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Cosby Show - Season 2, The

Urban Works // Unrated // March 7, 2006
List Price: $31.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Louis Howard | posted March 30, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Cosby fans, rejoice. One significant point I want to address before getting into the review. The Cosby Show Season 2 is presented here in the original, uncut format. In a review on this site for the season one DVD set it was rightly pointed out that the buyer was being stuck with The Cosby Show Season 1 in the syndicated version format, with a few minutes trimmed from each episode. Happily that is not the case here.

For decades Bill Cosby has been a comedian of legendary status, and deservedly so. Not only did he manage to find a high degree of fame plying his standup act trade in the 60's, he did so as an African-American, paving the way for so many others that have come after. His acts always dealt in large part with heaping portions of his family life- his childhood, his parents, and in turn his own marriage and several children, and rarely did Cos veer into adults only material. He was also a pioneer for African-Americans in sitcom television, co-starring with Robert Culp in the sitcom "I Spy". Later on came his own shows, "The Bill Cosby Show", "The New Bill Cosby Show", and "Cos" all of which had rather short lives. He did manage to find a great deal of success with his Saturday morning animated "Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids" show, which ran for several seasons, but the TV sitcom field didn't seem to hold much promise.

When "The Cosby Show" was announced by NBC, this reviewer figured that would be the case once again- and was emphatically wrong. The writing simply got better as the show gained popularity, and the cast itself was just about the ideal ensemble for such a sitcom. Running for 8 seasons, it gave NBC a juggernaut with a number 1 show. Consistently holding a lofty spot in the ratings- the show never left the top 20 during its run- we watched the kids on the show grow up to the point that a few new young kids were brought in at the end in an attempt to regain that appeal that Cosby has always been renowned for in regards to children. While I still find the later seasons enjoyable, they weren't nearly as fun as the early years when the original kids were younger.

What we have with season 2 is a cast that seemed to gel very quickly. While I enjoyed the first season, the second season started out of the gate with the characters better developed and the show had fresher material- Season One always seemed like bits of Cosby's standup material played out on screen. Cosby has never been funnier or seemed more relaxed than he was as Cliff Huxtable, and Phylicia Ayers-Allen as wife Claire is casting perfection. The kids- Sandra Le Beauf, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe, and Keisha Knight Pulliam- come across in season two as more distinctive, with their respective characters better fleshed out having a full season under their belt. Of interest to some fans of "The Cosby Show" might be what I've always seen as something of a precursor film, "Bill Cosby- Himself" which was released shortly before the sitcoms' birth; not only was it a great Cosby performance, many of the jokes and stories included in his act seem to have been a blueprint for the "The Cosby Show" itself.

The DVD-

This is a 4 disc set, in fold out packaging with a slipcover. Listed here are the episodes for season 2, 25 shows in all-

First Day of School
The Juicer
Happy Anniversary
Cliff In Love
Theo And The older Woman
Halloween
Rudy Suits Up
Denise Drives
Claire's Sister
Claire's Toe
Denise's Friend
Mrs. Westlake
The Auction
Vanessa's Bad Grade
Theo And Cockroach
The Dentist
Play It Again, Russell
A Touch Of Wonder
Full House
Close To Home
An Early Spring
Theo's Holiday
The Card Game
Off To The Races
Denise's Decision

Video-

Presentation here is 1.33:1 fullscreen. I've been quite impressed with the video quality as a whole; I certainly think it surpasses season one here. While I have noticed occasional shimmering on certain colors, the picture is clean and fairly sharp given the material with little noticible grain or dirt. Colors are rich and vibrant.

Audio-

Audio track here is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and is a fine track given the fact that this is a 20 year old sitcom.

Extras-

Bloopers-Clocking in at about 5 minutes we get to see a number of fun outtakes line flubs here, some with impromptu jokes about the members' actual personal lives such as Phylicia's recent marriage to Ahmad Rashad. Lots of fun on this one.
Interview With Director Jay Sandrich-Sandrich discusses working with Cosby as well as the casting of all members save for Le Beauf , and how the kids had to adjust to Bill's way of improvising lines. This piece is about 13 minutes in length and shows the wonderful repoire between Cos and Rashad in particular.
Cliff's Parenting Tips-Coming in at about 9 minutes we are shown select scenes of Cosby's wit and wisdom with the children and how he handles them through his own unique style in areas such as communication.
New Commentary With Jay Sandrich- The only commentary is for the episode "Denise's Friend", and while it is entertaining to listen to Sandrich here, I'd much rather hear Cosby's perspective.

Final Thoughts-

The Cosby Show took NBC from the basement to the top on Thursday nights for years because it was standout television that appealed to all age groups across color lines, in part because this series brought out the best in a comedian already universally loved by the masses. Season two is classic television with the sitcom characters starting to show their best. This DVD set pretty much does everything right in the TV on DVD genre, with the possible exception of the abscence of a few commentaries by Cos and the other cast members. Highly recommended.
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C O N T E N T

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A U D I O

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R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Highly Recommended

E - M A I L
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