night was Cosby night. Growing up as an '80's kid, I looked forward to watching
the life of the Huxtable family on Thursdays.
wrote that "Cosby" was "TV's biggest hit in the 1980s and
almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre."
They ranked TCS as #28 in the top 50 Television Shows of All Time and
Cliff Huxtable #1 in their top 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.
My family enjoys watching TCS on DVD. Currently,
we are watching season two. Besides having to get over the fact that it
has been more than thirty years since it first aired, I see the show through a
lens now that I missed in the 1980's. "Cosby" is a remarkable
work of art. It was an incredible effort of Bill Cosby and company to
present a healthy, happy, successful African-American family. This was not
Sanford and Son, Good Times, or The Jeffersons. "Cosby" was The
Waltons or Little House on the Prairie - only set in modern times in a black
family that was living the American Dream. Cliff, a doctor, and Clair, a
lawyer, afforded an upper-middle class lifestyle to their children.
Extremely well-rounded, the couple enjoyed everything from participatory
sports, Jazz music, art museums, and junk food. Bill Cosby's collection
of fine, African-American artwork was often used in the series, decorating the
walls of the New York townhouse. The show was a subtle, but firm,
cultural statement. It was a way to celebrate a healthy, wise, and
positive black American family.
At the heart
of the show is the love and respect of family members. Cliff and Clair wisely
shepherd their children, administering proper authority, discipline,
affirmation, correction, and warmth. They challenge their children to
excel. They require their kids to face consequences. And they
shower affection on each other, like the famous "zerberts" that the
show made into a cultural phenomenon. A zerbert, or ZRBTT, is a sloppy
kiss, when you blow air out and make a loud sound.
Yes, I enjoy
having my children watch the positive show. My sixteen year old even
commented, "It is so nice to see a strong, good dad on tv." Good
old Cliff Huxtable.
days, my heart aches when I see the daily headlines regarding the ongoing trial
of Bill Cosby. The reason for the trial does not need repeating.
You have been under a rock if you are unaware of the accusations against
him. As of the writing of this column, a verdict has not been issued.
However, as Samuel Jackson said, when there is that much smoke, there has
been a fire.
of whether or not Bill Cosby actually drugged and raped these women, he has
admitted to having sex with various females to whom he was not married.
The Bible has some words for that behavior - fornication, sexual
immorality, or adultery. We have heard in recent years of Cosby's
numerous trips to hang out with his buddy Hugh Heffner at the Playboy mansion.
The Bible has a word for that too - stupid.
know it is not fair to expect an actor to be just like the person he plays, I
do believe that anyone in the public eye has responsibility to set a good
example. And the greater your place of influence, the greater your
responsibility of setting that example.
I cannot get
out of my head the image of Cliff Huxtable. Would Cliff walk away
from his love affair with Clair to chase after numerous women? Would
Cliff, who enjoyed friendships with many influential and exciting people, run
out on weekends to check out the Playboy mansion?
Hayford shares in his book "Fatal Attractions: Why Sex Sins are Worse than Others" that though certainly forgivable, sins of a sexual nature carry
long-term consequences physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and socially.
Their affects far outlive the passing pleasures.
there is still cultural value in The Cosby Show. Art can stand
alone in spite of its artist. However, regardless of the outcome of a
trial, the legacy of Bill Cosby is forever tainted.
used masks in their dramatic performances. These masks hid the faces and
expressions of the real people. The root of the biblical Greek word for
hypocrite means stage actor, pretender, or dissembler. The Lord Jesus
rebuked the Pharisees because of their hypocrisy. They claimed great
piety outwardly, yet they were "white-washed tombs." Their inner life
did not match their outward claims.
my mother occasionally warned me from the Old Testament book of Numbers. I
still can hear her say, "Son, you may be sure that your sin will find
you out" (32:23). In other words, don't be a fool. You can
only hide dirty laundry for so long. If you choose to continue in wrong
behavior, it will catch up with you, and it will often become public
information. That is the nature of sin.
keep us humble, motivating us to keep short accounts with the Lord.
If I could
ask Bill Cosby just one thing, it might be, "What would Cliff do?"