The Cosby Show (TV Series 1984–1992) Poster


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Do You Remember the Real Good Old Days?
tfrizzell29 July 2003
Bill Cosby had been on television throughout the 1960s and 1970s. His success had been adequate, but far from impressive. By 1984, NBC wanted to have a show that would be endeared not only by minority groups, but also by white America. Enter "The Cosby Show", the very definition of a Nielsen Ratings Monster as it devoured competition, along with cohort "Cheers", for the better part of the 1980s and early-1990s. The series is basically the life of Cosby with a few creative twists. Cosby, an obstetrician, lives in New York with his wife Phylicia Rashad (an attorney) and their four children (Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe and Keshia Knight-Pulliam). Comedy and drama would always dominate the series, but an early criticism of "The Cosby Show" was that it had no real point to it. Enter eldest child Sabrina Le Beauf who was created the middle of season one. This child was away at college and receiving a first-class education at an Ivy League School. And that is the point of "The Cosby Show"---two parents doing their best to give their five children the life and opportunities that they have taken advantage of. The Le Beauf character was a culmination of everything that Cosby and Rashad did with the four younger children. As the series grew, the cast grew to include performers like Geoffrey Owens, Joseph C. Phillips, Deon Richmond and scene-stealer Raven-Symone. The greatest problem that most had with the show was that critics said it did not show accurate African-American life in this country. To be perfectly honest, this show does not show typical life for the vast majority of this nation's population. There are not many white children in this nation that have a doctor and a lawyer as parents so that criticism lacks substance and social research. Cosby always kept the show somewhat light-hearted and sometimes shied away from some key issues of the time period, but keep in mind that his name was on the program and everything was written as if the characters were sometimes walking on eggshells. Bonet created the controversy for the series during its run, especially in 1987 with her very adult-oriented role in "Angel Heart". That did not deter, but rather engross an even larger audiences tuned in by the late-1980s. Slowly the younger performers grew up and grew out of their roles and the series finally began to show its age by the 1990s. But for a few fleeting moments in the 1980s, was there anyone bigger than Bill Cosby? I think not. 5 stars out of 5.
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One of the greatest sitcoms to date
Brad L. Wooldridge28 September 1999
The Cosby Show is one of those few trailblazing programs that grace television screens and leave an indelible mark. A situation comedy featuring a well-off African American family residing in a Brooklyn townhouse, The Cosby Show was also ultimately the brainchild and vehicle of comedian-extraordinare, Bill Cosby. Cosby's stage routine during his later years featured tales of his large family of five children, four girls and one boy, and his beloved wife, Camille, and these stories are translated exceptionally well on the small screen with a wonderful ensemble cast headed by Cosby and Phylicia Rashad (nee Allen).

I'm sure faithful viewers all have their favorite episodes, and we can always reminice in this terrific journey through the life of Bill Cosby through the fictional existence of Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable.

For eight glorious seasons, The Cosby Show ruled the airwaves and our hearts, and luckily, we can still enter this great world on syndication all over the world.
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`The Cosby Show' is one of the best reruns out there – catch it when you can.
MovieAddict201628 February 2003
`The Cosby Show,' along with `Family Ties,' redefined television in the eighties. It centered entirely on a successful African American family – that was something rare back then. And the thing that was good about the show was that unlike some television programs, `The Cosby Show' did not try to be anything special; it didn't try to shout out. It didn't say, `Hey, we're a show all about a black family!' It treated itself just like any other show on television, and that is what is so good about it.

Bill Cosby is, of course, the main character in this show, taking the role of a husband and father while adding comic relief to the show.

Cosby was one of the best comedians of the eighties – it's too bad he isn't in the movies anymore, because he is a funny guy. He's not over the top and outrageous like, say, Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy, etc., both of whom are loudmouthed black comedians that are stereotypical of African American comics; they try to get in the limelight by shouting and yelling and not REALLY being funny. I think many black comedians had resorted to this because (a) they thought it was the only way they could get famous back then and (b) it became expected of them (that would explain Rock).

But Bill Cosby is calm yet funny. I think he's one of the best REAL comedians out there (in other words, one of the best stage performers/comedians).

`The Cosby Show' is one of the best reruns out there – catch it when you can.
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More than being a groundbreaker, it was always funny and always will be.
Tommy-9220 January 2000
Even though it ended its first network run nearly eight years ago, The Cosby Show continues to make us laugh through reruns on many local stations and cable networks. That is what its legacy really is. It certainly was important, since it rescued the sitcom from oblivion and showed us that African-American families can be just as "normal" as anyone else's. But more than that, it never stopped being funny, has not stopped being funny, and never will stop being funny. It was one of the best sitcoms of its day, and now is one of the best of any day. Bill Cosby was a great comedian, Phylicia Rashad and the kids on the show were all great actors, particularly Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and they all had great chemistry that never diminished in eight years together. Though it did slip a little bit toward the end, the writing and the show itslef never truly did lose their quality. Do you think this show will keep us entertained for years to come? As Theo might say, "No problem!"
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Too important a legacy to be ignored... or (sadly) banned from TV...
ElMaruecan8224 July 2016
In the late 80's, the newborn second channel of Morocco provided some of the best programs we ever saw, yet without the decoder, we could only enjoy a few hours of non-encrypted programs, which was fine… until they aired "The Cosby Show".

