As a society, we spend a lot of time watching TV and it’s important that we monitor what we allow our children to watch to ensure they are being influenced by positive images/characters. Music videos and reality TV have totally changed how television programs are viewed.
The messages some shows send out can negatively impact the behavior of kids, but the influence of the media can also be positive. The one show that stands out in my mind and personally affected me in a positive manner was The Cosby Show.
When I was a kid, I looked forward to Thursday night because I knew my favorite show was coming on. The love I have for jazz music to this day is because of the tunes I heard on that show. What kid wouldn’t want Clair Huxtable (played by Phylicia Rashad) to be their mother and Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable (played by Bill Cosby) to be their father?
I can’t begin to explain how valuable it was for me to see successful black people on TV. I knew that if I worked hard and applied myself in school that I could one day possibly live like the Cosby’s. I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer, but I knew that I could be just as successful as Dr. Huxtable was.
Going to college and having a functional family wasn’t just a pipe dream or fairytale anymore. It was now a reality.
Seeing that family on a weekly basis not only made me laugh, but made me feel like every goal I wanted to achieve in life was possible. If it worked for the Cosby’s, certainly it would work for me, right?
I try (maybe not hard enough) to sit down and watch some of the shows my kids like to watch, but it’s HARD. I’m still a fairly young man and try to keep up with the latest and greatest things that are going on with kids, but a lot of the stuff I see as I flip through the 500 or so channels on the box is garbage.
Naturally, sports is what I really want to watch 75% of the time, and the other 25% is spent watching the news, history programs, nature shows, home improvement shows, and crime solving shows. Most of these shows are G-rated and can be watched by the entire family without turning the channel because too much skin is being shown.
Some of the shows my kids like are not in the same stratosphere as my favorite show. I don’t force them to sit and watch re-run’s of The Cosby Show, but when I watch, they watch with me.
I am gleaming on the inside when my kids ask questions about my favorite show and I am happy to talk to them about the uniqueness of the show.
Watching the show as an adult has made me appreciate it even more for the genius material Mr. Cosby put into each and every episode. For example, the meaning of the art work that hung on the wall in the living room, or all the famous jazz musicians and actors that made guest appearances on the show, or them naming the twin grandbabies after Nelson and Winnie Mandela.
I could go on and on about why The Cosby Show is still my favorite show of all time. There are some quality shows out there, but it’s hard to find a single show that displays the life lessons, culture, values, work ethic, and self respect The Cosby Show exhibited. I am waiting for the emergence of today’s version of the 80’s Cosby family. Thankfully my favorite show is in syndication and today’s kids can see what quality programming really looks like.