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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Season 6, Episode 5: Theo's Gift

After weeks of simple stories that all take place over the course of a single day, I'm suddenly thrown an episode that arcs over many weeks. Since sitcoms in the '80s were apparently afraid of spreading a plot over more than a single half-hour session, we're rushed through several momentous events this time around. After studying hard with Justine (who's back in the picture I guess?), Theo knows all the information but still earns a mediocre grade. Suspecting dyslexia, his counselor gives him a battery of tests. We're then fast-forwarded to the reveal that he is in fact dyslexic, followed by another jump to a future test that he aced after hours and hours of coaching from a mentor. Were we really not prepared to postpone his second test until another episode? Did we have to cram multiple months into this single serving? People wear a lot of clothes in a month.

And so you're back. From outer space.

Alva Chinn has already appeared twice on this show, as (presumably) two other characters. Though I didn't review her outfit, she was one of the pregnant women in Cliff's maternity class at the community center in episode #1.23; she popped in again as one of Clair's book club friends in episode #4.13. This time around, she's an NYU employee helping Theo identify and work with his atypical learning style. I know I use the Star Trek comparison a lot, but it's so appropriate here. Like, she really should be sitting behind a console of flashing lights. An orange turtleneck with structured, almost militaristic seams? And an actual medal pinned to her chest? Come on!

Also back. Presumably not from outer space.

Wait, when and why did you take Theo back? And why are you so opposed to complementary colors? Green goes with things other than green.


I know that injecting a new cute kid is a total gimmick, but oh my GOD this kid is cute. Who can say no to that? You can't complain about her being here. She's too cute. An electric blue jumper? Lavender shirt? Actual, three-dimensional fish on her collar? Leggings? Sneakers? PS: She's saying "quack quack" right now and if you could hear the joy when she says it, your heart would melt. It should be your ringtone. There isn't a happier sound than Olivia imitating a duck.


Because this week's episode spans an eternity, even Olivia gets two outfits. This one is just as cute as the first, with special praise going to that rainbow belt. Yes, ma'am.

Trying too hard.

The b-plot (yes, there's room for a b-plot) this week is that Denise is learning to parent by managing Olivia and Rudy's interactions. And I'll tell you what, this episode affirmed for me that I'm better off without children. Rudy bursts in horrified that no one asked for permission to use her toy duck even though she is fully ten years old here and should theoretically be mature enough to a) share and b) not want a wooden duck on a string. Everyone's all calm about it, but I wanted to reach through the screen and be like, "You know, when you came downstairs, I was kind of feeling those overalls. But then I looked closer and saw that your shirt and socks clash with the green really badly and also your attitude sucks! Go upstairs and read a book and try to handle the fact that you're not the cutest one anymore." Get it together, girl.

And trying to skip out on school assignments, too!

At least her sweater game is on point when she shows her face again. I'll allow the headband, too. Not my fave jacket, but I bet chic outerwear is tough to find in her size. Now go back upstairs and do your homework.

Is this bookish look shade about Theo's learning disability?

I'm not sure what Vanessa's got going on here, but she gets points for boldness if nothing else. As far as I can tell, she's going to a costume party as one of Theo's NYU faux intellectual male friends. It's a solid approach, honestly.

The man of the hour.

Here, we see Theo studying for his upcoming exam on Greek mythology. (What is Theo's major, by the way? He's taking a really broad spectrum of classes.) He's relaxing at home, so I suppose he doesn't need to step up his game beyond jeans and a long-sleeved tee. That said, his newly-returned (as far as I can tell, anyway) lady friend is sitting on the other end of the couch, and it wouldn't kill him to woo her a little. He did make out with that melodramatic girl in front of the entire dorm. Justine deserves a hint of effort.

Primary colors. (I know that's not technically accurate. Whatever.)

He spruced it up a little for the test. The other pieces aren't spectacular, but I'm pretty into the textured cardigan with the half-zipper in the front. His color story could use some sprucing up, but he's not overtly failing. Though: is his fly unzipped? Maybe.


