The Fresh Prince Project
Airdate 10 September 1990
Written by Andy Borowitz
Susan Borowitz
Directed by Debbie Allen
Bang the Drum, Ashley

The Fresh Prince Project is the 1st episode of the Season 1.

Synopsis Edit

It's only Philly to L.A., but Will feels like a brother from another planet in his new home.


After getting into trouble in West Philadelphia, Will's mother sends him to live with his Aunt Vivian and Uncle Phil in Bel Air, California because she feels that Will would be safer and learn more there. Upon his arrival, Will Smith brings with him part of West Philly - his rap style and his behavior. The episode starts with Will banging on the door and singing. The Banks' butler, Geoffrey opens the door, and Will, thinking it's his Uncle Phil, hugs him, before Geoffrey corrects him. Geoffrey leads him into the living room, where he meets his Aunt Vivian and Uncle Phil. Vivian is very happy to see him and is excited at how tall Will has gotten over the years, to which Philip agrees. However, Phillip becomes disgusted when Will describes his plane ride in his slang language, but Vivian tries to convince him to understand him, saying that slang was normal for them when they were kids.

Ashley walks in the room and is introduced to Will. Ashley says he's cute, to which Vivian agrees. After hearing about how they have a tennis court and a pool, Will is convinced that he's just going to lay back and relax all the time, but Phillip tells him that they promised his mother that he's going to work hard and stay out of trouble. Hilary walks in and sourly says hi to Will. She asks her dad for $300 for a new hat, saying it's for a trip she's taking with her friends to protest air pollution. Will is then shown in his room stapling his Malcolm X poster to the wall. Geoffrey walks in and hands him his tuxedo. He informs him that his uncle has invited several members of his law firm to dinner that night. Ashley then walks in and hands him a painting she made for him. Will appreciates it and compliments her on her artistic talent. Ashley then tells him about an audition she did for her music teacher, Ms. Berkley, explaining how she couldn't remember all of the lyrics to the song, but did a good job with the parts she did remember. Will tells her that she should try being a rapper, since they mess up and make up new ones right on the spot. They begin forming rap about her teacher.

Phillip then walks in with Carlton. Will humorously doesn't remember him. Phillip reminds him that when they were kids, they looked exactly alike; people would think they were twins. Carlton notices the Malcolm X poster on his wall. Will says he considers him his hero. While Carlton agrees Malcolm X was a great man, he actually considers his father his hero, along with Bryant Gumbel. Seeing the tux Will has laid out on his bed, Phillip asks Will if he ever attended a formal dinner before, to which he says no. Phillip tells him to just be himself and when in doubt, act as Carlton. At night, the living room is full of Phillip's law associates conversing. It is here that Will's flare for trouble wreak havoc on the Banks' household. Philip has some of his law firm associates over for a get-together and they are quite surprised to find Ashley doing a rap song that Will had taught her. This does not help Philip's image with his bank associates and Will and the Banks get off to a rocky start.

After the party, Phillip scolds Will for his shenanigans. Will explains to him that he's doesn't appreciate being changed into something he doesn't want to be. Phillip explains to him that joking around is what gets him into trouble. Will then tells him that he's the one with the problem, saying he's become soft and forgot who he is and where he came from. Phillip reassures him that he most definitely knows where he comes from, saying that while Will only has a Malcolm X poster on his wall, Phillip has actually heard Malcolm speak and read every word he wrote. He then tells him that he should consider finding out who one is all about before he starts throwing criticism around. Feeling tired and not interested in Will's side of the story, Philip leaves to bed, but not before hearing Will play Beethoven on the piano, changing his perception of Will.

Later that night, Ashley is in her room dancing to Will's walkman. Will walks in calling on Ashley, who cannot hear him over the earphones. Will dances behind her until she turns around and spots him. She asks him if he could teach her how to dance, to which he says yes. He then tells her he's missing his walkman, and Ashley hands it over, apologizing for using it since her father won't let her have one of her own. The two leave to go get washed up for bed. Ashley tells Will that she's very happy that he's living here, and says he's like the big brother she never had. Will, however, tries to remind her of her brother Carlton, but quickly brushes it aside, saying she has a point.

Will asks her how many bathroom there are in the house. She says there are four and a half. Will then asks how a half-bath works. She says it doesn't have everything a full bathroom has. Will insists on using a full bathroom. They knock on the bathroom door on the left and hear Carlton singing, making them go to the bathroom on the right, with Hilary inside. Will asks her how long she's going to be in there. Hilary tells them to go away because she's trying to remove her makeup. Will says good night to her, but instead, he and Ashley hide until she comes out. When they see what she was really doing, Will busts her shouting "I knew it!"

