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, November 28, 2011

Season 2, Episode 1: First Day of School

Onward we march. The season begins with an event that is pivotal for all family members: the first day of school. (You may have gleaned this from the title.) As the children lament the loss of their summer freedom and struggle to wake up, their parents rejoice at the opportunity to reclaim their home. If they both worked regular 9-to-5 hours, this would be less exciting to them, because they wouldn't be around to enjoy the empty house. Luckily for the Huxtables, they exist in a state of perpetual opulence. But that's an exploration best left to someone else's blog.

And good morning to you, sir.

Typically, I wouldn't bother to highlight an item that could be slept in, but it amuses me that Cliff has essentially worn a Cosby bathrobe. This is the sort of lumpy, ugly work that might make up a portion of one of his outer layers. Like, I can see this stitched up with some red striped knit and then maybe a suede patch or two to create a sort of Human Sweaterpede, but that's more of a season three jam. When he gets dressed in season two, it looks like this:

Look how blissfully happy Rudy is in the middle there. Priceless.

See what I mean about suspenders being his lasting legacy? So far, he's barely even dabbled in sweaterology, but he's earned a Ph.D. in braces. They've made a real comeback, too, so he's paving the way for a fashion trend decades in advance. What's especially great is how he uses them to create complexity. The shirt already has awesomeness happening with the stellar lavender getting chopped up by those pale pinks and greens, and he dives right in with some maroon and white on top. Pattern on pattern, kids: get into it. He'd likely lose control of his appearance if he went for more daring pants, so I'm glad we've stuck with khaki for now.


Besides, he's compensating for the pleated front with some fancypants action in the back. Later, he also throws down a tan blazer. I don't adore it with those pants specifically (to beat a dead horse: it's close in hue without actually matching, and really an actual match would be just as bad because who wears a khaki suit?), but on its own and with that shirt, an oatmeal corduroy coat is a lovely concept. I initially mistook this for his blazer from the pilot episode, which I thought was a nice tie-in, but closer examination confirms that it's a new piece.

Season two documents Clair's rise to total world domination through fashion.

This is legendary and I am living for it. Clair's outfit is all about the movement. When she's walking or gesturing, it's just glorious. She has to be careful, though: you can see in that first panel that even the slightest slouch takes her straight into matron territory. On the other hand, she's setting the standard for class with that white skirt and the absolute perfect shade of pink. Throw in some gold jewelry (you knew she would) and you're ready to set the world ablaze.

FACE FACE FACE I give face, beauty face...

Take a closer look at the brilliance in how this shirt is fastened. While I'm sure there are other hidden clasps to prevent wardrobe malfunctions, there are only two visible buttons, leaving a crisp, slightly angled line almost reminiscent of a jacket lapel. The top one is also attached to a short length of gold cord that ties in with her other accessories and draws your gaze to the delicious draping at her neck. I'm so smitten with what's been done here; it's just beautiful.

Not that innocent.

Even in that seductive pose, I'm still 50/50 on the jacket. The pocket square (pocket tuft?) is heavenly and I'm not hating on the pink tweed, I'm just rehashing my standard complaint: it's too close to the color of her shirt. Follow me on this one: imagine all the other shades she could have tried and executed successfully.

My image manipulation skills are self-taught. Deal.

See how much better that would have been? So much better. That's not even the exact shade I was trying for, that's just as close as I could get with free photo editing software and a toddler's grasp of how it functions. Higher heights could have been achieved.

She'd even look good wearing a potato sack, which she practically is.

Clair changes clothes later in the day, meaning that even though she was stoked about the child-free homestead, she still spent at least some time in the office before slipping into something more comfortable. As much as I'm instinctively predisposed to deride this, I'm actually kind of intrigued. In terms of comfortable around-the-house attire, you could do worse. The lightweight fabric makes the garment seem less giant; as you can see, it's so thin that any motion at all makes it suddenly quite revealing. That twist in the second frame is the sexiest a parachute-y jumpsuit has ever been. The orange is stunning, as is the red belt, which also combats what has the potential to be a seriously bonkers tailoring job. On the other hand, we're not dealing with a home run or anything. It's still reminiscent of a clown outfit in many ways.

The Bozo face isn't helping, hon

See what I mean? Scoot that belt too high and you're getting asked to entertain at birthdays for preschoolers. You're better than that, Clair.

