When the scene ended up airing, it was a pivotal moment for both Alfonso Ribeiro’s character and the show as a whole. “Because it was not something that … It wasn’t inside of the show,” he explained. “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,” he added.
That moment was a revelation for Ribeiro because it taught him that the show could be so much more. “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,'” he said.
That new understanding helped Ribeiro reach a new understanding about the sitcom too. “I think part of the reason why ‘Fresh Prince’ was so iconic was simply because you weren’t watching just a show. You were engaged, you were connected because we could break that fourth wall and look at you on your couch and say, ‘Wink, wink, see what’s happening here?'” he said. “Those moments made it, I think iconic, because it connected them in a way that was very different than any other show at the time,” Ribeiro added. Clearly, it was an impactful scene for everyone one involved from Ribeiro himself to the director who chose to keep the unexpected scene to the viewers at home. No wonder that moment is one of Ribeiro’s favorite moments on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”