Episode 12: Lisa's father likes Will so much that Lisa is neglected. Carlton, Hilary and Ashley argue over whom Philip loves more.
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  • 25
    Talking Turkey
    Season 1 Episode 12: When Viola Smith visits her son, Will, in Bel-Air for Thanksgiving, she fears he's not being taught the value of work and turns the household upside-down to correct the situation.
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