Hey everyone, as I’m sure many of you know James Avery, who’s well known for his role as Phillip Banks on Fresh Prince, passed away on New Years Eve. He was an excellent actor who’s left a lasting impact with his roles on Fresh Prince, the 80’s Ninja Turtles cartoon and Iron Man (first half of season 1). He was a good man and he will definitely be missed.
I thought I would do a top 10 list of my favorite episodes of Fresh Prince, in his honor.
10. Hex And The Single Guy (Season 4): Yet another rare Halloween episodes that I really enjoyed. Hilary takes the family to a séance to talk to he late fiancé Trevor, but because everyone (mainly Will and Phil) thinks it’s stupid, the spiritualist curses the family and of course, hijinks ensue. But in the end (Spoilers) it was all a bad dream… or was it?
9. P.S. I Love You (Season 3): This is one the episodes that you can’t help but quote, the main storyline involves Will receiving free (yet expensive) gifts from a nerdy girl, but that’s not important Uncle Phil reuniting with his old professor Carl Robinson (Sherman Hemsley), and announcing that he would run against him for Superior Court Judge. All the humor in this episode comes from James Avery and Sherman Hemsley. They are just hilarious when ever they came on screen together.
8. As The Will Turns (Season 5): This episode was funny episode involving Will joining the cast of LA’s biggest soap opera: Now and Forever, at first he’s really excited for the role, but then he learns that his character is gay and now he’ll do anything to get out of the show. The episode’s hilarious for how it parodies the world and inner workings of a soap opera.
7. Ill Will (Season 2): Will’s going under the knife to get his tonsils taken out, of course he’s very reluctant to go to the hospital until he meets an old man played by Milton Berle who helps him feel better. Milton Berle was just sublime in his role and like most deceased actors (including the aforementioned Mr. Avery) you can’t help but wonder “Why didn’t we appreciate him more when he was around?”, but I digress it’s a pretty funny episode and you’ll probably get a kick out of it.
6. Boyz In The Woods (Season 3): A silly but funny and (slightly) touching episode. Will, Carlton and Phil decide to go on a camping trip in celebration of their upcoming graduation, but trouble comes abrewin’ when they get lost in the woods. the episode provides great character development for both Will And Phil as we learn that both men have deep anxieties amongst themselves, like Phil feeling lost after the death of his father and how Will felt nervous when he moved to Bel-Air. There was also two sub-plots involving Hilary and Trevor and Will finding a bag with $50,000. But that’s not really important.
5. Will’s Up The Dirt Road (Season 5): Will’s done it again! Wanting to prove to his girlfriend Lisa that he’s not “Goofy” Will decides to make a book called: Celebrities Houses… At Night, while selling his photos to publisher, he sees Jay Leno pouring coffee down the sewer (one wonders why he can’t pour it down the sink) and publishes it in a Nation Inquirer expy. of course the usual hijinks ensue, but reaches a new level when Will goes on the Tonight Show and apologizes on live TV. The highlight of the episode was when Will meets John Ridley (a writer for the show) who had a very peculiar routine for the tonight Show.
4. Homeboy Sweet Homeboy (Season 1): In this early Season 1 episode, Will’s feeling homesick and to cheer him up Vivian invites his old friend Ice Tray to come visit, but end up regretting that decision when he and Hilary end up falling for each other. Will and Vivian have great character development, Will feeling homesick and feeling resentment for Phil and Vivian being upset that Ice Tray and Hilary were starting to date. Don Cheedle was wonderful as Ice Tray, as usual his line deliveries were outstanding.
3. Eye, Tooth (Season 6): Yep, it’s the penultimate episode of the series, Hilary’s talk show is a shoo-in for syndication and a location change to New York, desperate to get a popular guest for her show, she manages to get William Shatner (much to Carlton’s excitement), Will’s tasked to keep Carlton away from him, that goes as well as you’d hope and, (once again) hijinks insue. The episode ends in a (somewhat) bittersweet note that leads into the finale. Will, Carlton and William Shatner had great chemistry together especially in the dentist scene.
2. Cased Up (Season 2): It’s Will Smith VS Theo Huxtable! So Phil sets Hilary up with a young up and coming lawyer Eric (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), both he and Will end up in a minor car accident that ended up with both men in court. the episode was just hilarious, (especially when Eric references The Cosby Show) and it’s just a lot of fun.
1. The Philadelphia Story (Season 4): This was both a great way to end Season 5. Will and the family (sans Geoffrey, of course) go visit his mother in West Philadelphia. This was a fantastic episode featuring great location shots in Phily, a nifty cameo from Dick Clark, and some funny meta-humor.
Word (Will’s friend): Yeah, you remember Omar Phelps?
Carlton: Who’s Omar Phelps?
Chill: Yo, he’s the toughest dude in West Pilly.
Will: The dude that be spinnin’ me over his head in the opening credits.
I, Done (Season 6)
Someday Your Prince Will Come Into Effect (Season 1)
Same Game, Next Season (Season 5)
For Sale by Owner (Season 4)
The Fresh Prince Project (Season 1)
Well, there you have it, I hope a few of the choices are some of your favorites too. That’s all for now.
In memory of James Avery 1948-2013