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Mistaken Identity (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)

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Mistaken Idenity
Screenshot 2021-04-02 5.00.18 PM.png
"I hope you like that system... 'cause you'll be seeing a lot of it in your lifetime."
Series: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Part of Season: 1
Episode Number: 6
Air Date: October 15, 1990
Writer: Susan Borowitz & Andy Borowitz
Director: Jeff Melman
Previous episode: Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy
Next episode: Def Poet's Society


Mistaken Identity is the sixth episode of the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It aired on October 15, 1990.

Plot

While Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian go on a trip to Palm Springs in Mr. Furth's helicopter, Will and Carlton drive Furth's Mercedes-Benz there as well. They get pulled over by a racist police officer (Hank Azaria) for "stealing" the car. Luckily, Will is able to get Uncle Phil's attention by giving a phony confession on live TV, and he and Carlton are acquitted. This turns into an argument between Carlton and Will about racial profiling, but when Uncle Phil recounts a similar experience that happened when he was younger, Carlton thinks it over with himself. Meanwhile, Hilary babysits Ashley and proves to be an unhealthy influence on the young girl when she gives her too much coffee.

Why It Rocks

  1. This episode takes a serious look at racial discrimination and does it right.
  2. Interesting side-plot of Hilary babysitting Ashley while everyone else is gone.
  3. So many funny moments, such as Will pretending to be a criminal on live television.
  4. Great guest appearance by Hank Azaria as the racist police officer.
  5. Philip easily displays some of his best parenting as a father, as he scolds the officers for what they did to Will and Carlton.
  6. This conversation that finally shatters Carlton's faith in the police:
    • Carlton: "Dad, if you were a policeman and you saw a car driving two miles an hour, wouldn't you stop it?"
      Philip: "I asked myself that question the first time I was stopped. Goodnight, son."
      Carlton: (visibly shocked) "I would stop it..."
  7. It showed that the series was not afraid to handle real-world issues.

The Only Bad Quality

  1. Depending on your view, Carlton was rather unlikable in the episode as he refuses to accept the fact that he was racially profiled.

Reception

Mistaken Identity is considered by many to be one of the best episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with special praise going to how the series handled the subject of racism. It received an 8.5/10 on IMDb.