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, July 30, 2012

Season 3, Episode 10: A Girl and Her Dog

Ermahgerd, you guys. This week's episode was so, SO boring. I'm really sorry if any of you actually watched it. If you haven't yet, then don't. The basics: Rudy wants to keep a dog she found and Vanessa wants to go to a party, and Cliff has to say no to both of them. Aren't you riveted? Let's just get this over with.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Mario Mendoza Rosalinda Guerra
Hi! We're from suburbia!

We'll kick it off with the day players. On the left is Mario Mendoza (as Tony) in his first television role. It would be ten years before he added another credit to his resume; in 1996, he landed an episode of Spin City. Since then, he's had several parts on multiple Law & Order incarnations, plus an appearance in Rounders. He's also played characters named "Mustachioed Man" and "Latin Gay" because he is willing to suffer for his craft. Next to him is Rosalinda Guerra as Marta. After starting her acting career with fifteen episodes of Ryan's Hope, she did this brief bit on The Cosby Show. And that's it. Sorry, Rosalinda.

Anyway, they're implausibly from Bedford in the episode (way north of Brooklyn, past White Plains), and the explanation that their dog jumped on a delivery truck and got off at the Huxtable residence seems unlikely. And even if that were true: how would they have seen the signs about the missing dog if they live an hour away? In terms of costuming, they are selling the "we own an apple orchard" concept by wearing as much earth tone and plaid as their muscles can support. Their clothes hold so little interest for me that I almost feel as though they've covered themselves in a sort of visual lubricant. My eyes cannot grab hold, they just slip right off. I'm tempted to make a cutting remark about her mom hair, but I'll leave it alone.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Mario Mendoza Rosalinda Guerra Bill Cosby Cliff Huxtable sweater apples guest stars
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Here's our deposit for the month.

They also brought a plain little girl with them. Diane Lozada plays their daughter Nina. She's wearing some stuff. She's been in a couple things. Whatever, I'd maybe take a stab at that oatmeal-colored (and -textured) mess if she had grown up to be someone famous, but she didn't, so I won't. The best we can really do is move on and hope that someone else grabs our attention.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam Peter dog
Could they have found a less ragged animal?

Peter shows up again in this episode as well, but he's really never going to be a fashion mentor, so I'm just including him in the shots with Rudy. Like, right here's he's wearing a blue plaid shirt and black pants. Would it really have been worth it to give him his own screenshot? Rudy's playing with color in her half of the frame, cutting that sky blue with a red and black plaid in a surprisingly successful manner. It's the purple boots that really win me over, though. They're so beautifully incongruous! I'm opting to find them delightful simply because they defy reason. You have to be brave or crazy to pull hijinks like that. Learn from her, my children, and make bold choices with your own wardrobes.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam Peter
Her jacket is huge. His vest is tiny. They should maybe trade.

Peter's back in a yellow shirt with gray details to match his gray vest and gray pants. Nothing to dwell on. Rudy, on the other hand, is stirring the pot a little.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam dog
The Curious Case of Bethany Button.

She has previously worn these little britches, and this ruffled collar, and possibly this sweater too. While I may or may not have highlighted these specific pieces when it happened, it doesn't matter because they illustrate a larger point here: it's adorable to dress children like adults. By tossing her in clothes more suited to an old person, we've made her ten times cuter. Of course, in real life, only rich people would let their offspring walk around in such nice duds without there being some sort of occasion. Garments like this aren't cheap, and kids ruin stuff right quick, especially when they're out farting around with a dog.

The dog, by the way, is named Squeakers, which was almost enough to make me turn the show off and skip this episode entirely.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe purple sweater
They call her Sticky Fingers Huxtable.

Vanessa is once again wearing the sweater that she got caught stealing from Denise that one time. I guess she was eventually successful in her efforts. It's a good sweater, at least. I think it matches her pants and shirt individually, but the three things don't come together to make a cohesive outfit. The paisley shirt combines with that deep aubergine to create something of a preppy look, while the golden pants fight that effect by being slouchy enough to be mistaken for pajamas. If she's going for schoolgirl chic, she should be rocking tighter slacks in a plainer color, like khaki. If she wants that loose vibe, then she needs something more casual on top, without a collar. This lacks direction. It's important to make a consistent statement.

