In honor of James Avery, who died Tuesday at the age of 68, FTN wanted to put together some of the classic moments from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air featuring the man many of us considered our uncle.
In this clip from the pilot episode, Uncle Phil has a talk with Will about his unacceptable behavior:
“Being a joker is what’s gotten you into trouble. Well, you may think it’s cool to be on the streets when you’re seventeen, but when you’re my age, it’s a waste.”
When Will suggests that Uncle Phil forgot about his roots, Uncle Phil let’s him know that is simply not the case:
“Let me tell you something, son. I grew up on the streets just like you. I encountered bigotry like you couldn’t imagine. Now, you have 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.”
He also adds:
“That’s right. So before you criticize somebody, you find out what he’s all about.”
Uncle Phil coming back after he leaves the room is a nice touch. Nothing is said, but nothing needs to.
In this clip the judge in Uncle Phil comes out as he lists crimes that Will and Carlton may have committed in their latest scheme.
Another clip in which Uncle Phil Banks reminds Will and Carlton that since he is a judge he could make the two disappear.
Uncle Phil uses some of his former skills to get get Will out of a jam.
Uncle Phil confronts Will’s father about showing up only to abandon him again:
“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.”
The scene continues and this part is very personal to me. Will Smith shines here and Uncle Phil just listens to him. Sometimes a father just needs to be there to hug his son.
When Will tries to apologize for having drugs and putting Carlton in the hospital, Uncle Phil isn’t having it:
“Welcome to the real world, Will. That’s no excuse, there’s never an excuse!”
Uncle Phil has to take on racism in the form of a small minded cop.
Don’t talk about Uncle Phil’s momma!
When Uncle Phil and Will get stuck in an elevator together, hilarity ensues.
And of course, Uncle Phil always “escorted” Jazz from his house.
There are of course many, many more. RIP Uncle Phil