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
...what?

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.

Who's ready? HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

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.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Season 3, Episode 4: Man Talk

It's hard being young, attractive, rich, and horny. See, Theo doesn't want to break up with Tanya, but he also doesn't want to hurt Randi's feelings by not going out with her. Such a generous guy! Of course, while he's caught in his cloud of teenage male stupidity, Tanya takes the high road and has a direct conversation with him about how they should probably stop seeing each other. In another corner of the Huxtable household, Rudy and Cliff have a tea party, which Theo eventually joins. Lessons are learned, outfits are worn.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog
Nerd.

I contemplated skipping this guy, but then somehow decided that it would be better instead to include him in an almost insultingly brief manner. This is John Vopal as Andy, the kid who gets straight A's. His one-word role this week comprises the entirety of his film and television acting career. He's wearing khakis and a boring plaid shirt. I should have just ignored him outright, huh?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Tanya
These are the clothes of a woman handling the stress of a crumbling relationship.

Tanya starts the episode in a rather problematic layered getup. Individually, I don't mind the two striped garments, but it's overkill to wear them together. If you have a giant zippered sweater, you don't need to wear an identically patterned cardigan over it, especially if both pieces are giant in comparison to your slim frame. She simultaneously obscures her shape and makes it difficult to differentiate between each individual sweater. Her bottom half is also all about matching, continuing with the established gray for both a skirt (that's a skirt, right?) and leggings. The silhouette is so very 80s, contrasting her twiggy legs with excessive volume. And the scarf is mad tacky. I'm not a fan.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Tanya
Girl, you'll be a woman soon.

She ups her game slightly for the big talk with Theo. Though she's still feeling the restricted palette vibe, she at least picks better colors, going for a creamy pink and richer gray. Her use of texture has similarly improved: we've got houndstooth in the coat, a more complex geometric in the scarf, and a cable knit in her sweater. She's more grown up here, which fits her two-scene arc moving from a young, flirty girl to a mature woman taking charge of her romantic life. I'm mesmerized by the kerchief styling of the knot by her neck. I could get into that as a revived trend. Should we maybe make that happen this winter?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Randi
RED ALERT! Sound the Strumpet Trumpet!

See this? This is why we can't have nice things.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Randi
Giving him something he can feel.

Randi appears in only one scene. Though she has no lines, she clearly has no trouble getting her message across. The actress is Alsicia Pringle, who doesn't seem to have performed anywhere either before or after this show. From what I can see, she has at least some sense of personal style, which is primarily conveyed through accessories. The dress and jacket are pretty boring, really: beige, gray, preppy, plain. Still, they give a nice silhouette. The orange sash is a different thing altogether. It's tough to parse exactly what's happening there. It might just be a swath of fabric, or could be something more complex. Maybe it has a sleeve. Tough to say. Also, it looks to me like that bracket on the back of her jacket is the same one that Denise wore in episode #3.2. It's a brilliant accessory. If these aren't already a big thing, then they damn well should be.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Gerald Eddie Castrodad
The other good student. Theo hangs out with the hotter nerd.

Gerald, Theo's smart friend, is played by Eddie Castrodad. He's most famous for his portrayal of David in the film version of Torch Song Trilogy. His character has a look going for him; there's a lumberjack feel to his boots and jacket. To soften that toughness (not that he was in any real danger of over-butching it), he rocks a periwinkle polo shirt. My main problem is with the extension of the buttoned section down to his sternum. This piece does not need help looking too big. I don't disagree that something should be done to make the top more dynamic, I just wouldn't have used that particular flourish.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Cockroach Carl Anthony Payne II
No running in the halls, young man.

Oh, Cockroach. You love bunched, brightly colored socks. I, on the other hand, do not. We're barely given a chance to process that flash of yellow at his ankle, but even that quick moment was enough to set off my radar. That coat: no matter how hard I stare at it, I can't conclusively tell whether it's the one Theo wore in episode #2.21 or not. While the color looks different, the shape (particularly the cut of the lapel near the neck) is the same. I'm inclined to think that it looks darker simply because of the lighting. Either way, it's not terrible. You know what was big in the '80s? Slim, black jeans. Know what else? Shirts buttoned all the way to the top. So if you were wondering why people do that today, it's because they watched The Cosby Show when they were growing up. I've got your number, Brooklyn hipsters. I'm rather partial to the Keith Haring-inspired print of this shirt and the suspenders, but I'd lose that hat. That hat makes him look like a damned idiot.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Gerald Eddie Castrodad Cockroack Carl Anthony Payne II
These boys know a ton about dating. No, wait. Not a ton. The other thing.

