A long time from now, the surreal picture of Invoice Cosby being taken away in handcuffs shall be remembered as one among historical past’s most surprising and tragic falls from grace. America’s Dad, the as soon as universally revered funnyman who from 1984 to 1992 led the landmark The Cosby Present to unchartered tv heights, was convicted of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand. Throughout its celebrated run the tradition shifting NBC sitcom’s beloved Huxtables turned the quintessential tv household, an particularly noteworthy achievement contemplating the fictional clan was African-American at a time when Ronald Reagan’s white America nonetheless stereotypically (and unfairly) considered blacks by the lens of excessive crime, welfare and the crack epidemic.
Now the 81-year-old Cosby, who has been accused by an unfathomable 60 ladies of serial sexual assault, will spend three necessary to 10 years in a cramped single cell. Dr. Cliff Huxtable is now Inmate No. NN7687. Sure, there’s nonetheless the small, however very vocal contingent of supporters of Invoice Cosby who view the dramatic downfall of the comedy legend and multimillion philanthropist to numerous charities and traditionally black universities as a racially motivated scheme led by an prejudice, overzealous prosecutor. They level to disgraced but free white Hollywood powerhouse Harvey Weinstein, who at the moment wears an ankle bracelet as he awaits his day in court docket for varied intercourse crimes, as proof of a double normal. “Don’t you perceive??? BILL COSBY TRIED TO BUY NBC!!!!”
It’s solely once you learn a few of the names of Cosby’s alleged victims that such conspiracies are rightly positioned of their correct small, determined and batsh*t loopy context. Beverly Johnson, Patricia Leary Steuer, Kaya Thompson, Tamara Inexperienced, Janice Dickinson, Chelan Lasha, Helen Hayes, Sarita Butterfield, LiLi Bernard…all from completely different time durations, completely different races and social backgrounds. Say their names.
On this period of the #MeToo motion dealing with a world with out Invoice Cosby–the identical man who paradoxically in 2001 mocked poor inner-city blacks “with names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail”–is in no way a frightening prospect. But life with out The Cosby Present? Effectively, that’s extra difficult. This isn’t some tattered argument about how one ought to separate artwork from the artist. There’s a purpose such an obscenely problematic male celeb determine like R. Kelly is experiencing a career-ending nosedive. It’s a lot simpler to banish trash solo headliners into the wilderness.
However why ought to the gifted, hardworking actors and writers from The Cosby Present endure as a result of the co-creator and star of the sequence was finally uncovered as a predator? Definitely Phylicia Rashad (Clair Huxtable), Lisa Bonet (Denise Huxtable), Malcolm-Jamal Warner(Theo Huxtable), Tempest Bledsoe (Vanessa Huxtable), Keisha Knight Pulliam(Rudy Huxtable), Sabrina Le Beauf (Sondra Huxtable-Tibideaux), and Raven-Symone shouldn’t have their contributions tarnished as a result of they’re deemed responsible by affiliation.
And but The Cosby Present itself has turn out to be a casualty of each confirmed and alleged horrific crimes of Invoice Cosby. After the star’s preliminary April responsible verdict this 12 months, Bounce TV was the final community to drag reruns of sequence, following streaming web site Hulu, TV Land, and Aspire. And the influence has been immeasurable. Geoffrey Owens, who performed Elvin, the at instances comically chauvinistic husband of Sandra, has skilled the collateral harm first hand. The 57-year-old went viral after he was publicly job-shamed as photographs appeared of him bagging groceries at Dealer Joe’s.
However Owens wouldn’t have needed to make such a transfer for his household if it weren’t for Cosby’s mounting authorized troubles, which basically stopped all royalty checks from the profitable sequence (to this point The Cosby Present has earned $1.5 billion in syndication cash). “Sure, it impacted me financially,” Owens advised Folks with public outcry of assist rising to deafening ranges as appearing gigs began rolling in for the veteran thespian, together with a sequence common function in Tyler Perry’s OWN cleaning soap opera The Haves and the Have Nots. “On the time the present was pulled, that did make a distinction in our earnings.”
And but that is extra than simply a couple of examine. Whereas it could be tempting looking back to criticize The Cosby Present as a respectability politics showcase that appeared an excessive amount of on the nostril with its portrayal of a financially well-off, married obstetrics/gynecology physician and profitable lawyer, it meant the world to black of us who hardly ever noticed themselves proven in such an empowering, constructive gentle.
For Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who has turn out to be an omnipresent tv fixture since his Cosby Present days (the 48-year-old is right now an everyday on the Fox medical drama The Residence), he balks on the notion of Invoice Cosby’s legal habits ruining the legacy of the celebrated present. “I assumed that after we all left the present we left with our heads held up excessive,” he not too long ago advised me when requested how he desires The Cosby Present to be remembered. “I’m actually happy with the work that we have now performed.”
And why wouldn’t Warner and his Cosby household be proud? His Gordon Gartrell episode–purple, horrible, asymmetrical shirt and all–remains one among TV’s absurdly funniest moments; an excellent train in comedian timing. Denise’s early slacker exploits on the Cosby spinoff A Completely different World made faculty life at traditionally black establishments look like coolest expertise on the earth. From the laugh-inducing forwards and backwards banter between Rudy and Bud and a no-nonsense Clair placing Elvin in his knuckle dragging place to a drunk Vanessa getting busted, The Cosby Present stays a strong and influential popular culture assertion.
The as soon as glowing, peerless legacy of Invoice Cosby has been decimated, yet one more reminder that highly effective heroes are greater than able to giving in to their darkest of impulses. There shall be no redemption excursions for the phony, family-friendly icon. The ladies whose lives he has destroyed deserve higher.
And so do the women and men of The Cosby Present.