We’ve all been disappointed and felt the disillusion when a person whom we held in the highest esteem was revealed to be less than we’d believed.
When the Bill Cosby debacle began to unfold I felt I’d been sucker punched. My young family unfailingly watched the TV Show every week for the duration, and I felt a lesson was learned with each episode. Whether it be of honesty, overcoming race bigotry, parental trust, coming of age of teens, working parents and family unity. My family tuned in to laugh, learn and came away thoroughly entertained while having felt better for watching the Cosby Family antics.
His TV persona was of a Dad we’d all wished we’d had. Smart, loving, interested, and deeply involved all while rarely losing his cool, remaining kind and fair handed. He talked with his TV kids. He wanted them to get it, and did so, with patience, humor and love.
At the time, my children, both girls, were pre-teen, and we, as a family, felt as though we had been visiting a loving home, a normal one, with problems we all shared. Teenage drivers? Yep. College prep? Yep. Homework? Yep. Sibling rivalry? Yep. Parental Careers? Yep. It was amazingly normal and relevant.
Long before the show, I remember Cosby’s standup and albums which were really funny. Everyone considered him a “Family Man”, and his Cosby Show sealed it. He was “Everyone’s Dad.”
What has come to light is the unimaginable. A monster who preyed on women, drugged and raped them. How in the world could this person who duped us into believing he was “America’s Favorite Dad” actually be this deviate?
The saddest is his hard fall from grace, and the cruelest of lies he foist upon us, his unsuspecting gullible fans.
As a child growing up In the 50’s-60’s, our shows were wholesome, albeit not believable…..so much so as to become the icons of ridiculousness….”Leave It to Beaver,”Father Know’s Best,” Donna Reed.” While their trite 14 minute episodes always ended happily, everybody learned a lesson. (Don’t lie, steal, throw a friend under the bus, smoke your father’s pipe…)
Sit-coms in the 80’s were far more savvy, and realistic. Themes were graphic, timely and more relevant and true to life. Jealousy, girls’ body image, peer pressure, drugs, rape, were played out in prime time.
All of these seemed fitting in the Cosby format and he adroitly addressed these timely issues.
While he has not been tried in a court of law yet, the evidence is painfully overwhelming with many victims coming forward, each with collaborating stories. It suggests a shocking pattern of abuse and will be difficult to refute each due to the sheer number of allegations.
It’s just so damned disappointing when so little can be counted on these days for the truth and honesty we all so desperately yearn for. Politicians, actors, athletes, …so many have been proven to be liars, hucksters and and flat out creeps and we feel tricked, fooled. But Bill Cosby is one which I never saw coming. It blind-sighted me along with his loyal fans and audiences of years.
Did we ultimately learn another lesson here? Coming to terms with the fact TV is fantasy, but its escapism can be so refreshing.