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, June 25, 2012

Season 3, Episode 5: Mother, May I?

When I first reviewed episode #2.1, I made a point of mentioning that Vanessa looked like she was supposed to be wearing make-up because I knew that eventually she'd get in major trouble for doing so. This week, it is established that she's not allowed to wear make-up for another two years. When she breaks that rule, she's grounded for a week. Meanwhile, Theo delivers some hamfistedly obvious fire safety tips to his parents that I'm sure weren't meant to educate the viewing audience. Seriously, he may as well have been looking directly at the screen. At least we all learned some important lessons about obeying our parents and knowing where the extinguishers are.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Rebecca Nicole Fort
She has fire in her eyes. Also, in her blow dryer.

Guests first! This is Rebecca, the friend/pusher who gets Vanessa hooked on lip gloss even after her mom forbade it. If you're wondering where you've seen that actress before, the answer is: nowhere! Nicole Fort's only IMDb credit is this episode. There are facets of Rebecca's look that are obvious precursors to current trends: leggings, skinny belts, and skinny ties are all still having their moment right now. Even that silhouette of the skinny legs with a bigger top is back, though the volume we'd go for is typically more of a tunic situation than this structured, layered look. I think even her teal and charcoal pairing would fly today. Her main error is in buttoning that oversized shirt all the way to the top and then belting it low, which makes her torso into a total beanbag. The houndstooth and checkers are both good patterns, but the snowflakes are unnecessarily cute. Lastly, I am upset by her hair, as are we all, I'm sure.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Michelle Francoeur
She's the physical embodiment of the idea that sugar is bad for you.

And then this mess walks in. Her character doesn't even get a name. According to the credits, the actor is Michelle Francoeur, but the IMDb has no listing for her. None at all. As in, won't even acknowledge her appearance in this show, let alone others. I tried to Google her, but she unfortunately shares her name with a teacher who slept with one of her 15-year-old students (an offense that is, in my estimation, only marginally worse than the blue eye shadow she gives Vanessa). Speaking of offense, there's a lot happening with this outfit. First order of business: she's wearing a collared shirt, then a sweater, and then another collared shirt. So there's that to deal with. Then, she has several intense colors competing for our attention. Where Rebecca carefully chose her items to complement each other, She-Who-Was-Not-Important-Enough-To-Name maybe closed her eyes and snatched five things at random from her closet. And Vanessa takes style tips from this mall clown?

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
"You're going to write lots of nice things about me, right?"

There's not usually a ton to say about Rudy. Maybe it was a mistake to say I'd include her in every recap. The third pigtail on the very top of her head is great.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
"Oh, so it's like that."

That shirt looks like a jacket. Is she just wearing a jacket in the house? It's too rugged. The fabric looks so sturdy. I love the shades in that plaid, but could it be a hair more delicate? Is she going to spend the rest of the day on a wharf ?

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
She is giving me such Kimberly Elise in that close-up.

In this scene, Vanessa is attempting to convince her mother that "the earthy look" is no longer in. Meanwhile, she's dressed in jersey pants, a baggy top, and hair ribbons. It's not full Lilith Fair regalia, but neither is she selling me on the possibility that she's ready to add another variable to her fashion equation. Maybe she should master fabric before graduating to face paint. Also, except for the orange top, this is an episode #3.3 repeat, so there's not much reason to still be talking about it. It wasn't much the first time. At least in its new incarnation, it has colors.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe

That sleek hair wave is dope.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
I'm not used to her looking acceptable.

She's not that far out of bounds here, honestly. I can sort of see where she's going with this one. My assumption is that the skirt and shirt are actually one piece, because usually when the Huxtables try to match colors, they miss by a shade or two. As a ready example, notice the closeness-yet-so-farness of her jacket on the right there. Normally, it would seem prudent to shoot down a loose, skirted onesie, but something about this one has struck my fancy. I'm even kind of feeling the bright red shirt with this jam. I draw the line at those leggings, though. I guess at her age, she can't really be wearing a skirt that short, but in a grown-up situation, I'd have to suggest that anything more than stockings would be overkill. She's really refined her accessories game, though: thumbs up on the bracelet, belt, watch, and earrings. Now how did she not recognize that the blue eye shadow would clash horribly with all of this?

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
He knows I've caught him in an act of mediocrity.