Cast and charactersEdit




  • The cab driver in the opening sequence is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's executive producer, Quincy Jones.
  • Will was 17 years old when he first moved in with his aunt and uncle, but Will Smith was actually 22 years old when he taped this pilot episode.
  • In the pilot episode, the back of the living room set has two windows. For the rest of Season 1, there are doors leading out of the house.
  • According to the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" retrospective, included as an extra feature on the first season DVD boxset, Vivian Bank's name was originally Wendy Banks, but Director Debbie Allen felt Vivian would be a better name and the producers loved it right away.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro's last name is incorrectly spelled as "Ribiero" in the opening credits.
  • In the scene where Will sees himself looking like Carlton, the mirror was actually covered by a rectangle with another scene in which Will wears clothing just like Carlton's.
  • Geoffrey introduces himself to Will verbally as Geoffrey (but never tells him how it's spelled). A short time later, Will refers to him as "G" even though the common U.S. spelling would seem to call for the letter "J."
  • The song Will played on the piano after the party is "Fur Elise" by Beethoven. At the end of the episode, Carlton is singing "Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney & Wings in the shower.
  • This is the only episode in the series to not feature an exterior shot of the Banks' house.
  • In this episode, the left side of the living room has an arched opening leading into the dining room. For the rest of the season, there are doors in that spot.
    • Also, there is no stairwell at the back of the front hallway like there is in the rest of the season.
  • In the end of the credits, the pilot episode picks up where it left off after Will knocks on his Uncle and Aunt's door.
  • Will wears the exact same outfit he wears in the show's opening credits.


  • In the scene were Will is stapling his Malcolm X poster on the wall, the walls are shaking. Also, when Will moves away from the poster, it's showing a little bit from outside the set in the top left corner of the screen and the camera moves down quickly to cover it up.
  • When Ashley gives Will her drawing, she incorrectly spells Will's name as "Wil."
  • In this episode, Will is 17 years old, and Ashley is 9 years old. However, early into Season 2, Will is still 17, but Ashley is 13 at this time.
  • In the opening scene where Will is doing his mockery of Geoffrey, if one looks into the mirror over his right shoulder, crew equipment is seen moving.


Vivian [to Will]: Did you enjoy the trip?
Will: Oh, yo, the plane ride was stupid. I was looking for first class...
Philip: Excuse me?
Will: No, I was sayin' the plane was dope. So, I was lookin' for...
Philip: Excuse me?
Will: No. Stupid. Dope. Oh. No, that doesn't mean what you... Um... How would he say it? Oh, the flight was really neat, yeah.

Carlton: Wait till we come downstairs in those tuxes. People may not think we're twins, but I'll bet they'll think we're brothers.
Will: You know, I don't think you'll have to worry about anybody mistaking you for a brother.

Ashley's rap: "Hey there Lord, my name is Ashley Banks. My family and friends want to give you some thanks, so before this dinner's all swallowed and chewed, thank you, God for this stupid food."

Philip [to Will]: I want to talk to you.
Will: About what?
Philip: You know. From the minute you walked in that door, you've been a one-man wrecking crew, trying to tear down what's taken a lot of hard work to build up, skewering everything with your flippant shenanigans!
Will: I was with you up until 'skewering'.
Philip: You know what I'm talking about. You deliberately tried to embarrass me tonight, and I don't get it. Your aunt an I went through a lot of trouble to bring you out here, and this is the thanks we get?
Will: Man, I didn't ask to come. Everybody's talking about shipping me off and changing me into something I don't wanna be.
Philip: Nobody wants to change you.
Will: You told me yourself I need to straighten out, and when in doubt, act as Carlton-- Man, I don't wanna be like Carlton. I'm a joker, I play around, I have fun.
Philip: Being a joker is what's gotten you into trouble. You may think it's cool to be on the streets when you're 17, but when you're my age, it's a waste!
Will: I can't think that far ahead.
Philip: That's your problem... You can't take anything seriously.
Will: Look, man, I don't have the problem, alright? You have the problem. I remind you of who you are and what you used to be, and I don't know, somewhere between Princeton or the office, you got soft. You forgot who you are and where you came from.
Philip: You think you're so wise... Look at me when I'm talking to you. (pause) Let me tell you something, son. I grew up on the streets just like you. I encountered bigotry you could not imagine. Now, you got a nice poster of Malcolm X on your wall. I heard the brother speak. I read every word he wrote. Believe me, I know where I come from!
Will: You actually heard Malcolm speak, man?
Philip: That's right. So before you criticize somebody, you find out what he's all about. I'll take care of you in the morning. I'm going to bed.

Photos Edit