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, January 9, 2012

Season 2, Episode 7: Rudy Suits Up

Get ready for a journey into the implausible! This week, Rudy "Sweet Feet" Huxtable briefly becomes the breakout star of her junior football team. She's ungodly fast or something, but her skills only last a couple days before she gets tackled and the whole family is inexplicably shocked and disappointed, because why in the world do they even make football padding that would fit a child her size?! Don't put Rudy in a situation where tackling could occur! Wait until you see the screencap of the team. The other kids are huge compared to her! How we went 22 minutes without her getting a broken bone, I'll never know.

Don't get shady with this old lady.

Also implausible? Ethel Ayler's curly side ponytail. Yes, Carrie Hanks briefly returns at the start of the episode, serving as the initial voice of reason. She poses the hard questions, like "Is it OK to indulge Rudy's interest in sports at the risk of her personal well-being?" and "Just how much pleating can a shoulder seam withstand?" A woman of science, she takes that second query out of theory and into practice with this power blouse. The subtle, buttery tone is nice, but dear heavens we've pleated it a lot. The 80s must have been great for fabric retailers; the whole decade was just an endless quest to force more cloth onto people's bodies. Baggier! More folds! Pad it! I'm surprised they notched her collar so deeply without, I don't know, putting lapels around the notch or something. There's a hole where more fabric should be, people.

Mrs. Hanks never stands up, so we'll assume she's naked from the waist down. Chaos reigns.

"The surprise is, there's no pickle."

Since we got a slice of Clair in that last shot, I'll jump to her next. I'm warning everyone now that this story takes place over several days, so there's a lot of ground to cover. I'll try to be brief, or at least mildly amusing in my verbosity, but gird yourself for the time commitment. If you thought you were going to be productive today, then you were fooling yourselves, because you're reading an amateur critique of fashions from a decades-old sitcom. Anyhow, the episode starts with a really tight shot of Clair's hand pouring tea, and when I saw a small square of this garment in the background, I assumed it was a bathrobe. Nope! It's a wrappy, kimono-inspired top. The cut's not great; her breasts are looking more pendulous than usual, and it's kind of frumpy in the arm region. The overly prominent button is distracting and doesn't need to be: would it be so hard to match it to the rest of the shirt? I'm drawn by the swirled pattern, though. It sort of implies roses without actually being roses. Though the fact that I mistook it for a bathrobe probably means that it's not an effect best applied to outside-the-house clothes. I'm super into the way that softness of her top is contrasted by the sharply geometric earrings, though. (Random nerd-out: her jewelry looks like a Dharma Initiative logo. Clair has secrets.) Also, note the foreshadowing: her hair is shaped just like a football helmet.

Suits belted highly keep Clair smiley.

Day two, Clair steps back from prints and goes for a flat sandstone shade. It's so safari, no? And check the drape on that sleeve. It's basically a straight line from her waist to her elbow. She's played that game before, and better, but I'm OK with it. Really, though, it's not much of an outfit; it would be deadly dull if she hadn't accessorized properly. Luckily, she has that gorgeous banded red belt and her button earrings that I'm sure we've seen before though I can't at this point be bothered to figure out when. The colors in the beaded necklace really pop against the backdrop of that dreary top. Later in the episode, though, I began to grasp why she hadn't gone bolder with her choices.

Dance it out. Ri-VER toot toot toot TOOT toot toot toot...

It's all just a foundation for her red coat and boots. The palette is a little McDonald's for my taste, but I can at least appreciate the effort that went into coordinating all the parts. Even if her decisions were wrong, they were at least decisions. Though I'm not the only fashionable gay man to have revisited the flat reds and beiges first seen in childhood: below are the first two looks sent down the runway from Zac Posen's Spring 2012 ready-to-wear line.

Models: Coco Rocha (l) and Hailey Clauson (r) / Photo: Yannis Vlamos, GoRunway.com

Clair's legacy lives on.

See that face? This lady is satisfied.

The strap-ankled jumpsuit from episode #2.2 is back, which is great because that's one less outfit to recap. This shot can also serve to proactively cover Cliff's sweatpants and t-shirt, which will also not be reviewed.

They never show her kicking the children who tackled Rudy, but I assume it happened.

