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.

Aw...

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.

Awwwwwww...

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.

Face.

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.

Serving.

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.

Confused?

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.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Season 6, Episode 4: Denise Kendall: Navy Wife

Martin had the opportunity to secure housing on a naval base, but Denise neglected to confirm the reservation, so they have to continue living with Cliff and Clair. It's a pretty thin plot, but there you go.

Fast-forward.

Martin and the two guest stars he interacts with all wear uniforms, which makes my job pretty easy. Look, everyone: uniforms!

Still kind of in fast-forward.

Olivia ups the ante on cuteness by going full-on ragdoll with that sewed-from-scraps top. The mismatched colors and thick, uneven stitching are totally nouveau urchin. What a delightful moppet.

Fast-forward-ish.

I'm taking Rudy and Vanessa as a unit today because there just isn't much to say about either of them. Rudy in particular is fading into nothingness with jeans and a yellow sweatshirt. There's some sort of weird ruffle going across her hips there, but it's so repellent that I can't ask you to acknowledge it. Her older sister has more of a point of view and appears to be dabbling in vintage menswear with those high-belted, voluminous trousers. I don't know that it was necessary for her to match her green pants with a green blouse, but it's not terrible. The contrast collar pops pleasingly. I'll give it to her, I guess. It's worse without the cardigan.

PAUSE!

No Theo this week (probably for the best), so here's Denise. She's really the queen of the color story, as demonstrated by the odd combination of hues she's serving up. The pale mint and mauve kind of shouldn't work together, but they're grounded by the deep maroon and olive pieces. She never takes that jacket off, so I can't say precisely what's happening below, but her layering game appears to be on point here: turtleneck, then some sort of sweater, then an overalls thing, and then a blazer. It's an outfit that's at once highly polished and completely bohemian; she can wear it in the East Village or at an office meeting. I suppose it's not ideal for either setting, but it's acceptable in both, and that's an accomplishment. It's telling that she wears this when trying to impress high-ranking naval officers. When her husband wears his uniform, this is what she pulls out.

Delete. 

We didn't really need to put Clair in shoulder pads. Nor did we need to put her in Christmas colors. Pretty much all of this is wrong, from the overuse of head-to-toe red to the roominess of all of the pieces to the horribly basic color blocking. These shades don't even match particularly well. I hate that this happened to her.

Ya seeee?

In a rare overlap, Cliff wears essentially the same colors as his wife, though he uses his to tell the story of an epic struggle between two jade tigers. The collar is loafier than I'd like, but it's otherwise acceptable. For him, anyway: don't you go thinking you can pull this off. No offense, but most of you probably can't.

The new year is creeping up on us. I hope you all get the celebration you want.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Season 6, Episode 3: I'm "In" With The "In" Crowd

First off: I'm late posting again, and I have no good excuse for that. Sorry!

Now, on with the blogging. This is one of the episodes that people tend to remember (or at least I remembered well): Vanessa goes to a party and ends up getting drunk because her friends pressure her to do shots while playing the Alphabet Game. To teach her a lesson, her parents force her into practicing with them and even push Rudy into taking a shot before revealing that the "bourbon" they're drinking is tea. I'm not actually sure how this teaches Vanessa anything, but it's a fun scene!

No one's going for that last slice?

There are a LOT of bonus ladies in this episode, and I'm not going to go over them in any great level of detail because I just don't think anyone cares. We'll hit the important ones. This image at least lets you see everyone, even if I don't offer in-depth commentary. Fun fact: the girl in the orange pants is Ensa Cosby, Bill's daughter.

Everyone's thinking really hard about clapping.

Janet's here in layered yellow creation. Not her best effort. The host of the party, who initially brings out the booze, is the one in lavender. Basically everyone in this picture looks how you'd expect a teenager in the '80s to look. Get it while you can, ladies, you'll be in the '90s in a few months!

Ugly outfit contest! We all lose.

Kara returns with a creation that probably wasn't intended to be a used car salesman costume, but there it is. Too many loud colors and bold patterns, lady. Rein it in. Next to her, the bored-looking one (the scene actually calls for her to be bored, so good job!) is wearing fringed jeans. I am morally opposed to fringe on jeans. Morally.

Commitment.

You can't tell from the picture, but Olivia is imitating a cow here. She's also proving that she can read. She's also seated at a high (to her, at least) table, so it's tough to tell what she has on. I'll offer some tentative approval of the detailed stitching on the off-white garment. Really, the turtleneck with a dark, creatively patterned top has potential. She probably looks great.

O Tannenbaum.

It better be close to Christmas if Rudy is wearing this much red and green.

That string or thin ribbon through the front of her hair is top-notch.

Purple is a good color on Vanessa, and she's on the right track with those pants, though I'd be happier if they were a more yellowy ocher than this greenish shade. But hey, solid effort.

Oh girl, I know that feeling.

Her hangover clothes are basically a faded version of yesterday's look. SYMBOLISM!

Stop smiling, you haven't looked good for four seasons.

Theo drops by for a quick scene to mooch off his parents. He's trying too hard in every possible way.

It's not right.

Usually I can count on Denise in these moments, and here she is letting me down with sweats. From you, Denise? This hurts.