Indeed, there were those who enjoyed the show, and the others who knew what they missed thanks to a fantastic word-of-mouth. So we subscribed... and I'll never forget that "Hallelujah" feeling when I finally discovered the Huxtables. We enjoyed the "Physican of the Year" then the "First Day of School" episodes but the show won us with "The Juicer". There was something unique in the way Clair Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad) handled the incident with little Rudy (Keshia Knight Pulliam), and such a beautiful moment when Cliff (Bill Cosby) hugged her. And I still remember that glee in my Dad's eyes in the following scene where Clair, like a good lawyer, confronted Cliff to his own responsibility and he had no other choice than naughtily pleading guilty. No other show had such inspiring displays of good education and a marital chemistry that was very sexy under a family-friendly cover. The show became an instant favorite.

To make it better, my father had to record it for his sister who didn't have the decoder, which ended with an interesting collection of Cosby VHS tapes we've been borrowing from her for years and years. These are not gratuitous anecdotes, they illustrate the power of the best family sitcom: to be deeply connected with your own family memories, this is how big 'Cosby' was at that time. And I still remember my 4-year old brother answering the phone saying "Huxtable Residence", imitating Cosby's groovy moves at the end of the second season's intro or "zerbutting" on my father's cheek… the show affected our life. And when I heard the "Night time" song in the film "Ray", I immediately remembered that hilarious anniversary episode, and "I Just Called" still brings me back to that magnificent episode with Stevie Wonder. "The Cosby Show" was THE wonder and we were familiar with names like Malcolm-Jamal Warner or Tempest Bledsoe before any Bruce Willis or Julia Roberts… and even at 8, I understood why the show was titled by the name of his main actor.

On a sad note, this is why I've been thinking for a long time that Malcolm Jamal Warner died: because my grandma told me that 'the son of Cosby' died, it was his real-life son, Ennis, shot dead in 1997. And the fact that Cosby and Huxtable almost make one might explain why the series is being tarnished by the rape scandal, to the point it's pulled off the air almost everywhere. It was even more revealing when my favorite website made a list of the greatest TV dads and overlooked Cliff Huxtable. But should all the harm Cosby might have done cancel all the positive things the show provided? Can we just ignore a show of such historical magnitude and with so many great messages to the youth?

Remember the pilot, Theo confesses, during a heartfelt speech, that he might not be a doctor or a lawyer like his parents but that they should love him as a son anyway. The long pause, followed by the audiences applauses are instantly swept off by Cliff's iconic answer "that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard"... there's no pride in being an underachiever if you give up before trying. Cosby was the father of five children, whose names started with 'E' as in Excellency, and his hymn to efforts was not just typical 80's inspirational stuff, it was ahead of its time because it made the 'obvious' race issue look insignificant. We never cared for the Huxtables family being Black, they were a regular successful family "happening to be Black"... but it certainly encouraged many Black young people to go to college. Should such a positive model be banned from TV?

The show was also ahead of its time on another topic: feminism. Forget "Girls", "Desperate Housewives" or "Sex and the City", "The Cosby Show" was the first feminist show and with four daughters and a mother of such classy strong-mindedness as Clair Huxtable, it was unavoidable although this "battle of the sexes" aspect annoyed me a little when the "woman-always-right" became a pattern for redundant and uninspired episodes (from the "perfect parents with imperfect kids", the series became about a "perfect mother"). I also never bought the way poor Elvin (Geoffrey Owens) was branded as a macho when most of the time, he should have grown a pair and tells Sondra (Sabrina Lebeauf) how he felt, but I guess it makes it all the more ironic that the show's reputation is ruined because of a scandal involving women.

Now, I wish I could speak about the best and the worst of the show, how I could pinpoint the start of the decline with Rudy's story episode in Season 4, the attempt to replace her with Olivia not to mention the infamous Muppet nightmare (literally), but the series needs kinder words, reminding how important it was back then, when every 80's/90's sitcom, whether to copy the model ("Growing Pains") or work on a blue-collar level ("Roseanne"), was an answer to "The Cosby Show", starting with its the biggest rival, "The Simpsons", still airing today maybe because, contrarily to "The Cosby Show", kids couldn't age and time was frozen, so the appeal stayed the same. And now, every sitcom is an answer to "The Simpsons", but that doesn't diminish the legacy of its 'big brother' "The Cosby Show", on the contrary. And ignoring this legacy by pulling the show off the air is as harmful to the show as it is to the people it inspired and can inspire in the future.

