The Enigma of Vanessa Huxtable

So, in just a few minutes, this post now has such a stronger meaning than before. Lately, there’s been talk about good black television sitcoms of old that represent middle-class or affluent African-Americans. Without a doubt, The Cosby Show, possibly the standard for black sitcoms, comes up every time. Since it’s syndication on Centric, I’ve fallen back in love with the show I watched faithfully every Thursday night in the 80s and early 90s. With every episode, I find even more funny, thought-provoking and side-eye worthy material that I didn’t catch almost 20 years ago.

A friend and I were talking about which child gave Cliff and Claire the most trouble. Though Denise (Lisa Bonet) was a wild child, always trying to find herself, flunking out of college and taking on a ready-made family in secret, we both decided the problem child was Vanessa, played by Tempest Bledsoe. She wasn’t the middle child, who’s usually categorized with having the most difficulties, but she was….something. For such a long time, she was just there. She tried out for drum major, got into fights at school at over being labeled a “rich girl” and she had a cute little boyfriend named Robert. BORING. What was it about her that left so much to be desired? I guess in a family of five, she got lost in the shuffle.

In researching some “deeper” meaning to Vanessa’s character, I stumbled upon this Facebook fan page: Vanessa Huxtable Doesn’t Add Anything to the Cosby Show, I Hate Her. Really, people? The fact that someone took their time to make this page speaks volumes. I disagree whoever made this page. She wasn’t that bad. In fact, once she hit her teens, she got a little more interesting. There have definitely been some memorable moments though. Here are some of her best:

Truth or Consequences

How to Get to Carnegie Hall

I’m With the In Crowd

Off to the See the Wretched

With This Ring

Say it with me: You wanted to have BIG fun with the WRETCHED!!! Go Claire!

As you can see, Vanessa gave her parents a run for their money unexpectedly. She wasn’t as boring as we thought, huh? I figure there are real people out there like Vanessa. By the book. Not too much going on, but able to shake things up at random without trying. Maybe she was just a regular teenager, boy-crazy and eager to grow up. Either way, the family wouldn’t be the same without her.


3 thoughts on “The Enigma of Vanessa Huxtable

  1. My first time over here at you blog and I like it! (stumbled over from VSB) Anyway . . .

    First, I love the Cosby Show (all seasons streaming on netflix FTW!). Second, Vanessa was one of my favorites. I always wished she’d gone to Hilman instead of Denise. She was definitely the most “regular” of all the kids and that made her essential.

    Fave Vanessa Scene – The “With This Ring Pt 2” episode when they’re at the dinner table and Cliff compares the way Vanessa brought Dabnes home with presenting a steak and potatoes on a garbage can lid.

    • Hey B! Thanks for reading. Glad you like it. Finally someone else agrees that Vanessa had her share of dumb excitement. We were talking about on FB yesterday, too.

  2. Vanessa was my least favorite. Everything about her annoyed my life. You know what I noticed about the Cosby Show? The only one that (by society’s standards) amounted to anything was Theo and he was dyslexic ( for some reason Sandra doesn’t count) *kanye shrug*

    -BUT- I still LOVE everything about this show and Different World!

    Great Post!

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