Told you this was a long one. Clair's back one more time, again using her clothes entirely as a conduit for serving outwear to the masses. I've got to say, though, when your sweater coat is this fierce, you can go naked underneath it for all I care. Look at how luxuriously huge this knit is. The overhang down the back is divine, and the fact that someone constructed an entire trench coat out of yarn is something I can barely believe. She even matches the pomegranate shade with her lipstick. Can you imagine how cozy this piece feels? It's like if Snuggies were suddenly supremely stylish. I live.

Also satisfied.

Now this is a Cosby sweater. Notice how there's an underlying pattern of horizontal stripes. Then, on top of that, there are vertical bands. And then those bands themselves are decorated with meta-stripes. The overall impact is kind of a wash, unfortunately; his torso is more or less swathed in TV static. I feel like if I unfocus my eyes, I'll see a 3-D picture of a pudding pop in there. Letting my eyes drift would also prevent me from seeing the loafiness at his collar. I think he's going for "mock turtleneck," but instead arrived at "woolen turd ring." Not a good look. He earns back a little cred with the pants. We seldom see him in midnight blue slacks, not to mention corduroy, and I enjoy both.

Plaid-clad cad dad.

Trousers so nice, he wore them twice! It's cool, Cliff. We've all done it. Besides, everyone loves Newsies, so as long as you keep it up with that hat, you're golden. I'm digging the sweater, too. It's like plaid turned up to eleven. The more I consider it, though, the more I think Bill Cosby might not look great in navy and gray. His face is so dull here compared to the vibrance in his skin from the previous shot. Stick to reds, Mr. Cosby.

An oldie but... well, just an oldie I guess.

This sweater was worn with similar, maybe even the same, trousers in episode #1.8, though without the jacket or terrific purple shirt. Something about his coat has a lovely archetypal father vibe to me. It's right, though I can't tell why. The medium chestnut color helps. Very warm, goes with everything. I'd let this man teach me to shave. (Though why he'd need the coat to do so is beyond me.)


You know who's back? Effing Sondra, that's who. Judging by the boots, she hasn't completely excised the cowgirl from her wardrobe yet. As for the rest, you've got to be careful wearing white, and she isn't. Too tight, and it reveals every little dimple and bump; too loose, and you look like, well, this. The sweater has potential; I particularly like it in the close-up, where you get a sense of how the brown and blue interplay... wait a minute, what is... on her shoulder... hang on a second...

I really don't try to catch her at bad times. The odds are just in my favor.

No. No, no, no. NO. Get that piece of dangly crap out of your hair this instant. No.

We got to see the family in an actual outdoor environment this week.

This second outfit is so bad that it must constantly be masked by a swarm of better-dressed Huxtables to mitigate its potential damage. I mean, is it a poncho, or just a king-sized shirt? And if it is indeed a poncho, what unholy ugliness lurks beneath it? Is there a bubble helmet that bolts into that collar, allowing her to wear this garment in space or while deep-sea diving? Could the color scheme be duller? These are the dangerous questions I am forced to ask. It's almost worse not knowing.

Southwestern Desert Essence Woman.

Oh, goody. Entirely light denim. Plus, with all the stone accessories, we've gone full-speed back into country western. It's not a good look for her, but she won't let go. The top hints at her episode #1.21 blouse, but isn't the same. For instance, it's got those grody mock epaulets on the shoulders! I'd almost be tempted into complimenting that big sweater, but Clair already bested Sondra in that department, so we're back to zero on this one.

We've still got a ways to go, so if you need a snack or a bathroom break or something, you should really do it now. Maybe even put this down until tomorrow. The prolonged screen time isn't good for your eyes.

Those are headphones, not a weird necklace. I looked really closely just to be sure.

Denise evidently has a penchant for big red shirts. She's got a bunch of them. Here's another! The pants are a repeat from the season premier, but this clearer capture allows me to discern that the wacky pattern is, in fact, spiders. Spiders! She's wearing Halloween pajamas, I think. As punishment for this crime against taste, I'm stealing her army surplus jacket, because she doesn't deserve it, and I want it for myself.

I hate that I had to feature Sondra's horror poncho in additional screencaps.