And speaking for myself, I can't ignore the show just as I can't ignore my best family memories, which the show is part of.
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Black, White Whatever, you wanted to be a Huxtable!
Syl21 June 2002
The Cosby Show was actually a breakthrough for African American families portrayed in a positive upper class Brooklyn family of professionals. Cosby used clean proper humor during the years it was on the air. Someone I know referred to him as a natural born storyteller. Yes, he is and one of the smartest intellectuals in the business. Bill Cosby provided a role model for those kids in the ghetto to succeed despite obstacles. Bill Cosby proved that you had to work and follow the rules of society to get ahead. He would be appalled at the rap music today with its lyrics of obscenities and vulgarity with degrading references to women, and others. The Cosby Show was one step forward for African Americans. I am sure that there are many African Americans who went and attend college today because they saw it could be done and was done on the Cosby show. If you aim high enough and work for it, you will succeed too. They showed how important family values really are now in a time of broken dysfunctional families. Bill Cosby, God Bless Him. He made me believe I could go to New York University like Theo. I was accepted but I could not afford it. However, Bill Cosby got me to believe in myself and he is wonderful and thoughtful about children. You can let your children watch Bill Cosby without worrying that they may pick up something bad from it. Bill Cosby may be the best babysitter on television today. He tries to stay clean with his humor despite the ever-changing times. The Huxtables were ideal family for all of us. Who wouldn't want to be a Huxtable, I know I did.
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I always looked up to Bill Cosby as a father figure and role model.
Brian-27229 May 2001
Back in the 80's "The, Cosby Show" was the number one show in America. Some felt the show went a little to far as showing a black family being to successful. The heads of the house were both rich and successful "Cliff" a doctor and Clair a lawyer. I enjoyed this show for the funny moments it brought. The adventures of the Huxtable kids always found entertaining never a dull moment was found with Sondra, Denise, Theo, and little Rudy. Most important the character of Bill Cosby that being Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable was the one to watch. I always looked at Bill and even his character as a role model for the good advice that was given. "Cliff" and even Bill Cosby always did listen and give great advice to a person. Both made great father figures, no wonder "The, Cosby Show" was such a hit and made Bill Cosby so popular and wealthy in the entertainment business. You can still watch the reruns of this hit series on TBS so watch your friend many times again that being Bill Cosby and Dr. Heathcliff.
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Fantastic family sitcom, everyone's favourite obstetrician dad
roghache28 April 2006
This fabulous series, deservedly still remaining popular in re runs, depicts family interactions in such an amusing light. Great viewing for youngsters since the offspring on this show, despite assorted rebellious phases, moods, and disagreements, invariably treat Mom & Dad with the respect they both expect and deserve. Of course the series is legendary, and quite deservedly so, for its landmark portrayal of a well educated, affluent Afro American family. True, maybe the Huxtables don't represent the typical American family (black or otherwise), but I consider it a positive and uplifting depiction of a FUNCTIONAL family.

The program chronicles the amusing interactions of the Huxtable family, who live in a lovely, well appointed Brooklyn brownstone. The father, Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, is an obstetrician and the mother, Claire, a lawyer. They have five children ranging from kindergarten to college age...Sondra (initially off at Princeton), Denise (a funky rebel), Theo (a charming underachiever eventually revealed as dyslexic), Vanessa (originally an insecure pre teen), and Rudy (the cute, precocious, and rather spoiled baby of the family). As the series progresses, four of the offspring go off to college, various romances come & go, Sondra marries med school student Elvin and has twins (Nelson & Winnie, after the Mandelas), and Denise weds the divorced sailor, Martin, who has an adorable little girl, Olivia. The Huxtable family is eventually also joined by Claire's teenage cousin, Pam.

The cast are all stellar in their roles...Phylicia Rashad (Claire), Sandra Le Beuf (Sondra), Lisa Bonet (Denise), Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Theo), Tempestt Bledsoe (Vanessa), Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy), and of course the incredible Bill Cosby himself as Heathcliff. Personally, my favourite character apart from Heathcliff himself, is the charismatic, cool ne'er do well, Theo. I also love his sidekick, Cockroach, as well as Rudy's hilarious little friend, Kenny!

In a sense, it's a bit of a modern Father Knows Best, albeit well laced with humour. The perpetually funny but wise Heathcliff has an amazing relationship with his children, a treasure trove of sound fatherly advice, and especially endless patience. He never loses his temper but always deals good naturedly with every challenge...whether an outrageous outfit, dead pet goldfish, poor report card, unsavoury boyfriend, dropping out of college or surprise marriage announcement. One of my favourite episodes depicts Cliff demonstrating to Theo just how rapidly his puny salary will disappear if he doesn't get a college education, especially if he has a girlfriend! Not only is Cliff a wonderful father, but also the obstetrician every female viewer wishes could deliver her babies! The chemistry and banter between him and wife, Claire, are both fabulous.

