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Cosby Show

By Wikipedia

The Cosby Show, starring Bill Cosby, is an American sitcom that was first broadcast in 1984. The show ran for eight seasons on the NBC television network, until the spring of 1992.

The show focused on the Huxtable family, an upper-middle-class family living in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Patriarch Heathcliff (an obstetrician/gynecologist) and his wife Clair (a lawyer) presided over a raucous yet loving household. In every way, they were an utterly typical traditional American sitcom family, with the notable exception that they were African-American. The topics of the show were the usual difficulties of children growing up, an example being son Theo's experiences of dealing with dyslexia, based on Cosby's real-life child Ennis who was dyslexic.

The show was extremely well-regarded, winning three Emmys as well as three NAACP Image Awards and a Peabody Award. It was also notable as being highly popular with white viewers and around the world, unlike many other television shows featuring mainly African-American characters. The show has been praised for its portrayal of positive child rearing methods. For instance, in the first episode, Heathcliff confronts his son about his poor grades and Theo responds that he should accept his son's weaknesses and love him unconditionally because they are father and son--a typical plot sentimental idiom in family sitcoms of that time, and which generated the typical applause from the studio audience. Heathcliff, however, to the audience's surprised and amused approval, immediately and angrily calls this sentiment "the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life," completely rejecting the notion that loving his son means he must quietly and willingly accept it when the boy does not give his best effort in school.

At the time of the show's original broadcast, some people criticized the show for presenting an unrealistic portrayal of an African-American family as wealthy and for its lack of addressing black-white relations. Others felt that the show was simply a portrayal of what African-Americans could potentially become. They also felt that portraying an African-American family as a normal family with normal family issues was generally a positive contribution to issues of race in the United States.

The success of the show spawned a spin-off series called A Different World, which dealt with the life of Denise, the second-eldest Huxtable daughter, at Hillman, a fictional Historically Black College.

The sitcom aired its series finale within a week of the April 1992 Los Angeles riots. Many people pointed to this fact to say that the show's promotion of silence on racism was in vain, compared with reality.

Ratings

The Cosby Show is one of two television shows, All in the Family being the other, that have been number 1 in the Nielsen Ratings for 5 consecutive TV seasons.

Cast

Bill Cosby as Dr. Cliff Huxtable
Phylicia Rashad as Clair Huxtable
Sabrina Le Beauf as Sondra Huxtable Tibideaux (1985-1992)
Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable Kendall (1984-1987, 1989-1991)
Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Theo Huxtable
Tempestt Bledsoe as Vanessa Huxtable
Keshia Knight Pulliam as Rudy Huxtable
Geoffrey Owens as Elvin Tibideaux (1986-1992)
Joseph C. Phillips as Martin Kendall (1989-1991)
Raven-Symone as Olivia Kendall (1989-1992)
Erika Alexander as Pam Tucker (1990-1992)

[Editor's note: Fortunately, the first season of The Cosby Show has been released on DVD. Unfortunately, the company decided to release edited versions of the episodes making this - one of the most anticipated DVD releases of Awesome80s material - a giant missed opportunity. Fans are quite obviously outraged at "Ventura Distribution" for butchering a classic like The Cosby Show and the extremely poor sales figures for the first month point this out.

The folks at A&E made the mistake of releasing a very poor transfer of the TV miniseries Pride and Prejudice back in the late 1990s. They didn't get away with it and were forced to eventually release a "special edition" with a proper transfer. We strongly advise fans of The Cosby Show to show Venture no mercy and to force them to release a "special edition" of Season One with the full-length episodes. If you do not teach them a lesson, they will surely release more episodes missing 20% of their content..]

 

Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of Cosby Show? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"The Cosby Show was my favorite because it was about an upper middle class African American Family faced with everyday problems. Peer pressure, living with siblings and a father that likes to tell long stories. This is one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, including the cast: Bill Cosby (Dr. Heatchcliff "Cliff" Huxtable), Phylicia Rashad (Clair Hanks Huxtable), Sabrina La Beauf (Sondra Huxtable Tibideaux), Geoffrey Owens (Elvin Tibideaux), Lisa Bonet (Denise Huxtable Kendall), Joseph C. Phillips (Lt. Martin Joseph Kendall), Malcolm Jamal-Warner (Theodore "Theo" Aloyisius Huxtable), Tempsett Bledsoe (Vanessa Huxtable), Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudith "Rudy" Lilian Huxtable), Raven-Symone (Olivia Kendall), Erika Alexander (Pam Tucker), and Karen Malina White (Charmaine Brown). I didn't even know Bill Cosby was Dr. William H. Cosby, Jr. who also created this show."