The boys return the next day to study with Theo. They're not doing much that I feel compelled to comment on. Gerald's sleeve has a dangerous amount of hang. He has no idea what size he is. Cockroach is rocking a single suspender, which makes me wonder if he honestly had both yesterday. I'm not of the opinion that they should be worn singly. Two or none, thanks. You can also rest assured that his purple shirt (which I love) is matched by bunchy purple socks just outside the frame (which, as you know, I loathe).

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
So close, yet... well, really not even close.

Rudy wears a sweatsuit this week. We don't talk about sweatsuits in this space.

Oh you fancy huh?

For the tea party, Rudy dons her episode #1.24 formal dress. She also unintentionally throws down some Regina George realness when she botches her British accent. I was momentarily convinced that her delivery of "Shall I pour?" was actually "Shut up, whore."

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Unacceptable.

I don't think Vanessa is actually repeating last week's outfit, but she may as well be.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
He's not a man, but he plays one on TV.

For his first outfit, Theo gives us a pretty adult look. His journey is sort of the opposite of Tanya's: he starts out sure and moves into a younger headspace as time progresses. I like the polish of this sweater, particularly its bold crossover v-neck and refined pattern. This opulent, I'm-an-upholstered-chair situation is good for him. Simple colors, clean lines, classic embellishments.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
Mad goofy.

See how he's regressed? I don't think we've seen this specific shirt from him, but this color is reminiscent of the stuff he was wearing in early season 2. Ditto on the gray jeans. He looks alright, but he's clearly not on the same wavelength as Tanya.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Cliff Bill Cosby
Mondrian.

Cliff is getting serious about the Cosby sweaters this season. Mustard, maroon, and cobalt boxes on a charcoal foundation, all interspersed with a sort of jagged, static-like texturing. Commitment to excellence: the matching ochre shirt collar. It's an ensemble that only one man could pull off.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Cliff Bill Cosby
Pip pip, old chap. Cheerio and ta ta.

Next: the tea party. He goes into full gentleman mode with the real, tied-all-by-himself bowtie, the floppy newsboy cap, and two cardigans. Two. The grays, browns, and navies serve as additional helpful indicators. After all, this isn't an outfit: it's a costume. It's about presentation. He's selling the British gentleman persona appropriately.

And now: HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Clair Phylicia Rashad
She knows I'm sassing and she can't even be bothered.

With close-ups! This is the number one trick employed by the production team: frame Phylicia from the chest up.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog Clair Phylicia Rashad
Ha ha. Giant box. We get it.

Also: with a great big box! Clair packs Denise (who is sadly absent this week) a care package that conveniently masks her midsection. We never see her pants, but on her top half, she's making Tanya's mistake of matching her cardigan to her sweater. I don't think that two garments in the same pattern is ever a good idea, even if you're a total goddess like this woman is.

That's the business, kids. I'll close with my usual begging. If you have enjoyed my recaps, please consider donating a dollar to help me keep this website going. I promise to use all cash received to maintain and, if possible, enhance the blog. I'm not going on wild vacations with your contributions.



See you next week, darlings.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Season 3, Episode 3: Golden Anniversary

Russell and Anna are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Their revelry includes dancing to the swinging sounds of the Count Basie Orchestra, laughing as their children do another song and dance for them, and having sex. I'm not kidding: that last one happens before the first commercial break. Good for them, I guess. There's a fair amount of clothing to cover this week, so enough synopsis. Let's get started.

Why must you torment me with drably costumed day players?

Opening with guest stars, as I like to do, we have the neighbor couple that visits the elder Huxtables on their happy day. I didn't catch their names and kind of don't care that much. Neither does the IMDb, which doesn't even list the two actors as having appeared in this episode. For future reference, they're Thelma Carpenter and P. Jay Sidney, who have both gotten regular if not necessarily prestigious work on both big and small screens. Outfit-wise, they have a similar vibe going on. She's serving a lot of red, which is pretty brash, but then kind of blows it with the mustardy complements. I'm into the layered concept of turtleneck, cardigan, jacket, and slacks, but think she could have gone further with that color story. He's in the same matchy-matchy boat, but swaps the red for green. Otherwise, it's a lot of khaki and hunter. I think the tie and shirt work pretty well together; it's the too-close-for-comfort shading of the blazer and pants that muddy that waters for him. My overall impression of these two is that they contributed little to the plot, and less to my blog. Stop wasting my time, people! (I say this as though they held me at gunpoint and forced me to talk about 25-year-old clothes on the internet. It's their fault I do this.)

