After my dissertation on Murder, She Wrote yesterday, I am truly aiming for a shorter post today. Thankfully, “Fresh Prince. The Movie” is a twenty-three minute episode and not, in fact, a movie.
Over a game of poker, Will tells his friend Jazz that he recently spent time in Alabama as part of the witness protection program because he a mob hit while working in a Philly restaurant. There’s a whole lot in that sentence, so I’ll pause while you take that in.
Will narrowly escaped death himself, but luckily a postal worker arrived and interrupted the hitman. Postal workers — heroes in 2020 — heroes in this one 1994 episode of Fresh Prince. Bizarro episodes are truly timeless.
After Will identifies the hitman in a lineup, the hitman is somehow left alone to fix his hair in the two-way mirror. Will decides to taunt him only to have the hitman punch through the glass and attack him. A guard shows up and saves Will in the knick of time. But the hitman escapes, leaving Will in danger.
The feds send Will to Deliverance, Alabama where he lives in a trailer park and goes by the name “Floyd Palmer.” Will doesn’t love the idea of living in a small unincorporated area. He wants to know where the closest club is. The federal agent tells him, “The closest town is Hatred, Mississippi. I can check if there’s dancing.” Things don’t sound too promising.
That night a shadowy figure hovers over Will as he sleeps. (Meanwhile in the present day, Jazz is so enthralled with the story that he folds on a full house while Carlton wins with a seven high.) Will reveals that the shadowy figure is Uncle Phil! He and the family must assume new identities in Deliverance because they were also being targeted by the hitman — who is still trying to track down Will.
They’re all mad at Will for agreeing to testify against a murderer and ruining their Bel-Air lives. But eventually Uncle Phil comes around and tells Will that he did the right thing. The mood is better for a moment until Uncle Phil remembers he has to start working at the manure plant the next morning.
Will then describes how the hitman searched their vacant house in Bel-Air and found a letter from Hillary to Neiman Marcus asking that they forward her catalog to Deliverance. It’s unclear why this letter is still at the house and not in the mail, but oh well just roll with it.
With murder literally in his eyes, the hitman heads to Alabama. (In the present day, Jazz needs to go home. But Will and Carlton convince him to stay and keep playing poker because the next part of the story involved an encounter with a bear!) As it turns out the bear is a pet that belongs to another trailer park resident. The bear’s owner, Bertha, takes a liking to Will.
She then accuses him of getting her pregnant and her entire family shows up with shotguns, ready to kill Will This episode suddenly has some really bad To Kill a Mockingbird vibes. As it turns out it’s just a shotgun wedding and not an actual attempt to murder him.
Will persuades Bertha’s father, Hatfield McCoy, to wait until Will’s mother can get to Alabama for the wedding because he wouldn’t feel right getting married without her there. Hatfield is very understanding of this and supports postponing the wedding. Bertha then shows Will a photo she has of him that she will cherish until they can truly be together.
But wait, how did Bertha get a picture of Will?? Turns out it’s a copy of his high school graduation photo. The hitman has posted it around town in the hopes of locating Will. This is where Hatfield and his love of family really comes in handy. The shotgun gang agrees to protect Will and the Banks family.
When he shows up at the trailer park, Will confronts the hitman and says he isn’t afraid because he has “FAMILY.” That’s suppose to be the trigger word for his shotgun gang to jump out and help him. But they’re all passed out from moonshine.
At this point in the poker game Jazz runs out of cash, so Will and Carlton come clean and admit that they made up the whole story to distract Jazz — who is usually a much, much better poker player than they are. Later that night, Will wakes up at 3 am to someone banging on his door. It’s the hitman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just kidding, it’s Jazz with a mask that looks identical to the hitman Will made up in his mind. But honestly, that’s way way way scarier if you ask me.
Very Special Bizzaro Lesson: Lying to your friends makes them retroactively clairvoyant, which is scary as shit. I would just need to be sedated forever if I was awakened at 3 am by a physical manifestation of a spooky fantasy.