Carlton Banks was considered the banal and arrogant cousin of Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Beverly Hills. But although Carlton was the backdrop for Will’s antics in most cases, he had a few hilarious moments, which Alfonso Ribeiro perfectly executed. The actor, who has admitted for years that he resented Carlton’s character, spoke openly about his time on the series and what it was like to play some of the funniest moments of a preppy student. Most recently, while discussing the show, the actor remembered his favorite moment. (And no, it’s not related to Carlton’s so popular dance.)
The host of the program “America’s Funniest Home Videos” often went face-to-face with Will Smith in the show, and this led to quite funny situations. While promoting AFV and “Dancing with the Stars” with Gizmodo, the star explained that there is one particular moment involving their two characters that really stands out as his favorite. Ribeiro pointed to the much-discussed finale of the Fresh Prince episode of Misery Will. The TV presenter recalled how this scene originated:
The only moment that comes to my mind when I think about Fresh Prince was the scene where it wasn’t written at the very end of the episode. In this episode, I thought Will’s girlfriend, played by Nia Long, had killed him. And I set it up so that I literally fell to the floor and pulled myself up. On my knees, running through the hall, running through the scenery, I got out in the elevator, and Will ended up in an ATV. It was really stupid. It wasn’t planned at all.
So the memorable scene was just a last-minute decision that brought comedy gold. Just the thought of Carlton running around the set is enough to make you laugh. This moment proved that Alfonso Ribeiro can match or surpass Will Smith’s ability to laugh. This scene played a crucial role in changing his view of the Fresh Prince. And from a narrative point of view, it was the perfect way to end the episode, given that Will was trying to get back at Carlton for helping a sorority prank him.
The scene was also unique, as not many shows broke the fourth wall outside of Saved By the Bell. Alfonso Ribeiro, during the same interview, shed more light on how this moment arose and what was originally planned for it:
The episode was supposed to end with me just running out. And then I said to the director: “Just put a camera on me in these circumstances and put them here because I’m going to do something crazy.” He followed me and went with him. and then he was on the air. It was more for the studio audience; it wasn’t for me or the real show. They are like this: “Let’s just do it, run with it.”
It was nice to know that the director and the film crew were ready to take the actor’s advice and follow it. I wonder how some of the most memorable moments on TV or in movies can be born out of something like a last-minute offer. For example, I am glad that the actor of Carlton Banks has spoken out and that as a result he now has an amazing memory.
If you want to review this episode, you can stream The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air using an HBO Max subscription. Don’t forget to watch some of Carlton’s best episodes while you’re there. You can also check out the CinemaBlend TV program for 2022 to find out when it will be possible to see Alfonso Ribeiro in “America’s Funniest Home Videos” on ABC and “Dancing with the Stars” on Disney+.