--Anonymous

"[My favorite episode was where] Bill (Chet Kincade) invites some buddies over to watch a Ram vs. Green Bay Packer football game on the weekend. Bill is supposed to be babysitting. The fun beings as they discover the game has been blacked-out locally and try to pick up a signal by twisting the antenna. Great sitcom, great theme song!"

--Anonymous

"My favorite episode was the one when Cliff was teaching Theo about money because Theo thought he could live on his own, and with Monopoly money Cliff showed him a great lesson."

--kjhun

"I just saw episode three in the seventh season, entitled 'last barbeque' for the first time as a rerun, and while I was watching it, I realized that it was my personal favorite episode of the entire series, one that I have been watching fairly religiously from its on-air days up to the present. When I was a kid watching the show, I gained a certain kind of appreciation that any 'family television show' offers to all of its younger viewers, and as I matured and continued to watch the show, I gained new insights into the significantly unique perspectives that it offers to different generations of audiences. This particular episode discusses the long and fairly trite dilemma facing young couples of strippers at bachelor parties. The mention of the word 'stripper' in the episode immediately caught my attention because as a family show, it is normally very clean-cut and demure almost to the point of overzealousness, as evidenced by the fact that Bill Cosby constantly quarrelled with Lisa Bonet over her choice of boyfriends and appearance outside of the show, temporarily resulting in her somewhat bitter departure from the show. Perhaps this episode, early in one of its latest seasons, was either an attempt at changing the image of the show to procure favorable ratings, or to target a particular kind of audience, but either way, the sheer topic of the episode is certainly one that would not have appeared in one of the first 3 or 4 seasons; it simply wouldnt have fit. But the reason why this is my favorite episode is that it showed how truly masterfully the show was designed: it can take ANY topic and attack it critically and logically, exploring fully and accounting for all sides of each new mini-crisis before reaching the stereotypically lovey-dovey 'its a beautiful world' conclusion. I guess what im trying to say is that the cosby show was different from a show like the fresh prince of bel air or family matters in the respect that when it was time for the relatively boring, sentimental, or moral conclusion of every episode that accompanied those types of sitcoms, you didnt feel like changing the channel: it didn't feel like Fresh Prince which was basically had comedy as its only merit, and anything else seemed forced or out of place. It managed to combine all of these elements successfully, which is something probably incapable of replication. It laid down the guidelines for what it would take for any family sitcom to be successful, and I think it shows why the enitre genre is dead to this day: no family show has even come close to replicating such dynamics."

--Anonymous

"I loved The Cosby Show so much back in '85 even though I was only seven years old! I had a running deal with my parents that I would go to bed without a fuss every night at 8pm, if I could stay up an extra half hour on Wednesday nights just so I could watch the Cosby's. Me and my Dad would watch together year after year. Up until my Dad's passing this year we would quote and imitate scenes from the Cosby's...it was our time together and our connection. Thanks Bill!"

--Margarita

"Yes!!! I agree with the first person to comment on their favorite show! A lot of people I talk to about what their favorite episode is, we always start talking about that episode with the Monopoly money and Cliff trying to teach Theo a lesson. My fav episode is when the family turns the house into a hotel, and each family member plays a different character in the hotel. My favorite character of the show is Rudy when she was really young!"

--TonyFromPA

"Thank heaven's (and Bill Cosby) that this show came along. Although Cheers and Family Ties were on the air and were good shows they were not garnering many viewers. The sitcom itself had gotten lost after the end of the Super70s. The Norman Lear era was ending and so was the "lighter" fare of Happy Days & Three's Co. "The Cosby Show" was truly the best thing on in 1984. My 1st season favorite is Denise and her friends Breakdancing in the living room and Cliff,Clair and their friends show them how to dance "old school". 2nd season,Cliff's parents 49th anniversary and the family lip-syching to Ray Charles's,"Night Time Is the Right Time"! My #1 favorite episode by the way. I also have that song in my music collection. I'd like to go through each season but I'll just say that I do have a favorite episode in each year. These were kids & teens I could actually relate to since Theo and Denise were in my age group. I have to say,I didn't like the way Bonet's character became such an unbelieveable scatterbrain! --I've noticed on Nick at Nite they talk about how the show never capitalized on a catch phrase. I thought,"Let The Record Show",was a pretty good one! That and Clair when she tells Elvin off are wonderfully classic. The only sad note to the show is that it's last episode aired the week of the '92 L.A. riots. That's something I try to forget when I watch the last show in re-runs. Thank you Mr. Cosby!"

