Bill Cosby: Then and Now – Allie Kleinman

After watching The Cosby Show and the interview with Michael Real and Lauren Bratslavsky for this week’s assignment, I cannot imagine looking at Bill Cosby the same ever again. It shocks me that one of the greatest cultural icons of America, and possibly even around the world, abused women.

I don’t understand how one individual could live such different lives: the Bill Cosby we saw on television was a wholesome, trustworthy, silly, family-man, yet in real-life he was doing the unthinkable and sexually assaulting a multitude of women for years.

Bill Cosby, Camille Cosby

Out of curiosity, I typed in Bill Cosby’s name on Google. Would the results be flooded with articles about his sexual assault? Or would they be about his positive impact on television?

8 out of 12 articles on the first page address the sexual assault allegations. I find it so unfortunate, and sad, that someone who had such an amazing impact on television would do such horrific things.

In the interview, both Michael and Lauren addressed the idea that The Cosby Show has been completely re-coded; it is completely impossible to separate it from what he did. I hadn’t watched the show since I was in middle school, but after watching it this week, I definitely agree that it can’t ever be re-read in the same way.

I am curious as to whether or not yall felt the same way about The Cosby Show after watching this week’s episode. I found this article, Bill Cosby: A 50-year timeline of accusations and accomplishments, to be very interesting and informative because it provides a unique timeline of the events that occurred throughout Cosby’s life. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on both the article and the show!

Article Citation:

Kim, Kyle, Christina Littlefield, and Mark Olsen. “Bill Cosby: A 50-year Timeline of Accusations and …” LA Times. N.p., 26 Apr. 2016. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

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6 Responses to Bill Cosby: Then and Now – Allie Kleinman

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I’m in a similar boat in that I loved the Cosby Show, and even Fat Albert, but I hate what Bill Cosby is accused of (probably did). It’s a strange dynamic of the public persona and the private sphere and where they intersect in people who are in positions of power. Usually, that intersection must be dealt with on a fine line, but regular people like us, don’t have to deal with that distinction in as volatile a way. — Serena Daya

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with both of you, I loved the Cosby Show mainly because it was such a light hearted and warm family show. I remember growing up and watching it whenever it was on, usually around 8pm, and always enjoying how fun and loving their family dynamic was. I must say, when I first heard the news about Bill Cosby I tried to mentally block it and disassociate the two. I did not want to ruin my childhood show after finding out these news. I now look at Bill Cosby as a completely different person that is not associate with the show at all. It is sad that these things happen, but I try to respect the show for what it was, not based on the actors personal life but in this case it is a little bit more difficult since the Cosby Show is centered around family life.

    Alexandra Peralta

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I completely agree that the Cosby Show demands to be re-coded after the world knows about Bill Cosby’s actions. Although I would like to separate the two in my mind, I just don’t think it is totally possible simply because of the stark contrast between the character in the show and the real man he is. I do think the show can still be studied and appreciated for its cultural impact and significance, but because we are human, we cannot fully separate our judgments from the show and reality.
    -Lacey Worsham

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I separate a person’s actual life apart from their acting career. The Cosby Show still makes me laugh because the show is so great! The other actors do a fantastic job and the show shouldn’t be judged because one of the characters has a terrible personality flaw. But, the harsh reality is that it is and that cannot be changed. The Cosby Show seems to have turned into something used in lessons for college students, not as life lessons for parents and kids.

    -turner arrington

    • mediaphiles says:

      While I understand your desire to separate the actor from the character, I’m not sure I would categorize the repeated sexual assault of women as simply a “terrible personality flaw.” I think in a lot of ways Bill Cosby and Dr. Huxtable are inextricably linked, and although it would be nice to continue watching The Cosby Show and not be constantly reminded of Bill’s actions, I’m not sure that’s possible (at least, it’s not possible for me). I had the same hesitations with watching Woody Allen movies after he was accused of sexual abuse. It’s a complex situation and I don’t think there are any easy answers.

      -Callie Sartain

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I felt the same way when I watched The Cosby Show. Every time I saw Bill on the screen I felt an overall unease and disgust knowing what he did to so many women. I was even further disturbed by this because his character plays a wholesome gynecologist and is so loving to his daughters. I think we generally can separate an actor from his character, but in this case it’s just too difficult. I think your Google search is really interesting and shows that his reputation is overwhelmingly plagued by his terrible abuse of women instead of his years as a celebrated comedian. Arianna Gershon

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