Denise continues her trend of wearing this particular pair of plaid pants to support her family, as she has done previously in episodes #1.20 and #1.17. She's also wearing a red sack that could easily be another one we've seen before, even if it's not the one from yesterday. I'm not going to search through my collection and point out all the times she's gone down that road. The leather jacket is a good staple piece, but the purse she pairs it with is a mess. In fact, it's so boxy and ugly that I have to assure myself it's not a fashion piece at all, but a camera bag containing a large piece of 80s photographic or video equipment.

The silhouette is bonkers. Bonkers.

Before we talk about details, can we just immediately acknowledge the Seussiness of everything happening in the righthand frame? The shapes, body language, everything. It's like she's this mad professor stomping barefoot through the truffula trees. Now, getting down to business: I think these specific pants are new, but the style is as old as the show itself. This girl loves her some slouchy pants. The shirt has a pleasant hint of hipster irony to it; by buttoning it to the top, she gives that winking nod to dressing like an old lady while having the fashion know-how to avoid it if she wanted. And while the sweater is the third knit jacket carted out by the Huxtable women this week, Denise of course puts her own spin on it by opting for a split up the side that almost makes it a coat with tails. Like her father, I think she does herself no favors with dark blues and aquas; the shades look nice, but not on her specifically. Her face is so pallid up there! No wonder her torso is enveloped in a tomato costume half the time.

Stop. It won't be Hammer Time until 1990.

This outfit didn't get shown a ton, and perhaps it's better that way. Like Sondra, she has made the mistake of going for broke with this light denim hue. However, she's gone the extra mile by making sure there's as much periwinkle as physics will allow. We as a society have hopefully moved beyond parachute pants. I'd love for them to become like bustles or bonnets: marveled at in museums and costume dramas or only worn for specific dramatic effect. She's also throwing down a lengthy, wide-cut shirt. With so much draping and matching, it's tough to tell where one garment ends and the next begins. Moebius outfit! Also, she's doing the shoulder rope thing again. She shouldn't.

He might have worn this before. If he did, I probably ignored it last time, too.

Aqua sweatshirt with shoulder buttons. Boring. Done.

This top might also be a repeat. Who cares?

Red sweatshirt. Good color in him, but still boring. The jeans should be mentioned briefly, since I think this is the first time we've ever seen Theo in a sort-of cargo pant. Thigh pocket? Way to get the ball rolling on a trend that didn't really pick up until the 90s. OK, next.

His torso is carpeted. Your argument is invalid.

This is a bigger risk than he typically takes, but it pays off. Sure, it's sized inappropriately (what isn't?), but he's wearing a dragon tapestry. You can't really deny the wonder of that. The shirt underneath looks like it'd be nice even on its own, and it works here as an accent. Thumbs up for the grandiose sweater. Go team!

Denise only gives away her ugly clothes, apparently.

The hand-me-downs continue as Vanessa inherits Denise's episode #1.10 abomination. It's a poor match with basically every conceivable item of clothing, and this jacket is no exception. I could maybe get into the coat on its own, but it would take some real finesse in terms of the surrounding outfit. The socks and white sneakers are a little stark against the black leggings, and really those are only pants on a technicality. Not a good start, kid.

You jealous?

Hopeful that Robert might turn up to Rudy's game, Vanessa contributes considerably more effort to her second ensemble. I have to say, she looks a great deal more grown up here. Mostly, I'm a fan. She wears yellow well, and it's a pretty serious color to throw down as the main component of an outfit, right down to the accessories. I think the use of both navy and black as accents is misguided; they're a little close for that. But her instincts are overall good. The paisleys are exciting, the beret is cute, the shoes are much better here than in episode #2.3, and the blazer is just the right amount of oversized. I can get into this groove.

Speaking of yellow, let's close with a look at Rudy.

Look at the field! She and Peter are TOO SMALL FOR THIS TEAM.

The wardrobe department did a smart thing by putting her in yellow sleeves. Beyond her size, it's the only thing that differentiates her from the crowd. It's a well-thought-out touch.

God, I hope this family decides to be nudists next week. I'm worn out. Until later, my dears.


  1. Do you really hope they become nudist? Personally I don't care to see Elvin in the nude. Or Sondra.

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