[17] She prefers to use "a no-nonsense ... approach to maintaining" her family, except for rare situations in which nonsense is required. [86][121] In 1993, Blake Green of The Baltimore Sun wrote that Rashad and her character "appear to be inextricably entwined: Just as no one remembers Clair, the super-woman of The Cosby Show without thinking of the actress who played her, few think of Ms. Rashad without flashing on Clair". [32] However, the character still speaks some Spanish in the first episode and continues to speak the language periodically throughout the series, albeit not as frequently as Cosby had originally envisioned. Although he and his wife fostered a tight-knit, loving family, a running gag throughout the series is his thwarted attempts to get the grown children to leave the house. [35] Several actresses auditioned for the role, the majority of whom tended to resort to angrily yelling and gesturing when scolding the child actors auditioning to play the character's children. She was dubbed "The Mother Of The Black Community" at the 2010 NAACP Image Awards. [37] Jason Bailey of Slate wrote that Rashad portrayed her character "majestically",[26] while The Huffington Post's Mlsee Harris praised the actress for playing Clair "with class and poise from 1984 through 1992. [61][93][94][95] Time dubbed Clair "America's favorite TV mom". Together, they have five children: Sondra, Denise, Theodore (Theo), Vanessa, and Rudith (Rudy). [68] Both Clair and Cliff value the importance of proper education in their children's lives, appearing proudest when they do well in school, but delivering the most serious punishments when they underperform academically. [65] In the pilot, Clair responds to Theo's last minute breakfast request for scrambled eggs after she had already prepared sunny side up eggs for him by using her spatula to "scramble" them. [27] Clair is based on Cosby's real-life wife Camille. [48] Robert E. Johnson of Ebony observed that Clair's legal background "equipped her with rapid, razor-sharp retorts to counter" Cliff's humor. "[41] In addition to being a few years younger than Clair was originally intended to be,[42] Rashad is only 10 years older than actress Sabrina LeBeauf, who portrays eldest child Sondra. [113] Rachel Desantis of the New York Daily News concluded, "No matter the off-screen drama surrounding her on-screen husband, Clair remains a vital slice of pop culture history". [54] According to Women Watching Television: Gender, Class, and Generation in the American Television Experience author Andrea L. Press, Clair's role demonstrates "the hegemonic view that families need not change to accommodate working wives and mothers",[78] believing that the show mostly depicts Clair at home to avoid exploring the everyday conflicts working women endure in their daily lives. Cosby originally proposed that the couple should both have blue-collar jobs, with the father a limousine driver,[1] who owned his own car, and the mother an electrician[2] but, with advice from his wife, Camille Cosby, the concept was changed so that the family was well-off financially, with the mother a lawyer and the father a doctor.[3][4]. [78] One of the series' more political moments, Clair refuses to be exploited as "the token black woman" on a morning talk show discussing the Great Depression during the episode "Mrs. Huxtable Goes to Kindergarten", a position she originally accepts under the impression that she would be appreciated for her experience as a lawyer. Clair is depicted as a hardworking career woman with strong feminist principles, most evident in the character's early confrontations with chauvinistic son-in-law Elvin. [54] Paste's Shannon M. Houston concluded, "because someone like Clair Huxtable shared her feminism in the home, someone like Alicia Florrick can now share it in the courtrooms". [108] In 2009, she was included in the Top 5 Classic TV Moms by Film.com. Let’s face it, there’s nowhere else left for us to go but down," a statement Clair immediately reprimands him for making. After The Cosby Show's conclusion, Rashad would similarly portray Cosby's wife, Ruth Lucas, on his sitcom Cosby for four years. [40] Clair occasionally raises her voice but seldom yells or loses her temper, demonstrating calmness and a sense of humor as a "remedy for the trials and tribulations of motherhood. [39] Reviewing the character's conversation about pregnancy and marriage with Denise in season three's "The Shower", Slate's Aisha Harris wrote "written realistically and delivered beautifully by Rashad, the moment attains a level of artistry that spot-on TV lessons rarely reach. "[17] US Weekly recognized Clair as "one of TV's first working mothers",[57] while NewNowNext's Brian Juergens credits the character with making the 1980s a "boom time for great sitcom moms" by "breaking the mold in an essential way". [24] Cosby originally pitched a series about a detective who solves crime using wit and humor; Clair's earliest incarnation resembled his character's girlfriend, who is depicted as "a strong woman with her own career. [31] Additionally, because Clair was still intended to be of Dominican heritage at the time, Rashad's own bilingualism and fluency in Spanish benefited her successful casting. [6] Clair is the matriarch of the upper middle class Huxtable family. [73] Despite never referring to herself as feminist within the show,[13] Clair proudly embodies several feminist themes and beliefs,[60][74][68] remaining, according to The Daily Dot's Nico Lang, "an outspoken advocate for equality in her household, fighting sexism while setting an example for her daughters. – Rashad defended, "I grew up in Houston, Texas, in Third Ward, and it was very realistic. [96] The Daily Beast wrote, "Clair Huxtable was not only the perfect mom, but also a great role model as someone who never sacrificed either her career as a high-power lawyer or her family life. [125] Conversely, in 2014 Dr. Mlsee Harris of The Huffington Post published an article asking "Where Is This Generation’s Clair Huxtable? [54][65] Much like Clair, Alicia is often forced to defend her decision to work while raising her