The Best Episodes of The Cosby Show

Last Updated: Mar 3, 2019

Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable was an OBGYN (obstetrician/gynecologist), and his wife Clair was a successful attorney. They had five children: Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy. Sondra was rarely seen during the first season because she was away at Princeton. She became a regular character in the second season, and was usually seen with her on-again off-again beau, Elvin. They eventually married and had twins; but not before stunning their families by announcing the fact that Elvin was dropping out of medical school to open a camping store, and Sondra was dropping out of law school to help her husband in his endeavor. Denise was the "unique" child, the black sheep of the family. She had her own way of doing things, right down to the style of clothing she wore. After graduating high school, she left for Hillman College in 1986 (a year later, this would become the setting for the spin-off A Different World), but returned two years later with news that she was dropping ou

Say Hello to a Good Buy

#1 - Say Hello to a Good Buy

Season 3 - Episode 15

Cliff buys a new car. Rudy cuts some animal pictures out of Cliff's expensive books for school. Guest appearance by Sinbad, who would later portray Walter Oakes on the Cosby Show spinoff, A Different World. Watched by almost 65 million viewers when it originally aired, "Say Hello to a Good Buy" was the series' highest rated episode.

star 9.00
10 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: John Markus, Matt Williams, Carmen Finestra
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Goodbye, Mr. Fish

#2 - Goodbye, Mr. Fish

Season 1 - Episode 2

When Rudy's pet fish, Lamont, dies, Cliff tries to bring the family together for a funeral in the bathroom. The festivities end when Rudy gets bored and leaves to watch TV.

star 8.50
6 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Earl Pomerantz
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Theo and the Kids (2)

#3 - Theo and the Kids (2)

Season 7 - Episode 26

Theo continues his attempts to help Stanley and the other children at the community center.

star 8.47
25 votes
Directors: John Bowab
Writers: Bernie Kukoff, Ehrich Van Lowe
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Theo's Holiday

#4 - Theo's Holiday

Season 2 - Episode 22

After Theo claims that he'll have no problem making it in the "real world", the Huxtables convert their house in the "Real World Apartments" and teach him a lesson about the real world; i.e., needing employment and references to get an apartment, income to get a bank loan, having to pay for his meals, etc. Carl Anthony Payne II as Cockroach.

star 8.42
60 votes
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Cliff in Love

#5 - Cliff in Love

Season 2 - Episode 4

Sondra breaks up with her boyfriend Elvin and is depressed, taking it out on the family. Cliff and Clair aren't exactly unhappy; they find Elvin rather annoying. Later, he appears at the house with flowers and tries to apologize. While there, he offers some of his sexist rhetoric to Clair, who quickly becomes annoyed. First appearance of Geoffrey Owens as Elvin. Joseph C. Phillips appears as Daryl (Phillips joins the cast in Season 6 as Denise's new husband, Navy Lt. Martin Kendall)

star 8.40
85 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: John Markus
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Father's Day

#6 - Father's Day

Season 1 - Episode 13

Cliff complains about the poor quality of his annual Father's Day gifts. He challenges the children to find some better presents for a December Father's Day. They give him thoughtful-if not quite attractive-presents.

star 8.40
7 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: John Markus, Elliot Shoenman
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Call of the Wild

#7 - Call of the Wild

Season 4 - Episode 1

The newlywed Sondra and Elvin return from their honeymoon with shocking news for Cliff and Clair: they want to abandon their dreams of being a lawyer and doctor and open an outdoorsman's "wilderness store." Geoffrey Owens (Elvin) becoms a regular cast member.

star 8.40
73 votes
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Isn't It Romantic?

#8 - Isn't It Romantic?

Season 6 - Episode 20

Cliff, Elvin and Martin secretly compete to determine who is the most romantic husband in the Huxtable family.

star 8.39
36 votes
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No Way, Baby

#9 - No Way, Baby

Season 5 - Episode 16

Cliff tracks down the grandfather of one of his patients: an expectant teenage mother with no other family. Clair deduces that the charming man is illiterate. Guest appearance by Sammy Davis, Jr.

star 8.38
24 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: Gary Kott, Carmen Finestra, John Markus
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Grampy and Nu-Nu

#10 - Grampy and Nu-Nu

Season 6 - Episode 10

Martin's parents (Olivia's grandparents) come for a visit. Actor Moses Gunn and jazz singer Nancy Wilson guest star as Martin's parents.

star 8.34
35 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: John Markus, Gary Kott
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Pilot Presentation

#11 - Pilot Presentation

Season 1 - Episode 1

Clair is furious when Theo brings home a report card with 4 D's. He tells Cliff that he has no intention of going to college, as he feels that he is destined to be a "regular person." Cliff uses Monopoly money to teach him about the economic realities that many blue-collar workers must face. He assures Theo that he only wants him to try his best. Cliff is alarmed to meet Denise's latest beau, a former merchant marine who once spent time in a Turkish prison.

star 8.30
13 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Michael Leeson, Ed Weinberger, Bill Cosby
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Breaking With Tradition