Her second look is a bathrobe and actual pajamas, and thus won't be reviewed here.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
Ugh.

Honestly, Theo? You're doing this on the heels of Sondra's look from last week? Why don't you just come over and poke me in the eye?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
The calm before the storm.

Well there, that's better. That scarf is actually kind of nice. And I'm sure you're not hiding anything nefarious under that giant black coat...

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
The shitstorm.

Outright hurtful and spiteful. How dare you tarnish the glorious dragon sweater from episode #2.7 with that unwholesome brown mutation?! This is an outrage for which I cannot stand. That vest must have been expunged from the bottom of a swamp or the inside of a shower drain or something. It's rotten. Pieces like that make me hate that I ever started this project. Careful with your outfits, guys. One bad apple can, in fact, spoil the whole bunch.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
Repeat offender.

Cliff is working the repetitions pretty hard this week. First off, he's rocking almost exactly what he wore in episode #3.6, which is itself a rehash of earlier items. The suspenders, while not exactly the same, aren't entirely novel either.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
This garment is a reminder to say no to drugs.

Next up, it's his episode #3.4 sweater, paired with black pants. Help me out here, Huxtables. Would someone please wear something new or interesting?

Maybe this entry can be saved with a rousing game of HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad pregnant
Look at all the seduction. I don't think you're ready for this jelly.

With pure, smoldering sex. Also, by placing her character in Washington, D.C. so that they don't have to feature her for more than three minutes. She's back in her episode #3.7 purple top, juxtaposed against some shimmery pumpkin ruffles that I could do without. Unrelated to clothing: why in the world would a hotel provide her with a whole pineapple? There's no way she has access to a giant knife or a cutting board. Impractical.

The usual spiel: tip your server. If you've liked this blog, consider donating a dollar. If you don't want to donate a dollar, consider sharing a link to this space on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or your own website. I'd certainly appreciate it.


And that about does it. Until next week!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Season 3, Episode 9: Denise Gets a 'D'

College is hard, y'all. Denise is having trouble in three of her classes, and her parents have to coach her on how to structure her time and write decent papers and overall stop being a bad student. In other news, Rudy has to accept being cast as The Wind in her dance recital even though she believes that she is The Sun. The Huxtables have a lot of First World problems.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Dean Hughes Rosalind Cash
She got her Ph.D. in incredulity.

Beginning with guest stars, as we do, I'll introduce you to Rosalind Cash as Dr. Hughes, Denise's literature professor. Her theatrical background gave her a grounding in the classics, though her work there earned her little public notice. After finding fame starring opposite Charlton Heston in The Omega Man, she took on a diverse array of jobs, from guest spots in mainstream sitcoms like The Mary Tyler Moore Show to leading roles in blaxploitation films like Amazing Grace and Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde. She also worked with Bill Cosby on two movies: Hickey & Boggs and Uptown Saturday Night. She continued to appear regularly in television after this episode aired, including reprising the character of Dean Hughes regularly on A Different World. Sadly, she lost her battle with cancer at the age of 56.

She's dressed to convey a clear viewpoint here. After giving Denise a low grade and threatening to fail her if she doesn't improve, Dr. Hughes could easily come across as strict to the point of cruelty. To bolster the actor's natural charisma, however, the costume department has avoided stuffy suits and rigid professional attire in favor of a more colorful, less conventional approach to work clothes. She's delivering a lot here in terms of palette, veering from the sunny wrap in her hair to the bold teal of her puffy blouse to the crimson accents on her coat. The jacket also serves up some subtler shading in the leafy print along the torso. Personally, I'm not inclined to validate any of this as fashionable or attractive. It's too much, and needs to be toned down significantly. The coat alone is competing with itself, and then the shirt, headpiece, and jewelry all struggle for attention on top of it. The message that she's a cool teacher could have been conveyed just as effectively with a more tasteful look. She goes past "fun" and into "unhinged" in this getup.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Sondra Sabrina LeBeauf
Do you really want to hurt me?

You know who else makes a guest appearance? Yep, Sondra. Wearing this. We had been getting along so well, too. I want to be able to like her, but look at that jacket. How am I supposed to let that fly? The material couldn't look cheaper, and the color washes her out like a corpse. The collar is too wide and has asymmetrical notching that makes me want to turn my computer off and run away. The shape destroys her shape. One good thing about the jacket: it obscures the rest of her outfit.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Sondra Sabrina LeBeauf
Do you really want to make me cry?