family. [31] However, Rashad's subtle interpretation differed from her competition;[29] when the actress screen tested opposite actor Malcolm Jamal-Warner, who would ultimately portray son Theo,[29] Rashad simply paused, stared silently and offered him "a look" instead of immediately scolding the character that, according to Cosby, meant "four or five things ... and none of them were good. He later served in the U.S. Navy before going to medical school. She is known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–92), which earned her Emmy Award nominations in 1985 and 1986. [128] In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes recognized Clair among television's 50 most fearless female characters, praising her for "represent[ing] a black middle-class too often overlooked in early television, entering the living rooms of people of every race as a model of both motherhood and career woman. "[122], Several critics have acknowledged Clair's influence on female African American lawyers Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating from the television dramas Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, respectively. Your Romanticizing of Cosby—and Cosby—Is Wrong", "See the Cast of 'The Cosby Show' Then and Now", "Cosby's 'Little Bill' sends the right message to kids", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Clair_Huxtable&oldid=979181621, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 19 September 2020, at 08:17. [31], Camille and executive producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner eventually convinced Cosby that the series should feature a family that resembled their own more closely, specifically headed by a pair of successful parents with white-collar professions. But when you look at me, this is all you see in me, a black woman? [89][90] Rashad also won two NAACP Image Awards. Clair is widely regarded as one of the greatest mothers in television history by several media publications. Unfortunately, Cliff often finds himself on the losing end of most of his bets and games, as, for example, he has never beaten his father-in-law at chess. And if you don't get it together, and drop these macho attitudes, you are never going to have anyone bring you anything, anywhere, anytime, anyplace ever. [39] Speaking fondly of his co-star, Cosby said "There's nobody whom I can be more thankful about than Phylicia. "[17], In comparison to Cliff, Clair is usually the tougher and more sensible parent, offering her children legitimate advice that they can actually apply to their everyday lives;[17] it remains clear to audiences that Clair runs the household. Time dubbed Clair "America's favorite TV mom". [23] She occasionally represents her own children in legal disputes, for example helping Theo successfully obtain a refund for several unwearable T-shirts purchased from an untrustworthy salesman. He is an OB/GYN who runs a practice from the office annexed to his home. [98] Laura Miller of JetMag.com agreed that Clair has always been "the mother to aspire to. [61] Passionate about her African American heritage and culture, Clair wins painter Ellis Wilson's – her "great uncle" in the series – original painting Funeral Procession at an auction, which she purchases for $11,000 and proudly hangs in her living room for the remainder of the series. Cliff is very eccentric and silly to most people around him, especially his family, however he is very kind-hearted and an extremely dedicated father with a strong sense of humor. Since The Cosby Show's inception, Cosby had always intended for Clair to reflect the ways in which women's roles have evolved in both the home and workplace. To avoid having to add an infant to the main cast, extreme tactics were used to conceal the actress' pregnancy onscreen, such as confining Clair to bed or having her be out of town for several episodes at a time. As in serve your man? [26][72] Both Clair's professional and personal lives operate alongside each other rather smoothly with little conflict. [65] However, when Rashad defended Cosby and the show's legacy against the allegations made against him by encouraging critics to "forget these women", Thought Catalog's Cassandra Guerrier wrote that the actress' comments reminded fans that "Rashad is NOT her character. Clair Olivia Huxtable (née Hanks) is the elegantly tough, eloquent, and engaging wife of Cliff, who is known for her relaxed confidence and striking emphasis as shown. During his high school years, Theo's best friend was Walter Bradley, better known as "Cockroach", who was more of a scholastic underachiever than Theo. In the pilot, and once more in Season 1, (an episode entitled "Bad Dreams"), he is referred to by Vanessa as "Teddy", instead of "Theo.". The part of Theo is played on the series by Malcolm-Jamal Warner. ", "Black-ish Will Never Be The Cosby Show…and That's Perfect", "Let Us Celebrate Clair Huxtable, Feminist Icon, and The Cosby Show", "Tony Winner Phylicia Rashad Named 2017 Women in the Arts Honoree at Steppenwolf Theatre", "Tracee Ellis Ross didn't win an Emmy. "[36], Observing similarities between the character and herself, Rashad described Clair as "a warm, loving mother";[24] the actress is also similar in appearance and personality to Camille. Denise's stepdaughter, Olivia ultimately becomes Clair's step-granddaughter. Bill Cosby's role as Cliff Huxtable has had a mostly positive reception from critics. [27] Cosby told Rashad she won the role because she acted "with a knowing look in [her] eye. The two of them would occasionally compose rap songs for various school assignments or take other "easy road" schemes, such as planning to listen to a recording of Shakespeare's Macbeth, then trying to watch the play, then finally settling on reading the play's "cleland notes". "[26] Dubbing Clair's influence on pop culture as "one of TV’s great feminists" the "Other Huxtable Effect", Bailey concluded that the character's impact remains indisputable despite Cosby's recent sexual assault allegations,[26] and thus maintains that The Cosby Show's legacy as a feminist series should not be discredited.

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