My sole complaint may not be popular, but I believe this series strengthens the myth that women can truly do it all. Claire has a successful law practice (bringing home a briefcase, presumably containing work), maintains a fairly large and spotless home, prepares lovely meals, always appears drop dead gorgeous & stylishly clad, enjoys outings with her children as well as social engagements with her husband, and invariably responds positively (never too weary) to her charming but rakish husband's bedroom advances. Above all, she's an exemplary mother to her FIVE children, always appropriately in the know regarding their homework assignments, school antics, relationships with friends, college or dating woes, and parties they shouldn't be attending. Really, she's quite a remarkable lady...and all with no sign of any maid, live in nanny, or significant involvement of her husband and youngsters with household chores.

However, though many aspects may not be realistic, it's a wonderful series overall. The Cosby Show presents uplifting programming for Afro Americans (and everyone else), frequently bringing into discussion Martin Luther King Jr. and other such inspiring personages. A tip of my hat to this series and all the entertainment contributions of Bill Cosby, who must surely be one of the funniest human beings alive. The show provides a humorous take on many everyday family challenges and generally speaking, bears a wealth of positive family messages, all conveyed in a way that induces a chuckle.
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Good In the Beginning
Brian Washington2 July 2003
The first season of the Cosby Show made it one of the finest shows on television. However, I do feel that as the show wore on it became a little bit preachy. However, it still had its moments. I really enjoyed the episodes that dealt with Theo and his struggles with school. I could relate to that because I had troubles with school at times. I also could not get how people could begrudge the show because it showed African Americans that were part of the upper class and as positive images and not the negative stereotypes that were so prevalent. Also, you could see the evolution of the various characters, especially Rudy who went from a precocious five year old to a teenager throughout the course of the show. All in all though, it still was a good show.
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The Central Anchoring Face
tedg29 May 2010
I rarely go to DVDs of old TeeVee shows. The edge that could have made many of then work when new has long dulled. Nostalgia is a bad way to motivate a life. But this was a reminder of a day, shortly after the US almost lost itself forever. The great national tragedy was slavery — not that it happened, because nations do many dishonorable things. But because we clung to it so tightly, reinventing it in subtle ways.

In my memory, three things changed that. There was the civil rights movement of course and its nobility in peaceful stands for justice. There was the profound decision by Coca-Cola to fashion ads that portrayed a nation of many colors. Many people overlook the significance of this and its powerful effect, cinematic equality.

And then there was Cosby. Here was a man with practices affability. No joke was demeaning. All jokes had to do with family, kinship, a world with no disharmony and only small everyday events. He did not invent domestic humor. TeeVee had it cooking long before he arrived. But he did it better than anyone then and since. His warmth made it. And he had a black face.

That face is the device on which all episodes of the show rely. A setup, a comment and then Bill's face reacting. A simple formula. Simple jokes; powerful face. I wouldn't want to overemphasize his intent or impact. He happened to be a good man at the right time, but no less obsessed and commercial than Opra, who inherited and demeaned the role.

Revisiting these shows is revisiting history, a noble history of a noble time before the US found another way to marginalize: let kids do it by themselves.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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Look back at it all, it's very bland.
Nick Zbu8 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Most of the shows during the '80s often have an unfair nostalgic bias. As they were considered so well done then, the memory cheats and realizes that they couldn't have been that well made. Sadly, this is an unfair conceit. Most of the shows that were well-liked do have an unmistakable charm to them. The Cosby Show, however, is not one of them.

While this could be mistakenly attributed to the last seasons of the show where the wheels fell of the premise and it started relying on its laurels, the real truth is that the Cosby Show had no real bite to it. As TV, it seemed to work because it was on every week and in the same spot so you could set your watch by it. But if one catches a few reruns in which the show is aired twice or more, the holes start showing. The Cosby Show doesn't have humor as much as it's a kickback to the pseudo-moralistic 1950s bland television in which something happens, someone finds out, and a moral is shot out. While a common criticism of this show is that it does not accurate represent race, the real truth is that the show doesn't represent human beings in any way, shape, or form. There are no real issues handled in a realistic manner. There are no real characterization outside of archetypes that date back to "Leave It To Beaver." Theo could be interchanged with Wally Cleaver or Eddie Haskell at various points in the show's run. Bill Cosby's character could be Gomez Addams mixed with the ghost of Dick Van Dyke. The lack of true characterization is what dooms this show. If anything, the Cosby Show was able to be a classic because it was right on the precipice of the old sitcom mold and what was to come but not yet formed style of television making. It did what it did well, but what it did wasn't anything groundbreaking. The Cosby Show could have been about homosexual Martian plumbers who collected Spawn figures, and the archetypes would have been exactly the same from every sitcom that came before it. Race wasn't a factor outside of publicity. Anybody could have inhabited those roles and made a classic. They did: it was a mold used for various sitcoms since the rise of popular television.

That said, the show just isn't interesting anymore. Now that Cosby's best-known show has faded into the ether for fifteen-plus years, its lack of characterization really plays against it. While most people alive and watching then could easily recognize the plot of the show, the fun is just no longer there. Outside of the new and the generally accepted opinion that the show was funny at parts, the show just has nothing to it. Most of the actors on it have faded into the ether along with the show or have done nothing of real consequence since then. They're not untalented, but the show gave them nothing to stand out with. With archetypes for characters, nobody stands out unless the plot directs them to.

