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 14, 2014

Season 7, Episode 3: The Last Barbecue

I'm going to stop apologizing for not posting every week. At this point, we may need to assume that the entries will come more sporadically for the blog's final two seasons. We're all doing our best.

In another of the show's weirdly moralistic episodes, the family gets into a shrill, shallow argument over whether it's OK for Martin to have a stripper at his bachelor party. As far as I was concerned, it couldn't end quickly enough.

"What's a stripper?"

Olivia steps up her onesie game by following Cliff's Cosby sweater example. This one garment has a dizzying number of shades and patterns smashed together, and it works only because it is stronger than either of us. I bow down to this clown jumpsuit's superiority. It has won.

It's so boring having no lines.

Rudy barely features this week, and looks pretty bummed about it. Kenny shows up, too. No one cares about their opinions or their clothes or my opinions on their clothes. Moving on.

It's so boring having no style.

Theo has been carting out yellow shirts with black print on them since episode #3.01; he did it again in #4.10 and most recently in #5.26. Which is to say: he hasn't worn this shirt before, but he basically has. It's as good a look as I can hope for from him at this point.

I call this hairdo the "Back Bump-It."

Though she's just as likely to be shabby as she is to be chic, Denise serves up some casual elegance this week. I think her dusty rose jumpsuit and white frilly blouse are intended to position her as a more mature, stately woman so that her arguments on the feminist value of deploring strippers seem more grounded. This is not a vagrant weirdo talking, this is a student and mother. The show vacillates wildly in terms of how seriously it wants us to take Denise each week, so sartorial cues like this are really important. Though she's still wearing a giant fairy pendant, so maybe take her statements with a grain of salt regardless.

It's so boring being boring.

The difference between a Suburban Dad costume and a Martha Stewart costume is that Martha Stewart wouldn't be caught dead in pleated pants.

!!!!!

There aren't words. It's so implausible that I'm just going to assume that this is the best thing that has ever been worn in the history of humanity. Seusseralls for the win.

I'm too bored to even write about how boring this is.

Not even Elvin cares what Elvin is wearing. It'll pretty much always be that same pair of jeans with a different buttoned shirt made of thick fabric.

Well, it's not boring...

There's precious little of Clair this week, probably because they couldn't think of a suitably scathing yet insightful way for her to end the argument for good. Like, if she's talking, it has to be wisdom from the depths. The writers weren't up to the task, it seems. The costumers struggled a little, too, trying to combine the earthy qualities of a mother cooking for her family with the regal qualities of a pharaoh ruling over her queendom. Nothing seems to gel, despite the fact that everything is part of the same color story. The high, loose pants and saggy blouse aren't working in my eyes. Nice gold flats, though.

Snooze.

Yup, that's a sweatshirt and a pair of extremely baggy jeans, alright.

Not. Having. It.

I love how completely impossible it is to capture Anna making a simple, relaxed face. She is always giving it. She's also giving it in terms of fashion. This is the sort of dressed-down elegance that Clair didn't manage: the pants fit a little better, the tied bottom adds control to the otherwise loose top, and the mostly-maroon color scheme makes her look rich and regal while still allowing for some home-spun, busy-ass patterning. Well done.

I love that grandpa is pro-burlesque.

And then Russell closes us out in khakis and a long-sleeved purple polo. Nothing to see here.

Things are getting weird now that the show is in the '90s. I finally thought I knew what to expect from everyone, but those expectations are forever getting turned on their head. At least that'll keep it exciting for future entries, whenever I get around to writing them.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Season 7, Episode 2: Bird in the Hand

Cliff is side-tracked from his trip to the auction house when his offer to drive Olivia to school suddenly becomes a day-long shift as the teacher's assistant. To make sure he places the winning bid instead of his friend Dr. Harmon, he participates over the phone. It all gets a little silly, but in the end the Huxtables own a new, expensive thing, so I guess that's good?

Moderator of the "Who's The Richest?" contest.

This is the auctioneer. It's unclear which of the actors listed in the credits actually plays him. The only thing worth commenting on here is his tie, which is a little frillier than it needs to be, though I guess that's intended to convey the level of luxury associated with his workplace.

Facilitating participation in the contest.

The man taking Cliff's bids over the phone is also unidentifiable from the credits. He's doing a pretty standard red, white, and blue theme. Nothing much to discuss.

No pop songs this time. Oh well.

Jonathan is back, after appearing at Olivia's birthday to sing "Eye of the Tiger." He's still a little scamp. Plus, he's rocking some sassy suspenders.

Edna Krabappel.

Marge Redmond appears as Mrs. Lebeau, Olivia's teacher. She's pretty married to the green family, it seems, ranging from pea soup to forest but avoiding anything that could be called an accent color. This outfit is well proportioned and appropriate for her job, but craves a belt or something similar to add a hint of visual interest. Otherwise, she looks pretty sharp, honestly.

Rich, but not as rich as Cliff and Clair.

Dr. Harmon, last seen in his epic petanque battle with Cliff, returns with a more streamlined beard and a continued commitment to strong color combinations. His pants are the wrong shade and ride too high on his waist, but everything up top is working for me. The jacket is the right counterpoint for the dark teal and maroon pattern with perfectly matched tie. By using unexpected yet subdued hues and prints, he nicely straddles the line between casual and professional.

But, like, what about tadpoles? Such a cliffhanger.

Denise (one assumes) continues to choose unique, delightful pieces for Olivia. This roomy pink jumpsuit with the zig-zag closure and comic print is exceptionally strange but oddly endearing; she ends up looking like a big, weird doll. Though the multi-colored florets and overall shape of the main garment suggest clownishness, she avoids seeming too silly in her appearance. This is not how most Earth children dress, but I can't see a reason why they shouldn't.

Always with the laundry and the eating and the looking like crap.

When Theo shows up, I get angry. Pretty much every time. This is more bland than truly offensive, but I'm still unhappy that he has stopped dressing well and might not have any more good outfits left for the whole run of the series.

Since when does she have glasses?

Since she's writing a paper, Denise starts out in sweats and an old t-shirt. I'm sure she wouldn't be caught dead in this normcore nonsense outside the house, so I'll refrain from comment.

I bet they never tell us what grade she got on her assignment.

She changes before leaving the house, selecting the graphic blouse first seen in episode #6.10 and some new striped pants. I think this top is bold enough that she doesn't really need such colorful pants with it, but I'm not going to tell her how to dress herself because she's clearly got a handle on it.

I see you looking right into the camera, dude.

For most of the episode, Clair is swathed in layers. For me, at least, it built a great deal of anticipation. What, pray tell, could be hiding under there? I thought for sure that there would be a bold, beautiful reveal.

There should be a punishment for making Phylicia look bad.

Or not. The shirt is fine, I guess, if you're into loud prints, but that skirt is immensely unflattering. Not sure if it's the placement of the belt or the thickness of the fabric or both, but it widens her immensely. Compare this picture to the profile of Olivia's teacher: Mrs. Lebeau isn't any thinner than Mrs. Huxtable, but looks sleeker in comparison because of how her clothes fit. I'd scrap everything, head to toe, if given the option.

The usual, which is usually unusual.

Now that's a Cosby Sweater. Like many of his selections, it looks like it's been composited from several other pieces. Additionally, he deviates from expected norms by topping the patchwork construction (which people have seen before) with the nonsensical addition of those raised buttons. I wonder how hard they are? I bet it's really uncomfortable to hug him when he's wearing this.

Since I've started working weekends, it seems unlikely that I'll get these entries out by Monday morning anymore, but I'll try my best to get them posted ASAP. Sorry to make you wait!