This screencap reads like a kindergarten production of Black Swan.

Rudy dressed herself for her first day. I think her look is secret genius. All the pink and the ruffles and the bows and the costume jewelry simultaneously celebrate and comment on femininity and the gender roles she will be expected to play out as she ages. She's obviously asserting her individuality while making a statement about her surroundings. Pretty precocious if you ask me.

That blouse is way dingy. People will wonder if she's been raised in a basement.

Her parents put her in this instead. Underwhelmed, guys. Next time just let the kid do it herself.

If she were older, there would be an entendre about paying for a ride.

Vanessa is pushing pretty hard for attention; clearly, she's hoping her return from summer break will be triumphant. It's weird, because although the styling touches like the short-ish skirt and off-the-shoulder sweater seem more adult, the cutesy cab pattern and black-and-yellow palette bring her right back into little girl territory. I'm sure the costume department did that on purpose: it would be jarring to dress someone this young in a manner that suggested outright seduction. Besides, she's toying with grown-up looks, but it's not like her parents would have ever bought her anything inappropriate. Cliff even pulls her top up to cover that bra strap. She's making do with what she has. For a teenager with limited means, I think she managed to pull a pretty confident outfit out of the wreckage that is her closet. I have to call those yellow tights into question, though. (You can barely see them, but they're there in the corner. I just don't know about yellow tights with a yellow outfit.)

It's poppin'... it's poppin'.

Speaking of big-girl choices, she's wearing make-up here. As in, beyond the usual stuff you'd throw on for the camera. A dark lip gloss at the very least. This isn't problematic in and of itself, but does create a continuity error. Later in the series, there's a whole episode about how angry her parents get when they catch her wearing make-up to school, and yet today, they smile knowingly at each other without saying a word about it. No wonder she has such a hard time accepting their edict: it comes out of nowhere in light of their earlier behavior. Her rebellion makes infinitely more sense in this context.

DisaSTAR, amirite?

Vanessa changes after school, which is odd in that no mention is made of her having other plans. She must be going somewhere, though, because she continues to devote an undue amount of effort to her wardrobe, resulting in even more regrettable choices this time around. Restricting the number of colors she's allowed to use might be helpful to her, because when given a broader spectrum from which to draw, she loses her grip on taste. The pink and red shirt manages to clash with itself, and the star pattern is even more childish than the taxis. I also hate the purple t-shirt and the weird darkened areas above the knees of her jeans. Are those cutouts? Patches? I don't want to know more. Everything here is working against her. She and her closet may have had an altercation.

It takes serious confidence to label yourself Number One.

Theo's father gets on his case for cutting the sleeves off this sweatshirt, but I think he did the right thing. Considering the size of the resulting opening, I can only assume that the sleeves themselves are now sleeping bags for Rudy. They must have been colossal. The shape he's created is a little strange, and I might have executed the snip slightly differently if I were at the helm, but this is fine. The unaltered portion of the shirt is kind of enjoyable, too: the charcoal crest and collar detailing are sporty without being tied to a particular sport or team, and they coordinate nicely with the slacks. I could have done with a little more color beyond the lovely blue t-shirt, but this is a clean, casual look that I can roll with.

This is how I enter almost every room.

Though she's working the same colors as her sister, Denise manages to look more mature and assured in her clothing. Something about the simplicity of a black shirt and a long cardigan makes her look pulled together. At the same time, she's quirky for showing off such a bright primary color in an otherwise austere configuration. Of course, I'm only saying "austere" because you can't see her below the waist.

This family portrait tells a really weird story.

Aw, the kids are leaving for school. That's right kids, go away. Anyhow, to get back to Denise: those are pajama pants, right? Or the first Zubaz or something? Whatever they are, I loathe them. Also, circling back to some earlier outfits: Clair's jacket is huge (in a bad way), and Vanessa is wearing a cardigan over her sweater, which seams silly to me. It's late August, maybe early September, there's no need to create an Inception scenario out of wool. You'll be burning up out there.

No, but really, what are she and her friends doing? I want answers.

Denise also changes later. She's going out with several girlfriends, but doesn't specify where. I'll assume she's volunteering someplace that requires her to scrub bathrooms or sweep chimneys or something, because there's no way she's wearing this to look good. Though initially tempted to skip this outfit, I decided I had to bring it up because it shows the importance of context with clothes. If it weren't for the distinctive crest, I would never have recognized this as the sweater from episode #1.7. Surrounded by other uniform-like attire, it became so proper-looking that I was convinced it was a blazer. In fact, I was so sure of this assessment that I spent ten minutes checking back and forth between images, debating whether this was even the same garment. But it turns out that I was wrong last season: I had imagined lapels where there were none. She's taken the shoulder pads out, but otherwise, it seems that this is the same loose sweater. Sweatshirt? Whatever. The thing is, check how sloppy it gets when surrounded by trashier gear. It's like a magic trick. Use this knowledge to your advantage, darlings: with the right styling, you can make any garment as dressy or casual as it needs to be.

See? Even Huxtable Hotness can be educational. Your time spent reading this blog now officially counts as studying. No homework, but I'll see you here again next week for another class.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Season 2: Opening Credits

As we enter the second season, I want to make a slight administrative change: entries will now go up every Monday morning. This gives me the whole weekend to write: I hate to provide you with a rushed product.

Let's also take a minute to talk about the show in general. From the get-go, the series was enormously popular. For its first season, it earned awards for best comedy series at the Emmys, the Golden Globes, and the People's Choice Awards. Mr. Cosby also took home a Golden Globe for acting. For the coming season, the good only gets better: the show rises from third place to first in terms of ratings and remains there for five straight years. Phylicia Rashad, the only Emmy-nominated performer last season, is joined this year by Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Keshia Knight Pulliam, who then becomes the youngest-ever nominee. Earle Hyman and Clarice Taylor are nominated as guest stars, as are two other celebrities who I won't mention: if you're watching along with me, I don't want to ruin the surprise. The other accolades are too numerous to name. Suffice it to say that the juggernaut is in motion, and America is all over the Huxtables.

For this week's entry, I'm not going to dive right into the show. Rather, we're going to start looking at one of its most memorable points: the opening credits. Each year brought a new intro segment, including a new recording of the theme song, and these clips are worth digging into more thoroughly because they really do set a tone. I didn't bother with such an investigation for the first credits sequence because it's horrible. No one knew what they were doing yet, so what they made was this whole montage of photos of the family playing baseball... I mean, look at this:

Who are these people? They' must be Bizarro Huxtables.

I refuse to acknowledge this. Jumping ahead a year, we get a bouncy segment during which each of the actors briefly dances with Mr. Cosby on a bare stage. I'll walk you through it in a nice, linear fashion. (I know, prolonging this project with additional non-episode entries seems unwise, but I'm trying to be reasonably thorough.)

Get excited.

He's making this face because he has a surprise for us.

Elliot's mom is mad proud right now.

We have waited, huddled anxiously around our monitors, for this moment: the first Cosby sweater. This may not be the brightest or craziest, but it is clearly outside the norm: too many colors, stripes with no sense of order to their width or hue, a slight fraying that suggests the wool itself desires to take up more space and create greater ocular distraction... this is it. The unveiling of such a relic as the first image of the season suggests that the costume department has big plans in the realm of Doom Knitting, I hope. To get back to my "job" as "fashion" "critic," I'm not wild about the bit of pink collar poking out at the top. There are enough shades happening here already, it wouldn't have killed him to stick with a mauve. The black pleated pants are black pleated pants and unworthy of further commentary.

"Every time I make this gesture, I'm turning on a neon sign that says,
'I don't care what you're saying right now,' OK?"

Oh, you. I love you so much I'll even let you pop that collar. (No, that is not a euphemism. You quit it.)

Feeling the heat.

It takes a confident woman to wear this, but you know she can hang. First off, she stands out because everyone else is dressed in a palette that matches Mr. Cosby's sweater, while she serves as his counterpoint in a whole lot of yellow. Her blouse has just enough give, but then the cinch at the waist reminds you that she's young and lithe and fabulous. The black skirt is basic yet strong, but she's not holding back: she lets fly with some relentlessly red accessories. Pairing primary colors is often a no-no, but here it's a yes-yes. She doesn't have a lot of patterning and texturing going on, so if she wants to test the limits, it has to be through a chromatic risk. Well played, Ms. Ayers-Allen. Is it any wonder she doesn't stay unmarried much longer?


I know. My thoughts exactly.

He looks like he's running away. GOOD CALL.

Did I miss the reveal that Sondra paid her way through Princeton by touring middle schools with a one-woman show about Annie Oakley? Or, like, a one-woman show about Reba McIntyre playing Annie Oakley? What's the opposite of southwestern realness? Because this is that. Working from the top down: the haircut is a nightmare, the blue earrings don't match, she looks terrible in red, the collar points are costumey, bolo ties are an assault on my delicate nature, the belt is strange, that skirt is the wrong length, her boots aren't even cowboy boots meaning that she hasn't even fully committed to this disaster... I just don't understand why this is happening to me. I'm a good person. I shouldn't have to go through this.

Profiles in Courage

Speaking of haircuts.

She looks like the second-best Prince impersonator in Des Moines.

In the same way that Cosby sweaters are defined by discord, Lisa Bonet's outfits are sometimes wonderful illustrations of why you have to coordinate your clothes carefully. This is a textbook example of individual pieces that are made uglier because once joined together, they essentially declare war on each other. The Michael Jackson blazer needs a way more subdued set of garments beneath it to work: it's obviously meant to be the show-stopper of the ensemble and shouldn't be offset by so much brightness and odd tailoring. If fabric could feel uncomfortable about itself, then that preppy pale blue shirt would be sweating right now. It knows it's at the wrong party. It's all, "Where are the khaki pants and gray cardigan? They said they'd be here," and meanwhile red harem pants are doing a line of coke off the table right there and it's mad awkward. No, but seriously, red harem pants are great, they're just so not great in this context. Look at how huge they are around back.


Plus the hangy-ness of the shirt? Worlds apart. Never wear these at the same time. I support the men's dress shoes, though. They could go with either of the two items on top, so I guess there's some matching going on after all. Despite that small victory, I still have to call this a fail overall.

That's right, Lisa Bonet gets three screencaps and you only get one.

In a shocking move, the costume department repeats a s1-e3 look here. The black jeans are probably new, but this is not a fresh outfit.

They see you reading blogs for hours on end. And they judge you.

You can tell she's growing up because she's all serious.

Groove is in the heart.

This blue shape sweater used to be Denise's in s1-e4, but the hand-me-downs continue. I think it's worn better here, actually: that pleathery cerulean skirt almost justifies the odd non-pattern in the knit. She also matches the small central stripe to her shirt, which is nice, and the tightness of her other garments makes the loose sweater seem less slovenly. The ankle boots are wonderful, but that brick hue clashes horribly with the orange-adjacent collar.

Pajamas? Snowsuit? Hey what now?

Oh, Keshia, you're dancing so hard that it was a nightmare trying to screencap you in focus, and you're so little and cute that I couldn't possibly care what you're wearing. Just keep being cute. Also, congrats on getting nominated for that Emmy at six years old. I'm more than five times that, and still just riding on your tiny coattails.

Well, that's that. Next Monday we'll dive in with the real episodes. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Season 1, Episode 24: Cliff's Birthday

I can't even believe it. We've reached the final episode of the season. If you don't mind, I'd like to take a moment to pat myself on the back for having kept up with this nonsense for so long already. It's a slightly lame thing to be proud of, but hey, everyone has to make their contribution to the world, and this is apparently mine. The key is thinking of a legacy so absurd that no one else would bother to create it. Wisdom. You're welcome.

But enough about me. We're all here for one reason only: we care deeply about the clothes on The Cosby Show. The finale provides us with a wide range to explore. As the family plans a big surprise for Cliff's 48th birthday party over the two-day arc, we see them in a couple of casual outfits each, plus a formal dinner look. That means that I'll be working hard for the proverbial money this week (emphasis on proverbial; this is not a real job for which I am offered real cash) to bring you the best in fashion recaps. We want to end this cycle with a bang.

Cycle? What is this, America's Next Top Model? Oy.

We'll start with the man who started it all, Mr. Cosby himself.

He is the alpha and the omega.