In short, the show that represented the best years NBC has ever had is now just a forgotten relic without any punch in a world full of more interesting programming. While it is a piece of the past, there's nothing to recommend it outside of nostalgia. While this is unfortunate, it was the same fate that befell most of the shows that it based off of. Considering the fate of that sitcom mold, perhaps the Cosby Show can claim some sort of victory. At least it used the mold when it was somewhat respectable, and not tarnished by has-beens with the last names of Belushi and Sheen.

Not a good ending, but not as bad as it could have been. Too bad the DVDs haven't been given any respect.
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An Overrated Sitcom
bigverybadtom12 October 2012
Bill Cosby was one of the first major African-American celebrities, starting in the 1960's when they were still a rarity. But while Cosby to his credit eschewed the obvious "black" stereotypes, the show that resulted was never anything greater than the average sitcom. You could find the same jokes and situations in many other television sitcoms of that era and before.

I did see a comic book cartoon parody of the show I found hilarious. The point was that it showed a too-clean view of a family of five. For example, a house with five children would be far messier than shown on a television show. Also, when a family doctor comes home from his office at the end of the day, he would be typically exhausted from all the screaming kids and other headaches that a family doctor goes through.

If you removed the Cosbys and substituted a white family instead, the show would hardly be different.
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Not the greatest
radrobd25 June 2002
To me it seems, "The Cosby Show" is different things to different people, depending on what you want to believe. To some people, this show was more like a new-found religion, that preached family values and other wholesome messages, blah, blah, blah. To me, it was a ridiculously mediocre family sitcom that was WAY overrated. To be fair, the show was a hit at the time, ranking #1 in the ratings for a few years. But, does good ratings necessarily mean quality. I mean "Laverne & Shirley" was the #1 rated show at one point too. My point it, take an objective look at this show now (reruns air on "Nick at Nite") and decide for yourself if this show is funny without believing all the hype. I for one don't find the least bit of humor in this program, despite (or maybe in spite) all the mugging Cosby does for the camera. This show was nothing but an updated 80's version of the Brady Bunch, a rather bland family stuck into corny (and often unrealisitic) situations.
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My love for The Cosby Show
smooth_op_8522 July 2006
I grew up with a crush on Clair, Sandra and Denise (who didn't like Denise?) and most of all I grew up watching him on TV, (it was still running live telecasts when I was born). I really loved the ways that Cliff Huxtable dealt with the kids and I am sure that many parents across America ventured to be more like him and deal with their kids as he did (although it would be nice if we could). The best thing about the show was that while it did show a well-off black family, it was not preachy about the plight of blacks and was woven gently into the plots with humor, with humor you can remember it a lot easier than if someone just preached it at you. It was a vehicle that did in fact continue the "movin' on up" legacy that shows like The Jeffersons and Good Times started but most of all making it about family life and how parents and children relate to each other thus, making it timeless.

Some shows are for a time, but this show most of all, will be on as long as time exists.

For the critics of the show, it was a little ideal and a bit unrealistic for the people who say that I say this: THis is TV but TV is based on real life, and if you sit for 30 minutes in any household, it will be boring as all crap, and more importantly a lot of work goes into creating & writing sitcoms, critics should be writers themselves before they criticize a show, because is too easy to criticize but not to rework it to be accessible as you see it Thank you
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Love it!
v-mars-19-73245 June 2014
I've always loved this show, it's somehow comforting especially the earlier episodes. Who doesn't want to grow up with parents like Cliff and Claire? Phylicia Rashad is just a stunning woman I really enjoyed her character as a young female it was always inspiring that she towed the line of professional and mother so well especially during a time that was just getting used the to concept of professional working mothers. I didn't love all the children characters, Sondra and Vanessa were not at the top of my list but all in all it's always my go to show to cheer up. The mother/father chemistry between Rashad and Cosby was just fantastic and I rarely see that nowadays, you really believed they were Claire and Cliff.
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Gave Society Something to Aim For
AsifZamir6 October 2013
The Cosby Show is one of my favourite sitcoms and I feel that it should be mandatory viewing for people who think that life is all about dope-smoking and wearing saggy-pants that show your underwear.

It's a fantastic situation comedy featuring an African American family that is financially well off and trying to raise their children. Bill Cosby plays a doctor and father (I think the father part being more important).

Wouldn't it be nice if more families were like this? This show gave people something to aim for, and that's why I rate it so high.

I've got my own favourite episodes and I bet you do to, so grab some popcorn and enjoy the Cosby Show.
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Bridging the racial and generational divide
Artimidor Federkiel7 August 2013
The mother of all family sit-coms was aptly named after Bill Cosby, the "TV Dad of All Time" (according to "TV Guide" among others), who stars in the role of Cliff Huxtable, an upper middle-class African-American obstetrician living in Brooklyn, New York. Upper middle-class African-American? Not that such a constellation is a very common sight. However, by presenting a working family life of blacks in this milieu, Cosby makes the difference, breaks traditional stereotypes, constitutes a positive example, raises awareness by portraying normalcy where you wouldn't expect it. It is the same Bill Cosby who wrote TV history by playing a secret agent back then in the Sixties in "I Spy" at the side of his white partner, portrayed by Robert Culp. Showcasing an African-American in a leading role? In 1965 such outrageousness even led to bans of the programme by a couple of stations in the American south. Well, in other circles Cosby was rewarded with three consecutive Emmys. For exactly that show: "I Spy".

