TV classics: The Cosby Show
USA 1984-92, eight seasons, 202 episodes, approximately 25 minutes each, NBC, color. Cast: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Sabrina LeBeauf, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Lisa Bonet, Tempestt Bledsoe, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Geoffrey Owens, Raven-Symoné, Erika Alexander.
Plot summary: A lawyer, a doctor and their five lively children – come meet the Huxtables and their jazzy lives in Brooklyn Heights.
Review: Since I’ve been looking at family sitcoms from the 1980s, how could I not mention my favorite family of them all, The Huxtables?! Led by Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad, the show was not only blessed with a cast of extremely talented actors, but also with great storytelling. Based on a lot of real life family issues, the Huxtable household was chaotic, lively and full of love. An unexpected but instant hit, The Cosby Show focused on an upper middle class family and their daily problems with a refined sense of humor that put the parents back in charge of their kids. Clair and Cliff, a lawyer and an OB-GYN, set the rules for their headstrong offspring as equal partners who never put their marriage second to anything. Balancing their careers and family, they also always took time for themselves.
Although the show didn’t shy away from touching serious topics such as teen pregnancy or living expenses, the Huxtables didn’t openly address racism but rather exemplified their values to their kids and audience alike. As an African-American family, they were proud of their education, history and family backgrounds. They loved jazz and promoted diversity without spelling it out. At Bill Cosby’s urging, the program was educational without being preachy. The Huxtables and their friends were not defined by the color of their skin nor referred to as anything but individuals. Although sometimes criticized for presenting an ideal that was far from reality for a lot of viewers, the show had a successful run of eight seasons with only the last one dropping noticeably in ratings. Available as a complete boxset, The Cosby Show can now be relished in all its unedited glory. For anyone who still remembers Rudy, Vanessa, Theo, Denise and Sondra, this is a real treat and a grand opportunity for fans to share their childhood favorites with their own children today.
Don’t remember Clair, Cliff and their kids?! Refresh your memories here.