The Cosby Show—Season 2

cosby show season 2 dvd cover review episode guide list
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Classic '80s television

Hard to view without a modern day take

cosby show season 2 title card review episode guide list

Cosby 2.0

The Huxtables are back, and it is never a dull day in the house.  Sondra (Sabrina Le Beauf) is in a challenging relationship with Eldon (Geoffrey Owens).  Denise (Lisa Bonet) is starting to drive and must make a big decision about her school.  Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) has a challenging teacher, and Vanessa (Tempestt Bledsoe) enters the world of dating.  Rudy (Keshia Knight Pulliam) breaks gender barriers and learns that changing times could mean a changing household.  Meanwhile Cliff (Bill Cosby) and Clair (Phylicia Rashad) are parenting through it all.

The Cosby Show—Season 2 is a family sitcom.  The season aired from September 26, 1985 to May 15, 1986 on Thursday nights on NBC.  The season won Primetime Emmy awards for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series (“Denise’s Friend”), Outstanding Editing for a Series—Multi-Camera Production (“Full House”), and Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series (Roscoe Lee Brown “The Card Game”) with nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series (Earle Hyman “Happy Anniversary”; Stevie Wonder “A Touch of Wonder”; Danny Kaye “The Dentist”), Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series (Clarice Taylor “Happy Anniversary”), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Phylicia Rashad), Outstanding Supporting Actor (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Lisa Bonet, Keshia Knight Pulliam), Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series on a Special (“Happy Anniversary”), and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (“Denise’s Friend”, “Theo’s Holiday”).

cosby show season 2 episode 16 the dentist peter chiara

This kid needed a spin-off show…held every scene

Even by season 2, The Cosby Show was a regular viewing growing up…when it went into reruns, you watched those as well.  It feels so familiar and safe.  Taking a more than twenty year hiatus from the series (and a horrible sex scandal), The Cosby Show today is a show that holds up, but also is tinged with the modern eyes.

The series is classic 1980s sitcom complete from storytelling, pacing, and delivery.  The pre-Seinfeld/Simpsons tone isn’t around, and it would be easily described as “wholesome”.  Despite this rather bland description, it is fun and funnier than many of its peers.  It has a great quality and style to it that ages better than some of the other sitcoms from the era…despite the fashion styles and some of the plotlines.

cosby show season 2 episode 18 a touch of wonder stevie

Start the celebrity guest stars

The series also dips into the “very special episode” a few times.  There is a teen sex episode where Denise’s friend Stacey Dash worries she might have picked up something from a boy and the Huxtables sitting down with their children to convince them to not be afraid to come to them.  There is also a drug episode where Cliff’s fellow doctor comes to him with his daughter caught up in drugs.  There is even an odd “kids episode” (as an announcement says before the episode) about the fear of going to the dentist (and it features Danny Kaye’s final performance).

The cast is golden.  While Bill Cosby is the “star” it is Phylicia Rashad (who officially changed her name this season) and the younger cast which score the biggest points.  The child actors sometimes struggle with some of the dialogue, but how it is shot and edited, you barely notice it…making the younger cast one of the best time-best delivery young cast.  They feel like real family which is the biggest trick in a family sitcom.

cosby show season 2 episode 22 theos holiday rudy keisha knight pulliam

…and classic extreme absurd episodes to teach lessons

The Cosby Show might have soured itself through no fault of its own (or at least not those in the cast surrounding Cosby), but it still deserves a shout out and credit for the quality and portrayal of African-Americans on television in a different light at the time.  It didn’t shy away from race but it just largely wasn’t an issue in the show.  It was just about a family…with a lot of money.  With popularity, the show began to draw guest stars like Stevie Wonder, and it also could dip into absurdity (like the whole household pretending they are an apartment building just to teach Theo a lesson).  This season also starts to set-up the “kids getting older” problem with Denise deciding her future is at Hillman College…a completely “Different World”.  It isn’t happening yet, but it is coming…and The Cosby Show will have to face the first bump in its run.

