If this is your first time here, I recommend starting from the first episode and working your way forward. Of course, that's entirely your call.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Season 6, Episode 19: Mr. Sandman

OK, let's get this out of the way: it's after 3:00am and I'm more than a little drunk. We can consider this an experiment. My hypothesis: these circumstances will not drastically affect the quality of my writing. (Edit: I fell asleep in the middle of the entry and am finishing up after too few hours of sleep.)

But back to business. This week, Rudy slouches on her duties as the representative female tap dancer in her class. She's been assigned to perform alongside a trained tapper, and rather than try and fail, she's opting to quit while she's behind. I know the feeling. Of course, her teacher and parents are having none of that. Mostly, the whole episode is an excuse for Bill Cosby to do several minutes of fake dancing. To be fair, it's a hysterical bit.

CHALLENGE!

The episode gets its name from the participation of Howard "Sandman" Sims, a renowned tap dancer who plays himself as the owner of the dance studio where Rudy studies. He's not dressed like anything special, so just focus on his dance moves. He could have gotten these clothes out of a lost and found bin.

And yet we never see her actually dance.

Shirley Black-Brown plays Mrs. Mitchell, the choreographer who is helping Rudy and her partner with their act. She wears workout clothes. I should note that she, Mr. Sims, and some other characters appear in a montage later in the episode, and I neglected to include every outfit depicted because mostly they're just in dance gear, and there are already a lot of looks to get through without including the stuff that's only shown for a few frames. Point is: this lady is geared up for rehearsal, and I'm not going to pretend like this is a runway situation.

Light condescension.

Mrs. McGee returns for this story in two brief segments, both of which involve her seated in a teacher's lounge or some similar location, talking on the phone. Her overall aesthetic has not changed: white shirt, sweater vest with shoulder pads, crossover tie, below-the-knee skirt. Something about the color combination of this one says "Marriott Front Desk" to me, but it's no better or worse than any of her other offerings.

Heavy condescension.

I like her in a standard men's tie. And a lighter skirt. And a cardigan. I like all of this, really. Also, she does better without the giant glasses from previous episodes. Overall: improvement.

Typical: you buy her dolls, she plays with clothespins.

I had assumed that Olivia's episode #6.5 shirt had fish built into it, but this outfit suggests otherwise. The blue top is a new garment, but those are the same red, green, and purple sea creatures swimming across her chest. Interesting.

Love dem clothespins.

This lok has a similar vibe to her birthday creation: lots of rich pink and volume. I'll give Olivia credit for having a clear point of view. She's really into bold colors and exaggerated silhouettes. In some ways, she has a more consistent stylistic perspective than anyone else on the show.

Chibi Moon realness.

It's tough to pull off a nautical look without coming across as costumey, and this is one of those instances where the getup makes you look like Daffy Duck. I dig the polka dot tights though.

Repeats make my life easier even when they're ugly.

Rudy repeats her episode #6.6 outfit, minus the leggings. It's nice to see that the skirt catches some real air when she turns around.

Bad in-vest-ment.

I have to advise against the denim shirt with jeans. It's just not a great look. She's also going nowhere fast with that vest. (It's not intended as outerwear because she puts a coat on over it.)

Your parents spent a lot of money on those tap shoes, kids.

Rudy's episode #6.13 outfit has been demoted to workout clothes. It's probably for the best. Oh, and that's Z. Wright as her dance partner George. I didn't give him a separate section because of how viscerally I loathe that outfit. I don't know why; my reaction is clearly out of scale with its level of awfulness. It's objectively not good, but it's not as bad as my brain thinks it is. I understand, I just can't change my feelings on this one.

You're going to ruin that nice hardwood floor.

The duo next appears to do their dance in costume. They do OK, but I wouldn't have minded some fringe from Rudy, and his zoot suit could have been a bolder color. Then again, it's not my place to ask parents to buy their children ultra-fabulous creations that will only be worn once. These are frankly nicer than the junk-in-a-bag Halloween store castoffs I would have bought my kids. (Disclaimer: I do not have kids.)

She's becoming one of my favorites.

