The Cosby Show (1984-1992) is the first sitcom I truly loved as a child. My parents, my sister, and I actually used to watch it, along with most of the Thursday night NBC lineup, as a family. The show itself left a huge impression on my childhood. As with much of the US at the time, I looked forward to each Thursday night.
I wouldn’t say that I had a favorite Cosby kid growing up, but I could certainly identify with Rudy. In the show she was approximately my age, and many episodes focused on her experiences with the trials and tribulations of childhood. Personally, I always thought she was lucky.
Rudy had an abundance of something I wanted desperately as a child: Older siblings. Rudy didn’t have to be the first of anything. She knew what to expect in school, socially and academically, thanks to all of her older siblings going before her. She also learned how to push her parents’ buttons thanks to the tutoring at the hands of Vanessa, possibly one of the most manipulative TV children ever.
About Vanessa. I always had conflicting views of her character. On one hand, I would have loved to have had an older sister like her, or Denise, when it came to topics such fashion, boys, and school. Then again, I would not want to be on the other end of her wrath. To this day I think the episode in which Vanessa and Rudy are sentenced to live in the basement together due to literal destruction of their bedroom as a result of fighting is one of the most truthful depictions of sibling rivalry I’ve ever seen on TV.
Those universal truths about childhood are exactly what made The Cosby Show great, along with the fashion, the music, the art, and the guest stars. In some ways it was the show about nothing long before Seinfeld came along. When you think about it, nothing ever much actually happened on The Cosby Show. Instead it largely focused on everyday family life and just how funny it can be.
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