Not for long, though! Once it's off, Sondra reveals that she's made a full-speed, unrepentant return to her Hostess-at-a-Tex-Mex-Restaurant phase. This shirt is the worst. While I blamed the orange for making her look dead, I think the rancid butter shade of this garment might be equally at fault. It's tent-shaped, detailed with an impossibly tacky print, and adorned with a creatively heinous pin. But let's not let the top take all the abuse: those pants are equally problematic. They appear to rest literally above the bottom of her rib cage, and then immediately billow outward (supported, naturally, by liberal pleating). Her appearance earlier in the episode leads one to believe that these are normal, if somewhat drab, slacks, so it seems that the cut of the legs isn't atrocious. Somehow, though, everything from her pelvis upward becomes an ocular assault. Why couldn't she have stayed with the forces of good? We're losing allies, gang.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Denise Lisa Bonet pajamas
Mystery: solved.

It pains me to list Denise among the guest stars, but the truth hurts sometimes.

I'm starting with this picture merely to answer my own question from episode #2.4: yes, these are pajamas.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Denise Lisa Bonet
Going through a goth phase?

Her look during most of this episode is pretty bland in comparison to her previous efforts. For starters, she spends a lot of time buried beneath this dark coat. The details are interesting: I enjoy the assertive use of piping, the broadness of the cuffs and collar, and the sturdiness of the fabric. The purple is a little too deep, though, bordering on black in a way that diminishes the impact of almost all of the creative flourishes on the garment. The pin thus becomes the only real focal point, stealing more attention than it needs to because there's simply nothing else to look at.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Denise Lisa Bonet
UNAMUSED.

Underneath, she's kept things fairly muted, again choosing to let her accessories do most of the heavy lifting. I'm much fonder of this combination, however: the charcoal sweater buttoned at the top creates a dynamic shape, and the necklace is bright by comparison without actually being particularly shocking in hue. The richly hued turtleneck actually seems to be a full-length dress, though she's shown below the waist so infrequently that I'm having a hard time verifying that assumption. If it's true, though, then I approve: she's doing a simple, elegant spin on fashion that, on a college campus, is probably more shocking than her typical bohemian ways. She's a shrewd stylist and knows how to stand out in any setting. Good going, Denise. (Except for the jacket. I'm not letting you off the hook that easily.)

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Denise Lisa Bonet
Look at the range of emotion. These two frames should be on her reel.

She gets a second outfit, but it's clearly a stay-home-and-study look: a practically colorless sweatshirt with her horrible spider pants first seen in episode #2.7. Barely worth mentioning.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
That topknot is so freaking cute!

Rudy begins in a full-on tie, which is weird mostly because she's not planning on leaving the house in this outfit. Why so formal for a staying-in ensemble? By the time dance rehearsal comes around, she's switched to a more casual top.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Honestly, I think the sun's dance looks pretty boring from her demonstration.

Same jumper, same belt, new shirt. A little weird, yeah? I guess she's got her leotard on under there, but didn't want to leave the house in just tights. There's a logic to it. Tights are not pants. (Even a child recognizes that. Do you hear me, modern-day Brooklyn? TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS.) There is no logic, however, to that ghastly pocket or the pairing of a sienna belt with a black outfit.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Her instructions on the proper bow are actually kind of great.

I wouldn't say that I enjoy Vanessa's outfit, but I think she's improving. The restriction of her color choices to red and black instantly increases the maturity of her presentation. It's no longer a haphazard gathering of pastels and jewel tones: she's looked at this with an editorial eye and found ways to simplify. Though she still displays her love of prints, they're subdued by her standards, so that's another step in the right direction. Her greatest strides, however, have come in her understanding of proportions.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
She looks great from all angles, which is a rare achievement in this house.

As Vanessa emerges into womanhood, she has to learn how to dress a new body, and today is a day of discovery for her. That upside-down corset around her waist does wonders for her hips and behind. At the same time, she's got everything hidden under bulky layers of cloth, so she gets to play with her figure without suggesting an overt sexuality that would be unfit for her age. I think the elements merge rather well here: she gets the best of both worlds with a combination of childish and adult stylistic approaches. I approve.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
From now on, spend more time observing your mother.