Every girl crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man.

Russell and Anna are the main characters of this story, but they're still technically guest stars, so we'll get to them first. I don't have anything new to add about tuxedos, but I do want to report on the tie he and the other Huxtable men wear. After wondering in episode #1.24 about the origin of the accessory, user KIKI suggested that I search for "crossover tie" to get more information. Sure enough, I found what I needed and learned that the piece originated as the continental tie, which was devised in the late 1950s to pair more fashionably with the slimmer suits that were beginning to gain popularity at the time. The look took off in the '60s. By wearing it in a kente pattern, the Huxtables are taking the look to a new continent entirely and updating a classic style. I still haven't managed to find references to anyone having done this outside of The Cosby Show, however, so I have to assume that Bill Cosby or Sarah Lemire or someone else connected to the program really did invent this concept.

Jiffy Pop.

I should mention that both Russell and Anna appeared earlier in the episode, but were wearing pajamas. These are their post-coital outfits. Anyway, Anna goes for broke in this gold number. I think she has the right idea; if you're going to throw down this much metallic jacket, you want to keep it nice and simple everywhere else. You can't go wrong with the classic little black dress, and I like the vintage shape to her coat (though of course she brings it into the 80s with the monstrous shoulder pads). My one concern is that the shimmery fabric looks kind of cheap. There's something in the way it bunches in the sleeves. It's a big night and her husband is rocking a full-on tux, so even minor flaws are going to seem glaring.

When he and Sondra fight, I always take his side.

The celebration is big enough that the whole family has to gather. Elvin arrives in a totally decent sweater. The oatmeal color isn't doing him any favors, but I enjoy how the various textures give the garment some added visual interest. Even so, there's only so much one can say about jeans, beige, and gray.

The apron means that he's doing women's work. See? Growth.

I have nothing to add about this except that I think Elvin looks a little adorable in a tuxedo shirt and apron.

Look how much he loves their James Brown number.

The full tux serves him well, too. I'm particularly in favor of his diagonally striped pocket accent as a pair to his kente tie.

Liking her clothes is the weirdest feeling. 

Sondra continues to grow on me. What I'm noticing most about her is that there's not much that unifies her style from day to day. Every time she appears, it's like she's got a whole new image. She's sometimes sort of baroque or New Renaissance in her approach; other times, she's preppy or cowgirl or just plain weird. Today, it's a melange. The coat is generic, but the scarf spices it up. Then underneath she has this zany monochrome, multi-belted top and skirt that I think I might love. Let's see them uncovered.

"What's that, pickles? You want me to what in the neighbor's yard?"

You know what? It's got a certain something. We haven't seen her in a "going to a Pat Benetar concert" space yet, and it's not bad for her. I'm especially fond of the way the flowier cropped top plays against the white shirt beneath it. The black belts and tights assure you that she's rather unconventional and knows it. At the same time, the patterns are quirky rather than scary: she's fun, not freakish. I can't imagine where she dug this outfit up, but as a standalone it's fabulous. It makes zero sense in terms of her character, but if this is where Sondra is headed, then I'm prepared to follow.

Turning point.

And we're officially friends. Could the cut of this dress be more flattering? Probably. Does it matter? Not really. Look at this gutsy, glorious take on formal wear. The basic, rectangular shape allows the print and texture to shine through. Something this abnormal could easily seem tacky, but the subtle palette keeps it prim and fetching, and the restrained application of metallic shimmer helps it dazzle without seeming desperate. I'm even into her asymmetrical updo, though it's admittedly better head-on than it is from the side. The contouring on her cheeks is a little heavy, but otherwise she's giving good face, too. This is the Sondra I've been searching for since she first arrived at the house looking like a mousy mess. Welcome home, hon.

Sometimes it's more of a mention than a full review. Sorry, kid.

Rudy starts off wearing this outfit. The only reason to mention it is that her right hairbands are blue, but her left ones are red. That's kind of cute.

LOOK AT IT. NOW LOOK AT IT MORE.

That might be the best picture I've ever posted on the internet. I can't believe that a six-year-old girl made those faces. Thank goodness she pulled that performance off, because I'm not terribly impressed with her outfit. The wiggle on her shirt is the most notable distraction, but the puffy gold accents on her coat and skirt aren't so hot either. She's better in bright colors, anyway. The huge amounts of black are a little dire for her. She didn't even wear that much black to her fish's funeral!

Awkward phase.

