25 Life Lessons Will Smith Taught You On 'Fresh Prince'

25 Life Lessons Will Smith Taught You Onfresh Prince

Twenty-five years ago, a television show was born and raised, and it's lived on through the playground of repeated reruns for most of the subsequent days: ' The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air .'

Will Smith , Carlton Banks, Uncle Phil, Geoffrey, and at least one Aunt Viv have existed in our lives for 25 years as of today, the anniversary of the very first episode of 'Fresh Prince.' You already know the theme song by heart. Some of you might even remember every single DJ Jazzy Jeff cameo without batting an eye. But beyond the music, beyond the laughs, 'Fresh Prince' stands out for its big, beating heart — and there's still a lot you can learn from it, 25 years down the line.





Here are 25 'Fresh Prince' episodes and moments that still resonate all these years later:

1. 'Bang The Drum, Ashley' (Season 1, Episode 2)



The first time Uncle Phil threw Jazz out of his house. Do not mess around in another man's house.

2. 'Not With My Pig, You Don't' (Season 1, Episode 4)

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Award-winning Phil has to reconcile his self-made success with his farm-boy beginnings when his folks roll into town. The grand prize? A sweet southern meal at the end of the day, and the realization that you should never abandon your roots.



3. 'Kiss My Butler' (Season 1, Episode 10)

Will is wowed when British butler Geoffrey goes out on a date with Naomi Campbell. Never underestimate a gentleman's game.

4. 'Banks Shot' (Season 1, Episode 22)

Uncle Phil crushes at pool. Never underestimate a gentleman's pool game.

5. '72 Hours' (Season 1, Episode 23)

Will abandons Carlton in Compton for a few hours, expecting his buttoned-up cousin to freak out. Instead, Carlton flourishes. Sometimes it's good to leave your comfort zone. Also, never underestimate Alfonso Ribiero.

6. 'Did the Earth Move For You?' (Season 2, Episode 1)

'Down in the basement, sitting on a tricycle, girl getting on my nerves. Going out of my mind, I thought she was fine, don't know if her body is hers.' Translation? There's no better way to find out if your significant other is right for you than an earth-shaking natural disaster.

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7. 'The Big Four-Oh' (Season 2, Episode 7)

Viv, facing 40, proves there's no such thing as 'too old for this sh—' by auditioning for a dance role in a big production and absolutely crushing it… before proceeding to pass right out. You're never too old to follow your dreams, and you're never too old for some hard-fought nap time.

8. 'Ill Will' (Season 2, Episode 18)

During a hospital stay, Will makes a new friend named Max, an elderly roommate, played by the late Milton Berle. He never gets to say goodbye; Max dies while Will is having his procedure, leaving us with the lesson of never taking our friends, new and old, for granted.

9. 'Striptease for Two' (Season 2, Episode 24)

Carlton and Will need to make fast cash after selling off one of Aunt Viv's prized possessions, so they end up booking gigs as male strippers. It does not go well. Viv catches Carlton in the buff. Lesson of the day: Try not to get yourself in a position where your mom is going to see you naked.

10. 'That's No Lady, That's My Cousin' (Season 3, Episode 3)

Carlton pulls an accidental Lannister when he starts gawking at a beautiful woman — only to realize that it's his sister Ashley. Awkward! You're only human, but maybe you ought to take a minute to collect yourself before ogling every beautiful person who passes you by.

11. 'Boyz in the Woodz' (Season 3, Episode 8)

Phil, Will and Carlton are trapped in a snowstorm and need to burn a big bag of cash for warmth. Money does not matter when pure survival is on the line. Then again, when you have Uncle Phil amounts of cash, you can probably afford to burn a bag or two.

12. 'Asses to Ashes' (Season 3, Episode 10)

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Behold, the moment the world learned it's not unusual to be in love with Carlton.

13. 'Just Say Yo' (Season 3, Episode 19)

Will, stressed and stretched in a bunch of different directions, is given some pills to keep himself on track. Carlton takes them by accident and winds up in the hospital. The lesson here is a classic: DON'T DO DRUGS.

14. 'Six Degrees of Graduation' (Season 3, Episode 24)

Will Smith dresses up as a flower and sings 'You Are My Sunshine' for a bunch of kids, to help fulfill his graduation requirements. Sometimes you gotta get weird to get the job done.

15. 'Will Goes A-Courtin'' (Season 4, Episode 6)

Uncle Phil takes Carlton and Will to court. Be very, very careful about messing with people in positions of power, especially when they're your totally awesome father/father figure.

16. 'Hex and the Single Guy' (Season 4, Episode 7)

Will gets cursed after attending a seance. Note to everyone: AVOID SEANCES. If you did not learn this lesson in 'Fresh Prince,' I'm sure you learned it in 'The Craft.'

17. 'Home is Where the Heart Attack Is' (Season 4, Episode 10)

Uncle Phil has a heart attack, and Carlton is almost too afraid to visit him in the hospital, fearing his condition. Will lays down some tough talk: At least Carlton has a father. Besides, Will already has Max in his history; Carlton learns the same lesson here, and so should you by now.

18. 'You've Got To Be a Football Hero' (Season 4, Episode 12)

Will goes shot-for-shot with a football star at a party to impress Tyra Banks, ends up passing out in a graveyard, and is awakened by a bunch of poker-playing ghosts. The lesson here is kind of a combo platter of Lessons 13 and 16.

19. 'Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse' (Season 4, Episode 24)

Will's absent father skips out of town yet again, and gives us one of the saddest moments of the whole series: 'How come he don't want me, man?' Sometimes, you have to keep your expectations in check — but it's easier said than done.

20. 'Bullets over Bel-Air' (Season 5, Episode 15)

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Carlton buys an illegal gun after Will is shot in a robbery. Will manages to talk him down: 'That's not you, man.' That's not you, either.

21. 'For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll' (Season 5, Episode 25)

Will and Lisa are about to get married, and they think their mom and dad, respectively, do not get along. Turns out, they get along a little too well. Keep the in-laws in check, people.

22. 'The Script Formerly Known As' (Season 6, Episode 5)

Will perfectly lip-syncs 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going' for Uncle Phil. There's no real lesson here, except that you are not as good at lip-syncing as Will Smith.

23. 'Not I, Barbecue' (Season 6, Episode 6)

Will and Carlton go out on a double date with two women who secretly already have a boyfriend — a boyfriend who is absolutely GIGANTIC. Next time? Do your research.

24. 'Not With My Cousin You Don't' (Season 6, Episode 7)

Ashley and her boyfriend Derek, who looks suspiciously like Stefan Urquelle, think about consummating their relationship. Will and Carlton lose their minds over this. Ultimately, Ashley and Derek decide against it, but Will and Carlton and everyone else have to realize that these kinds of decisions are out of their hands.

Secondary lesson? Do not give it up to Steve Urkell.

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No, you did not, Steve, and praise the almighty Carl for that.

25. 'Boxing Helena' (Season 6, Episode 12)

What Will has in lip-syncing skills, he lacks in combat skills, as evidenced by the epic butt-whooping he receives from a beautiful boxer. It's the most important lesson of them all: There are no perfect human beings — not even Will Smith.

BONUS: Every 'Fresh Prince' Episode Ever

Seriously, there's so much to learn, and so much to laugh about. Turn on your television, flip to a random channel, watch any episode of the show, and behold: Your Thursday just got a whole lot funnier, a whole lot happier, and way more fresh.