The Cosby Show ruled Thursday nights for many years on NBC. The first few seasons were quite good before the series jumped the shark with the many cute kids that somehow ended up in the Huxtable residence. Season 3 of The Cosby Show, a 3 DVD 25 episode box set features this situation comedy at the top of its form.
I never quite understood why The Cosby Show was considered groundbreaking. Perhaps it was because it featured a normal, if American Dream wealthy, supportive family where the family members were there for each other more often than they were fighting and yelling, a nice change perhaps from Roseanne or Married With Children. It also showed "positive family values" and, in the first few years, including season three, did so without being as obviously preachy and didactic as it would be later on.
One of the reasons The Cosby Show was interesting in the early years was Bill Cosby pretty much took center stage and was allowed longer bits of dialogues that were almost stand-up routines such as his plans for his 23rd wedding anniversary in episode 2. This Peace Arch Home Entertainment release of Season 3 features all 25 shows uncut, including the anti-drug public service message before episode 9.
Season 3 features the second time the Huxtables performed a lip-sync routine (in episode 2 Golden Anniversary). Though this got to be more of a gimmick in later years it is still fun to watch here. Of course, The Cosby Show could get quite didactic. I distinctly remember an episode where Cliff Huxtable just happened to turn on the TV when they were replaying a Martin Luther King speech and the family just happened to come into the living room and sat and watched it. Though not particularly subtle with its setup, episode 6 The March manages to tell viewers about the march on Washington without using the sledgehammer the show would drag out in later years. The show does use a sledgehammer in the anti-smoking scene in episode 17. By the way, one of the three expecting mothers in this episode will turn up as the wife on Home Improvement.
I always found Tempestt Bledsoe was underrated and underused in this sitcom. I also always enjoyed Geoffrey Owens as Elvin. There are quite a few good moments in The Cosby Show season 3 where Elvin gets a few relationship lessons from Cosby. Of course, Elvin is a slow learner, but the interaction between him and Cliff is fun to watch.
Episode 9, Denise Gets a D, sets up Lisa Bonet's sitcom A Different World. There is even a moment when Claire says, "Denise, it's a different world." It is an episode many college teachers will wish their students watched. War Stories is also good; the guys play pinochle with a ringer to make Cliff lose and Vanessa has a date with a very eager to please young man named Tyrone who gets a few pointers from Theo.
My favorite episode in The Cosby Show Season three is episode 21 where the family gangs up on Cliff to pull a practical joke on him after Theo's early efforts fail miserably.
Episode 23 guest stars Robert Culp who was with Bill Cosby in I Spy.
It would have been nice of The Cosby Show Season 3 included extras such as a blooper reel but it doesn't so there you go.
Other Bill Cosby Reviews
Oh, Baby: another very good if different Cosby cd. 1991 on the Geffen label.
When I Was A Kid: When I Was A Kid, originally released on the Uni label in 1971 and now available on Geffen, is a collection of childhood stories from Bill Cosby' s stand-up days after he left the Warner Brothers label.
Bill Cosby Is A Funny Fellow, Right!: probably the Bill Cosby album or comedy cd everyone is most familiar contains his classic and memorable Noah bit comprised of Noah: Right! Noah: And The Neighbor, and Noah: Me And You, Lord.
The Very Best of Bill Cosby: definitely not the very best of Bill Cosby.
To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With: Title track worth the price of the CD
Wonderfulness: Contains Chicken Heart, Go Karts, Tonsils and other good stuff
It's True! It's True!: A high school student could have done a better job with an old cassette copy, a tin can, and a piece of string
200 MPH: another classic though lesser-known Bill Cosby comedy CD
I Started Out As A Child: Contains Street Football and Lone Ranger, the rest of minor interest
Revenge: Features three back-to-back absolute classics: Cool Covers, 9th Street Bridge, Buck Buck
The Bill Cosby Collection: contains some of his most offbeat and hard to find stand-up comedy bits.
Why Is There Air?: Bill Cosby comedy CD contains $75 Car, Shop, and other good stuff
Himself: Bill Cosby DVD with The Dentist, Brain Damage, Naturan Child Birth, Chocolate Cake For Breakfast and other good stuff.
Ghost Dad: almost decent family fare
Leonard Part 6: 1987 Golden Raspberry Award winner for worst picture
Bill Cosby - Just For Laughs 2006: A giant show by the giant of comedy
Cosby And The Kids: The best Bill Cosby stand-up comedy CD compilation.
Bill Cosby - Montreal, July 25th 2009: This comedy giant is still a giant.
Icon: Nothing new if you already have other Cosby CDs
Far From Finished CD Version: The Master is in fine form and old school.
Far From Finished - Blu-ray: Brilliant. The video version includes a forty-eight minute interview but not the two bonus tracks from the CD