The Hilarious Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air Scene That Changed Alfonso Ribeiro’s View Of The Show

Carlton Banks getting ready to burst into a song on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Carlton Banks is regarded as one of television’s most beloved sitcom characters. That love for the uptight cousin of Will Smith was greatly due to Alfonso Ribeiro’s performance in the classic show. No matter the scene, Ribeiro always managed to steal the show – whether it be through his iconic dance or other silly hijinks. Certain Carlton moments stick out to devoted fans of the show. But there’s one particular scene that sticks out most for Ribeiro. Recently the America’s Funniest Home Video host revealed the moment that changed his perspective on the '90s sitcom.

Playing Carlton Banks allowed Alfonso Ribeiro to let go of all his inhibitions, and that freedom led to a key memorable moment during the show’s six-year run. The Fresh Prince alum opened up about the time he and the director collaborated on an outrageous ending:

I think the one memory that I have that’s the most fond was an episode where the end of the episode Carlton runs through the audience and runs through the different sets. And he gets down on his knees and he pulls himself across the floor and he’s screaming the whole time. No one knew that we were going to do that, the other cast members. I went to the director, Shelley Hanson, and I said, ‘I want to do something and have some fun. It’s the end of the show. Let’s just be silly.’ And I told him what I was going to do. I just said, ‘Hey, put your camera here, put the camera here. And let’s just go.’ And so the show came to the end and I did it. And I never thought that it would ever be aired on TV.

The scene in question occurred at the end of the Season 5 episode, "Will's Misery" and still stands as one of the show's best moments. The improvised moment marked the first time Ribeiro let his straight man schtick go for some great physical comedy. The television host told Looper about how the scene changed his mindset about The Fresh Prince:

Because it was not something that … It wasn’t inside of the show. It was an extra thing. And then they ended up airing it. And I think it actually was a moment that changed, at least for the Carlton character. Will broke the fourth wall a few times. But for my character to break that fourth wall also changed the way I think the audience viewed the character, viewed all of the show. … We were a performance, it was a show. It wasn’t reality. And it was that moment that changed it for me, where it was like, ‘Oh, we can have some fun and laugh and the audience can laugh with us.’

It's interesting to hear how letting go and allowing an organic moment to happen changed how Alfonso Ribeiro viewed Carlton Banks. For an actor, it must be fun to be silly and outlandish without worrying about how audiences might perceive you. Of course, as Ribeiro pointed out, doing a sitcom like Fresh Prince is all about making not only the audience laugh but the cast and crew as well, and there's certainly no judgement amongst co-stars.

Alfonso Ribeiro has come a long way in embracing the iconic character. For years, he resented Carlton until former Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron helped him over his career slump. He even spilled about his embarrassing Carlton Banks audition for the show. Yet that's definitely change as, even now, the Carlton dance conjures up fond memories for the actor. If you want to see more Ribeiro as the iconic character, you can watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on HBO Max.

Adreon Patterson
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A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).