Vanessa starts off in her episode #6.15 coat, which looks just delicious over jeans and a printed t-shirt. I'm usually firmly against shoulder pads, but here they fit. I can't help but adore her retro chic vibe even though I know she wasn't retro when she was wearing it.

Even this isn't that bad.

This is a repeat from episode #6.3. I like that the previous day, Cliff encouraged her to read more, and here she is following through on that one.

And you wrecked it.

The top half of this look is from episode #6.4, though she's swapped the previous pants for slimmer plaid trousers. While I like the new pants on their own, they kind of make me like the whole outfit less somehow. I think they accentuate how poorly that cardigan fits her.

I may never like Theo again.

This is Theo's episode #5.12 sweater. He's really into collars that might be a mock turtleneck if you squint.

Angelina: out. Lisa: in.

Denise is around for too short a time this week. She has stolen Vanessa's episode #6.11 vest and paired it with some sort of supervillain blouse and matching-ish pants. I'm forgiving the poorly-paired aubergine shades because that Maleficent-goes-business-casual collar is sensational. I hope we soon get whole shows dedicated to everyone in Brooklyn stopping to tell her how great her top looks.

Worse than Theo.

Martin, on the other hand, is committed to those mom jeans. They're pulled up so high, which he makes sure we notice because he tucks his shirt into them. Without a belt, mind you. The green is nice on him, I guess, but buy the man some new jeans already!

Her phone faces are always the best faces.

I know Clair is trying, but I'm not sure I can support this split turtleneck collar. Otherwise, I'm completely into this situation. The high skirt and sunny blouse are great on their own, but she kicks it into high gear with this fringed top layer. You can't see it in a still frame, but it moves really well; the lower part is cut in this wonderful, graceful curve, and there's a heaviness to it. Something about this coat makes me think I should hate it, but I don't at all.

Really, all her faces.

This appears to be Clair's episode #4.21 shirt paired with full-length black trousers rather than the cropped pants from last time. The long necklace is a good touch.

Like: look at that face.

She's worn this blouse a couple times before (initially in episode #5.3), and it's always divine, but the matching goldenrod skirt takes it to the next level. Unfortunately, that sloppy belt undoes some of the positive impact. It's too flimsy. Otherwise: perfection.

He's got some good face, too, obviously.

Cliff looks wonderful in his episode #6.17 blue shirt, but he does his best to obscure that fact by pairing it with this vest and those olive pants. And that tie. I can't see much of them, but the suspenders are probably ugly, too. There's a bunch going wrong here. It's a classic case of fantastic individual items becoming crappy when coordinated with each other poorly.

In fact, it's hard sometimes to find him looking normal.

Remember episode #5.11? This outfit does.

It's weird to me that they all dressed up for this living room rehearsal.

Cliff gets dressed up to watch Rudy's performance. The width of the shoulders on this jacket is out of control. Also, while I usually love a non-standard collar, I'm not thrilled with this one. Let's see how things look once the coat is off.

That black square on his collar really bugs me.

Yeah, this shirt is way too casual to be worn with a blazer and a cummerbund. (Is that a cummerbund? Or are his pants just like that? I feel as though I've wondered this before.)

Gosh, that was a lot. I'm frankly OK with the episodes where the Huxtables fix everything in a day; my life is easier when theirs is.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Season 6, Episode 18: Rudy's Walk on the Wild Side

Though still too old to be the cute one, Rudy is also too young to be the rebellious one. Theo and Vanessa are much better equipped to break rules in outlandish ways, but if we don't figure out something for their younger sister to do, then we're going to have to pull a Denise and write her out of the show entirely. For now, the best the production team can muster is an episode in which Rudy steals $2.30 off the counter to buy a sweatshirt that lights up. Clair is extremely concerned as to where this money could have gone and only mildly imperious when her daughter confesses to the theft, largely because Rudy owned up quickly, paid the money back, and had nothing but a crappy broken sweatshirt to show for it. So I guess in summation: nothing really happened this week.

Supporting character supports.

