I don’t generally consider this blog a place to write about my television habits, so consider the following an aberration.
The Cosby Show is generally credited with resuscitating the family sitcom (or the sitcom in general), a genre that seemed to be on its last legs in the early 1980s. The show debuted in 1984 and ran until 1992; now in a state of perpetual reruns, the show has effectively been on television my entire life. When I run into an episode of The Cosby Show now, I react the same way I would to hearing a Steve Miller Band song on the radio: they’re generally good but not outstanding; that combined with an almost overwhelming sense of familiarity will almost always lead me to turn the channel.
There is one episode, however, that never fails to capture my attention and remind me just how good this show could be (consider it the “Jet Airliner” of Cosby episodes). In this episode (the fifth of the series’ first season), Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) spends $95 on a shirt by designer Gordon Gartrelle to wear to a school dance. When Cliff (Bill Cosby), discovers how much Theo paid, he orders him to return the shirt. Theo, desperate to look good for his date, agrees to allow his sister Denise (Lisa Bonet) to replicate the shirt for $20. The result (courtesy of spartantailgate.com):
That is what instantly sprang to mind last night when watching Project Runway. While I did not begin watching Project Runway entirely of my own accord, I do consider it worthwhile nearly each week. Besides the comedy the producers/editors are able to produce from among the designers, it is impressive to watch these people produce designs and completed pieces within the given time, budgetary, and artificial constraints. (Incidentally, I’ve often wondered if this kind of show could work with songwriters instead of fashion designers. While many songwriters are unable to produce songs on demand, there are plenty who can do just that and make a fine living off of it. Of course, listening to a batch of completed songs from a number of contestants would take quite a while, and there is nothing visually compelling about songwriting, so the idea may have its limits.) Regardless, the designers were faced in last night’s episode with designing menswear for the first time in the series’ four seasons. Most of the participants had little to no experience in that field, so the results were mixed at best (some finished three-piece suits, while one contestant draped a piece of cloth over her model to suggest the presence of a shirt). One designer known as “Sweet P” (not to be confused with Popeye’s adopted son Swee’Pea) completed a pair of pants and the world’s longest tie, but the heart of the design was the shirt (courtesy of bravotv.com):
Thus, we have television’s funniest shirt since Theo and Denise.
I promise my next entry will be chock full of music talk.