The Cosby Show was absolutely one of the most popular and most beloved TV sitcoms of the 1980s and all these years later, Bill Cosby opens up to ABC News about the inspiration behind the philosophy of the show. I have no doubt that Cosby has talked about this subject matter many, many times before but this interview is recent and it reminds me of a time when TV shows used to focus on familial heart and love lessons over crudeness and base humor. In the interview excerpts below, Cosby shares some of the real life personal experiences that helped him shape The Cosby Show into the kind of TV series that attracted massive audiences week after week for the many years that the show was on the air. As a big fan of the show, it’s always a treat to hear from the man himself how The Cosby Show came to be and why it became so successful.
Bill Cosby does not suffer foolish parents gladly. In a recent interview with ABC News, the legendary comic, actor, writer and educator mused on the parenting philosophy behind his seminal television program, “The Cosby Show.” Drawn from his own life experiences, the show allowed Cosby to correct something he saw and disliked in popular culture: poor parenting. “I based the series on two important things: Number one … I hated those series where the children were brighter than the parents, and those parents had to play dumb,” Cosby said. Indeed, the Dr. Huxtable character Cosby created for the show stands in stark contrast to the blundering idiot dads of other popular comedies before and after his time (Homer Simpson, Al Bundy, Peter Griffin, Phil Dunphy, etc.). “Number two was that I wanted to ‘take the house back,’” Cosby said. By Cosby’s estimation, if you want to entertain children “at the expense of parenting, at the expense of keeping children out of harm’s way to get these laughs, to make these parents look stupid, to make kids look like they are ultra-bright but still lost, then we have a problem.” “[We] parents make it difficult,” he said, “because we want to be well-liked. And I’m not saying that parenting, you shouldn’t want to be well-liked, but you also have to have some kind of judgment.”
The interview continues HERE and features personal life stories that have also affected the way Cosby shaped his TV series. I’ve always been a fan of kind of entertainment that Bill Cosby has provided over the years. His ability to entertain in such a way that speaks to the best in people AND be hugely successful is proof that one doesn’t have to go into the gutter to provide entertainment. Unfortunately, IMHO, that kind of base entertainment will always be popular but I always feel much better about myself when I’m able to rise above and truly appreciate more intelligent humor. It would be nice to have a TV show like The Cosby Show back on the air sometime. Hopefully that day will come again.