The Cosby show revolved around an affluent African-American family; Dr. Heathcliff and Clair Huxtable was a happily married couple raising their five children (Sondra, Denise, Theodore, Vanessa and Rudy). As the children grow older and get married, they keep returning home against their father’s wishes. Dr. Huxtable wishes for his children to completely move out and be successful with their own lives and families. Race was rarely an issue mentioned on the program compared to other shows at that time.
In a house filled with love…there is always room for one more is a common theme that can be taken away from The Cosby Show. According to research Bill Cosby had a high level of control over the show and this was unusual at the time. Cosby wanted the show to reflect his educational background therefore making the show to revolve around education. Even though the show rarely mentioned racism, they did have racial themes such as the Civil Rights Movement. The Cosby’s also surrounded themselves with African-American artists and musicians, playing and dancing to Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and many more. In the series finale there were episodes dedicated to the 1992 L.A. riots. A Different World, The Cosby Show spin-off, dealt more with racial issues.
The Cosby Show depicts family interactions in a grand light. It is a good choice in family viewing especially since the children on the show treated their parents with respect despite disagreements, rebellion and the random teenage mood swings. Its landmark portrayal of an educated, affluent and being an African-American family set the bar for sitcoms that would come after it. If a director is considering producing a sitcom based around black people, he will consider how the Huxtable’s did it and go from there. The Huxtable’s may not represent the typical African-American family but it is considered as a positive and uplifting depiction of a functional family.
The black community could construe the characters as unrealistic and unattainable because of their high salaries and prestigious positions. They would say that the show does not reflect the true nature of the black household and that these were not black problems. Ironically, the show was structured to avoid those conundrums altogether. These occupations were chosen because Cosby did not want to limit the show’s content to the same old black song and dance.