And you thought only Cliff could wear Cosby sweaters. Nope, they're fun for the whole family. Actually, this look draws inspiration from two other family members as well: Denise wore similar pants during the first season, and the high collar on that shirt is reminiscent of one of Sondra's early looks. Let's just say that I liked her first outfit better and leave it at that. I'm running out of creative bitchiness, and it feels better to be nice to at least one Huxtable child per episode. Even when they make that task extremely challenging.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
How do I even stay awake through his scenes anymore?

Theo is on a mission to bore me to death this season. At this rate, I'm going to end up giving Rudy a full rundown and ignoring this dude instead. Seriously, there's nothing to comment on! Dark palette with little variance? Check. Boxy sweater with a vague tapestry pattern? Check. Dark, relaxed fit jeans? Check. It's like the dullest items from his closet were put in a Markov generator.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
I GET IT DRUGS ARE BAD LEAVE ME ALONE.

Oh, I forgot: the DVD includes (because, I assume, it was included when the episode first aired) a brief opening statement from Bill Cosby reminding children that drugs will ruin their lives and destroy their families. During this heartwarming address that has absolutely no connection to the week's storyline, he wears his episode #3.4 sweater.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
Flossin'.

During the proper episode, he sports a peacock tail made of cat hair. It's the kind of thing that only he could pull off, and really the kind of thing that only he would ever attempt. I shouldn't enjoy that sky blue shock through the middle, but he saves it by matching his shirt so perfectly. It's a mess that somehow becomes beautiful in the doctor's capable hands. But don't hug him. It'll get all over you, and if your earring gets caught in it, the whole thing will unravel. And frankly just looking at it makes me itchy.

I'm really going to type it in all caps for the entire season, so you may as well accept it: HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad pregnant
I prefer not knowing what prompted this reaction. It's a standalone.

By keeping her in bed all day with a pinched nerve!

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad pregnant
"Do you guys have any more crap to bury her under?"

They really use every trick in the book here. In addition to maintaining her horizontal-ness in all scenes, they drape that latch hook project over her and give her a newspaper to read. Things are getting out of hand. We're soon going to have to resort to episodes where Clair goes to the beach and gets buried up to her neck in sand or gets caught in a blackout or something.

Thank you, all of you, for continuing to read this blog. If you've enjoyed it, please consider donating a dollar to help me keep it running. If you don't have a dollar to give or simply don't feel like giving it, you can also help by spreading the word. The internet is big and it's tough to stand out, so posting a link somewhere or talking about Huxtable Hotness at parties or hiring a plane to write the URL in the sky can make a huge difference. I could use the help.


Again, thanks for sticking around. Let's meet up again next week and do this again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Season 3, Episode 8: Vanessa's Rich

Opportunity strikes! The two most popular girls in the eighth grade want Vanessa to help them write cheers for the pep squad. This is her chance to become popular, which at her age seems like the only thing that could ever matter. However, she makes trouble for herself by trying to impress her new friends with the amount of money Clair paid for her painting at the auction. When two other pep squad members call Vanessa "rich girl" at practice, a scuffle breaks out, and Cliff and Clair have to explain some things to their daughter. Rudy, who is too young to understand class warfare, plays checkers with Theo.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Paula Young Essence Atkins
Intergalactic teenage bitchery.

This is Paula Young, who seems like the Queen Bee. I mean, look at all the attitude she's serving up. That's a lot of eye roll for a girl who shares her name with a mail order wig company. The actor, Essence Atkins, has gotten steady work in television and film since she began her career on this very program. You may have seen her in recurring roles on Under One Roof, Malibu Shores, or Half & Half, or in movies such as Deliver Us From Eva and Dance Flick.

I'm amazed that this is how the costume department dressed the most popular girl in the class. She's delivering primary colors (my least favorite combo) and they're configured in a manner that would be more appropriate on a faraway planet than in a Brooklyn residence. The layers are impossible to comprehend; I'm surmising that the shirt is yellow at the collar and sleeves but then transitions to red somewhere in the middle, but it's entirely possible that the band around her waist is its own garment. No matter what the situation there, it's undeniably ugly. It's even styled poorly: unbutton that top button! And beyond that, she's doing distressing things with paisley (while pairing black with too dark a blue, I might add), and then she's got those sad, scrubby pants on to finish the job. And by "the job," I mean "making me ill."

