|Scooped by Anthony Cipolla|
The Cosby Show "A Shirt Story" Review
The Cosby Show was an American sitcom that was first broadcasted on September 20th, 1984 and ran for eight seasons on the NBC television network until April 30th 1992. The sitcom featured comedian Bill Cosby, who played Dr. Heathcliff 'Cliff' Huxtable, his lawyer wife, Clair; and their children -- Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy. They reside in a brownstone at 10 Stigwood Ave. in Brooklyn, N.Y., where Cliff and Clair both nurture and resist their kids' nuances, maturity, and individual interests. Along the road to adulthood, the children deal with life lessons like dating, marriage, college, and independence. Every episode of the sitcom is full of Cosby's ingenious, classic storytelling as he journeys through the daily adventures of a father's life. The Cosby Show has left its mark on generation after generation of TV fans, both for its astonishing ratings, like being #1 for five straight seasons, as well as, its new and fresh groundbreaking format, which a show based on the daily life of an African-American family. The Cosby Show has paved the way and inspired some of the best television series of today like: The Bernie Mac Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, In Living Color, The Simpsons, and Mad TV.
I want to draw your attention to a specific episode from season 1 of The Cosby Show entitled, "A Shirt Story." This particular episode like many of the others are all family related themes. The Cosby Show with its clean, wholesome, and family oriented foundation, is something almost every single person and family can relate to which is what made the show such a success in my opinion
"A Shirt Story" episode begins with Bill Cosby (Cliff's) son Theo returning home from shopping with his mother. The shopping trip was needed to purchase a new shirt to wear for Theo's date with the girl of his dreams Christine and two other friends. Theo decided it would be smart to spend $95 dollars on one Gordon Gartelle designer shirt, so that he would "fit" in with the style that most of his friends were wearing, as well as, impressed Christine with his slick choice of style. Bill Cosby nearly blows his top off seeing that his son spent $95 dollars on a shirt being only 14 years of age and not having a job. Cliff tells Theo to return the shirt, and instead spend a limit of $30 dollars on a nice not Gordon Gartelle shirt. Luckily for Theo is sister Denise offers to make him an "identical" shirt for the convenient price of $30 dollars (mainly for materials), however, Denise has always been known for never being able to finish a project of any kind in her entire life. Of course, Denise's "identical" Gordon Gartelle shirt turns out to be a complete disaster, however, it does teach Theo a very valuable lesson, about greed, and trying to be something he's not.
In my opinion, this episode reaches out to most teenagers who try so very hard to impress there, so called "friends" just to feel accepted. True friends should not only befriend someone based on something they have or are wearing, but rather by their character. Bill Cosby seeing that Theo "learned his lesson" informed him that his original Gordon Gartelle shirt was still up on Cliff's dresser. As Theo dashes out of the kitchen to retrieve the shirt up stairs (while wearing Denise's one) he is shocked to see Christine and his friends already waiting in the living room! Completely embarrassed, Theo attempts to cover up his failed attempt at a Gordon Gartelle shirt. Cliff realizing what is happening in the other room sprints out of the kitchen telling Theo to "give back his shirt!" Theo, instead of going along with his father decides to come clean and reveal that he is who he is and that’s all that should matter. The episode ends with Christine loving his outfit and telling him it looks like the newest fashion statement! The two couples (double date) then leave and enjoy their night.
When I viewed the episode, "A Shirt Story," it was my first actual time watching The Cosby Show. I knew of the show, but never was exposed to it, mainly because it ended the very year I was born in 1992. The sitcom looked like a typical 80s family household, and had typical family problems within it. Arguing among siblings and parents, not happy with what they had etc. The Cosby Show made me feel as if I was in each room with them. I felt like I was a part of their family in a way. Being that this sitcom was a family comedy, the atmosphere of the episode "A Shirt Story" was very funny. Now, compared with many new sitcoms that have, basically, based their foundation from The Cosby Show, The Cosby Show itself, felt, looked, and sounded more realistic than other sitcoms then and even today. It was a more natural and at home environment. The lighting used in the episode was nothing out of the ordinary. It was simple everyday lighting to help the audience viewing to feel more at home with the sitcom. I loved how retro and “80s” all of the furniture, clothing, decorations and other props looked on set. Television shows and sitcoms today use "fake/ enhanced" audience sound effects to attempt to make their episodes more laughable. In my opinion, it is way over done. Yes, I realize The Cosby Show also did that, but however, they started it, as well as, many other valuable aspects of that have paved the way for television sitcoms today.
During the early stages of the show first being broadcasted, many people criticized the sitcom for presenting an “unrealistic portrayal of an African-American family.” The Cosby Show portrayed a wealthy, successful, and rather happy African-American family. Back in the 80s, the black-white relations still had numerous issues. Society viewed African-Americans not as wealthy, but as being in poverty, and more street life oriented. Other critics viewed the sitcom as “what African-Americans could potentially become.”
My view of The Cosby Show along the lines of racism and other black/white factors is that this show gave people hope. Of course the fact that The Cosby Show featured and all African-American family, which always leaves room for negative criticism, but, there are critics for all things. I personally believe The Cosby Show brought families together, and eased some of the tension between the two races during the period of time in the United States. The Cosby Show gave hope to many and helped teach us all valuable lessons.
The Cosby Show not only was one of the most successful television sitcom series to ever be broadcasted, it was a symbol for many during some very difficult days in our country. The Cosby Show was The Beetles of TV sitcoms. It has paved the way for television entertainment. For never viewing an episode of The Cosby Show myself, I must say that I was very pleased with it, and am definitely now a fan of the show on many levels. This is a wonderful sitcom for individuals and families of all ages. It’s a realistic comedy of a family dealing with everyday family issues, which can relate to nearly everyone on this planet. Television would be nothing without The Cosby Show!