The Cosby Show—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:

cosby show season 2 episode 1 first day of school rudy keshia knight pulliam bill cosby

“First Day of School”

2.1       First Day of School Airdate:  09/26/85

It is the first day of school and Cliff (Bill Cosby) and Clair (Phylicia Rashad) are glad to get the house back over the summer.  Rudy (Keshia Knight Pulliam) is starting first grade while Denise (Lisa Bonet) is prepping for her senior year.  Vanessa (Tempestt Bledsoe) is turning into a teenager, and Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) discovers himself stuck with the math teacher he dreaded.

cosby show season 2 episode 2 the juicer rudy keshia knight pulliam

“The Juicer”

2.2       The Juicer Airdate:  10/03/85

Cliff has a new toy in the form of an expensive juicer.  When Rudy and her friend Peter (Peter Chiara) play with it when Vanessa is supposed to be watching them, trouble ensues.

cosby show season 2 episode 3 happy anniversary song

“Happy Anniversary”

2.3       Happy Anniversary Airdate:  10/10/85

It is the anniversary of Cliff’s parents Russell (Earle Hyman) and Anna (Clarice Taylor).  Cliff and the family have surprises for them to make it their best day ever.

cosby show season 2 episode 4 cliff in love bill cosby joseph c phillips

“Cliff in Love”

2.4       Cliff in Love Airdate:  10/17/85

Sondra (Sabrina Le Beauf) has broken up with Elvin (Geoffrey Owens) again and the whole family is miserable as a result.  When Sondra is set up with Daryl (Joseph C. Phillips), Cliff thinks he’s found his future son-in-law…and will do anything to get Sondra to fall for him.

cosby show season 2 episode 5 theo and the older woman robin givens

“Theo and the Older Woman”

2.5       Theo and the Older Woman Airdate:  10/24/85

Denise and her friend Susanne (Robin Givens) have a class project to observe the Huxtables in “their natural habitat”.  When Theo gets a look at Susanne, he sets out to impress her.

cosby show season 2 episode 6 halloween vanessa tempest bledsoe dondre t whitfield


2.6       Halloween Airdate:  10/31/85

Vanessa is throwing a Halloween party for her classmates and learns that Robert Foreman (Dondré T. Whitfield) is going to be coming.  Desperate to impress him, Vanessa thinks she might have forever ruined her chances with Robert when she has an embarrassing moment.

cosby show season 1 episode 7 rudy suits up keshia knight pulliam football

“Rudy Suits Up”

2.7       Rudy Suits Up Airdate:  11/07/85

Rudy is playing football and the reaction of the family is mixed.  Clair worries about Rudy’s safety and Cliff is impressed by her ability.

cosby show season 2 episode 8 denise drives 1962 starfire

“Denise Drives”

2.8       Denise Drives Airdate:  11/14/85

Denise has her license and wants a car…but Cliff and Clair have their own opinions on that.  Theo sees Denise’s potential future purchase as a means to get a motorcycle.

cosby show season 2 episode 9 clairs sister sarah gavin yvette ewin mario van peebles

“Clair’s Sister”

2.9       Clair’s Sister Airdate:  11/21/85

Clair’s sister Sarah (Yvette Ewein) is engaged to Garvin (Mario Van Peebles), but Clair and her mother Carrie Hanks (Ethel Ayler) reveal that books and charts don’t make a good marriage.  Cliff sets out to beat Clair’s father Al (Joe Williams) at chess.

cosby show season 2 episode 10 clairs toe phylicia rashad

“Clair’s Toe”

2.10     Clair’s Toe Airdate:  12/05/85

When Clair breaks her toe, Cliff finds he has to try to keep her from being less active…and the anniversary of their engagement could make that tough.

cosby show season 2 episode 11 denises friend vanessa theo sondra denise lisa bonet tempestt bledsoe malcolm jamal warner sabrina le beuf

“Denise’s Friend”

2.11     Denise’s Friend Airdate:  12/12/85

Denise has a friend (Stacey Dash) who worries that she’s picked up something from her boyfriend…leading Clair and Cliff to question if their children would come to them with a problem.

cosby show season 2 episode 12 mrs westlake sonia braga malcolm jamal warner

“Mrs. Westlake”