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cindy Ana Money
Looking around for something to judge. The mirror is over there, honey.

The Gretchen Wieners to her Regina George is Cindy. Ana Monet exists on the IMDb only for this scene, but one can hope that she went on to bigger and better things with her life. Apparently, in their little gang, it's all the rage to match your gross overlarge top with a gross pair of pants. You should have a garish print in there somewhere, too (Cindy's mixing it up by putting hers on the pant), and then maybe you throw down a contrasting color near the neckline. The amethyst/teal situation she's working with is actually alright, but everything else falls apart completely. She looks so burly in that sweatshirt, and then there's that tri-collar effect at the top that basically makes it seem like her head is hatching from a fabric cabbage. I've gotta say: I'm not convinced by these presentations. Nothing about their appearance says "everyone wants to be them."

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Skeptical. She knows I want to ignore her completely.

As usual, I'm dropping in a picture of Rudy only because I feel bad overlooking her, but I have nothing to say about a two-toned sweatsuit.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
WINNING.

This outfit isn't terrific, but that pose sells it. While I just vetoed primary colors a couple paragraphs ago, I make allowances for people whose age is in the single digits. Same for the use of multiple patterns and other whimsical embellishments. As an overall ensemble, I admit that this is another over-the-top, someone-needs-to-tell-her-that-less-is-more scenario. But she's draping her body like she's part of an editorial spread in Italian Vogue. The droop of the shoulder! The careless dangle of her left leg! The jut of her tiny hip! It's not all the way there in the close-up, but I live for that long shot. Another point in her favor: you can't lose with sensible shoes in assertive hues. (Yes, I'm rhyming now. Deal with it.)

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Sweet mother of mercy, hide the children.

Vanessa's plan to win over the popular crowd apparently involves overloading their neural pathways with visual signals until their weakened minds become susceptible to manipulation. Seriously, the amount of different crap happening in this outfit means that these pieces have essentially been weaponized. The worst part is that they may have been created as a set, judging by how closely the colors align between the skirt and sweater. One can only assume, then, that the use of assault-grade casual wear was not isolated to the Huxtable household, but was rather a widespread phenomenon. How did society survive the onslaught? Getting out of the dystopian fantasy and back to brutal reality, let's look at some important details. First, that turtleneck brazenly defies reason by adding an entirely new shade to an already overblown clothing configuration. Second, the purple tights and red boots (I know I just congratulated Rudy for red shoes but this is different and you know it) would be too much in an all-beige setting, and are downright outrageous here. Third, those purple heart earrings might be stealth adorable. But really this is a head-to-toe nightmare.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Violence and poly-blend are not the answers, Vanessa.

There's a way to make overalls work, but this definitely isn't it. I'm ignoring Vanessa's disheveled state of affairs because this scene takes place after she's been in a physical altercation with two classmates. But fisticuffs don't explain why that elastic band was placed just below her ribcage instead of someplace more flattering. Her proportions are completely ruined: her torso shrinks, her butt enlarges, and her still-growing chest becomes prematurely droopy. The only way to tailor this more poorly would be to let Denise try to make one herself. At least her effort to balance the neutral tone with a glaring pink was on target. Heaven knows she needs something to go right for her today. I guess she can always take comfort in all that money her family has.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
I can't lose Denise, Clair, and Theo all at once. It's too much to bear.

I hate every last molecule of Theo's first look. The pants that gather at the bottom, the dreadful '80s print on the sweatshirt, the Christmas-y palette, the tacky bands at the collar and cuff of his top... nothing about this works. Every time he appears lately, it's a new disappointment.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
Hypothetical: what if you drank two shades of dye and some ipecac?

See what I mean? Who would wear such a horrendous shirt? I'd be interested to see how that lavender and deep aqua played out in a different configuration, but when swirled together like Jupiter's surface, they're not doing anyone any favors. The pants are fine, I guess, but then he carts out those electric blue socks that are basically a gateway drug to Cockroach's anklebombs. Don't go down that road, Theo. No happiness can survive such a path. Remember the good days back in season one? What happened to us, baby? We had such a good thing.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Doctor Dr Cliff Bill Cosby
This is his SERIOUS DOCTOR face.