Later on Bill Cosby wouldn't submit his name anymore for Emmy consideration as competition between actors wasn't what "The Cosby Show" was all about. Five consecutive seasons ranking as #1 American TV programme however made clear that Cosby was on to something with his new sit-com. The show hit like a bomb and worked for African-Americans, Americans, and, well, eventually the rest of the world. Especially because entertainment and education have never been as indiscernibly close together as in a programme like this, where style, intent and themes succeed on multiple levels. "The Cosby Show" has become legendary as it works not only across the racial, but also across the generational divide with ease, and a comedic powerhouse and role model like Cosby never dates - it was funny in the Eighties, for kids, parents, grandparents, and still is. Cosby ad-libs, Phylicia Rashad as his wife complements him beautifully and with verve, the kids are adorable and grow to own personalities in front of your eyes. "The Cosby Show" tackles a wide range of issues you might expect from a family programme - coming of age problems, social ones, right down to dyslexia, teenage pregnancy and divorce. Never preaching, but realistic, always with humor. Cosby, father of five, has seen and lived through it all, including the death of his own son who was shot by an armed robber. He knows how to spell family values. In other words: Need advice on parenting? Then do yourself a favor and watch "The Cosby Show". Your kids will thank you. No joke.
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Blooeyz20013 June 2005
I absolutely DETEST this show & Bill Cosby. This swill has aged about as well as the horrendous clothing & hairstyles on it. I never understood what was so hilarious about Cosby. There isn't anything funny about a grown man rolling his eyes, jutting out his big behind, making dumb faces & noises, & acting stupid. He is an overrated hack. He is also arrogant with a holier-than-thou attitude which is a major turn-off. This show was sugar coated slop. Lisa Bonet was dead weight, with no personality or presence whatsoever. The premise was unrealistic, & the situations were nonsense. Episodes that were especially sickening were the ones where these dolts would find some farkakteh reason to dance, or burst into song! Cosby was as believable as a doctor as Bea Arthur was as an Italian-American on "The Golden Girls" (but at least she was funny). It amazes me that this garbage stayed on the air so long. It must have been it's time slot.
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Happy Anniversary to the most overrated, mediocre worst show ever
fspappa27 December 2014
Thirty years ago this show premiered about a successful family who happened to be African American. Looking at it now, it has aged well at all. It is average. Bill Cosby was funny doing stand up and his earlier show in which he played a single man and was a gym teacher was funnier. This one was average. I look at it now and saw I wasted those 8 years it was on. It was the most sexist show on television. I hated Claire. She was the most arrogant, stuck up, self rightgeous,smug woman I've ever seen. How Cliff stayed married with her was beyond. Why did Cosby allow male bashing on that show? That what it was. All the men were whipped and the women stomped over them. Not only Claire but Sondra and Rudy joined in. Tempest I liked. (The only episode I loved was the male pregnancy one and at least the women were more sympathetic.) Not all black people lived like this. I'm black and I know more black people who were more middle and lower class. Cosby should have address more reality like interracial dating which would have more interesting story lines. I'm glad I never want to appear on that show. If you want a good sitcom about an African American family, watch Blackish. Anthony Anderson is an actor who can be funny and serious. The mother is flawed and not perfect unlike Claire who thinks she is so perfect and that make me burn! Blackish explores racism which Cosby avoided. Even Family Matters was better until they focus too much on Urkle. So once again if you have the time, watch Blackish. I'll get the Cosby male pregnancy episode on DVD but that is all. After that, I never want to see this trash again.
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The Cosby Show- Best Family Sitcom of the 1980's
jrm23july@aol.com1 March 2006
In television's Golden Age, the 1950's, there was "Father Knows Best" and "Leave it to Beaver". The 1960's had "The Danny Thomas Show". In the 1970's there was of course "The Brady Bunch". Then in the 1980's came another feel good family comedy called "The Cosby Show" which was the first time this TV genre was devoted to an all African American cast.

The patriarch of this loving, and well structured nuclear family was none other than veteran actor/comedian Bill Cosby himself. Cosby played an obstetrician named Heathcliff Huxtable, with a loving,loyal yet very independent and professional wife Claire, played by Phyllicia Rashad.

Cliff and Claire a litigation attorney by trade, had five kids ranging in age from kindergarten to college. Rudy, the youngest (Keshia Knight Pulliam), Vanessa (Tempest Bledsoe), Theo (Cliff and Clair's only son played by Malcolm Jamal Warner), Denise (Lisa Bonet) and oldest child Sandra (Sabrina Lebeauf) living away at Princeton.

