The Cosby Show | Courtney Green

Regardless of the current scandal surrounding Bill Cosby, The Cosby Show remains one of my favorite sitcoms to date. Growing up in a black household it almost goes without saying that you would have watched at least a few episodes of the sitcom.

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As I’ve gotten older and started taking classes where we’d have to analyze media through a critical lens one of the main criticisms that would always emerge about The Cosby Show was that it was an unrealistic depiction of a black family. The show was only a success because Cosby was smart and tailored the series around what a White audience would be familiar with and what they would find comfortable. I don’t disagree that the Huxtables were a very polished, politically correct family but I also always had trouble with this criticism.

I think it’s insulting to a host of black families who were/are upper middle class that could directly identify with the Huxtables. Malcolm-Jamal Warner who played Theo Huxtable the only son of Claire and Cliff noted the same reaction when reflecting on the sitcom’s legacy in a recent interview. I believe in some ways to say that the Huxtables where an unrealistic expectation for most of black Americans only works to keep black families in this confined space of what America is willing to tolerate. Instead, I feel as though The Cosby Show gave black families hope and allowed them to aspire for a better upbringing for those who did come from a more disadvantaged background.

Ultimately, The Cosby Show was one of the most influential and important shows not just of the 1980s and 1990s, it has a key place amongst any family sitcom that has and will ever be created, especially for black families. Even though I’m obviously not a current fan of Bill Cosby, I can’t lie I was upset when reruns of The Cosby Show where pulled from the air.

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Still from The Cosby Show.

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4 Responses to The Cosby Show | Courtney Green

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I agree that The Cosby Show is not only one of the best and funniest show but it also serves as a hopeful medium where minority families aspire to live in an upper-class, comfortable family such as the Huxtables. Although Bill Cosby’s actions are unjustifiable I do not think they should take the show off the air because that is hurting the entire cast, not just Bill. -Jenna Romano

  2. mediaphiles says:

    Wow, I had no idea they pulled the reruns from TV. Growing up I watched the Cosby show constantly and (not necessarily paying attention to the racial influence the show had) loved all of the characters. It is funny how sometimes we can get into the characters so much we forget that their real personality is not necessarily how they actually act. If we heard about a typical person doing what Bill Cosby did I don’t think it would be as much of a deal (still a big deal), but since it was Mr. Cosby, the all-knowing, funny, great father figure and mentor.. it was an enormous deal.
    Kendall Fischlein

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I remember watching The Cosby Show as a kid and always enjoying it! I did not know either that they are no longer showing reruns. I think one of the most interesting parts of sitcom class, is looking at shows we enjoyed growing up through a critical lens. Being able to analyze these shows causes you to really think about the shows in completely different ways. – Katie Thevenow

  4. marymdalton says:

    Context is everything…or…maybe not!

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