The Cosby Show

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Cosby Show TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Classic family sitcom offers fun with its lessons.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 32 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

While not explicitly educational, kids might pick up on a few things about jazz or the civil rights era, plus great social lessons.

Positive Messages

Strong families, the importance of positive communication, the value of quality time spent with kids, taking responsibility for your actions, being proud of who you are, treating people fairly, etc.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Huxtables are exemplary role models in family life and the professional world.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Kissing between teenagers and their significant others, but nothing more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Cosby Show is a classic family-friendly show that centers on an African-American family whose parents are educated professionals. Their parenting methods are gentle and trusting, and the kids respond with respect and a clear realization of what's expected of them. Nearly all of the comedy in the show relates to the family and childrearing. Very little of the subject matter will concern parents, which makes it an excellent choice for families.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7, 11, and 13-year-old Written bywildhearts_3 January 27, 2013


though in general this show seems fine. I think that you should sit down and watch it with your kids. What may be appropriate for some kids at a certain age may... Continue reading
Adult Written byRaritysfans January 28, 2021

A classic

Many knows this show so no intro. Watch this with your family, and mind some out of context. But this show also got overshadowed by the Bill Cosby incident few... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 14, 2020

The Cosby Show Is Good For Families, But Sometimes It Is Not As Innocent As It Seems

I like The Cosby Show, my parents like The Cosby Show, and my siblings like The Cosby Show. It can have some really sweet moments in the show but sometimes, the... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheFullReview August 13, 2019

Classic TV, One Of My Favorites!

My parents introduced me to The Cosby Show when I was about 9 and I still love it! It's truly suitable for all ages but older kids will enjoy it more.
The... Continue reading

What's the story?

The Huxtables live in Brooklyn, New York, and face challenges typical of most American families. Cliff (Bill Cosby), an obstetrician/gynecologist, and Clair (Phylicia Rashad), a lawyer, are the parents everyone longs for -- patient, understanding, and never lacking the humor essential in raising five kids. They rarely argue with each other or their kids, relying instead on communication to work through issues. The Huxtable kids -- Denise (Lisa Bonet), Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), Vanessa (Tempestt Bledsoe), Rudy (Keshia Knight Pulliam), and rarely seen eldest daughter Sondra (Sabrina Le Beauf) -- have unique personalities, but their relationships are rarely marred by typical sibling bickering. Each is a high achiever (although their areas of interest vary widely) whose thoughtful behavior and emphasis on education are reflections of their parents'.

Is it any good?

When it premiered in 1984, THE COSBY SHOW broke down racial barriers in TV by portraying an African-American family comfortably assimilated in upper-middle-class white America. Now showing in syndication (and on DVD), it continues to educate and entertain its audience. The show steers clear of any topics that might raise eyebrows, focusing mainly on the daily childrearing issues of a large family. With so many teens and preteens in Huxtable house, many of the issues they face relate to boy/girl relations, and it's refreshing to see a household in which kids willingly bring their worries and frustrations to their parents' attention.

Much of the subject matter, including Theo's battles to overcome dyslexia, is based on Cosby's own experiences as a father, and lessons reiterate the themes of self-respect and appreciation of others and emphasize healthy romantic relationships. The Cosby Show also offers the audience subtly placed tidbits of African-American history, music appreciation, and environmental awareness. Cliff's parents reminisce about marching with Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cliff and Clair often share their love of jazz and the blues with their kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the dynamics within the Huxtable home. How do the family members relate to each other? How realistic does their life seem? What types of challenges do they face that seem like your own? Are there any that you can't relate to?

  • Families can also discuss the emphasis the Huxtables put on education. How can education change and improve a person's life?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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