The Cosby Show

10 Apr

The Cosby Show - The Huxtable Family Original Cast

The Cosby Show dominated the airwaves in the 80’s; 201 episodes aired from 1984 – 1992 earning 20-30 million viewers per episode and one of only 3 TV shows to be #1 five years in a row.  This 30 minute sitcom was ground breaking and trendsetting at the same time.  The affluent and professional couple Claire (Phylicia Rashad) and Cliff (Bill Cosby) in the role of “Lawyer Mom” and “Doctor Dad” portrayed African American life as it was never seen before on TV, a normal everyday family that just happen to be black, this was not Sandford and Son.  Sometimes  criticized for not being “Black” and reflecting the the real state of race relations in the US the Cosby show  was not overtly political or racial but subtle in Family Values and African American culture largely based on Cosby’s own family and comedy routine.  The show highlighted Cosby’s observations, facial expressions and family interactions  with the younger cast members for humour avoiding the standard sitcom one liner and canned laughter.  When they did tackle issues of the day they were family issues and not specifically related to race.  The show could have been the “Waltons” with darker skin.  The show was praised by many of all colours for it’s  positive portrayal of family and  parenting.

The Cosby Kids, The Bill Cosby Show, The New Bill Cosby Show

Cosby was one of the first Stand Up Comedians to have and star in their own sitcom show named after them self and based upon their comedy routine, Sienfeld, Roseanne, Drew Carey and Ellen were all to follow.

Bill Cosby for Jello

Cosby was extremely popular as a stand up act in the 70’s and had a number of  unsuccessful TV shows, 3 in total with variations of his name in the title prior to The Cosby Show,  most notably Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  He was  also fondly remembered as the spokesperson for Jello.  Cosby’s personal interest in jazz led to 0ver 50 special guest star appearances: Lena Horne, Stevie Wonder,  Placido Domiongo, Dizzie Gillispie, Tito Puente  and Sammy Davis Jr. along with current and soon to be acting celebrities, John Ritter, Debbie Allen, Rita Moreno, Sonia Bragga, Robert Culp, Adam Sandler, Robin Givens, Naiomi Cambell, Alicia Keys, Danny Kaye, Red Buttons and Christopher Plumber to name a few.

The Cosby Show came to an end as all great shows do with ratings in decline and a spin off   “A Different World” featuring Lisa Bonet as she leaves the Huxtable home and begins her university education at Hillman college, it aired for 6 seasons.  The final episode aired during the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles.

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