This week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, Tiffany and I are kickin’ it old school. Not so much because we are hip, but more because we are playing the part of cranky old folks, bemoaning days gone by. Specifically, we’re looking back to good ole TV programs we watched as kids that we occasionally long for, given the lack of quality family programming nowadays.
Tiffany is extra cranky this week, as her old favorite can’t seem to be found in syndication. At least I can tune into WGN or hit up Hulu Plus to see mine.
What did I pick?
Without a second thought, The Cosby Show. Like Tiffany’s choice, this show centers around a family. Though not perfect, they love each other and we get to look on as they go through the various trials of family life, simple and complex.
Having Bill Cosby at the helm as Dr. Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable, the show offered more than its share of laughs, using much of Bill Cosby’s standup material as fodder for the episodes. If you are not familiar with his standup, get on that, now. Here, I’ll wait for you:
Cliff is an obstetrician, married to Clair (Phylicia Rashad), an attorney. If their successful careers didn’t keep them busy enough, they also have five children (four at home, one grown and in college, played by Keisha Knight Pulliam, Tempestt Bledsoe, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Sabrina Le Beauf) to handle. Their children dealt with the small problems we could relate to: sharing a room with your sister, younger siblings wanting the same privileges as the older ones, kids trying to play their parents against each other; the simple problems that arise in any family. The Huxtables dealt with their children firmly and lovingly.
What makes me miss this show so much? So many things.
For one, the show depicted a minority family as successful and educated. Originally, Cliff was supposed to be a limo driver and Clair a stay-at-home mom. It was Bill Cosby who convinced the show’s producers to change their roles to reflect a more successful family. While the show didn’t stereotype the family or deal much with the issues of race, it did educate by highlighting elements of African-American culture in the show.
The Cosby Show didn’t follow the formula of the bumbling idiot father, the annoyingly overbearing mother, and the sassy, too-smart-for-their-parents children that most family sitcoms fall into nowadays. The parents knew when the kids were up to something, and taught them valuable lessons, which sometimes were as simple as “listen to your parents”.
In our house, The Cosby Show was important enough in our TV viewing schedule that it was the reason my father bought our first VCR. Did I mention that I grew up in a family of five children with intelligent and funny parents? That could have something to do with my love for this show as well. I related. Watching moments like this make me feel like I am sitting with my dad.
The show also had great guest stars. Guests like Stevie Wonder, Tito Puente, Lena Horne and Dizzy Gillespie contributed to my musical education and were among my favorites. But the most memorable for me was my childhood crush, Danny Kaye, playing a dentist.
The show ran for eight seasons, from 1984 to 1992. It marked a revival for the successful TV sitcom, and set a great example of real family TV.
I miss you, Cosby Show.
Did you watch The Cosby Show? Could you relate to the characters in the show? Can you think of any current shows that compare?
Now head over to Tiffany’s blog to experience some Growing Pains.
Come back next week when Tiffany and I discuss a few of our favorite TNT syndications…the shows we like to run all day long while we fold laundry or bake treats for our sweets. (I stole this line from Tiffany – it captures exactly what I use my TNT syndications for perfectly.)
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech