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, December 19, 2011

Season 2, Episode 4: Cliff in Love

Episodes with firsts are so exciting. Today, as Sondra mopes about her on-again, off-again romance and Cliff tries to hook her up with a more suitable suitor, we are introduced to two new faces, both of whom will eventually become established members of the extended Huxtable clan.

Nerd boyfriend dot com.

The main source of her misery is none other than the man who will become her husband, Elvin Tibdeaux, played by future series regular Geoffrey Owens. I've gotta say: though Elvin is a chauvinist moron, he's pretty cute. He's got the whole Donald Glover nerdy guy thing going on. I wouldn't kick him out of bed. At least, not until he started talking about how he would prefer for his woman to have a hot meal waiting for him when he gets home from work. Don't worry, Clair knocks that idea right out of his head.

He brought that bitch some flowers. Bitches love flowers.
(It works because it's a meme and he's a misogynist!)

He's dressed like your average college dude: jeans, t-shirt, hoodie. The intensity of the orange plays well against the navy. I'd love it if that was a weird, no-reason-except-for-fashion seam running horizontally below his collar, but I'm pretty sure it's only a weird fold from the fabric getting caught in the sweatshirt. I'm also feeling the hair. Dudes with curls like his don't rock this intermediate length much, and while it's by no means a guaranteed success, I'm kind of into it on him. Overall, he's no trendsetter, but he's not doing anything wrong. He's trying a little harder when he comes back tomorrow, with mixed results.

Clair wipes that smile right off his face.

The jeans, I assume, are the same today. They're nothing to write home about regardless. I'm not a huge fan of the blue shirt, not because it's bad on its own, but because it matches the denim a bit too closely. Even with the yellow underneath (and props to Elvin for again embracing assertive hues), it just reads too monochrome. I also have to question the khaki garment. At first, I was sure it was a coat, based on its weight and the fact that it's fall and probably cool outside. But upon checking the details, like the size of the collar and the slightly rolled sleeves and most notably the curve of the seam at the bottom, I have to conclude that this is in fact just another shirt. Don't do that, Elvin, that's not what shirts are for. You can't just pile them on indefinitely. Buy a jacket. You can probably find one that looks almost exactly like the corduroy thing you're sporting.

What if this date is actually the Olivia origin story? Scandal!

Pop quiz: who is this man? If you said Lt. Martin Kendall, you'd be incorrect until season 6. Today, he is Daryl, the man who takes Sondra to a concert while she's mad at Elvin. That's right, Joseph C. Phillips has played two roles on The Cosby Show. His clean-cut good looks and easygoing charm make it easy to see why you'd want him around. He's also a pretty snappy dresser, at least as this character. Let's skip the khakis, because chinos, whatever, we get it. Check everything else, though. The shades by themselves here would be enough: the richness of his coat is veering toward purple, while the sweater underneath skews into greener territory, and then the pink is a delightful non sequitur. But then he goes wild by adding additional tones in the knitting of the sweater and in the weird plaid-ish pattern of the blazer. I would probably wear that jacket, no joke. My only hesitation in giving this an A+ is that I can't tell if he's actually heavier here than in later seasons, or if he just looks heavier because the clothes don't fit. There's no way to be sure, but it gives me pause. Whatever: in the future, you're thinner and you marry Denise instead of Sondra. How do you feel about that?

I wanted so badly to photoshop a little sparkle into his teeth.

That's what I thought.

Speaking of Sondra:

You're never too sad for strappy shoes.

Damn, hon, you look rough. Now granted, this is the outfit she wears while dealing with relationship troubles, so I sort of get it. Her hair and sweatsuit collectively read like a suicide note. They're not just bad: they're aggressively, creatively repulsive. If I can direct your attention to her collar: how many shirts is that? Three at least. She took the time to match them, which makes no sense, but ignoring that, I'm seeing sweatshirt, followed by a red tee, followed by another gray tee. Or is that just a red tee with a contrasting detail? I can't be sure. Then she's pulling the same nonsense below the waist, with sweatpants (with a matching stripe, because again, she's thinking ahead to coordinate her defeat regalia) and gray shorts over them. Of course, she can't be that cold, because she's wearing capri-length bottoms with no socks. She's also wearing overly complicated ballet flats. If I had no intention of leaving the house, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't bother with shoes that laced halfway up my calves. Am I expected to believe that she wouldn't brush her hair, but would put on her most labor-intensive footwear? Absurd. Whatever. Date night tomorrow, Sondra. You gonna step it up?

"I'm a colorblind cowgirl!"

Sondra's outfits are my least favorite part of this blog. Honestly, what do you want me to do here? There's maybe hope for that skirt. I can see it being the centerpiece in much plainer surroundings. Same with those cerulean boots: someone could really do something with those. But that sweater, my God! I'm running out of words for largeness with all the XXXL crap everyone keeps carting out. Her shoulders are so bulky that there is literally room for football padding there. She could be the coziest linebacker. The color story here is all wrong, too. Daryl had the right idea by pairing different blues, but she takes it too far by throwing in actual purples and sea greens in a way that looks sickly next to that delicate sky blue wool number. Also, can we talk about the Southwestern phase she seems to be going through? A bandanna around her neck? A fringed suede jacket? No, really, look at this jacket.

If only someone had managed to get this garment all the way through the shredder.

That's how much fringe. No thank you.

This is possibly the best her hair has ever looked. I love it.

Denise leaves me pretty confused this episode. There's another reason I'll get to in a minute, but for now let's just focus on this outfit as presented. Her hair is done, and it's cute. The red pants (which we barely see) are a good match for the colors in her top. But this shirt? It's so long and sloppy that she spends the entire scene with her hands covered. Still, the deep purple/brown color provides a great base for the pink and red vertical stripes, and she's playing with convention as always, so we should just accept this as a weird but fun look, right? Except for this:

She's shopping under the impression that her ass will one day be titanic.

This isn't tomorrow: Denise changes into this later the same day. With no explanation given, I have to wonder if the first getup wasn't merely pajamas. It would make a certain amount of sense if that was a nightshirt and not a full-on, outside-the-house piece, but there's no telling with this girl. Let's just move on and get to this second ensemble. If the pants look familiar, it's because they're the same ones she wears in this season's opening credits. The shirt, however, is new, and it's really something. As you can see, the front fools you with more conservative coverage, while the back shocks you with its seasonally inappropriate cutout the size and shape of a public toilet bowl. Someone in the costume department fell in love with greenish blue today, it seems. Viewed independently, though, it's not a bad companion for the orange. The real problem is the combination of two sloppily draped garments. If one half of you is going to be this big, the other should be much slimmer. Otherwise, you look like a Teletubby runway model. Her middle is downright bulbous. I'm also not convinced by that three quarter butterfly sleeve. Seems like it'd be hard to ever make that not ugly.

"What kind of bread is this? I'm counting carbs."

Theo wore this in the pilot episode. Production values have improved since then, and it's nice to have a crisper picture that captures the plaid better, but I don't know that it warrants a full re-examination. Next.

Those eyes suggest the presence of a stimulant in the potato chips.

I can't help but look at this as an homage to his parents. The sweater has the same thistle-y quality as the cardigan that Clair stole from Cliff last season. Underneath, he's got on a shade of purple that may as well be named after Phylicia Rashad she wore it so often. It's a shame he didn't tuck in his shirt, but otherwise I'm not seeing much wrong here. It's not a heartbreaking work of staggering fabulousness, but I'll take it.

UPDATE: I knew this would happen eventually. I missed a repeat. Theo previously wore this sweater on episode #1.18. Apologies for the oversight.

"Hey Vanessa, want some of these Meth Crisps?"

Vanessa appears only briefly, and only to show us this goofy plaid. There are times when black and yellow cooperate, and times when they scream "bumblebee" or "taxi cab" or something else you don't really want to resemble. If the t-shirt underneath had been shown a little more, maybe I'd feel differently. It might break things up a little. As it stands, this isn't great. Also, there's a blue hair clip near the back of her head that wasn't captured in this angle, meaning that she decided to don all three primary colors for some reason. Probably just to bother me. Friggin' Vanessa.

Sandwich spread + Dr. Huxtable = Mayo Clinic. Get it?

Cliff has purchased a big, meaty, fattening sandwich to cheer his daughter up. While Clair quickly highlights that this is also Cliff's favorite food, no one ever doubts that Sondra loves hoagies above all other edible items. This strikes me as unlikely. She doesn't seem like a hoagie kind of gal. Anyway, back to the fashion. As stated above, khaki pants are kind of too boring to really get into. Same for white t-shirts. The cardigan, however, is wonderful. I'm living for that low scoop, and the chunky diagonal stripe, and the thickness of the wool, and the way the gray comes alive next to that red. It even has little pockets on the bottom! I'd love it even more if it were a size smaller (as I've pointed out in previous entries, the shoulder seam should fall somewhere near the actual shoulder), but I'll take what I can get.

Sorry, I guess I'm off my caption game today. That last one was pitiful.

That belt isn't brown. It's maroon. Got to respect that. On the other hand, who here has seen The Dark Crystal? If you skinned Aughra and made her into a garment, it would look exactly like this shirt. That's all.

Maybe it's sorcery. Or hypercolor.

Clair is wrapped in a mystery at the start of this episode. So many questions. Is that top purple or blue? Would we call it a shirt or a dress? Are the sleeves designed to be that short, or did she pull them up? Is it velour, or just dirty? Huxtable fashion is often incomprehensible to me, and this is just another situation in which I would need greater cognitive ability to parse the deeper meaning hidden here. Further adding confusion: I was certain that I had seen this pin before, but couldn't find it in any of my screencaps. I looked and looked, and it wasn't there. Maybe I imagined it, or mistook it for another brooch, or recalled it from the first time I saw this episode. Part of me is still set on the idea that she wore it once. Whatever, it's simple and pretty and just the right size, and it goes well with both purple and blue, so she's covered in that sense. (Seriously, why does her top change color? Is she a wizard?)

Don't sass her for repeating an outfit. She will make you regret it so hard.

Last but not (quite) least, we have Clair's repeat of her episode #1.2 jumpsuit. It remains firmly in the so-close-to-wrong-that-it's-got-to-be-right category. I think I actually prefer it without the shiny accessories: she doesn't need the silver pin and belt and earrings. Nice to see that she didn't feel the need to wear stockings this time around, though. Also, I overlooked the seam down the front in my earlier review. Not my fave. Still, this outfit will always hold a place in my heart because it's what she wore when she said, "Let me tell you something, Elvin." Her quick change into takedown mode is unbeatable. Do not cross Mrs. Huxtable.

We'll end on that note. Happy Monday, kids.

1 comment:

  1. Lol... stil laughing about the Titanic ass! You are right! If those pants look like this on Denise, imagine how they would look on someone else with few more pounds....