Remember all of the Cosby kids? How Denise was the cool one, Theo was the funny one, Rudy was the cute one, and Vanessa was the practical one, which meant she got very few of the story lines? (And Sondra was the already adult one that they added later kind of like an after thought.) But finally, in this very special episode of The Cosby Show, Vanessa gets her moment to shine in the sordid tale of a good girl gone bad. After finishing her chemistry final, Vanessa gets together with her friends to celebrate. When they run out of videos to watch, they decide to play the Alphabet Game with bourbon. I thought that people stopped playing this game in the third grade, but apparently sixteen year-old girls play it too and are surprisingly bad about naming American cities even with 100% sober.
Of course, that sober thing does not last very long, and soon half the girls are sick to their stomachs. For once, this seems like a pretty realistic depiction of first time drinkers because it happened out of boredom and not at a Toga party on a Tuesday night. Vanessa calls Denise and she totally covers for her because she’s the cool one, duh. But while Denise is upstairs trying to sober Vanessa up, one of the parents calls Clare tells her that all the girls were drinking. Denise (such a cool sister) tries to convince her parents that Vanessa got the flu on the way home, but they already know the truth. Clare and Cliff are uncharacteristically chill and all like, “Vanessa, you’re sick to your stomach and that’s your punishment.” Yeah, well there is NO way that the vomit is the punishment in this household. When Vanessa comes home from school, her parents sit her down to play another round of the Alphabet Game with little Rudy who is in the sixth grade. Rudy ends up with the letter J (which is one of the harder letters) and she totally blanks. Cliff starts to pour her a shot and Vanessa is all like “Dad, you can’t make your twelve year-old drink.” But Cliff persists and Rudy is all like “ew this is gross” but her parents are all like “These are the rules!!” and, in what looks like some seriously abusive, messed up shit, Rudy downs the shot and everyone cheers her on. Soon Vanessa, misses a letter and the entire family starts chanting “chug-a-lug,”–a phrase that I have never heard anyone use in real life but now would like to start using. Vanessa caves under the pressure again, and downs the shot which she finally realizes is tea because her parents are not actually psychopaths. Roll credits. Right there. No further analysis or decompression. It’s tea, we laugh, and the end.
Very Special Lesson: Playing mind games will always drive a lesson home.
The More You Know: Check out Stitch Boom Bang featuring knit hats based upon Cliff’s sweaters: http://stitchboombang.wordpress.com/
4 thoughts on “The Cosby Show: I’m with the In Crowd”
Vanessa was by far my favorite Cosby kid. Thanks for the shout out!
Of all the sitcoms that have ever existed. the Cosby Show has the best lessons. Come to think of it, TV doesn’t have any lessons at all anymore! Boo!
It’s kind of hard to believe that Vanessa ever thought her parents would seriously give Rudy alcohol, but they did a great job of being verrrry convincing. (Also, I remember being totally shocked at the lengths they were willing to go to teach a lesson when I first saw this episode, so they duped me too.) Plus, knowing that your parents are willing to wage psychological warfare to keep you from drinking has to be one of the best deterrents ever.