Oh, Vanessa. What a nightmare this is. She's wearing her biggest top with her bunchiest leggings, in matching colors no less (if we can even call that a color), and then finishing things off with a popped collar in a boring, flat indigo. The last nails in the coffin are those dog bone earrings, which were clearly intended for someone far younger than her. Everything's going wrong here.

Awkward, Phase II.

I had a hard time getting a good shot of Vanessa's formal presentation, but what I can see of it is disconcerting. I sense the foundation of something good here. A little black dress with a well-tailored electric blue blazer could turn into an OK outfit. You can have fun with that. But the violent violet cuffs are a step too far, and the cut of that coat is completely incorrect. Then she goes and ruins my day by putting multicolored bows on the front of her dress because, I don't know, she hates me? What is that? I worry that as Sondra improves, Vanessa will plateau or even decline, leaving her as my new least favorite Huxtable child.

Turning up the heat.

Theo barely appears in this episode. I'm not even sure that he speaks any lines; he might literally just burst in and throw down a James Brown impersonation. He kills it, though, so I'm glad they gave him the time to practice his dance moves instead of asking him to memorize lines. As for the clothes, he looks great in a tux, and the open collar is wonderful, even if it's only for the musical performance.

WUT

We need to talk about the fact that Denise arrives wearing this hat.

Does not compute.

There's no punchline here. She's wearing that thing in earnest, and even comes close to making it work. What is it, you ask? As best I can tell, it's inspired by the shape of a traditional Mongolian men's hat, with maybe a dash of Smurf thrown in. I've got to hand it to her: she makes smart choices with her clothes. The flowy patterned skirt pairs well with the loose turtleneck. I like the colors together, I like the plaid on the bottom against the suede-ish top, I like the simple beads as an accessory... I even like the absurdity of that hat. (But come on, what is with that hat? It's nuts.) Denise delivers once more, proving as usual that attitude is everything. Let's be real: Vanessa couldn't wear that hat.

I'm going to be really let down next time she wears something ugly.

Remember when Whitney Houston went to Jerusalem?

Kidding aside, this is a positively brilliant take on an evening look, even if I again had few opportunities to catch a decent screencap of it. Continuing her tour of the globe's fashions, Denise has gone for what seems to be a West African kaftan. I'm in love with every single bit of it and wish we could have seen it more clearly. The big hair and wrist bangles are perfect selections in my eyes, making the whole impact incredible. She's exuding goddess energies.

It's your calling card. We get it.

This is the first of two Cosby sweaters this week. I see it as more straightforwardly ugly than his usual, more contrived forays into ugliness. I'm also solidly sure that it's made of fleece rather than knit, which edges it further into grossness. And the color scheme? Horrendous. No thanks, Cliff.

Wrongness done right.

Now that's a Cosby sweater. In truth, it appears to be about six sweaters Frankensteined together. And as if that weren't enough, he's wearing a red checkered shirt underneath it. I've got to say, the tonal uniformity of the various pieces makes this cohere far better than it ought to have. He looks spectacular.

Bitchface.

Tuxedo. Kente tie. Done.

And now, week three of: HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

Fork you, too.

With an impenetrable wall of sass!

Someone's gonna get stabbed.

Just kidding. With leaning! She spends the entire scene hunched over like that, allowing the billowy top to obscure her shape. She's not doing terribly in terms of overall look today. Though restricted in the range of silhouettes she can deliver, she makes better color and pattern choices than usual. And those earrings are phenom. I'd love to see her come back to this eggplant/chartreuse situation in a future season when she can use them in a less bulky manner.

These boxes full of hidden wonders are metaphors for her uterus.

AND: With presents! On a table that conveniently appeared in the living room this week!

That's a terrible spot for a table.

This getup is more clearly aimed at camouflage. Giant and breezy and full of colors and pictures, it's basically a tapestry. You'll be so busy taking in the bamboo and koi that you won't even notice her belly. And hey, why not give her linebacker shoulders, too? I'm dreading a full season of muumuus from Clair. It's already hurting my feelings each week. How will I make it through?

You know what would help? Money. No, just kidding. I mean, I am going to ask you for donations, but not because I'm distraught. I'm asking because it costs money to keep the site going, and future improvements may cost even more. My expenses are low, so I would never charge a subscription fee or something stupid like that. But if you have fifty cents or a dollar and you enjoy reading these recaps enough that you wouldn't mind sharing, then feel free to click the link below. The internet will magically put your money into my account, and I'll write you back with a personal message about how awesome you are. Everyone wins!



And with that, I bid you farewell until next week. Stay hot, my Huxtable Hotties.