#12 - Breaking With Tradition

Season 1 - Episode 6

Cliff's father, Russell, pays a visit and begins questioning Cliff about the kids' college choices. He asks Denise about Hillman, his and Cliff's alma mater. Denise is dead-set against it at first, until Russell tells her that the males outnumber the females there. First appearance of Earle Hyman as Russell Huxtable, Cliff's father.

star 8.30
8 votes
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Waterworks

#13 - Waterworks

Season 4 - Episode 18

Clair tries to stop Cliff from fixing a leaky pipe by hiring a team of professionals: friends of Sondra and Elvin from Princeton.

star 8.30
4 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: Janet Leahy
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The Birth (2)

#14 - The Birth (2)

Season 5 - Episode 7

Sondra gives birth to twins—a boy and a girl—who are named after Nelson Mandela and his then-wife Winnie. Elvin decides to return to medical school.

star 8.28
18 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: John Markus, Carmen Finestra, Gary Kott
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Denise Drives

#15 - Denise Drives

Season 2 - Episode 8

Denise wants to buy a car. She plans to use her savings to do so, but Cliff and Clair quickly point out flaws in her plan. The answer to everyone's problems comes from friend Mr. Lucas, who has an old car he is willing to sell. Denise proves herself a good driver, and the car is hers. David Langston Smyrl as Mr. Lucas.

star 8.25
55 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Carmen Finestra
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I Know That You Know

#16 - I Know That You Know

Season 3 - Episode 21

When Sondra and Elvin announce their engagement, Clair and the children use the news to play a practical joke on Cliff, who launches a counter-offensive of his own. Geoffrey Owens as Elvin.

star 8.25
51 votes
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Theogate

#17 - Theogate

Season 4 - Episode 2

Theo and Cockroach come home unusually late from a track meet, and the Huxtables got a phone message earlier from the track coach. They both deny anything out of the ordinary happened, but attorney Clair knows better. A mock trial is held for Theo and Cockroach at the Huxtables' for Clair to get to the bottom of the situation. Carl Anthony Payne II as Cockroach. Bill Cosby and Keshia Knight Pulliam appear on the episode of A Different World which airs later that evening.

star 8.24
51 votes
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And So We Commence (1)

#18 - And So We Commence (1)

Season 8 - Episode 24

Theo prepares to graduate from New York University.

star 8.22
27 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Janet Leahy, Gordon Gartrelle, Courtney Flavin, Hugh O'Neill
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That's Not What I Said

#19 - That's Not What I Said

Season 4 - Episode 6

Cliff and Clair have a marital argument after Theo gets detained by police for riding in a car with an unlicensed driver.

star 8.22
41 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Carmen Finestra
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Happy Anniversary

#20 - Happy Anniversary

Season 2 - Episode 3

For Russell and Anna's 49th wedding anniversary, the family commissions a portrait of the couple as newlyweds, and offers them a cruise to Europe. Later in the evening, the whole family performs Ray Charles' "Night Time Is the Right Time", with Theo, Rudy and Cliff each lip-synching a solo. Earle Hyman as Russell. Clarice Taylor as Anna.

star 8.22
99 votes
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Denise's Friend

#21 - Denise's Friend

Season 2 - Episode 11

Denise asks Cliff to talk to her friend, who has a medical problem. Cliff diagnoses the girl as having a mild bladder infection, but learns that she was wary of telling her parents without certainty. Cliff and Clair decide to show the kids that they can tell them anything, but the children quickly point out that their parents will just get angry. Cliff admits that anger is part of problems, but tells the children that no matter what, they will be loved.

star 8.20
54 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: John Markus
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The Locker Room

#22 - The Locker Room

Season 4 - Episode 12

Theo and his classmates brag about their dates with girls in the locker room, but Theo's mood changes when one of the guys goes out with Vanessa and brags about it the next day. Troy Winbush as Denny. Adam Sandler as Smitty.

star 8.20
5 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Janet Leahy
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Mrs. Westlake

#23 - Mrs. Westlake

Season 2 - Episode 12

Theo's math teacher comes for dinner, to Theo's extreme consternation. He thinks she plans to tell his parents of a bad grade on a math test. To his surprise, Mrs. Westlake comes to dinner looking young, attractive, and even with a sense of humor; and she has a very good surprise! Mrs. Westlake also gives Theo his test-he actually gets an 89, and he proceeds to embrace her, much to his shock. Sonia Braga as Mrs. Westlake.

star 8.20
60 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Elliot Shoenman
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A Touch of Wonder

#24 - A Touch of Wonder

Season 2 - Episode 18

After his limo collides with Denise's car, Stevie Wonder (appearing as himself) invites the Huxtables to a recording session. Wonder performs "I Just Called to Say I Love You" with Clair and the family. Absent: Sabrina Le Beauf as Sondra Huxtable.

star 8.19
61 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Matt Williams
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And So We Commence (2)

#25 - And So We Commence (2)

Season 8 - Episode 25

Theo graduates from NYU, Denise reveals that she is pregnant and Olivia leaves to join Denise and Martin in Singapore.

star 8.19
16 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Janet Leahy, Gordon Gartrelle, Courtney Flavin, Hugh O'Neill
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