Cliff begins the episode in his work clothes, informing us that he has a tie that's made of... terrycloth? Seriously, that material is so thick he could mop up a spill with it. Maybe an item like that comes in handy in the obstetrics field. That doesn't make it less hideous, however.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
That's not an iPhone, it's a remote control.

He does better when he loses the tie. He does worse when he adds the jacket and hat.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
Suspender disbelief.

This shirt works way better when considered up close. The subtle variances in and interplay between the various hues come across in a pleasing manner when you're right up next to it. As you step back, the effect loses its mandala-like peacefulness and becomes more circus-y. And since you can't depend on people to only view you at an appropriate distance, I'm going to have to call this one a failure overall. Sorry, Cliff. At least the suspenders are alright. (I'm still a little surprised that "Cosby suspenders" didn't become a secondary cultural legacy, given how often they seem to pop up.)

Say it with me, children: HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad pregnant
At least this is a plausible activity.

With a newspaper! While I don't love this outfit, it's better than a lot of her other looks this season. She'd have been better off in a richer shade of gold (like the jacket from episode #2.10, for instance), but at least she's abdicated pattern abuse to the younger generation for a moment.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad pregnant teddy bear
Look at Phylicia's face. She knows this is bullshit.

With a giant teddy bear! The production team is just trolling us at this point. How is this not an outright dare to question them? It's so zealously nonsensical.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad pregnant
Stop making her do so many errands! Baby on board, people!

With groceries! Don't get me started on this top. It's a grossery all its own. Those black bands are an affront, the shade is dead wrong for her, the speckled print... ugh, I hate everything. Also, blush has become an auxiliary tool in the quest to deceive the audience. As her face starts showing weight, the make-up crew has taken to contouring her cheeks more aggressively to disguise the roundness. Luckily, that amount of shading wasn't reserved for drag queens back then.

Another one down, another... no, I was going to count how many left, but that's a bad idea. We're not even halfway there. I'll be doing this for a while, though, that's a guarantee. Anyhow, if you're interested in helping me continue this fool's errand, feel free to click on the button below and donate a dollar. I'd appreciate it. I'll even send you a personal email letting you know how much I appreciate it! If you don't want to spend money on me (and who would?), you can also help by spreading the word. Tweeting @BillCosby or liking his Facebook page and then tagging him in a mention of the blog would be ideal. If you can't do that, then just tell your friends to read an entry or two. Every little bit helps.


I'll be back next Monday. Hopefully, so will you. Until then, lovelies.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Celebrating the man who started it all.

Today is Bill Cosby's 75th birthday, and I hope it is a happy one. I poke a lot of fun on this blog, but Mr. Cosby is an icon for a reason. His show brought about real change, not just in the landscape of television, but in the minds of his viewing audience. I admire him a great deal and hope that my readers will take a few moments today to reflect on his contributions.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Season 3, Episode 7: Theo's Flight

Poor Huxtable teenagers: we are forever being reminded that their dreams outweigh their abilities. Inspired by the Tuskegee Airman who makes a speech at school, Theo and Cockroach decide that they want to get licensed as pilots. Though their parents agree to let them go on one flying lesson, they have to face the harsh reality that neither of them can afford future training, let alone a plane to fly. In another corner of the household, Rudy has enlisted a boyfriend the way one might draft a private into the military.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Bud Kenny Deon Richmond
BuUud.

That boyfriend is none other than Kenny, though most of you probably remember him as Bud. I wish there were a way to type that nickname the way Rudy pronounces it. The actor is Deon Richmond, who was about eight when this was filmed. Since then, he's had a recurring role on Sister, Sister, followed by film appearances in Scream 3, Not Another Teen Movie, and Van Wilder. In terms of clothing, he's dressed like a miniature Cliff. I have to wonder if there was a clear intention there, suggesting to the audience that Rudy was subconsciously or even intentionally mirroring her own parents' relationship with her choice of partner. Since sweaters like this are typically only worn on the show by much older men, I can't help but feel as though Kenny should be sporting something a little brighter and more youthful. Then again, he looks nice, so I shouldn't complain.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cockroach Carl Anthony Payne
Maybe he's just hiding a case of virulent cankles.

