The Big Four-Oh
The Big Four Oh
Airdate October 21, 1991
Written by Lisa Rosenthal
Directed by Ellen Falcon
Guess Who's Coming to Marry?
She Ain't Heavy

The Big Four-Oh is the 7th episode of Season 2 of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.

Synopsis Edit

Gotta dance. Unnerved at turning 40, Vivian dons leg warmers and a leotard and heads to dance class.


One night, Will is outside lifting weights, when Ashley comes out and tells him that she's considering joining the cheerleading team at her school, but is questioning whether it's perfect for her. Will tells her how fun it could be, and also tells her about a cheer they did back at his school in Philadelphia. The next night, Vivian and Philip are in their room dressing up for Vivian birthday party. As she tries to fit into her outfit, she becomes concerned how her look, but Philip tries to console her reminding her of how good she looks and always look, and that she is going to be the star at her birthday party. Downstairs, Ashley tells Will and Carlton that she decided to partake in cheerleading, and show them her moves. While Carlton is impressed, Will feels that she could use some more help. Ashley gracefully thanks him and gives him a hug. Hilary then arrives with her birthday present for Vivian, which is a briefcase. Vivian then appears, and still feeling down about turning 40, gives a sour response of Yeah, yeah, yeah" to her kids when they wish her "Happy Birthday!" She hands Hilary a pile of short skirts, which she feels are more suitable for her now.

The family the attends the birthday party. Will, Ashley, Carlton and Hilary present a slideshow of Vivian's life, from childhood to adulthood. As Vivian watches this, she begins to rethink her past, when her soul and main purpose was to be a dancer. She rededicates herself to dancing and dons a dancing outfit. At first, she does a poor job due to rushing into it so quickly, but with more determination and support from Will and Philip, she manages to pull off a star performance at an audition. She is offered one of the lead roles, but turns it down after realizing how much she miss her kids and her job as a college professor. Later that night, Vivian and Philip are in their room. Vivian is looking at herself in the mirror, concerned about her age. Philip wraps his arms around her and reminds her of her beauty. The next day, Will and Ashley return home with the good news of Ashley making cheerleader. The excited Vivian proudly hugs her daughter, then Ashley and Will demonstrate their moves to them, ending it with a butt shake.


Will Smith as Will Smith
James Avery as Phillip Banks
Janet Hubert as Vivian Banks
Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks
Karyn Parsons as Hilary Banks
Tatyana Ali as Ashley Banks
Joseph Marcell as Geoffrey Butler

Guest starring

Judy Prescott as Gina
Cynthia Green as Robin
Nancy Saenz as Dance Instructor


  • Will: Remember 1951? Remember Chuck Berry? Remember Hula-Hoops? Me, neither! But that was the year that Vivian Smith was born. (everyone awws at the slide of Vivian's baby picture)
  • Will: Eat your heart out, LaToya. (everyone laughs)

  • Philip: (after Vivian shows her dance outfit) You gonna vacuum in that?
  • Vivian: No, I'm gonna dance!

  • Vivian: Well, I'm all set for dance class. Has anyone seen my keys? Where's my purse? Where's my car?!
  • Will: Aunt Viv, maybe I should drive you. I gotta go down to Jazz's anyway.
  • Vivian: Oh, Will, I'd appreciate that.
  • Ashley: Mom, before you go, can you sign this so I can go to cheerleader tryouts?
  • Vivian: Oh, Ashley, I am so proud of you! Oh, baby, I know you wanted this for a long time. Just remember, no matter what anybody tells you, no matter what the odds, you got to hold your head up high, follow your dreams, and get in your car.
  • Will: Y'all seen that movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?


  • This is the first episode in the series to feature bloopers during the end credits.


  • Ashley asks her mom to sign her paper so she can attend cheerleading tryouts. After hugging her and telling her how proud she is of her, she leaves without signing the paper

Media Edit