Anthony's Film Review
The Cosby Show
(TV Series, 1984-1992)
A sitcom about family and life, which are already funny as they are...
The Cosby Show does not try to be over the top with anything. It does not involve hysterical characters, physical comedy, or hilarious situations. Yet, the show can make you and laugh and smile. All it does is to keep things simple. There's no need to make life funny. The humor is there and something we experience all the time.
The show focuses on the Huxtable family: a successful doctor named Cliff (Bill Cosby), his lawyer wife Clair (Phylicia Rashad), and their children Sondra (Sabrina Le Beauf), Denise (Lisa Bonet), Vanessa (Tempestt Bledsoe), Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), and Rudy (Keisha Knight Pulliam). This is a wealthy African-American family, but they don't act like a rich family. Everyone is as normal as any other family. That is why people of all backgrounds can find appeal in this show.
Of course, you can't call it The Cosby Show without Bill Cosby's comic demeanor. There is a reason why Cliff Huxtable is #1 in TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time. Cosby plays the role of father and husband with a straight but funny performance. He is the father we all want to have.
A great and classic example of this is in the pilot episode. Cliff talks to Theo about poor grades in school. Theo gives a long speech about how he may be doing his best already and that Cliff should accept him the way he is. The audience applauds. Cliff pauses, then says, "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard!" The audience laughs, then laughs even more when Cliff says, "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!"
Over the years, the show doesn't change much until the last few seasons, with a bunch of new characters as a result of the grownup children starting their own families. Even with many characters popping up, the essence of the show is the same: family and life itself. In fact, the show focuses much more on this than Bill Cosby himself. And that's fine. Because the humor is not from one person, but from life itself and everyone living it.
For more information about The Cosby Show, visit the Internet Movie Database.