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* ActorAllusion: "Will, there's something you have to learn. Sometimes, parents just don't understand" (cue AsideGlance).
** "Will, you're only seventeen. You don't have a rep yet" (AsideGlance).
** "Oh, please, like they're gonna take [[SelfDeprecation someone who's never acted before]] and give him his own TV show!" (another AsideGlance).
** "Vivian, you are so naive. You'd believe that boy if he told you he was a rap star whose latest album just went platinum!" (cue AsideGlance from Janet Hubert-Whitten rather than Will).
** In response to a character's truthful claim, Will sarcastically snaps, "Yeah, and I just won a Grammy".
** Carlton to Will and Jazz: "I can understand why you're jealous. After all, you two have no musical talent whatsoever!" (cue Will and Jazz looking at Carlton like he's crazy.)
** In the pilot, Hilary and Carlton's establishing moment is a fight in which they argue over the correct pronunciation of "Porsche". Alfonso Ribiero was in ''Silver Spoons'', wherein his character's father and Ricky Schroeder's character's father had a very similar argument.
** Any time Carlton dances, it's hilariously dorky unless it's to Music/MichaelJackson, in which case he busts out moves worthy of Jackson himself; Ribiero was a backup dancer for Jackson before he was cast on ''The Fresh Prince''.
** Eric, Hilary's boyfriend of the week in a second season episode, is played by Malcolm Jamal-Warner. He says "Everyone at dinner? I thought that only happened on Series/TheCosbyShow."
** CloudCuckoolander Judge Robertson, played by Sherman Hemsley, gets in a heated argument with Philip once he learns that Philip's running against him for Superior Court Justice, culminating with Robertson shouting "[[Series/TheJeffersons Lionel, show him to the door!]]" before walking up the Banks' stairs. Hemsley showing up later in the run to reprise his role as George Jefferson makes this HilariousInHindsight.
* TheDanza: Subverted. Creator/WillSmith plays Will Smith. However, in real life, Will's actual name is Willard, while in-show, Will's name is William. On an episode of ''[[Creator/DavidLetterman Late Show with David Letterman]]'', and again on ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFjwbKMlmF4&feature=relmfu The Graham Norton Show]]'', Smith said that Alfonso Ribero advised him to do this, because people would be calling him by his character's name for the rest of his life, as demonstrated by the fact they went out and were called "Will!" and "Carlton!"
** Will's best friend "Jazz" was played by DJ Jazzy Jeff.
* ExecutiveMeddling: At the start of Season 4, Janet Hubert-Whitten was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. No reasons were given to the public for over a decade, but Hubert-Whitten fills that Will Smith played a role in her sacking.
** Alfonso Ribeiro confirms that the whole cast was like one big family, except for Hubert-Whitten, who was difficult to work with and toxic to be around, and really killed the mood on set.
*** This was further corroborated by James Avery in a June 2013 edition of ''OMG! Insider'', in which he remarks that he constantly had to remind Hubert-Whitten that the show was ''The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'', not "''Philip and Vivian of Bel-Air''."
* HeyItsThatGuy:
** You might have seen Nicky in ''Film/TheLittleRascals'' or ''Film/IndependenceDay''.
** You might recognize Season 2 Frank Schaeffer as [[Series/TheDrewCareyShow Oswald]].
** DanteBasco appeared as one of Ashley's one time boyfriends who likes YogiBear. Ashley also went on to date Jaleel White (aka [[Series/FamilyMatters Steve Urkel]]) in a later episode.
* HeyItsThatVoice: James Avery's voice will be instantly recognizable to children of the 1980s as [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987 the Shredder]].
* IAmNotSpock: Defied: Will Smith chose to call his character "Will Smith" because he knew he would be referred to as his character's name for the rest of his life. According to interviews, he was acting on the advice of Alfonso Ribeiro who hasn't quite escaped this. "When we go out together, people are like: 'Will, Will! Carlton!'"
* IronyAsSheIsCast: Carlton's actor, Alfonso Ribeiro, was, and still is, an accomplished dancer. The character, largely, can't dance to save his life.
** And in something of a subversion, Jada Pinkett (now Jada Pinkett Smith because she married Will Smith) was turned down for a role as Will's girlfriend due to a lack of chemistry and [[HugeGuyTinyGirl their height difference: (he is 6'2", she is 5')]].
* MoneyDearBoy: Had it not been for Will Smith's financial troubles (he overspent, and didn't pay income taxes) during his initial music career, the series would never have happened.
* OneHitWonder: When Ashley started her singing career.
* TheOtherDarrin: The role of Vivian Banks was recast after Janet Hubert-Whitten violated her contract when she became pregnant; the pregnancy and birth of her character's child, Nicky Banks, was worked into the plot to accommodate the situation. After she was fired, Hubert-Whitten's character was played by Daphne Maxwell Reid for the remainder of the show's run. According to both Will Smith and Hubert-Whitten, they had difficulties working together long before her pregnancy. The other cast members also admitted to having difficulties working with Hubert-Whitten mainly due to her being toxic to be around and for trying to make the show be more about Aunt Vivian and Uncle Phil, even though Will was the central character.
** A small case. Will's mom in the opening sequence is the "mom figure" used in Smith's DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince videos (particularly "Parents Just Don't Understand").
** Frank Schaeffer was played by [[Series/TheDrewCareyShow Dietrich Bader]] in season 2, and by Robert Torti in season 3.
* PostScriptSeason: The third, fourth and fifth season finales were written to be a respectable farewell in case they didn't get another season. The sixth season GrandFinale was written with the full knowledge it would not continue.
** A literal case with the fifth and sixth seasons; the show was actually cancelled during the fourth. See UnCanceled.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: In "The Baby Comes Out", Vivian uses a big cordless phone with an even bigger antenna to beep Will.
* ThrowItIn:
** In "The Script Formerly Known As", Will's over-the-top lip-synching "performance" of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" was not scripted, but a gag made up by Will Smith himself.
* TomHanksSyndrome: Will Smith ran into a career block when trying to keep up the hip, street-savvy black guy he started portraying with this show. Ironically, no one remembered him as "The Fresh Prince" after ''Independence Day''.
* UnCanceled: The show was actually cancelled during its fourth season, with "The Philadelphia Story" serving as the GrandFinale. The overwhelming response, with viewers writing in by the truckload to NBC and Will Smith, convinced the network to go back on this decision, allowing it to run for what became two more seasons.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: The show is laden with contemporary pop culture references, especially in the earlier seasons, which had frequent references to early 1990s politics-related things such as Operation Desert Storm and Dan Quayle, and celebrity scandals such as Zsa Zsa Gabor's slapping of a police and evangelist Jimmy Swaggart's arrest for solicitation.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Jada Pinkett-Smith actually tried out for the role of Lisa but was denied because of the [[HugeGuyTinyGirl height difference]] between her and Will. Ironically, this is where the two first met and they would get married three years later.
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