The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Season 4, Episode 24

Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse (9 May 1994)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
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Will's father Lou shows up after fourteen years and spends a lot of time with Will. Will's very pleased with this, uncle Phil however thinks Lou will again disappoint his son.



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Title: Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse (09 May 1994)

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Episode credited cast:
Vivian Banks (as Daphne Maxwell Reid)
Ashley Banks (as Tatyana M. Ali)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lou Smith


Will's father Lou shows up after fourteen years and spends a lot of time with Will. Will's very pleased with this, uncle Phil however thinks Lou will again disappoint his son.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

9 May 1994 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is claimed to be the most emotional episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air", due to the fact of how Will felt about his relationship with his father, both in the show and in reality. His hug with James Avery was known to be a hug from man to man, and not them being in character. See more »


Will's dad refers himself as Lou Smith, but in an earlier episode Will's Aunt Vivian refers to her and her sisters as the Smith sisters which included Will's mum. Unless Lou had had a coincidental same surname as Will's mum, they couldn't all be Smiths. See more »


Philip Banks: You know, Will was doing just fine until you showed up. But now that you're back you have responsibilities to him.
Lou Smith: Look we're still gonna take the trip.
Philip Banks: 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.
See more »


References The Flintstones (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

Will Smith can act...
3 July 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is one of my favourite episodes of a great sit-com.

The episode does lack jokes, but it doesn't need them. The character of 'Will Smith' is fully exposed in this episode and it teaches the show's fans why Will desperately needed to go to Bel-Air. Uncle Phil has become the father figure, and by the conclusion of the 4th season, Will can easily be mistaken to be Phil's own son. Will just fits perfectly into the Banks family.

This episode over turns this, and we see that Will has conflicting emotions about who he really sees as the father-figure in his life. There is the shouting match between the Phil and Will and this in itself conveys that Will is leaving the Banks' home for the wrong reason. He hardly knows his father, and Phil makes the telling point that Lou couldn't even 'pick up the d*** phone' to contact his son.

What the episode really does though is prove Will Smith's ability as an actor. The final scene where Will firstly attempts to show Lou that he isn't bothered about Lou leaving is beautifully subtle, and then the emotions start to rise. When Will discusses how he 'doesn't need' his father, Smith builds up the tears, and perfectly holds them back until his final line. It's a great emotional scene for any sit-com, and the fans who are truly devoted to the show can only weep with Will. James Avery doesn't say much in this scene, Uncle Phil's input has been made in previous scenes. All Avery does is build up tears too, and look helplessly at Will, who only admits the frustrations and anger at his selfish father.

The episode is fantastic and puts the 'Fresh-Prince' in a different light. 'Will Smith' the character becomes three-dimensional, and the relationships between the characters are never more prominent than in this episode.

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