We barely see it, but he resurrects his episode #6.03 blazer for the meeting with his counselor.

Derp face.

Oh, in case you were unaware: Theo's dyslexia diagnosis mirrors the diagnosis of Bill Cosby's son, Ennis. Fun fact! I'm sharing that now because I don't want to talk about this hateful outfit.

Always there to save the day.

Denise's initial showing is very in keeping with her voluminous proto-Olsen choices. The alignment of the pale grass green helps to unite these pieces, and they're both popping with fun details like embroidery and pattern inconsistencies. Though relaxed, these garments were not chosen in haste or without thought.


After some successes as a mother, however, she re-emerges with more of her old flair. The width of the pants and cardigan hint at her continued commitment to bohemian chic, but there's still formal structure involved. Essentially, she's merging two disparate themes, taking men's trousers and a short shrug in sizes that are way too large for her to create a distinctive shape. Notice how the shoulder seam is halfway down her upper arm: that piece was intended for someone twice her size, and was meant to be much shorter as a result. But she makes it into a slouchy cape that's all her own. The turtleneck is a holdover from last week.

Look at the withering judgment.

Clair starts out in what I'm pretty sure is her episode #5.17 skirt paired beautifully with a butternut-hued wrap blouse. God, she's perfect.

Even her concern looks judgmental.

When she and Cliff next appear, they're in the counselor's office. They remain seated for the entire scene, so this is all we get. To get the doctor out of the way: solid except for that ridiculous tie. Clair, on the other hand, is resplendent in her well-matched neutrals. The jacket is just a hair too yellow to be called khaki, but still too mellow to resonate as sunflower. It sits perfectly against the black and white base without being ostentatious or overdone. I might have gone a little less fussy with those big buttons along her forearm, but otherwise this is great. Well, I mean, shoulder pads, but we're just not getting rid of those ever, huh?

There's maybe even a hint of judgment in that smile.

What up, color blocking? This is an acceptable around-the-house outfit. But that's about it.

I bet Condola got away with nothing as a child.

Damn her hair looks good here. Right? As for the velour matched set, this is what begat Juicy Couture, apparently. I guess I should applaud her for scooping Jennifer Lopez on that trend, but like: is this really how you wanted to serve it up, Clair? On a day when you got your hair done? That skirtlet falls at exactly the wrong place, widening where most people would want to add a little slimness. It should flare out lower. Or, even better, not at all. With different pants, this might look more presentable, but now it just reads as a sweatsuit that's trying too hard.

In many pictures, he looks like he's making animal noises.

Too dark, Cliff. I like the wildly printed fractal paisley, but it all blends together. You can barely tell the shirt from the suspenders from the pants.


Leaves. Stripes under leaves. I don't love it, but I don't despise it.

Super confused.

This is what people probably think of when they think of a Cosby sweater, not realizing how much weirder he actually got with his choices. This is an odd configuration of shades and shapes, and it's not something that another human would wear, but it's not even in the top ten in terms of the strangest stuff he displayed over the years. It's funny, we're all so invested in his sweaters that I barely even comment on his pants and shirts anymore. Like, he's wearing pants and a shirt, sure (I'd definitely comment if he weren't), but the whole point of those items is to take a back seat and display the knits. He's all about the knits.

And with that, we end another year of Huxtable Hotness. See you all in 2014.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. 'I bet Condola got away with nothing as a child'
    Hahaha LOL

    Happy New Year! Thanks for your blog :)

  3. Just now discovering this. Love that you're reviewing The Cosby Show. I'm writing a new blog reviewing Saved by the Bell. Hope you'll consider linking to me. I'm linking to you.

    Hey I love the blog...kind of sad you beat me to reviewing Small Wonder as this is actually almost as bad as Full House. I've started a blog reviewing Saved by the Bell episodes and am linking to you. Hope you'll link back. I'll keep reading!


    Keep up the good work!

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