This, to me, is momentous. We've made it through a full year's worth of airings, and not once have we seen a Cosby sweater. This is the last knitwear of the season, and it's delightful, but quite tame in comparison to my expectations. I really thought that I'd hear a lot more "bleep blop fligglty higgums" and see a lot more woolen anarchy, and I'm sure your expectations were similar. While there's some crazy in store in the coming years, it takes much longer to build than I realized. Focusing on the work at hand, I'd like to commend Cliff on this lovely multi-hued number. The speckling effect of the various blues allows him to throw in a hint of neon without it reading like Solid Gold: Aspen Edition. He's also brought back episode 8's delicious yellowy pants, giving us a color-on-color presentation that not every man could pull off. Though he skirts a more neutral vibe with the gray collar, he can't help but spice it up with the stripes, just to let us know that he's fearless. Altogether, this gathering of textures and shades could easily create havoc, but I think he's still within the bounds of taste. It's almost his birthday, let him live it up.

"I don't have to wear sweaters for you. I'm not your trained circus animal."

Alright, we all like those slacks, but that doesn't mean you don't have to change ever. The shirt is a solid offering; the color is really saturated, which I enjoy, and the contrasting stripes are nice. We actually saw the collar briefly in episode 21, where I questioned the wide spacing of this pattern. If I had been able to see the purple that alternated with the white, I would not have been so quick to judge. Both shades are visible in that episode's screencap if you look really carefully. I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention. I apologize.

I'd be mad, too. Pizza could ruin a tuxedo right quick.

Cliff's final look is his tuxedo, which we saw in episode 15. He's wearing another of those thin, flat fabric strips in lieu of a bow tie; I still haven't been able to figure out what they're called, but the presence of several of them in the show's costume trailer leads me to believe that they're not just something an intern made up on the fly. If you know what's going on with Mr. Cosby's neckwear, do let me know.

Let's keep going with the doodz. You ready, Theo?

He's the real reason I started this blog. And look! Still bringing the fire.

Indeed you are. This is a solid-to-strong showing from the younger Huxtable gentleman. He's rewearing the polo initially seen in episode 5, but for the first time without the plaid shirt over it. I could do without the popped collar, but I agree with him that if you're wearing a lot of khaki, you need to overcome that blandness with a really punchy color. Well done. I'm going to have to dock points for wearing both a belt and suspenders, however. I'm sure the teenage girls are all over him, but they can't be so voracious that he needs multiple means of holding his dungarees in place. Besides, that much trussing just emphasizes the pleats to an almost unconscionable degree. They're practically pockets at this point.

It's not great, but I'd still wear it.

None of the children get much time devoted to their second outfits, and I'm not going to spend a lot of time deconstructing them. Theo is wearing a perfectly presentable maroon hoodie with his usual jeans. The end.

He's so excited. And he just can't hide it.

Theo also wears his tuxedo and non-tie. I continue to demand answers about the non-tie.

How does she look so windswept? Is it stormy in that part of the kitchen?

Sondra materializes midway through the episode, meaning that she only gets two outfits. You know I'm OK with less Sondra. We've seen this shirt already in episode 19, and just like before, she makes sure to show us that it is slim in profile and mad chunky from the front. Otherwise, I'm reluctantly supportive of her brown tie and olive pants. The slightly-rumpled, straight-laced Princeton proto-snob thing works for her. She's the 1%. And of that, a good 40% is hair. Really, though: that 'do is big.

Her necklace is bowling balls, but downstairs it's all pins, honey.

For the formal dinner, Sondra surprised me by wearing something that I mostly enjoy. The messy, top-heavy hairstyling isn't my personal favorite, but it's not horrendous. And sure, she's wearing enough eggplant that it wouldn't have killed her to add a splash of color somewhere. But really, the dress isn't bad. In the shot on the left, I think the extra fabric hangs rather elegantly; she seems to know what she's doing with the look, thus removing any sense of sloppiness. The bold purple looks lovely on her, and the giant necklace is a risk that pays off in my book. She really drives it home with that split skirt, though. I gasped aloud when she stood up: I really wasn't expecting that much leg. Clair's fashion influence on her has never been clearer, from the choice of hue to the carefully placed flash of carnal energy. This is the last time audiences would see Sondra for months, so they left us with a positive impression. I accept.

Remember when listening to music required carrying a suitcase?