Shreds of dignity.

Clair starts the episode off in a lot of fringe. It's not great. The fit on these garments is weird, too, particularly the top, which is belted too high and ends at the wrong place, changing her torso's shape in unflattering ways. There's not much worth saving here.

Getting ready for WERQ.

This is mostly a repeat of her episode #5.26 look, but with a new blouse subbed in. I prefer the other one, honestly. Also, she's swapped her jewelry for a clashing pocket square, which I would qualify as another bad choice. At least the earrings are phenom.

I want it. Give it to me.

Oh Cliff YES. This gradient sweater is giving me life. I'm 100% in favor of it. This might be his best sweater ever in terms of actual taste, though it doesn't rate highly in the pantheon of legit Cosby sweaters. I might have preferred an actual collar on the shirt, though.

Not bad.

Cliff also dips back into episode #5.26 to repeat the braided leather suspenders. His pants seem to be the same, too. While the shirt isn't wildly different in terms of tone from his previous offering, it's stepping into new directions pattern-wise. I can't really get a handle on whether there are random patches of dark and light gray bleeding into each other, or if maybe there's an overarching structure that I can't read into. I'd almost rather there be no clear design; I like the idea of a haphazard application of hues. It makes sense with his other fashion choices.

And there we have it. Another week down, many more still to come. Again, really sorry for being late with these lately. I don't have a good excuse.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Season 6, Episode 2: Surf's Up

Offended that he hasn't yet been invited to Theo's new place, Cliff shows up unannounced and begins to regale his son and his roommates with stories of his own wild college days. Unfortunately, the young men try to replicate some of these antics and end up getting immediately evicted. Uninterested in having yet another child move back home, the doctor begs, pleads, and bribes until the landlord agrees to give the apartment back.

It pains me, too.

Keith Diamond appears as Theo's roommate Danny. The cast is never explained. Nor is the trucker gear.

People probably thought he was super hot when this aired.

The other roommate, Glen, is played by Spike Alexander. The only sin worse than lazy trucker gear is sweats. What should I have expected from engineering majors, I guess?

Legitimate Star Alert!!!

The real get this week in terms of guest performer is Oscar winner Anthony Quinn as Mr. Fuentes, the landlord. I like that he's dressed up in a tie and vest even though he hadn't expected Cliff to show up at his place; he's just a naturally dapper dude. At the same time, the clothes don't fit quite right and the tie is dated, showing that he's keeping up appearances even if he isn't actually making millions. Good character detail, wardrobe!

I'm not even talking about his clothes. You can't see them anyway.

Carmen Finestra shows up briefly as Mr. Fuentes' disappointing son. If only he knew that his kid has a side gig as the Wall Street Comic!

Whatever she's saying, I bet it's sassy.

Most of the family only pops up for a brief dinner scene, and shots of clothing below the waist proved hard to secure in most cases. So here's Olivia showing us how to look cute in a color combo that you can only pull off until your fifth birthday. Enjoy it while it lasts, kid.

No longer the youngest and/or sassiest.

Rudy, you should take those suspenders to a dermatologist, because they appear to have a rather severe skin condition of some sort. Maybe there's a lotion that can make them less offensive to the eye?

Girl, you'll be a woman soon.

T-shirt. Vest. Sure, whatever. The main take-away here is that Vanessa is now old enough to wear make-up, as evidenced by that perfect shade of lip gloss.

His distress is our distress.

So, overalls are gonna be your "thing" this season, huh? Great. Just great. Theo is delivering a palette best reserved for supervillains, a shirt that could only be worn by a snowboarder in an energy drink commercial, and a denim affront that could possibly never be worn correctly ever. Also, his hair still looks like that.

Still perfect.

You know who can make that front pouf look good? Denise and only Denise. It's like a metacommentary on the big bangs of the '80s. Otherwise, it's sort of unclear what's going on with her outfit, other than the continuation of her commitment to baggy clothes and African prints. I'm assuming it looks great because really, when has she not delivered for us?

Look closely, he's there.

Martin is in jeans and a ringer tee. Yes, this is the best I could do in terms of a shot of his outfit.

Oh. Them. Right.

Sondra's wearing green, Elvin's wearing purple with black stripes. Oh, there's a pin. I don't know, they're there for ten seconds and then leave, what do you want from me?!

Incredulous.

I don't think Clair is wearing pajamas, mostly because she has earrings on, but she didn't seem to leave the house today, and that getup sure does look comfy. Nice pairing of the orange with the patterned brown and red garment over it (even if that is still essentially a bathrobe), but the purple pants take me out of it. A rare misstep from our matriarch. Denise must be sucking her powers away. She is the new Supreme.

Falling for Fall.

Cliff is feeling the forest fantasy in this sweater. I wonder if he got it from the wilderness store? Then again, you probably wouldn't want to wear this hunting; you'd get blown away for sure. The mellow yellow collar underneath is a delight, though the deep pleats in his pants distract. It's not his fault. I don't even think they started making flat-front slacks until 1993. (At least, that's certainly the impression this show gives.)

Sorry, this one was way late and way short and way lazy. I'm unemployed and trying to find work and applying to school and also playing video games because I can't spend my whole life looking for a job. I'm distracted, OK?