It all starts when Andy (Gilbert Cruz) comes over to deliver Clair's dry cleaning. She counted out exact change for him, which is honestly insulting because this man deserves a tip, rich lady. Also, when the amount on the counter is insufficient, they act like there's no more money anywhere else in the house. At no point is anyone like, "oh, I'll go to my wallet, which is full of cash because we are wealthy, and get three whole dollars to make up the difference." Anyway, Andy is dressed a lot like Cliff, so I guess the dry cleaning delivery business is good when people aren't short-changing you.

Flossin'.

Nicolle Rochelle appears as Davina, the girl who makes the purchase that gets this whole ball rolling. Can you believe that this sweatshirt was on sale for five dollars? That's a steal! Literally, in Rudy's case. But come on: worth it. (Just kidding, obviously. This is an eyesore and the fact that three girls planned on wearing matching ones in tandem is just hurtful.)

When I say freeze, you just freeze one time...

Kim also intends to snag one of these pieces of trash, but she's better off in the so-old-it's-new-again, available-at-American-Apparel salmon shirt and leggings. There's a weird chicness to it.

When I say freeze, y'all stop on a dime.

There is no chicness to Kenny's look. Especially those pants, which may was well be concealing a diaper.

It's about damn time.

STOP THE PRESSES! Olivia finally repeated an outfit. This is the same getup she sported in episode #6.11.

Too late. The dance party is over.

Rudy served up these overalls in episode #6.5, but I think for the most part they pair better with the shirt combo she's employing this time around. The texture, squared collar, and springy colors are lovely, though the sherbet green of her long-sleeved tee clashes outrageously with the chartreuse of the pants. There were so many other options! Would white not have sufficed?

It's uncomfortable how often the Huxtable children beg for money.

This outfit combines many of Vanessa's loves: printed pants, shirts with lacy collars, and vests. There's not a lot new to say about these pieces. My biggest complaint is that the yellow pattern on the back seems to conflict pretty terribly with the trousers, though really just about anything would. Those pants are kind of gross.

For once, Theo is the lender rather than the borrower.

Overprocessed denim overalls and a t-shirt. Great.

Whatever she's reading, she sure doesn't like it.

Tonight, the role of grandma's armchair will be played by Clair Huxtable.

Cruddy.

Cliff really digs back into the archives for this one: his sweater is from the first episode of season 3. It has only gotten grungier with age, and looks especially drab and sad when matched with these large, mossy corduroy slacks. The flash of blue at the collar helps, but not much. Mostly he looks like a pile of old rags someone left in the attic.

Cross your fingers for some Denise or maybe a formal event for Clair to go to next week. I'm growing weak at the lack of style being displayed around here.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Season 6, Episode 17: Not Everybody Loves the Blues

Elvin takes Theo to a blues club. It's unclear exactly why, other than because the producers found out they could get B.B. King to be a guest star. He plays essentially a fictional version of himself, named Riley Jackson, who happens to be a friend of the Huxtable family in addition to a legendary performer. Over the course of the day, Theo struggles with whether he wants to marry Justine while everyone around him learns to appreciate blues music.

Star power.

Here's the man himself. He's wearing a suit. When I first saw it, I thought it was a snappy beige, but as I look now, I think it's actually a gray that comes across different under the bright golden stage lights. I like my imaginary version of this suit better than the real thing, I guess. Love the wide tie, though. Not everyone can pull off a wide tie, but he's a broader man, so it works.

He could teach Clair a thing or two about no-nonsense face.

His second appearance involves lots of blues. GET IT?!?! Also a thinner tie, which is fine but I prefer the former option. Another thing: he performs in this suit later in the night, and I'm not sure I can condone having dinner in your stage clothes. This house is full of children. Accidents happen.

Despite the show's focus on gender equality, we never see male servers.

Robin Townsend ends her short television career with this role as a server at the club. I don't like her uniform, particularly the color of the shirt, but I can't blame her for that.

You again?

This emcee (played by Danielle Burgio, the same woman who worked at the cafe two weeks ago) was likely allowed to choose her attire, and how she landed on this is beyond me. The yellow does nothing for her, and everything is obnoxiously wide. This is a fast food restaurant costume. Not a restaurant worker: the actual restaurant.

This says "Liza Minnelli" to me somehow.