2.12     Mrs. Westlake Airdate:  01/02/86

Theo’s teacher Mrs. Westlake (Sônia Braga) is coming for dinner to Theo’s chagrin.  Now, Theo finds the teacher he fears in his home for a meal.

cosby show season 2 episode 13 the auction clair cliff phylicia rashad

“The Auction”

2.13     The Auction Airdate:  01/09/86

The painting of Clair’s relative is up for auction, and Clair has her sights on winning it back at any cost.  Eldon tries to impress the Huxtables with his cooking.

cosby show season 2 episode 14 vanessas bad grade dondre t whitfield tempestt bledsoe phylicia rashad

“Vanessa’s Bad Grade”

2.14     Vanessa’s Bad Grade Airdate:  01/16/86

Vanessa and her boyfriend Robert studying plans are leading to poor grades by both of them.  Things come to a head when Vanessa borrows Denise’s sweater without asking.

cosby show season 2 episode 15 theo and cockroach macbeth carl anthony payne ii malcolm jamal warner

“Theo and Cockroach”

2.15     Theo and Cockroach Airdate:  01/30/86

Cockroach (Carl Anthony Payne II) and Theo have a big test on Macbeth coming up…but they haven’t read the play.  When Denise tells them about Cleland Notes, they think the test is aced.

cosby show season 2 episode 16 the dentist danny kaye final performance

“The Dentist”

2.16     The Dentist Airdate:  02/06/86

Peter has a toothache and is afraid to go see Dr. Burns (Danny Kaye), but Rudy agrees to go with him to try to get him in the chair.

cosby show season 2 episode 17 play it again russell earle hyman

“Play It Again, Russell”

2.17     Play It Again, Russell Airdate:  02/13/86

Russell is questioning if he can still perform after retirement when he’s called to perform with his old band at a memorial.

cosby show season 2 episode 18 a touch of wonder stevie cast

“A Touch of Wonder”

2.18     A Touch of Wonder Airdate:  02/20/86

Denise and Theo are in an accident…with Stevie Wonder.  Now, Stevie has invited the whole family to meet him.

cosby show season 2 episode 19 full house cliff huxtable

“Full House”

2.19     Full House Airdate:  02/27/86

A long stretch of deliveries at the hospital has Cliff exhausted, but Cliff discovers a home full of his children and their friends as he tries to relax.

cosby show season 2 episode 20 close to home samuel e wright drug episode

“Close to Home”

2.20     Close to Home Airdate:  03/13/86

Cliff learns that his co-worker Dr. Dan Morgan (Samuel E. Wright) has a family member struggling with drugs.

cosby show season 2 episode 21 an early spring mrs. westlake baby

“An Early Spring”

2.21     An Early Spring Airdate:  03/20/86

Cockroach doesn’t get why Mrs. Westlake is so tough on the students, but when her pregnancy takes an emergency turn, Cockroach could step up.

cosby show season 2 episode 22 theos holiday apartment malcolm jamal warner

“Theo’s Holiday”

2.22     Theo’s Holiday Airdate:  04/03/86

Theo has plans…he’s going to become a model at eighteen and become rich, but Cliff and Clair decide he needs a reality check.

cosby show season 2 episode 23 the card game roscoe lee browne earle hyman

“The Card Game”

2.23     The Card Game Airdate:  04/10/86

When Cliff’s regular pinochle partner calls in sick, Cliff brings in a Dr. Barnabus Foster (Roscoe Lee Browne) who might have a thing or two to teach Russell and his partner.  Theo decides to buy a ring for Tanya (Tanya Wright) but questions his purchase.

cosby show season 2 episode 24 off to the races valerie briscoe hooks

“Off to the Races”

2.24     Off to the Races Airdate:  05/08/86

Cliff is called upon for a relay race and thinks it could be a sure thing.  Rudy wants Mega-Woman…but learns she’ll have to earn it.

cosby show season 2 episode 25 denises decision hillman lisa bonet

“Denise’s Decision”

2.25     Denise’s Decision Airdate:  05/15/86

Denise must make a choice about college and has it narrowed down to a few choices.

Related Links:

The Cosby Show—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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