--Happi-Puppi

"I loved the Cosby Show. It would come on and I would get so excited hearing the theme song. I just wanted to be a Cosby kid.
The Episode that stands out most in my mind is one of hte later ones. It's when Vanessa (who was my favorite) went out to Baltimore with her friends to see a band called the Retched! and they got COUGHT! It was so funny. For juts a few monments, when Claire went off on Vanessa, I saw my mother on Television. I was like " oh my god that's my MOM!" If I EVER did somethig like that, my mother would react the SAME way that Clare did.
Aaaaaahahah!"
I loved this show, It's the best on TV and I am so glad it comes on Nick at Nite."

--Iwatch2muchTV

"Hands down, one of the greatest Cosby moments waa when Denise's friends are breaking in the living room and almost the entire family gets involved, even the grandparents! Another great episode is when Denise decides to make Theo a designer shirt for his hot date and it tunrs into a disaster. The Cosby Show is a wonderful reflection of a generation of family sitcoms that no longer exist and are a true reflection of the Awesome80s."

--clara g

"The question should really be, "Which Cosby epsisode is NOT your favorite?" because I love them all! If I had to pick, I would definitely say the first official episode after the pilot is the best. It has two of the funniest scenes in one episode: the first is when Theo tells Cliff he just wants to be "regular people" when he grows up i.e. Theo does NOT want to attend college. He gives disgruntled Cliff a heartfelt speech to love him no matter his future choices because he's Cliff's son. Just as the audience thinks Cliff is going to be understanding, he yells, "Theo...that is the STUPIDEST thing I've ever heard!" Then proceeds to threaten Theo with, "...I brought you into this world, and I can take you OUT."

The second scene in that episode I LOVE is when Cliff and Claire are getting ready for bed. Vanessa and Rudy barge into their bedroom, without knocking, to ask a question. Cliff tells them the correct protocol: they knock, he asks "Who is it?", and they then say who it is. Vanessa and Rudy close the door and knock. Cliff asks, "Who is it?", and Vanessa replys, literally: "WHO IT IS!" :]

Aside from this first episode, I love any epsisode that ends with Cliff and Claire cuddling on the couch, listening to jazz, particularly the episode where Cliff has 3 birthday cakes for Claire, and they eat them with pasta forks! Classic. :]"

--Emily the Cat

"I'll never ever forget the pilot episode of the Cosby Show, it was great the chemistry with Theo and Cliff that made that episode so incredible. In the pilot, Clair is furious when Theo brings home a report card with four D's prompting Cliff to give him an economics lesson on the harsh realties that many blue collar workers face, Theo tries to convince his father that he is destined to be a regular person,

My favorite lines in that show are, "Dad I wouldn't love you any less if you weren't a doctor cause your my Dad, so you should except me for who I am and love me anyways because I'm your son." Cliff in return replies, "that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard, boy you are going to try and you are going to try hard, are you afraid of trying because you're afraid your head might explode and your brains will run down the side of your ear? Boy I brought you into this world and I'll take you out!"

I dont really remember the first time I watched the show, however I do know it from its original form but maybe it was 1984 or what ever. Bill Cosby should have a shrine named after him he is truly the greatest man who ever set foot on TV."

--Anonymous

"I love The Cosby Show . I think it's the most greatest shows in the world.If I was asked if I could act out one of the episodes , I would say yes and act out all of them. My favorite eposide is the first one. I think it's the most funniest one of all. It was about Theo getting a D on his report card. But it seems like he dosen't care. All he says is "No problem" in the most sassiest way. And then at the end , Cliff and Clair were kind of making it out(kissing and cudling up) when Vanessa and Rudy interrupted. When Cliff said "Who is it" , they just walked right in. Cliff then fussed them out and told them to try again. Agian , when Cliff said "Who is it" , Vanessa said "Who it is". Now thats an episode I can act out from the start to the end. That's how much I love The Cosby Show!!!!"

--Michelle 12 years old

"My favorite scene is the episode where Chet is explaining why he's having trouble sleeping and he illustrates the "Barking Howling growling" across the street.

I loved this show a lot because it and the characters were normal people handling normal problems not always successfully."

--Gary E Davis

"My favorite episode was the one where the neighbor's dog kept barking all night, and drove Chet Kincaid nuts all night! Where can I find VHS tapes of some of these episodes? I've been searching for years & years and I can't find any."

