The Cosby Show premiered in 1984
. Bill Cosby
's vehicle for his brand of humor has been said to revitalized the sitcom.
The Cosby Show tried many different variations of comedy, including silent pieces and Cosby's comedic reactions. The silent scenes were scenes where the actors would act out a scene with out any spoken word, but to a musical score. The most common theme for the piece would be when Cliff Huxtable was romancing his wife, Claire Huxtable but it could be anything, even saying good bye to his couch. Cliff Huxtable would often be told odd stories to many people, especially his son. When Cliff was told a story, Cliff would often make faces ranging from stunned to disgust to symbolised his emotions.
The show normally relied on simple humor rather then large sets and huge casts. There were many guest appearances on the show but not to the point of relying on them. Bill Cosby was the center of the show and that was clear, but the cast can easily be seen supporting him.
Bill Cosby's character is Doctor Cliff Huxtable. Cliff was an obstetrician and was often called away to deliver a baby. Cliff was a track star in high school and would often run against or with his old rival, "Tailwind Turner" for one last time in the spotlight. Cliff was a jazz aficionado. His collection was one of the greatest of all time.
While being a Doctor, Cliff had one major fault. He loved fatty food. His wife was constantly hounding him to cut down. As stated before Cliff often made funny faces during their stories which he prolonged for comedic value. Cliff also had a extreme libido when it came to his wife. He always flirted, made out, and showed just how much he was in love with his wife.
Cliff would often tell stories that more then stretched the truth. Each iteration of the same story would be different and larger. Often Cliff's parents were shown and they were also also smitten with each other as Cliff and Claire. They would sometimes tell stories of a young Cliff and how he used to entertain himself with no stimuli.
Phylicia Rashad played Claire Hanks Huxtable. Claire Hanks was the hard nosed lawyer, who married Cliff Huxtable in college to raise a family. While in a courtroom Claire never took any crap, and at home she was twice as mean. When she found or suspected that something was amiss, she would get to the bottom and never failed to discover the truth behind the lies. She often would use her lawyer tactics on the children and found out the truth in the end. When Cliff would flirt with her, she would always flirt back with him, it could explain how they had five kids.
Sondra Huxtable was played by Sabrina Le Beauf. Sondra Huxtable was the first of the five children of Cliff and Claire. She also was the least seen with college and her own life. Later in the show's run Sondra took a larger role. During College Sondra marrying a nice doctor student named Elvin Tibideaux, played by Geoffrey Owens. Soon after marriage both students dropped out of college and they opened up a nature and health food store.
Denise Huxtable was played by Lisa Bonet. Denise Huxtable was the second daughter of Cliff and Claire Huxtable. Denise was often the voice of for the kids as she was the oldest in the household since Sondra was rarely there. Denise was also the scatterbrain child. She often forgot stuff and would be surprised when she was blamed for screwing up something.
When Denise finally went to college she was happy but quit because classes were hard and the questions were "off topic". She felt that she wasn't right for college and tried to get a job at a record studio. At her job she would often complain when the executives treated her like a secretary, even though that was her job. Somehow Denise met Martin Kendall, played by Joseph C. Phillips. Denise and Martin were wed and soon Martin went into the army. Of course Denise made a mistake and the newlyweds were not allowed to live on the base, but finally they found a house close enough and they left the Huxtable household.
Lisa Bonet and Bill Cosby clashed on many issues. One of the large problems came in 1987 when she stared in Angel Heart. In the movie was a few steamy love scenes involving Lisa Bonet's bare nipples. After staring on the spin off called "A Different World" for only two years, she was fired and returned to the Cosby Show until the shows end. She also did not return for The Cosby Show Reunion for the anniversary of NBC as she felt disrespected.
After two children, the happy couple was blessed again with a boy, named Theo. Theo Huxtable was played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Malcolm-Jamal Warner also directed a few episodes of "The Cosby Show". Theo was the only son of his parents which meant he was stuck with four sisters living in the same house.
Theo always had huge plans that would always go wrong including one to have a limo, a helicopter ride, and caviar for the senior prom, of course the problem came when the helicopter messed up the hair of Theo and his friends dates along with the caviar causing Theo to throw up.
Theo had quite a few friends on the show. Theo's best friend was Cockroach, played by Carl Payne. Cockroach always got in as much trouble as Theo when stuff went wrong. Theo's group of friends was large but perhaps the most noticeable friend was Smitty, a white boy played by Adam Sandler.
Theo was a quick eater, and was often hungry so he would eat a couple meals at a time. He once ate four huge burgers in 40 seconds along with the fries from a fancy restaurant.
Only a year younger then Theo was Vanessa Huxtable. Vanessa was played by Tempestt Bledsoe. Vanessa was a boy hungry girl who's other love was fashion. Vanessa was often uninterested in anything other then her two loves.
The youngest member of the Huxtable family was Rudy Huxtable played by Keshia Knight Pulliam. Rudy was the cutest member of the cast. During later episodes, when the kids were off at college, Rudy and her friends would carry the show. The most memorable friend was Peter Chiara, played by Peter Costa. Peter was a quite sort who's reactions were fun to watch, and his most common was fear.
Denise and Martin Kendall also had a child named Olivia Kendell. Olivia Kendall was played by Raven-Symoné. Olivia was on the show for the last three years of run. Olivia took over the youth role of Rudy. Often in the last years of the show the cast would tend to include just Cliff, Claire and Olvia in a few episodes. Olivia was not as cute as Rudy, but made a substitute that worked.
At the beginning of the Cosby show the episodes were above average and relied on family dynamics of the five children and the parents who can't control them. After Theo officially left for college the house emptied out and the show started to fall apart. Olivia kept it together for a couple more years but the end was near. The Cosby show left the air after the 1992 season after 8 years on the air. Since then the show has yet to be off the air and has changed TV as much as the "I Love Lucy" show, half a century earlier.
An interesting side note is that "The Cosby Show" was the powerhouse on Thursday when NBC's new ad slogan started, called Must See Tv on NBC. For two years before it left the air it helped out a fledging comedy called "Cheers" also on Thursday which became one of the decade defining comedies.