"The Cosby Show" went through the trials and tribulations of all of the kids growing up and their adolescent problems. Even though the sitcom was centered around the dean of comedy, Bill Cosby, the only irreplaceable member of this show, the other actors were well cast and their characters were well drawn out. Claire was also fabulous as the 80's do it all mother, hard working and strong willed yet conscientious and nurturing to all of her children.

Of course Bill Cosby was perfectly cast as the patriarch of the Huxtable clan. He was a father who could do it all. Spend quality time with all his kids, always give them good advice, tend to all of their problems many of them being silly and trivial, and still hold down a great full time career.

There was one thing I always loved and admired about Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, the father. He never lost his temper with his kids, despite their immaturity and bad decisions.At least Heathcliff never showed it in his demeanor to his kids,whether it was Theo failing in school, or Sandra living in squalor with her husband Elvin, or Vanessa refusing to leave Cliff and Claire alone for the night because she was having nightmares of a R-Rated movie Claire forbid her to see.

Cliff never lost his temper with Denise, even with all of her contemptuous boyfriends, her weird outfits, and high strung personality. Densise never really fit well into the feel good, well structured authoritarian Huxtable household. She was always like a rebel without a cause, and when her rebellious boyfriend (Kristoff St. John) broke bread with Cliff and Claire for the first time, Denise decided to join his cause, even though she didn't really know what it was. David James was a vegetarian and not for ethical or environmental reasons, but because he had a vendetta against the medical establishment. He also had a vendetta against the legal establishment too, Claire's profession.

When David came to dinner with intentionally wearing mismatched socks, he looked like the perfect boyfriend for bandanna wearing, nose piercing, totally 80's hip Denise. But she quickly broke it off with him. HE WASN'T HER TYPE.

"The Cosby Show" drew light on many of these new teen fashion trends, which used to make parents blood boil, but today are commonplace. Remember the episode when Theo came home with an earring, and was desperately trying to hide it from his dad. Today half of all young males who weren't born when this episode originally aired in 1984 have their ears pierced.

Cliff always knew the right things to say to all kids, the good ones as well as the rebels. He was kind, considerate, sociable, yet still fatherly and authoritarian. Bill Cosby himself was always a master at relating to kids of all ages, from toddlers all the way through the oldest college students. It was fun seeing his character Heathcliff play fatherly figure to some of Denise and Theo's weird and drug using friends, yet also be able to warm up to insecure Vanessa and hers, and of course little Rudy and her little gang of rug-rats.

Cliff had so many great moments with Rudy, like when he was trying to teach her that eventually everything that lives, dies, like her poor little goldfish "Lamont", that she kept feeding even though it was floating on its back. Rudy was upset but got over it quickly, and Cliff got carried away with the goldfish's "funeral".

Vanessa unlike Rudy always had a problem with insecurity and lack of perseverance. She would always try a new activity, but would lack the motivation to excel at what she did. This reminds me of myself. This just brought out some of the immaturity of the Huxtable kids.

The only major problem I had with "The Cosby Show" is that it did not accurately and truthfully portray the average middle class American family, and certainly did not portray the average, urban African American family. How many average black families, all right, how many white families live in a beautiful Brooklyn townhouse where the father is a successful medical doctor, and the mother is a successful lawyer? And of course both still have more than enough time to devote to their kids without a live in nanny. I think that two lesser known but above average sitcoms from the 1970's "What's Happening!!" and "Good Times" were a more realistic portrayal of urban African American life.

"The Cosby Show" was written more in the style of feel good family sitcoms from the 1950's and 1960's like "The Brady Bunch", "My Three Sons" and "Leave it to Beaver", than a realistic portrayal of the mainstream African American family. Nevertheless "The Cosby Show" is among the fifty greatest sitcoms in television history. This show was a Thursday night 1980's classic.
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A pure definition of must-see TV!
Catherine_Grace_Zeh22 January 2006
"THE COSBY SHOW," in my opinion, is a pure definition of must-see TV! I'm not sure if I've never seen every episode, but I still enjoyed it. One of my favorite episodes is where Vanessa (Tempestt Bledsoe) disobeys Clair (Phylicia Rashad) and goes to Baltimore for a concert. If you want to know why, you'll have to have seen it for yourself. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say that everyone always gave a good performance, the production design was spectacular, the costumes were well-designed, and the writing was always very strong. In conclusion, even though it can be seen in syndication now, I strongly recommend you catch it just in case it goes off the air for good.
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The Husktables are here
hcalderon13 March 2005
This was one great show starring Bill Cosby as Dr. Husktable who is a doctor that delivers babies. They live in the suburbs of Chicago and are raising 4 children at home and one married. The family includes little Rudy, Vanessa, Theo, Denise, Sondra(who is married), the wife Claire and Elvin(who is married to Sondra). This was one big family but was very caring when coming to their kid's education. All the children's life was different from each other, little Rudy being the youngest had friends that always were involved with young things, Vanessa being a teenager always trying to things that her friend Maxcine was trying, Theo was always getting in trouble about school with his parents, Denise was off at college studies but then tries to experiment with life without going to college, and Sondra who is married to Elvin and they own a Wilderness Store. This is a very interesting family but things do get as the girls get older and they move on start their own lives. The family does encounter problems but nothing that can't stop fun and happiness. I enjoyed the show and still do to this day.
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Need we say more about one of the greatest sitcoms to grace the 1980's
raysond16 April 2002
Need I say more about a show that depicted a successful African-American family that had its ups and downs but still made us laugh out loud each and every Thursday evening during its spectacular eight year run on NBC during the 1980's? Yes,The Cosby Show was all that and so much more. This gentle yet hip family comedy was the number one program on television for much of the mid-1980's(it was the Number One show at the top of the Nielsen for the five consecutive seasons that it was on the air)and a striking reminder that TV shows don't have to built on gimmicks to succeed. The series was the first and foremost to be based on a successful standup comedian's act. Bill Cosby had full creative control of this series as well as being the executive producer. Although the main focus was on the immediate family,a number of other characters were seen occasionally,Cliff's parents Anna and Russell and Clair folks Carrie and Al Hanks turned up once in a while as well as a host of other characters during its entire eight year-run.