I loved Denise's episode 7 outfit that incorporated this skirt. On the other hand, I'm concerned to discover that after last week's floral blazer debacle, she went ahead and wore a second one. It's like Sister Maria was stuck in Blanche Deveraux's Miami home but just had to make the Huxtable girls new playclothes. (Too many gay-ass references in one analogy? Maybe.) Jumping past my rhetorical flourishes, though, you've got to admit that this is pretty grim. It's important to try new things, but not every experiment can be a success. I can allow for this overall silhouette, but basically every choice of hue and print is a mistake. It's also worth pointing out that this is why people didn't used to wear white on television. Look at what a wash her shirt is in that close-up. It's so flat. Save it until they invent HD, kid.

Denise doesn't peek through a cracked door. She opens it all the way.
Nuance isn't her bag, you know?

This outfit, which is much better than the last, gets almost no screen time. I'm not saying it's perfect, but let's start with the good. I'm into the way the peachy beige of the top almost matches her skin tone. It wouldn't be appropriate if the shirt were tighter, but at this volume, no one is mistaking that for bare flesh. The black detailing at the neckline complements the floss-thin suspenders beautifully. If I were able to change anything, I'd rein in the pants to make them a little slimmer. The idea of a nicely tailored high-waisted trouser supporting that big, fluffy sweatshirt thing makes me pretty happy. Still, you take what you can get. Also, I'm in love with the way she gave herself a tomboyish hairstyle to match her slightly gentlemanly clothes. It's a less severe version of last week's attempt, and it serves her better.

Cylon dinner party.

When Denise dresses up, the wardrobe department works really hard to put her outside the norm. There's something feminist about her desire to express herself through clothes in a way that is honest to her character even when that means breaking from typical standards of what is attractive or sexy. Here, for instance, she's showing an unusual (for her) amount of skin with the mostly backless gown, but the cutouts aren't placed in a particularly provocative manner, and they're framed by an absurd shoulder situation that resembles the military garb of a futuristic alien society. She also makes up for the reveal at the back by rocking a full floor-length skirt, giving a demure quality to the look. I hated it when I first saw it, but I'm often won over by audacity, and in this case I had to revise my opinion and decide that this is brilliant. The brick-red, silky material is maybe the best possible option for her, and accessorized well, too. The long silver earrings, the single Wonder Woman wristband, the gargantuan, complicated belt... this much solid color makes the use of extensive jewelry permissible and even preferable. (You hear that, Sondra?) I'm still on the fence about the headband, mostly because I think it's too casual. She needed a different headpiece to really sell this, and probably a different hair configuration, but beyond that I'm great with everything I'm seeing.

"Like the Miami Sound Machine just exploded all over you."

I complained in episode 20 that these earrings didn't go with Vanessa's outfit. It turns out that the outfit that matches those earrings is garbage. Everything is far too big and far too loud. She apparently got dressed in a room without subtlety. Sure, play with yellow and orange, but don't just throw them around like they don't mean anything. OK, so you own turquoise shoes and a shirt with turquoise in it: do they really belong together? You should construct an outfit with the level of care with which you would arrange a blind date. Think about how those individual components fit before putting them next to each other. Also, for my own mental health, I'm going to assume that the yellow garment I'm looking at is a really odd raincoat, because if I thought for even one second that she was earnestly wearing that smocky mess as a shirt, then I would have to stop this blog immediately for fear of the terrors to come.

It pains me to highlight what is clearly the worst part of this picture.

We get almost no indication of what Vanessa wears in the faux cooking segment of the story. If I had to take a guess, I'd say it's her episode 16 sweatsuit with the crap hanging off the front, in which case we had best move away. I refuse to say more about that beastly creation.

This dress could not have been deliberately designed. It must have been an accident.

Vanessa's dressy outfit proved hardest to capture; she was often in the background for this portion of the story. Maybe it was merciful, since there's not much to recommend this dress. I can see what they were going for: she's young, and the baggy cut and bubblegum color serve to reinforce her girlishness. But it's strange enough in its structure that it seems like maybe she tried and failed to be fashion-forward. Either that, or this is just too casual by half, even for a youngster at a grown-up party. The Oscars every year give us Dakota Fannings and Hailee Steinfelds bedecked in age-appropriate gowns. This pleated t-shirt is not the answer. We should also swiftly acknowledge that whatever she used as a belt looks like a coral reef made of scrunchies.

Hombre? Ooomaaa? Aroma?

