The Cosby Show and Family Ties both seem to be the epitome of the 80’s: diverse yet familiar, ridiculous hair, and Michael J. Fox. This era, dubbed Progeny in Tube of Plenty, is aptly named. These shows ARE the offspring from shows of previous decades but they have evolved and changed, largely for the better.
The Cosby Show featured hilarious stand-up comedian Bill Cosby and his nuclear family. Unlike Sanford and Son, the Huxtables were quite well to do; Cliff is a doctor and his wife Claire is a lawyer, thats a big difference from a junkyard owner. However, they fell into the standard Plastic Television mold very easily; once Bill got home he fell into usual patriarchal patterns while his wife fretted about and cooked. I was actually very surprised by the Cosby pilot, I had never seen the show and expected it to be cheesy and sappy, but it was actually very funny and heartfelt.
Family Ties DID meet my expectations of cheesy and sappy, but it was still enjoyable. This was largely due to Tom Hanks being…Tom Hanks. He’s gold no matter what he does (that man got me to cry over a volley ball…A VOLLEY BALL!). The accurate depiction of alcoholism and abuse was pretty shocking, again, i’m always surprised when they show themes like this before the 90’s.
The 80’s were a good year for TV and it seemed like these shows gave future shows like Family Matters and Full House the proper footing. However, I’m just hiding out in the bushes for The Simpsons.