Simplistic? Sure. Corny? Yeah, sometimes. Funny? Darn straight, thanks to one of the most beloved comedians of our age. And I'm not talking about Malcolm Jamal Warner, trust me.
My grandmother used to make a huge deal out of Thursday nights. Nobody could make her laugh like Bill Cosby, so we all had a great time with the man's mega-smash sitcom hit. By the time the third season had arrived on NBC, the Coz had hit his groove. The series gave the man a perfect stage on which to deliver his family-friendly, yet slyly insightful, brand of warm-hearted comedy. For those who just MIGHT not know, I'll remind you that The Cosby Show is about a good-natured OB-GYN who has a lovely wife and five (strategically aged) kids: Little Rudy, pre-teen Vanessa, high-schooler Theo, college freshman Denise, and grown-up Sondra. (Well, she's about to graduate college, anyway.)
Obviously the wide array of ages gives Cosby something new to work on every week: one episode he's goofing around with little kids and the next one he's dealing with college-age issues or teenage angst. And then sometimes we get a visit from all four grandparents so we can get a corny-but-sweet lesson about jazz music or Martin Luther King Jr. (This isn't a knock on the fine supporting cast, but without Bill Cosby at the helm, this show would have been forgotten in about two years ... plus it would've been called something different.)
Here's what you'll find in the third season of The Cosby Show:
1. Bring 'Em Back Alive
10. A Girl and Her Dog
18. You Only Hurt the One You Love
And here's some good news: After delivering The Cosby Show's first season in a really lame "syndication cut" edition, the producers fixed the problem on season 2 -- and continued to do so in seasons 3 and 4. As far as I can tell, these are the full-bore, uncut and completely intact network versions from NBC. (If I'm wrong, I do invite one of the experts to come along and correct me. I do NOT want to put my full endorsement behind a "chopped up" season set.)
And needless to say: If you don't dig Bill Cosby, you'll find very little to like here. Although how you couldn't like Bill Cosby is a mystery to me.
Special note to the DVD producers: "Play All" is a great option. Try including it on future releases!
Video: Full-frame and just a touch better than what you'll find on syndication. Colors are a little soft, backgrounds a little fuzzy.
Audio: A simple Dolby Digital 2.0 presentation. For a sitcom like this, it's fine. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish.
Pure sitcom formula through and through, but it's delivered with a good deal of charm and warmth, too. Plus Cosby is hilarious, period. (And the DVD case promises the "original, uncut" episodes, so don't worry!)