Any guesses on what Rudy's hat says?

Om nom nom nom.

Her dress looks like it was stolen from the Emerald City's smallest cleaning lady, but I don't really want to get into that. I just want to watch this gif forever. I've been waiting for a long time to post it, and we've finally reached the appropriate moment. Fulfillment! Besides, I couldn't do the season's last review without including this child. She's fabulous.

I can't believe she wore this again. It hurts.

Mrs. Huxtable sets the bar oh-so-low with her first outfit, which is a head-to-toe repeat offense from episode 8. Everything I hated about it the first time remains loathsome. The more detailed view of the coat only reaffirms my initial reading of it as unforgivable. It's been a real roller coaster of a review, huh? We're jumping between triumph and tragedy too quickly for me to even keep up.

Also, now seems as good a time as any to discuss the age discrepancy between her and Mr. Cosby. The story that Clair and Cliff left for college in the same year just doesn't hold water. Even allowing for her starting school early and skipping a grade, she is at minimum supposed to be 46. At the time of filming, she was a full decade younger than that; she turned 37 a month after this episode aired. I don't really have a point, I just thought it should be overtly stated that she is not his contemporary.

Blue's Clues: The Stage Musical

Things don't get better for Clair in round two. It's possible that these are her episode 6 trousers, but I can't say for certain. They look bluer here than last time, but the whole screencap in that episode looks tinted differently. It's not worth dissecting. The point is that this is a wreck. I'm not against the idea of constraining an outfit to three shades and drawing all the interest from the patterns and combinations. That can be done. But to do it in this tonal range was probably a mistake because these bright blues are awfully cartoony. She could be a housewife mascot or a picnic superhero or something. The giantness of the shirt's plaid or the housecoat's color blocking aren't helping either. These pieces could work on their own (though the top half might take some advanced maneuvering), but they should never be allowed in the same outfit again. In fact, they shouldn't even be allowed in the same room together. Actually, the housecoat might need to be destroyed. The more I look at it, the less I want to look at it.

She's angry at Cliff in most of the screen grabs I take. I guess I like her feisty.

She brings it back for me in the evening wear category. On its own, the amethyst dress is pretty good. I'm a fan of the shimmery tone, and the cut isn't bad. (It's not fantastic, but it's not bad.) Where she really nails it, though, is the accessories. The colorful earrings and necklace are going in a new direction from her standard jewelry selections, and that dangling... dangly thing might be my new favorite. Look at the close shot, and then check the image on the left. Do we see how that piece hangs clear down from her shoulder to her waist? It's bizarre, but not unacceptable. It adds a splashy, exuberant quality to the look that I can get behind.

Oh, and there were two little guest stars.

I can't caption this appropriately because I've never watched The Mod Squad.

This is Clarence Williams III from The Mod Squad. I don't really care what he's wearing, I just felt like I had to include him because he's done other work. You might have heard of this other lady, too.


OMG LENA HORNE. I don't have to list her credits and achievements. You know who she is, and if you don't, you should be learning about her instead of reading this blog. If you're going to close out a season of your sitcom, you may as well remind people that watching it will give them the occasional opportunity to hear living legends deliver knockout performances. This woman is a shining star, and everything about her sparkles in this episode. I'd love to wig out over her all day, but you'd be better served reading one of the many books written about her, or simply whiling away an evening watching her sing on YouTube. We came here to talk clothes, and that's what we're going to do.

This is a great dress for a woman who is nearly 70. Coverage can become more important as you get older, but you don't want to look Amish. She avoids that potential problem by picking a garment with as much interest as possible. The rich midnight is offset nicely by the golden print, and the sequinned stripes bring everything to life. On top of that, she pulls in a little shape with the wrappy quality of the belted middle. The great big scarf is also terrific, especially when you see how colorful it is.

No jokey captions for this lady. RESPECT.

The pink gradient? Knockout. I also want to talk about the hair. I don't love it from all angles, but this shot shows how from the front, she's serving a head shape that borders on extraterrestrial. I have no problem with that. This episode has been all about trying new things, and this woman has been around long enough that she's worked through all of that boring Earth fashion already. Level it up, Ms. Horne.

Wow. A whole season over and done with. Thanks for sticking with me, lovelies. I'll be back in action next week with our first glimpse at season 2. Get excited.