Circa late 80s, nothing said “Thanksgiving” like a Thanksgiving Thursday night with the family and belching up all the fixins while watching the The Cosby Show.
It was a house divided today however, when (just in time for your family Thanksgiving Day dinner’s conversation piece) the November 2015 “Family Issue” issue of Ebony Magazine dropped-wheregraced its cover, the weekly sitcom fictional family a.k.a The Huxtables.
Reality certainly came into view when one (of the two) print magazine publication’s cover designs was a carefully selected vintage promo shot of the fictional family, this time however, meticulously designed to look like a family picture with broken glass—symbolic of the once upon a time perfect picture of a close knit family, now (seemingly) tarnished and broken by the fictional families patriarch: Dr. “Heathcliff Huxtable” played by real life Bill Cosby (who bore the pressure point of the cover art’s broken glass that led to cracks among and in between the remaining fictional family members).
Although not convicted or tired in the court of law, Cosby, as we all know, is under the court of public scrutiny for allegedly drugging and raping over 40 women-one of which (via a deposition and settlement out of court) was proven factual.
It’s no denying that The Cosby Show was a groundbreaking first in depicting and representing a black family unit who upheld the same moral standards as other black family sitcoms before them, but this time—played by atypical well-off, working class parents with children going through the same growing pangs as us all, therefore, we connected and felt as though the kids were too, our siblings, and the matriarch and patriarch was too, mom and our dad.
All that being the case, The Cosby Show was woven into the fabric of America, despite the difference in opinions regarding [reported] images of the show being forever blown and legacy tarnished by the faded picture of the black family’s perfected imperfection that The Cosby Show was and represented and depicted.
Whether we want to accept it or not, the legacy is here to stay (despite the histrionics and theatrics run amok between the blurred lines of mag lines and social media timelines).
It’s like my mom always told me: “one monkey don’t stop no show”.
To a rational mind, one (real-life) man’s indiscretions and shame can’t take away the decade of feeling they were one of ours and us-one of theirs (regardless, by contrast, the walk of life from whence we came).
It’s unfortunate that at a time when the world has come wired together like such, that Bill Cosby (who’s up in age right now) can’t be bombarded, pestered and showered words of appreciation for bringing to life-our lives-his fictional family and sharing them with us every Thursday night. It hurts that we can’t do that with he and his fictional family-who, by the way are all grown up to be beautiful men and women in real life as well.
But whether we realize it or not, The Cosby Show family unit was broken long before Bill Cosby came along and broke the glass:
“Claire Huxtable” (played by Phylicia Rashad) has since, remained in the business doing theater, film, and television (like A Raisin in the Sun with Sean Puffy Combs and Sanaa Lathan) but consistently [obviously choosing to do] very little press, has maintained being a working actress while meticulously disconnecting herself from The Cosby Show legacy (until we first heard her stance on the Bill Cosby scandal by which she fiercely defended Bill). Other than that, she faded from the Cosby picture when the show went off the air.
“Denise Huxtable” (played by Lisa Bonet) walked out long ago and left no reason or note to toll her indefinite absence. When she turned up again she was straddled across pages of magazines in yoga positions unattainable with captions reading “if there is no resistance in your mind, there will be no resistance in your body.”
I’ll never forget.
From there, despite her beauty, mystery and our wanting to see more of what Lisa Bonet was about outside of “Denise Huxtable,” despite doing a few big movies (like Enemy of the State with Will Smith) to lower ones (like High Fidelity-with someone I went to school with by the way: Todd Louiso); she bowed out gracefully and said “no thank you to fame and all the trappings and trimmings of it and instead, found solace in putting her efforts into helping lower income families and shelters for women and misplaced families out in California.
Despite the fact that she will pop up and grab a part in a movie or be seen in pics floating around here and there, since The Cosby Show, she’s just not interested in life in the light after words.
“Theo Huxtable”(played by Malcolm Jamal Warner is alive and kicking a&& on the music scene with his band (MilesLongMusic) after a successful sitcom Malcolm and Eddie but rumor has it (like his TV baby sister “Rudy”) will politely twist your cap back for running up on either referring to them as the fictional characters we once knew (Theo and Rudy).
“Rudy” (played by Keisha Knight-Pulliam) has since gone off to college in Atlanta, graduated and has done several movies including Beauty Shop and a few reality shows, and although is still in the business, in it in a Keisha Knight-Pulliam way who, prefers to be called her nickname (“Peaches”) over “Rudy,”-again, by which you’d better not dare run up on her and address her by.
“Sondra” and “Elvin” who we’d most probably have to do some iron clad Dick Tracy digging to find out what, if anything either has done since The Cosby Show as, their connection to the popular television sitcom [as the fictional characters or real life people] is virtually unknown since the show went off the air.
Although we needn’t belabor the obvious about “Olivia” [played by Raven Symone]’s disconnect in other ways, she’s about the only one who stood and stands front and center with her connection to the The Cosby Show-even to the extent of ingratiating herself for having been chosen to be apart of the show when speaking out about Bill Cosby’s scandal.
And last but not least, there’s “Vanessa Huxtable” (played by Tempestt Bledsoe). Remember her?
Where has she been? We haven’t seen or heard from her since the 90s-at last left: her brief talk show stint. Throughout this whole Cosby scandal and even throughout the invent of social media, a great majority of us have never seen or heard her name in timelines, news feeds, television or other wise–zero connection (or obvious interest) in the industry or The Cosby Show legacy.
All that being explained, it didn’t take a print magazine’s cover photo to illustrate the damage and divide caused by a real life man (Bill Cosby)’s indiscretions to divide and break a legacy.
Although we’re more than sure each hold being on the show dear to their hearts, but from the looks of things [the disassociations, detachments, disconnections and disappearances] , it was done long ago-long before Bill Cosby’s scandal even hit the forefront. The magazine cover merely magnified it.