Every Family Can Relate
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Every Family Can Relate
Each of us may have a different reason for watching "The Cosby Show", there is something for everyone in this family oriented comedy.
Curated by Victoria Kirby
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Every Family Can Relate - "The Cosby Show"

Every Family Can Relate - "The Cosby Show" | Every Family Can Relate | Scoop.it
Victoria Kirby's insight:

      In 1988, the year I was born, The Cosby Show had already been on the air for four years.  Of course, I do not remember much at that time, but as I got older, I remember watching the show with my mom.  It was one of her favorite comedy sitcoms.  I didn’t really realize why she enjoyed it so much, except that it was very funny.  However, it wasn’t until I was in high school and I walked by as my mom was watching one of the reruns and at that point, Bill Cosby said, “If your kids like you, then you are not doing your job.”  My sister and I said in unison, “Don’t worry, mom, you’re doing your job!”  To her that was a compliment.  I realized then, that The Cosby Show to her mimicked real-life in a comedic way.  Cosby was able to take everyday family situations and make them funny.  By doing this, parents everywhere were able to relieve stress and look at the many situations with humor.

 

     Even though it was filmed using laugh tracks, you could hear parents and children laughing in their living rooms each week.   Every episode dealt with everyday struggles that parents experienced in real-life, just in an exaggerated form.  “A Shirt Story” recorded in 1984 and directed by Jay Sandrich proved just that, the writers kept with upbeat and fun themes that people could relate too.  In the process, Bill Cosby added life lessons for all that watched.


     The Huxtable family was wealthy, however, they did not think that they were better than anybody else and they made sure that they did not spoil their children in anyway.  In each episode, they wanted to teach their children that they must earn anything that they needed through hard work and sacrifice.   In “A Shirt Story,” Cliff, played by Bill Cosby, gets upset with Theo for purchasing a $95 shirt.  Theo, Malcolm Jamal Warner, wanted the designer shirt to impress a girl.  In typical Cliff fashion, he tells Theo, “I don’t have a $95 shirt, and I have job.”  This one statement already teaches us that you must work for want you want and need.  However, do you really need a $95 shirt?  As Theo talks with Denise, Lisa Bonet, about the situation, she insists that she can make the exact same shirt for Theo, unfortunately, the shirt she makes does not live up to the designer shirt that Theo originally purchased.  It does end up working out in the end, has his friends really like the shirt.  This proves that not only working hard for want is important, but also you do not have to spend a huge amount of money to look good. 


     As I watched this episode, I realized that I could relate to this situation growing up.  Unlike the Huxtables, we did not have a lot of money, so any items of clothing that needed to be purchased was definitely not designer clothing.  Just like Theo, the thought the more it cost, the better the product.  My parents, reminded me of the Huxtables at time, allowing me to realize that you did not have to spend money to look good.  The most impressive was the fact that the Cliff and Clair, allowed Theo, as well as their other children to learn the lesson on their own.  Bill Cosby was able to incorporate parenting styles into his show through experience raising his own children as well as the degrees in Education that he earned in college.  The Cosby Show utilized his knowledge and helped parents with parenting and educated adults and kids alike.


     The three-camera set helped to emphasis the main characters you are doing most of the action through close-up shots.  These close-up shots allow us to see many details performed by the characters which gave us an opportunity to get to know the character’s personality and emotions as they tackle the problem at hand.  When Theo came down in the shirt that Denise made him, the close-up shot on Cliff’s face was priceless.  At first, he was trying not to let Theo see his face as he tries not to laugh, but soon he was not able to suppress the laughter.  Theo’s manner and stance showed us a typical teenage boy, who did not see the humor in it. 


     As a female or a male viewing the show, you could depict a few male or female stereotypes, especially as it was filmed in the mid-80s and through the early 90s.  Women were definitely in the work force, however, there were still many women who stayed home to take of the children and the house.  In this episode, you see Clare, even though she is a lawyer, taking care of her sick husband, and Cliff taking on the male role of worrying about money, not in a sense that they didn’t have any, but in the sense that he takes care of the finances.  Also, Cliff tries to maintain his manliness, but not giving in to his sickness, but then needs to be babied at the end, which Clare does.  However, this minor and most people would not see this or any thing that has to do with race.  It is true that the majority of the shows have all African-American actors for the most part, but that just showed that no matter what race you are, you can still be somebody and succeed if you try.  What seems to matter in “A Shirt Story” and other shows is the “class” in which the Huxtables belong.  They are very high-end, middle class family.  It is obvious in the majority of the shows, especially “A Shirt Story.”  Even though they do not flaunt their money, there is reference to it, such as Theo’s $95 shirt in which Cliff never takes back to the store.


     Overall, “A Shirt Story’ and other Cosby Show episodes are worth the watch.  Each of us may have a different reason for watching, from Cosby’s knowledge on parenting to stress relief.  There is something for everyone in this family oriented comedy.  Bill Cosby through his wisdom and his quick wit he leaves us laughing and taking away with us a positive message for all people.  As Bill Cosby once said, “You can turn painful situations around through laughter.  If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it.”

 

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The Cosby Show (TV Series 1984–1992)

The Cosby Show (TV Series 1984–1992) | Every Family Can Relate | Scoop.it
With Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Keshia Knight Pulliam. The goings-on in the life of a successful African American family.
Victoria Kirby's insight:

Got my information about the directors and when the show aired. 

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White racism and "The Cosby Show" by Mike Budd and Clay Steinman

Victoria Kirby's insight:

This was a great article with why "The Cosby Show" did so well. Even beating out the Simpsons! Talks about how Americans reacted to the show.

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Cosby Show Season 1 "A Shirt Story" (Part 2)

The Cosby Show Season 1 Episode 7 "A Shirt Story" (Part 2)
Victoria Kirby's insight:

The TV Show, to look back on what ideas and camera shots they had. Always good to reanalyze shot after shot! 

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Cosby Show, The Episode Guide - A Shirt Story : Season 1, Episode 5 - TBS.com

Cosby Show, The Episode Guide - A Shirt Story : Season 1, Episode 5 - TBS.com | Every Family Can Relate | Scoop.it
Cosby Show, The Episode Guide - A Shirt Story : Season 1, Episode 5. Theo uses Cliff's credit card to buy a 95-dollar Gordon Gartrelle designer shirt, which he plans to wear on a date.
Victoria Kirby's insight:

The summary of what the the episode was about. Also, had show quotes and what the show is all about. 

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Cosby Show Season 1 "A Shirt Story" (Part 1)

The Cosby Show Season 1 Episode 7 "A Shirt Story" (Part 1)
Victoria Kirby's insight:

The TV Show, to look back on what ideas and camera shots they had. Always good to reanalyze shot after shot! 

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