25 years ago today (May 9), the most famous scene of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was broadcast to the world.
The episode is from season four and is titled “Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse.” It features Will Smith reuniting with his father, Lou, who abandoned his family when Will was young and perhaps an element as to why he famously had to move from West Philadelphia to Bel-Air.
During the first part of the episode, Will is hesitant whether to even let his father back into his life after 14 years, and as the story progresses, they get closer and closer. In the final scene, however, Lou informs Uncle Phil, played by James Avery, that he’s going to hit the road solo rather than go on a cross-country trip he and his son planned together. He almost leaves before Will enters the room and Lou has to break the news to him.
It produces one of the most memorable and tear-inducing conclusions to a sitcom episode in history. We won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it before. See it below and prepare for the tears.
Social media is collectively remembering the touching scene — and the late James Avery’s performance in particular. To the point that “Uncle Phil” was trending on Twitter. See some of the best takes, below.
“Do you ever cry at that Fresh Prince episode when Will’s father leaves him?”— Willie Brown (@_WillieBrown) May 10, 2019
Imagine being 7 years old coming home from school, putting on ABC family to watch Fresh Prince of Bel-Air only for this episode to f you up. It me, I was the 7 year old. https://t.co/lQrpukxOxy— Eddie San. (@afluffyhairguy) May 9, 2019
Whenever I watch this clip or episode, I think of how even though I had to get through many life moments without my dad, I’m actually lucky to have so many great memories of our time together. Unfortunately, there are kids like Will in ‘Fresh Prince’ who don’t even have that. https://t.co/j2qCdM2YtS— Mike J. Asti (@MikeAsti11) May 9, 2019
That episode was relatable to a lot of people. Still get's me teary eyed. Uncle Phil was like the father Will never had. Every man needs a Uncle Phil in thier life. Fresh Prince is still one of my favorite shows from the 90s.— Shanice J. (@Nieceej94) May 9, 2019
25 years ago today, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” aired its most emotional scene — yeah, THAT SCENE. One that forever changed Will Smith’s acting career. And solidified James Avery aka “Uncle Phil” as a father figure for an entire generation. https://t.co/ERcLKzWxkK— Justin Tinsley (@JustinTinsley) May 9, 2019
my mom remembers watching my father break down crying watching this episode of fresh prince. that's how powerful it was. https://t.co/8M3UR4R4FF— camila🇵🇷 (@camilatweets) May 9, 2019
promise you when will smith cried on fresh prince ab his dad , everybody shed a tear— cr😸 (@_clayred_) May 9, 2019
Oh I remember this episode.— Stomak @BLFC (@solidstomak) May 9, 2019
This episode always hit particularly close to home because my dad was the same way. So, same energy as Will. Who needs fathers who were never there for you
"The saddest episode of Fresh Prince aired 25 years ago" https://t.co/zPYAdOS0j0
fresh prince dad episode is somethin i can relate to— ALI (@CruzadaAli) May 4, 2019
Photo: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images