Bill Cosby is not as his most popular right now. Not only does he appear to be a serial rapist, but I have no evidence that he’s at all remorseful about it. Even just looking at his comedy, though, I didn’t really notice when I was younger how much of it relied on the idea that he’s right and you’re an idiot. Well, that and goofy vocal delivery. I’ve heard that part of his intent in creating The Cosby Show (speaking of which, isn’t it weird when a show is named after the actor, not the character?) was to counteract shows where the kids are smarter than the parents. So he basically did the opposite, with the parents always being right and the kids being stupid. I’m not sure why everyone in the family couldn’t be of normal intelligence and sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but there you go.
I’ve noticed that Claire Huxtable is a rather polarizing character, as it seems like people who grew up with strict parents absolutely love her, while others think she’s a hard-ass about things that don’t really matter. Beth likes to bring up how she was insistent that the kids not wear makeup. Of course, some kids NEED strict parenting, but I also can’t help feel that always assuming kids want to misbehave can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyway, both in character and as himself, Cosby seems to have outright contempt for his children, which makes me wonder why he had so many. Just so he could feel superior to someone?
We recently watched Leonard Part 6, which was a total flop even when Cosby was universally beloved. Since then, we’ve seen two other Cosby projects, both kind of Halloween-related.
One was the Halloween episode of Fat Albert, which you probably already know is a cartoon loosely based on Cosby’s own childhood.
It seems kind of insulting that everyone calls the main character “Fat” like it’s part of his name, but maybe he got off easy considering that others are known as Dumb Donald, Weird Harold, and Mushmouth. One of the characters who doesn’t get an adjective is Rudy, who’s pretty much always the trouble-making jackass of the group. Ever notice how that show had a male Rudy and The Cosby Show a female one? In this episode, Rudy was a jerk, but his friend who wasn’t a regular was even more of one. The gang learned that an old lady who scared them was actually really friendly and willing to give them all kinds of treats. I guess that’s not a bad lesson, although some people who seem mean actually are. I wonder if there was ever an episode that discussed how bad it is for your health to hang around in a junkyard.
Also, I don’t think radiators work that way.
Ghost Dad is a 1990 film that stars Cosby as…well, you can figure THAT out, I’m sure. Unlike most of his performances, here he’s not a very good father, always neglecting his kids. He gets better within a few days, however, because it’s that kind of movie. Yes, it’s another parent learning to spend time on family instead of work. (Personally, I’d rather not concentrate too much on either, but that’s why I didn’t have kids.) The thing is, he explains at one point that he mortgaged his house and cashed in his life insurance to get money to try to keep his wife alive, and she died anyway. So it’s actually kind of justified that he’s working all the time, because the family needs the money. He dies when a wacky Satanist cab driver runs his taxi into the water, or at least that’s what we’re supposed to think. Despite the warnings of an English paranormal researcher named Edith (and yes, basically every single character notes that this is a girl’s name) that he’ll fade away after two days at the most, he tries to hang on until the bank he works for merges with another one. I’m not entirely sure why; I think there’s something about him getting a bonus when that happens, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Since this is so important that he has to pretend he’s still alive in order to do it, he of course starts leaving business meetings to scare off a sleazy guy who wants to date his daughter, patch things up with his girlfriend, and help his son do a magic trick. That last one is somewhat time-sensitive (although he could have avoided it entirely if he’d helped the kid ahead of time), but I’m not sure why the others couldn’t wait. He also has to get a physical so he can obtain a new life insurance policy, so he brings in a tape recording of a heartbeat, uses a model of a skeleton for his X-ray, and steals another guy’s urine sample. Good thing the physical consisted of exactly three things! Beth, who had the novelization of the movie through one of those school book clubs, told me that it had an additional joke about how the model was of a female skeleton, but that didn’t make it into the finished film. What I’m wondering is how nobody noticed it wasn’t a real skeleton. So, anyway, SPOILER ALERT! He’s actually not dead, just having an out-of-body experience, and he comes back to his body with a newfound appreciation for his family. He still doesn’t have a job, but that’s okay because anyone who just pulls up their pants and doesn’t wear their hat backwards can be successful. This one wasn’t as bad as Leonard Part 6, but it really didn’t go anywhere. Not that I’m disappointed, because it isn’t like I was expecting it to be good. We got it from Netflix, and I think it might have been the first DVD I’ve gotten from them that had no menu. It just started playing automatically, and then looped back to the beginning after it had finished.