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Season 1, Episode 1, "The Fresh Prince Project"
The pilot episode sets up the entire dynamic of Will and his Uncle Phil's relationship. Phil reams Will out for his inappropriate behavior at a family dinner, and Will bites back by accusing Phil of losing touch with his roots.
Will's uncle sets him straight. "Now, you have a nice poster of Malcolm X on your wall," he says. "I heard the brother speak, I read every word he wrote." It's a clash of Black experiences shaped by different generations, socioeconomic statuses, and backgrounds that plays out throughout the show.
Season 1, Episode 6, "Mistaken Identity"
Will and Carlton get pulled over while driving Uncle Phil's white colleague's car and thrown in jail by the police officers for car theft.
This satisfying scene is when lawyer Uncle Phil storms into the station and calls out the officers for their racist misconduct, wielding his knowledge of the law.
Carlton doesn't want to believe that the police could be so bigoted. But Will knows the sad truth: "It’s called the 'If you see a Black guy driving anything but a burnt-out Pinto you better stop him because he stole it' law."
Season 1, Episode 23, "72 Hours"
Will wagers that Carlton isn't tough enough to last a weekend in Compton. To his surprise, Carlton goes full "gangster" while hanging out with Jazz's friends. Watching Carlton masquerade as a hoodlum is hilarious, but the conversation they have after they're home safe and sound really strikes a chord. Carlton wanted to prove himself to Will. "You always act like I don’t measure up to some rule of Blackness that you carry around," he says. And Will feels the same way: "You treat me like I’m some kind of idiot just ’cause I talk different."
Season 3, Episode 2, "Will Gets Committed"
Vivian and Phil bring the family along to help friends clean up their old neighborhood after the Rodney King riots ravage L.A. This is a huge episode because Vivian, after acting weird all day, reveals her pregnancy to Phil.
But this particular moment illustrates the tension between Black people who have climbed up the socioeconomic ladder and those they leave behind. "You come down here, do the right thing, and then you go home patting yourself on the back because you helped out the poor folk," says Noah (played by guest star Shavar Ross). Do the Adams have an obligation to lift up the people where they came from?
Season 3, Episode 19, "Just Say Yo"
This episode showed both the light and the heavy-hearted aspects of taking drugs. Carlton gets high on speed pills that he believed to be vitamins and dances like a maniac at prom in a very funny scene. It's all in good fun until he winds up in the hospital.
Will fesses up to Uncle Phil that the pills were from his own locker — he had them on hand in case the stress of final exams and basketball practice got to be too much — and makes a heartfelt apology in another of Smith's best scenes.