Theo seems to have given up his collared shirts in favor of more relaxed options. His offerings this week aren't terrible, but it's clear that his early promise led me to set unreasonable expectations. I had hoped that he would remain a superstar, but I anticipate now that he'll languish in the "satisfactory" realm for most of the coming season. A shame. Anyway, he's at least using great colors here, even if he's doing that thing I always talk about where the shoulder seam is practically touching his elbow. Honestly, why did we even make clothes this big? Did TJ Maxx foresee the obesity epidemic or something? They're not in frame, but his jeans are the same gray ones we've seen frequently from him. I'm OK with not picturing them. They've been on this blog quite enough, in my opinion. I DEMAND FRESH CLOTHING, HUXTABLES!

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
I have a sick love of awkward moments.

It's a little weird that his second outfit has the same color scheme as Vanessa's second outfit. Did they coordinate that one? As usual, all of his clothes are in the wrong size and the pants are probably the same olive pants we've seen from him before. (Not that I blame the costume department for that. There's no reason to buy 80 different options for a character who's expected to show up in jeans most of the time. They could never have predicted that one day some idiot would pick over their work with a fine-toothed comb.)

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Cliff Bill Cosby
He doesn't look as though he feels pretty.

We learn about Vanessa's forbidden make-up because Rudy applies it to Cliff while he's asleep.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Cliff Bill Cosby
It's 100% clear that his wife expects him to ruin the family's dinner.

It seems we have reached a gap in the glorious string of unhinged sweaters, leaving us instead with this completely credible buttercup number. (I avoided calling it lemon even though he's cutting lemons because that's how you know I'm serious about my craft and not just some hack. Though I did just refer to this blog as "my craft," which conveys the deepest lack of seriousness imaginable.) As for pants? He's wearing 'em. Sorry, I know it probably seems like I'm slacking, but the truth is that there's sometimes so little variance in these garments that it's hardly worth it for me to do a full rundown every time. By the eighth season, I'll probably have no more than two words to say about each outfit.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Cliff Bill Cosby
He's mimicking that famous shot of the Bigfoot. But with smoke detectors.

There are hints of his former glory in this one. From a distance, the pattern almost deceives you into thinking it's simply, but once you get closer, you realize that it's a mess of zigzags and curlicues. Again, it's not the sort of doom-bringing monstrosity you'd hope for from Cliff, but it's something. And the bright collar emerging from this otherwise stony palette is terrific.


Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Clair Phylicia Rashad
Not having it.

With skepticism.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Clair Phylicia Rashad
Nope. Not awkward at all.

Also, with a large bag that she holds in a completely natural fashion. Whatever, it gets the job done. They've finally toned down the prints on her muumuus, which I can get behind. This red coat looks like something she would plausibly have worn even if she weren't showing, and the scarf beneath it is maybe great. It's tough to say, nothing else gets shown much. Whatevs, I like the jacket, which we'll consider an epic win since I didn't expect to like any of her clothes this season.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Clair Phylicia Rashad
Doesn't even care.

Another tactic: not hiding it at all! I know your little secret, Clair. This isn't what she was wearing under her jacket, so she must have changed before she came downstairs. Into this, for some reason. It looks like we're back to old lady couch patterns for her. Seriously, if she's already bigger, do you think dressing her like furniture is the best way to go? The colors are alright (that pink might even eke its way into "wonderful" territory), but I can't support the rest. I suppose everyone's just doing their best under unusual circumstances.

Cosby Show 80s sitcom fashion blog Huxtable Hotness Clair Phylicia Rashad
Giving it. Truly, her performances this season are all top-notch.

What else can we hide behind? Laundry! And, of course, more patterns. Let's just use all the animal prints. I'm shocked they didn't incorporate feathers anywhere just for the sake of completeness. I'll award points because earth tones work on her, and any of these prints individually could have been splendid. The best part, though, is the use of complementary earrings in copper and turquoise. I'm thoroughly delighted by them.

And that just about does it for this week. In closing, I'll remind you that I write this blog in my spare time because I like doing it: I never expect to get famous or turn a profit from it, nor do I think that I should. That said, I incur occasional costs because of this project, and I'm certainly not opposed to breaking even. If you've enjoyed reading, then please consider donating a dollar to help me out. Honestly, if I made a dime every time someone visited this site, I could probably take a couple months off work! I don't want to get greedy, though: the occasional dollar from the occasional stranger will be more than enough. Also, if you can't support me monetarily, then consider supporting me by spreading the word. Every time you talk about Huxtable Hotness, mention it on a website, tweet my URL, or otherwise plug my work, I directly benefit. Don't be shy about sharing! Anyway, obnoxious donation button below:

Thank you, loyal followers and newcomers alike. I'll see you next Monday.

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