“The Cosby Show” as a cultural touchstone

Growing up the in 1980s, many of us tuned in to NBC every Thursday to watch a nuclear family with two working, educated parents raise their children.

From 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., there were goals, achievements, setbacks and struggles that the family portrayed and communicated. There was trouble, and there were consequences. There was a certain philosophy to raising children and being a part of a cohesive family unit. And there was plenty of humor. There was an enlightened awareness of societal issues, as well as African-American culture. And there were sweaters.

This family – the Huxtables – they were fictitious.

But on “The Cosby Show,” one of television’s groundbreaking and most successful series, they were like us. They were realistic – and, if you still watch reruns of the series on CentricTV, the Cosbys still are.

And they were black. But that fact was seemingly tertiary, even though in “The Cosby Show … A Look Back,” a 2002 NBC retrospective on the series, Phylicia Rashad acknowledged that some African-Americans took exception to how they were portrayed. But I’m not here to play the race card.

“The Cosby Show” had a universal element. As parents, children, students, professionals and siblings, we could relate to the Huxtable family on some level.

If Heathcliff came home, exhausted after a day of delivering babies … and Denise would beg him for money/permission/forgiveness.

Or if he decided to give Theo a lesson in personal finance.



If Clair was arguing a case and when it seemed inevitable that she would lose, she would find a way to pull out her trump card and play it with wit and flair.

If Vanessa and Theo were fighting. Or if Theo didn’t like someone’s artistic abilities.

If Heathcliff was subltlely belittling Elvin. Or vice versa.



If Denise, the semi-misfit daughter, announced that her intentions didn’t align with those of her parents. Or if Sondra, the Ivy League graduate daughter, did the same.

The Cosby Show also provided us with arguably the best scene in television history – the whole family performing Ray Charles’ “Night Time Is The Right Time,” in celebration of the grandparents’ anniversary.



“The Cosby Show” brought a certain sincerity to our living rooms, one that, 25 years later, still resonates. As some of my friends would say, “The Cosby Show is the truth.”

What’s your dream? And what does it mean?

I had a dream last night that one of my good friends from college, who now lives in Connecticut – only a few hours from here – came to visit me. He brought his wife and two children, and they were at the door when I opened it. So was a shiny black pickup truck, parked less than 10 feet from my front door.

“Why did you park your truck right in front of my house?” I asked him, pointing at the Chevy. “At my door?”

He turned, looked at the truck and shrugged. “Because there’s nowhere else to park. This was the easiest place to park it.”

He always had the most simple, direct logic. Probably a reflection of his upbringing in a small town.

But after I woke up, I thought a lot about the dream for the rest of the day. And about dreams, in general.

One of my recurring dreams was that I’d go to a huge event, get to my spot on press row and realize I had left my laptop at home. Fortunately, that never happened. (Though there were times I’d reach into my bag while driving somewhere, just to make sure my laptop was there.)

Dreams are messages. They tell us something about our lives. They’re manifestations of a lot of things that we may not want to admit to ourselves but of the things that are buried in the back of our minds. Anxieties. Hopes. Feelings of the conscious and subconscious. They come to us as these vivid visions. Or they’re terrifying sensations – have you ever been jolted awake because of a dream where you felt like you were falling or losing control of your car? It might be a parallel to something that’s happening in your life.

Of course, when I woke up, there was no black pickup truck parked right in front of my house.

Chances are, I miss my friend.

Another reason why they probably hate the media …

Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel was pissed that he lost. Again. This time, as a result of a 4-on-4 goal.

Then, he got even more pissed that someone reminded him – with empirical evidence handy – of how his team lost before he could remind himself of it. In response, he walked away from the podium during the post-game press conference.

They probably hate the media because they think members of the media think they have all the answers.

From BlueJacketsXtra.com:

After the game, Blue Jackets coach Arniel acknowledged the 4-on-4 goals hurt, but seemed unaware of his team’s poor record in such situations.
“Have you noticed that we’ve been beaten up 4 on 4, goals against?” Arniel asked in response to a reporter’s question. “I don’t think so. I’ll go and show you the stats on that. That hasn’t been a problem for us. It was tonight.”
When a reporter pointed out that the Blue Jackets have been outscored 8-1 in 4-on-4 situations, Arniel said “Is that what it is? Oh, OK. I guess you guys have all the answers and you’re just waiting to jump. I guess we’ll have to work on that.”