--Whoshaq

"I grew up in Wyoming and I loved the Cosby show. I thought I had seen every episode and then it came on Nick at Night. I can now find episodes of the Cosby show on three channels. One channel started the season over and I noticed that in the pilot episode Claire turns to Cliff and says, "Why did we have four children?" and Cliff says back to her, "because we didn't want five. " I wondered when the character of Sondra became a part of the show. About the third or fourth episode is when they started talking about their "fifth" child. I was surprised. However I always thought of my dad as being like Bill Cosby. Now that I live more than a thousand miles away from my parents I feel like I get to see my dad every day. "

--Crystal

"I was born in 1986 so I did not get a chance to really watch the show back then because I was just a baby. Thanks to Nick at Nite I can experince the joy that my older sisters and brothers did when I sit down and watch all the Cosby Show reruns. I am really greatful for Mr. Cosby for creating this show because he let the world know that all African American are not poor, or all African Americans don't drop out of school and become nothing but we do actully do something with our wonderful brains. No the sitcom was not real be it really open a lot of people eyes concerning African Americans. Thanks Mr. Cosby for all the yaers of laughter thanks for introducing me to Ms. Phylicia Rashad through the Cosby Show."

--Rocky c/o 2005

"I love all the episodes. I really love the romantic episodes. I can't name them all because there is so many. My favorite romantic episode is the end of theo getting arrested. My favorite guest star episodes is when Steveie Wonder was the guest star. The Cosby Show was the best sitcom in the Awesome80s through the 1990's. I love watching reruns on nick at nite. The Cosby Show will never get old."

--tweety

"My favorite episode of the Cosby Show is when Claire and her children get to sing with Steve Wonder. I love Claire Huxtable - she sings great"

--kittylauracat

"Ok, first of all The Cosby Show has helped me forget about my own problems and escape to the world of the Cosby's. Only if for a half hour, it is was one half hour I didn't worry about my panic/anxiety disorder. BECAUSE is it NOT on DVD or VHS yet *BOOOH*, I tape the show whenever it is on. I have about 5 VHS's full of Cosby, and some are even doubled on other tapes. I must have watched each episode at least 50 times and never tire of them at all! I have several favorites - Theo's Bag-O-Gags, the 49th and the 50th Anniversary, Pinochile with Dr. Foster, the Jazz Auction, birthday with Lena Horne, and just so many more. My least favorites are the episodes that are fantasy based, such as Cosby being pregnant, Cosby has a sausage based dream, Rudy's fairytale land, and I believe one other which I am in belief that Jamal directed or produced, unfortunately. *Sorry Jamal!*. Whenever those come on I am very disppointed, but any other rerun, and I just run the VCR. The characters chosen to play their parts couldnt have been more exquisitely chosen. The timing of the comedy is pure and right on. The editing is wonderful. The adlibbing you really wouldn't know is there unless it was pointed out. It is just hard to believe this show was done on the stage and isn't a camera placed in the actual every day lives of this family. JUST HURRY UP AND GET EVERY SEASON ON VHS OR DVD!"

--Rose

"I am black and was born in 1966, and I think that even though a lot of people (white) will probably try to criticize The Cosby Show, for being a clean-cut show, that was a good example to young blacks, I think that the show was great and timely. I think that it took a long time for a good, clean, black, family show (with both parents in the household, and both professionals)to come along.

I think that we desperately need a lot of positive, black shows right now, for the young black people to watch, and look up to.

THANK YOU BILL COSBY FOR A JOB WELL DONE! BRAVO!"

--LM Williams

"I love the Cosby Show it is so classic. Bill Cosby is so funny. I enjoyed their performances for their grandma and grandad such as their rendition of James Brown's 'I got the feeling' and 'Night and day'. It would be so great if it came out on DVD. I have them recorded on video and I could watch them over and over. Theo was such a great dancer. I also agree another classic moment is when Bill was teaching Theo about money."

--Kegpiece

"I love the Cosby Show it is so classic. Bill Cosby is so funny. I enjoyed their performances for their grandma and grandad such as their rendition of James Brown&'s &'I got the feeling&' and &'Night and day&'. It would be so great if it came out on DVD. I have them recorded on video and I could watch them over and over. Theo was such a great dancer. I also agree another classic moment is when Bill was teaching Theo about money."

--Kegpiece

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: September 20, 1984 - September 17, 1992

Cast: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe

Network: NBC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of NBC


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