The Cosby Show: Celebrating 25 Years

The Cosby Show: Celebrating 25 Years
ESSENCE.COM Dec, 15, 2008

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Relive all of you favorite Huxtable family moments with this special 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition of “The Cosby Show.” Watch every soulful number Sondra, Theo, Vanessa, Denise and Rudy lip-synced on their staircase and perform one of your very own in honor of this special silver anniversary.

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Cliff always had his hands full when Clair was away for business. Dad’s medical degree and the experience of having five children some how couldn’t hold a candle to Mom’s instinct and maternal charm.

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With five kids, two son-in-laws (almost three when Vanessa got engaged to Dabnis Brickey), grandchildren, grandparents, a long lost cousin, and an invisible dog, the Huxtable house was never empty. It’s a wonder how Cliff and Clair kept their sanity since none of their family ever wanted to leave.

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The success of “The Cosby Show” launched a spin-off in 1987. “A Different World” followed second-to-oldest daughter Denise (played by Lisa Bonet) as she headed to the fictional HBCU Hillman College. The show gave hope, insight, and possibility to countless African-American youth across the country.

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How did “The Cosby Show” get on national television? NBC executives were so impressed by Cosby’s crowd-pleasing monologue about family life on “The Tonight Show” that they moved quickly to create a sitcom based on his witty, relatable experiences.

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With a house full of women, these Huxtable men had to count on each other to keep their heads above water. Here Theo and Cliff talk things through as they often did (usually around a hoagie).

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When asked about his most memorable moment from his days on “The Cosby Show,” Bill Cosby gave credit to his on-screen wife, Phylicia Rashad.

“She was the base of our triangle,” says Cosby. “If the show was a trapeze act, we were free to do whatever and she was there to catch us all. She was perfect. I couldn’t imagine anyone else in that role.”

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Theo never sweat the small stuff but when it came to telling his parents about a bad grade, piercing his ear, or the latest mess he and best friend Cockroach got into, he was all nerves.

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On September 20, 1984, “The Cosby Show” made its debut on NBC with incredibly high ratings. From the show’s pilot to it’s finale in 1992, the program remains one of the most watched shows on television. Since then, there hasn’t been a family that we’ve come to adore and respect as much as the Huxtables.

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Bill Cosby provided us with timeless comedy and knee-slapping humor without compromising his morals, beliefs and self-respect.

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Got a minute or two? Nothing could compare to one of Dr. Huxtable’s lengthy, somewhat embellished stories with one of his children.

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“The Cosby Show” was the first of its kind and brought a new light to what was seen on the small screen. The Huxtable family broke barriers, crushed stereotypes and proved to the American audience that there was much more to the African-American family than what was previously seen on television.

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“The Cosby Show” was a first for America. Never before had we seen an African-American doctor happily married to an African-American attorney, successfully raising their children together in a house full of love, discipline and respect. For many Black women, seeing Phylicia Rashad juggle motherhood and a professional career was a wonderful acknowledgment that we can do it all.

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“Okay, Dad, see this is what happened…” was the way Denise would start a lot of her conversations with her father, explaining the latest quandary she had gotten herself into.

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Whether Cliff was feeding his wife strawberries or Clair was secretly arranging for her husband to see his favorite jazz artist, we could all see that they truly knew how to make each others’ toes curl.

Without question, Cosby and Rashad had an unspoken chemistry on set and time after time brought the love between their characters to life.

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If it was one thing we learned from Clair and Cliff, it was the benefits of good nutrition. Cliff, who had a weakness for potato chip-filled hoagies and meals from Rocket Burger, was on strict watch at all times.

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There was never a dull moment on “The Cosby Show.” The Huxtables got the opportunity of a lifetime when Stevie Wonder’s limo crashed into Denise’s car. The family sang along to “I Just Called to Say I Love You” as a personal request from the star himself.

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What made “The Cosby Show” unique was their tasteful approach to family life. Clair and Cliff sometimes treated their children like adults and taught life lessons by using real life situations with creative tactics.

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When Denise, along with her classmate Suzanne (Robin Givens), has to observe her family’s normal behavior for a school project, she is beside herself when Theo is acting anything but normal to impress his sister’s friend.

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“The Cosby Show” highlighted the most promising young stars and featured simply the best figures in entertainment. The sitcom was a stepping stone for upcoming actors like Blair Underwood, Lela Rochon, Malinda Williams, Allen Payne and Adam Sandler. Legendary artists like Sammy Davis, Jr., Nancy Wilson, B.B. King, Lena Horne and Tito Puente also lent their talents to the show.

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