Tear Jerker: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

  • In "Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse," Will's deadbeat dad, Lou, comes back into Will's life after fourteen years, and Will tries his best to get to know him better. Even after Uncle Phil calls out Lou about not being there for him when he was a child, Will, for the first time in the show, outright defies Phil by telling him that he isn't his father. In the end, Lou's true colors show as he becomes more concerned over some new business and has to cancel a planned summer trip with Will. It's clear from their last talk together that Lou's not coming back—and Will doesn't want him to come back. Will tries to shake it off and defiantly yells about all of the things he learned to do, and hopes to accomplish, without his father around to help him. He eventually breaks down as the weight of the situation fully hits him. Will finally just looks at Uncle Phil with the saddest look on his face and says one of the shortest, yet saddest lines ever uttered: "How come he don't want me, man?" Phil then gives him a Cooldown Hug. The camera then zooms in on the present that Will had bought for his father: a wood carving of a father holding a young son. Link.
    • Here's the rant, in all its glory:
    Phil: Will, it's alright to be angry.
    Will: Hey, why should I be mad? I'm sayin' at least he said "Goodbye" this time. I just wish I hadn't wasted my money buying him this stupid present! (takes the statue out of his bag)
    Phil: I'm...I'm sorry. You know, if there was something...
    Will: Hey, you know what? You ain't got to do nothing, Uncle Phil. It ain't like I'm still five years old, you know? Ain't like I'm gonna be sittin' up every night asking my mom "When's Daddy coming home?," you know? Who needs him? Hey, he wasn't there to teach me how to shoot my first basket, but I learned, didn't I? And I got pretty damn good at it, too!
    Phil: Yeah, you did.
    Will: Got through my first date without him, right? I learned how to drive, I learned how to shave, I learned how to fight without him! I had fourteen great birthdays without him! He never sent me a damn card! TO HELL WITH HIM!!!
    (Phil breathes like he's about to cry)
    Will: I didn't need him then and I don't need him now.
    Phil: Will? Will?
    Will: No, you know what, Uncle Phil? I'm gonna get through college without him, I'm gonna get a great job without him, I'm-a marry a beautiful honey and I'm havin' me a whole bunch of kids. I'll be a better father than he ever was! And I sure as Hell don't need him for that, 'CAUSE THERE AIN'T A DAMN THING HE COULD EVER TEACH ME ABOUT HOW TO LOVE MY KIDS! (long pause; Will tears up) ...how come he don't want me, man? (he and Phil embrace)
    • What's also sad is that there's a still of that statue as the credits roll. It gives us enough time to see that the statue is in African-style, of a father holding his son.
    • Also look carefully at the hug; Will's hat gets knocked off during the hug, symbolizing that he's a scared, sad little boy still asking "How come he don't want me, man?"
    • Immediately preceding the rant, Phil confronts Lou for running out on Will, and Lou asks him to break the news for him. Phil refuses, and demands that Lou tell him himself, and Lou says he'll give him a call as he begins to leave. Then Will bursts in, all packed and ready to go for the trip, forcing Lou to come clean and say the trip isn't going to happen. When he says, "It was good meeting you, son," Will responds, "You, too..." before calling him "Lou" instead of "Dad."
    • The last thing Vivian has to say to Lou, though it doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome on her part.
    Vivian: Lou, if you decide to walk out on Will now, don't you ever come back.
    • Before all of the above, Phil and Will have a fight over Lou's presence (or lack thereof) in the latter's life. Finally, Will snaps "You're Not My Father!" The look on Phil's face in response is absolutely gut-wrenching to watch.
  • In "Bullets Over Bel Air," Will takes a bullet for Carlton when the two are mugged while withdrawing money from an ATM machine. After seeing Will hurt so badly, Carlton's feelings of helplessness push him over the edge, and he buys a gun and even brings it with him to the hospital. Will ends up begging Carlton to get rid of it so that he doesn't intentionally or accidentally hurt someone in the same way that Will was. After convincing Carlton to give up the gun, Will breaks down in tears. Link
    • And then there was the way in which Carlton finally relented in giving the gun. Will tried joking about his situation, he tried to calm Carlton down, and he tried to reason with him. None of that worked. Will had to use a desperate last-resort You Owe Me. You can hear his voice break as he was essentially begging for the gun.
    • And when Will checks if the gun was indeed loaded, he finds that, yes, Carlton actually bought a gun and loaded it with ammo with the intent to shoot someone out of self-defense, or to defend a loved one, if the need came for it. This is Carlton we're talking about.
  • After Jazz inadvertently jeopardizes Phil's chances at being a judge, Will blows up at him and tells him to leave.
    Will: So, as of now, this friendship is over. You're not welcome here, so I'd like it if you just got the hell outta my crib!
    Will: You're not even worth it, man.
  • Most of the Series Finale, for long-time viewers of the show. Even Carlton's So Bad, It's Good dancing to Tom Jones, because it was the last time we'd ever see it...and even more so when it was Will's idea and he actually joined in! In this case, though, you'll most likely be laughing your head off and tearing up at the same time.
  • "Home is Where the Heart Attack Is"
    • Will tearfully admitting that he "caused" Phil's heart attack by giving him a cheeseburger he bribed him to buy.
    • Carlton being afraid to see his father in such a vulnerable position, saying that he's like Superman to him. This one is softened by Mood Whiplash, though it still works pretty well in the context (one can see it as Phil not wanting to see his son so sad about his state):
    Phil: And cheesecake is my Kryptonite, huh?
    Carlton: Look, I don't wanna see my father with tubes up his nose, okay?
    Will: There's gonna come a time when all he has is tubes up his nose.
    Carlton: (voice breaking) NOT MY FATHER!!!
    Will: Everybody's father!!! EXCEPT MINE, BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHERE THE HELL HE IS!!!
  • "Mistaken Identity" has Carlton having his first encounter with racial discrimination when he's pulled over by a cop for driving a Mercedes in a white neighborhood. Carlton tries to deny the racism involved and justify the cop's intentions as Will tries to tell him that the justice system has flaws and that he will experience racism his whole life.
    Carlton: Dad, if you were a policeman and you saw a car driving two miles an hour, wouldn't you stop him?
    Phil: I asked myself that question the first time I was stopped. Good night, son. (leaves)
    Carlton: (to himself) I would stop him.
  • When Hilary finally comes to terms with Trevor's death and laments that she didn't get to say goodbye to him before the bungee accident. Will comes down and tells her that it's never too late to say goodbye and that Trevor is still there in her heart. After Will leaves, Hilary stops for a moment to say to the stars "Goodbye, Trevor."
    • ...She then walks into a door, for some final comedy and serious Mood Whiplash.
  • Why would they have a comedian warm us up for that?!
  • The ending of the episode "Just Say Yo": . Will confesses to Uncle Phil that the amphetamines Carlton took were his. Uncle Phil assumes Will was getting into drugs and forces Will to confess the truth to everyone in the house. What follows is Will tearfully confessing of his struggles for the week (several tests, basketball practice, and his girlfriend) and a classmate gave him the drugs (which he never took to begin with).
  • In the 1st season, Trey, one of Will's buddies from Philly, comes for a visit. He's a nice guy and Hilary is smitten with him, but Vivian dislikes him due to the fact that he has no real goals in life. Later on, Will calls her out for her attitude towards him and explains that Trey didn't have the chance that Will did, that he looked out for Will and made sure he studied and did well in school at the cost of his own school life, and that if it wasn't for him, Will may have fallen in with a wrong crowd, causing Vivian to realize she was wrong to judge him like that.