The other guest star today is Cockroach. I'm not bothered by most of what he's wearing, though it's nothing to write home about. The pattern on his sweater adds some visual appeal, but I think it does odd things to his proportions, especially given how formless the torso is and the odd length to which he's rolled his sleeves. The jeans are similarly unworthy of much discussion until you get down to the bottom, where he has done that wretched rolled socks thing again. It's not cute, dude. Let it go.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cockroach Carl Anthony Payne
He came so close.

What did I just say? There he goes again, this time with blue anklebombs (which is what I will now call this affront to my sensibilities). These suspenders are from his first appearance in episode #2.15, and the shirt is the same style as the one from that episode, though in a neutral gray. (I think it might be the undershirt Theo wore in #2.19, but really how could one even tell?) I'm loving most of this; the high-waisted pant is a particularly daring choice from him, and it would work even better if he paired it with something other than miniature legwarmers.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Her smile hides daggers.

Oh Rudy, you're so adorable and coordinated, but I don't care about this outfit at all. Besides, you already wore that cardigan in episode #1.24.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Maybe something bigger than daggers. Cleavers. Spears.

This one, on the other hand, is worth some attention, mostly because of how it aligns with Kenny's look. So much about her reads elderly here, like the frill at her collar and cuff, or the fussy build of her cardigan, or the pastels-aged-in-the-attic palette. The costumers are positioning these two as an old married couple, a dynamic that ends up playing out through their interactions in later seasons. Rudy and Kenny become a conduit for much of the show's discussion of gender roles . Anyhow, I don't care much for this look as an actual look, but as an indicator of relationships and interpersonal dynamics, it's quite effective.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Fun fact: Vanessa eats a lot of apples.

Vanessa appears in only one scene this week. I was inclined to be mildly OK with this (the orange headband clashed wildly with the pink sweater, but it's not terrible), but then that hint of mania at the bottom of the screen alerted me that she's wearing... well, I don't really know, even. She doesn't give us a better look until she walks up the stairs in the background, revealing this:

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
I'm not sure I could withstand the impact of a clear image.

There's still not enough detail to allow me to fully comprehend the damage being done by that skirt, but even at a blurry distance, I can see that it's awful and wrong on every possible level. How could you mar such a wholesome pink sweater with this circus vomit creation? And then your yellow shoes first seen in episode #2.3? I've been good to you lately, hon. Don't do me like this.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
It's not easy (or fashionable) being green.

This is the wrong pants/shirt pairing for Cliff. I don't mind them individually, but they don't differ enough in hue. Suspenders were a mistake in this circumstance, too: a belt would have at least provided a clear break at the waist. He's done better work.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
He knows the awful power he wields.

The cargo pants no longer surprise me like they used to. As for the sweater, it's closer in its mind-altering qualities to the garments we expect from Cliff. I like how some of the arcs change color every 90 degrees, while others do not, furthering the hypnotic quality of the pattern. You can't look away even as the offensive color scheme continues to inflict psychological damage. This is the woven equivalent of being immobilized by venom before you are eaten. You know it's happening, but you are powerless to stop it. The Sweater, coming this summer to a theater near you.

You know it, you love it: HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
Do not break her shoe. She will not be pleased.

By moving the desk to block her! At least she gets to wear real clothes in this scene. That's her episode #2.7 sweater coat with the pin from #2.4.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
Do let her tell you what the rules are. She loves that.

With a refrigerator door! And more close-ups! And another giant purple top! (This time without stripes!)

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
Peepin' like a creep.

With a brick wall! No one's going to see a baby bump through that.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
She's clutching that cushion in an almost lascivious manner.

With a pillow! With a sewing project! And what the hell are those striped pants? Everyone was so concerned with making her look regular-sized that they forgot to make her look stylish. Or they decided that "stylish" is something different than it actually is.

Like sands through the hourglass, these are the minutes you wasted reading about clothes worn on television 25 years ago. If you don't consider that time a waste (and you shouldn't: think of all you've learned!), then I hope you'll consider donating to the cause. Think of me like one of those children that Sally Struthers used to schill for, except instead of flies crawling in my tear ducts, I have a hard drive overflowing with pictures of sitcom actors in outlandish sweaters. Just think, your one-time donation of a dollar could help this man get the DVD box set he needs to finish this asinine project he's started.


And even if you don't donate, I'll keep going, because that's how obsessed.