The Cosby Show Analysis

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There once was a sensation called black television. There was a time when the roar of black TV was staggering. When African-American actors were marginalized into largely one-dimensional roles, always playing servants or providing comedic relief (Breaking Barriers). However, now there are entire networks dedicated to black programming. Black sitcoms were largely undeveloped until the '70s, then finally hitting a stride in the '80s. In the '90s, that stride became a sprint, with networks scrambling to reach black audiences (Kimble 2013). Afrocentrism was encompassed by hip-hop and it became the norm to see Malcolm X hats and Howard University sweatshirts in music videos and in the streets. However, the number of black sitcoms has declined since…show more content…
The Cosby Show revolved around the Huxtables, a well-off African-American family living in a Brooklyn brownstone. Cliff Huxtable was a doctor and Claire Huxtable was a lawyer. They had five children Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, and Rudy. All five of the Huxtable children were based on Bill Cosby's actual children, including his late son Ennis who suffered from dyslexia, providing further inspiration for Theo's character (History of Television – Black Sitcoms 2013). Each of the Huxtable children attended college during the show's run, with the exception of Rudy, because she was too young. Denise followed in her parents and grandfather's footsteps at Hillman College. The Cosby Show had built a lineage of success from grandparents to children that was never viewed before on television by the end of the series, regardless of race. The Cosby Show's guest appearances were almost unmatched: Stevie Wonder, Senator Bill Bradley, Dick Vitale, Jim Valvano, Adam Sandler, and Alicia Keys. Although the Huxtables did not represent every black family, neither did the families on previous shows. The Cosby Show was considered the first African-American show to represent their race in dignified and humanistic roles. Not only did The Cosby Show offer a look into the life of an affluent African-American family, it also offered TV's first look at the…show more content…
This show, much like The Cosby Show, did not follow the stereotypical ideas of earlier African-American television families. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was introduced to the world in 1990 and ran until 1996. It followed a young man named Will from Philadelphia. He was sent by his mom to live with his aunt and uncle in an affluent neighborhood called Bel-Air in Los Angeles, California. Will had to adjust to a very different lifestyle compared to his old life in the rough streets of Philadelphia. He lived with his an aunt, uncle, and three cousins. Will was a very funny, happy, and hip young man. He had a kind heart and seemed to always make moral decisions. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had issues of a different type. Will’s uncle had a different perspective on what was important in life. He was a successful judge that greatly valued money and position. In contrast, Will repeatedly realized that money was not everything. He made good moral decisions and bettered not only himself, but also the family around him. Unlike some of the earlier African-American television families, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air portrayed a loving, although flawed family. They always supported each other, including Will’s mom. Will’s mother, although she was mostly absent, loved her son enough to send him away to a safer place where he could be raised properly. This sitcom emphasized positive African-American
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