The series produced 201 episodes and it was on NBC's biggest hits of the 1980's and well into the early 1990's. Premiering on September 20,1984 until May 17,1992 the series was one of its biggest hits on the Thursday night lineup in cohort with "Cheers" and "Hill Street Blues" as it winning combination. No wonder it became one of the biggest sitcoms of the 80's and for good reason it still holds the title.
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Still really good.
connorveenstra7 June 2017
Despite all the controversy surrounding Bill Cosby, it's undeniable that the Cosby Show is one of the funniest and most important shows to ever come on television. This show redefined what a black family could be on TV and taught important life lessons with each episode.

Just try to ignore the bull surrounding this brilliant show and enjoy it at face value. It's a funny, intelligent show that shouldn't be ignored due to the actions of its star.
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The Cosby Show: The 25th Anniversary
rcj53655 September 2009
Actor Bill Cosby was a fixture on television throughout the 1960's and 1970's. His success had been adequate,but far from impressive. By 1984,the network NBC wanted a show that would endeared not only by minority groups,but also by white America. NBC-TV by 1984 was the third most watched network in America,mostly in competition with CBS and ABC for the title of ratings supremacy. On September 20,1984,NBC introduced to audiences "The Cosby Show",which was the very definition of a Neilsen ratings monster as it devoured the competition along with "Cheers" and "Hill Street Blues" for the better part of the mid-1980's and early 1990's in which made NBC a huge winner and the most watched network during its powerhouse Thursday night line-up. The series was a masterpiece for the astounding eight seasons that it was on the air,and even after some 25 years later "The Cosby Show" still holds the title as one of the greatest sitcoms ever produced.

According to TV Guide,the show "was TV's biggest hit in the 1980's,and almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre and NBC's ratings fortunes". The series also made history as well. "The Cosby Show" was one of the first successful sitcoms based on the subject matter of a standup comedian's act,blazing a trail for other programs in its wake. During its eight year-run was one of three television programs that have been #1 in the Nielsen Ratings for five consecutive seasons(the others being "All In The Family"). Having aired for 201 episodes,"The Cosby Show" is the third-longest running sitcom with a predominantly African-American cast,which was surpassed only by "The Jeffersons",and "Family Matters",and is close to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" for continuous run. This was a grand series that was basically focus on the life of Bill Cosby,with a few creative twists which gave Cosby full creative control of his own television sitcom. The series focused on the Huxtables family....Cliff(Bill Cosby)an obstetrician who was the head of the family. The matriarch was his wife,attorney Clair(Phylicia Rashad),along with his five children,eldest daughter Sondra(Sabrina LeBeauf),Denise(Lisa Bonet),Vanessa(Tempestt Bledsoe),and the youngest of the clan,Rudy(Keisha Knight-Pulliam). The only son was Theo(Malcolm Jamal-Warner). Lisa Bonet's character of Denise left the series in 1987 for the spin off "A Different World",which Bonet lasted one season,but came back to "The Cosby Show" in previous episodes.

The show in its day,despite its comedic tone,dealt with serious subjects including various themes such as civil rights and in one episode Theo experiences dealing with dyslexia. The series was a milestone in television history frequently promoting African-American and African cultures which were represented by artists and musicians such as Jacob Lawrence,Miles Davis,James Brown,Stevie Wonder,Lena Horne,Quincy Jones,Ray Charles,and Miriam Makeba not to mention others including special guest appearances by Maya Angelou,Alex Haley,Aretha Franklin,B.B. King,and Joe Williams. And it shows in the number of awards "The Cosby Show" received..including various Emmy and Golden Globe awards,NAACP image awards,and People's Choice Awards.

From September 20,1984 until its astounding run on September 17,1992. Producing 201 episodes,that was the golden child of sitcoms and even after 25 years still reigns supreme.
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