Justine appears near the end of the episode to remind us that though Theo has doubts, he still has genuine affection for his girlfriend. (Even though mostly in the past he's acted like a jerk to her and she should have kicked him to the curb forever ago.) Her presentation here is nothing special: the mostly-black situation is fine, but the details don't gel for me. Executing the shirt-over-shirt look is a delicate process, and though she matches the tones well, she doesn't reach any sort of higher plane by employing this baggy, shimmery number. I'm also confused as to why her earrings are 5s. What's that about?

This child.

Kenny comes over and "sings" the blues. Also wearing blues! Some intern was working overtime this week.

There are a lot of children around these days.

Seriously, they buy Olivia too many clothes. Let the girl rewear something once in a while. (I mean, the yellow leggings are episode #6.15 repeats, but still. Another rainbow patchwork creation?)

See you in a Tyler Perry movie, kid.

I'm really starting to feel for Rudy. Everyone gets more to do than her. Even Kenny! At least her sweater has an aspirational foreign locale on it. Go out and see the world, little lady: they don't appreciate you here.

Loving that big, more-than-Whitney-less-than-Chaka hair.

To begin, Vanessa repeats her episode #4.21 onesie with a t-shirt underneath. Her look is casual because, unlike the rest of the family, she intends to skip the blues club performance.

Why does she do this? What does she know of pain?

Once there, however, she goes embarrassingly wild for the music. I wish I could see more of the black and gold detailing on this red coat. I might like it, but it might be a very Michael Jackson experience. (In reference to fashion, that's not typically a compliment.)

Sigh.

Honestly, Theo, a different lilac turtleneck than last week? This time with some sort of logo on it? And a shoddy ochre vest? This looks like the uniform for an airline run by colorblind hippies. It's called, "Let's Just Walk There, Man. See the World!"

Better only because it couldn't get worse.

He does well with purples, particularly when paired with sharp, yellowy greens. So this is at least a step in the right direction. But check that '80s hair! Yes, there are horizontal lines shaved into one side of his head. And it's not in the picture, but you can bet that rat tail is still there.

His thinking face is a pooping face.

You know, the print down the front of the shirt that implies complex fasteners isn't half bad. But even with the overcoat to hide how large it is, he still should have tucked it in. The jeans to make the look more casual are decent, though he could have done more. Of course, by this point I've long since ceased to expect more from Theo.

Mom bangs.

We don't get the usual fabulousness from Denise, but she's just having an evening in. Khaki top with some light texture at the neckline, striped loose pants. I'll take it, though I'd steer her away from fabrics that so closely match her skin tone in the future.

Cue the "Martin" theme song.

Martin wears these gray slacks a lot. He can buy his child new clothes every day and only has two pairs of pants for himself? I mean, they're solid trousers, but you need options besides these and some mom jeans, dude.

Everyone in this family likes the same music. This is not true of my family.

Sometimes I just don't get Elvin's fashion perspective. Like, I don't dislike this shirt, necessarily, but it feels a little strange coming from him. I guess he was attracted to the leafy pattern down the front? I don't know. He's never been afraid of a pastel, but this still seems funkier than his usual options. I wish he hadn't buttoned it all the way to the top; that looks terrible.

Look waaaaay to the right.

He and Sondra have a blink-and-you'll-miss-it part as part of the club audience, but they're so sidelined that I won't even bother to comment on the parts of their clothing that we can see.

Yes, she is singing the blues. Yes, it is perfect.

I sort of appreciate Clair's single-fabric drapey creation, but it's straddling the line between "luxurious" and "bathrobe." I have concerns.

VIP.

Is anyone else surprised when Cliff looks put together? Like, he pulls out those suspenders all the time, but never with this kind of panache. They match the slacks and bow tie perfectly, and the accessories are offset so well by that... cornflower? Is that what we call that color? And other than the stripe in the tie, he's avoiding the bold, sometimes ridiculous patterns for which he's been known. I really like this side of him. Everything fits, everything matches, everything makes sense. Approve.

I'm on this new kick where I'm trying to get entries up on time for a change; let's hope it sticks. If not, enjoy the motivation while it lasts!