The BEST Episodes of The Cosby Show

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Network: NBC

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

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Say Hello to a Good Buy

#1 - Say Hello to a Good Buy

Season 3 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 22, 1987

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 8.82
337 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: Carmen Finestra, John Markus, Matt Williams
Denise: The Saga Continues

#2 - Denise: The Saga Continues

Season 6 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 21, 1989

Denise returns from Africa, with a new husband and stepdaughter in tow. Joseph C. Phillips and Raven-Symoné join the cast as Martin and Olivia Kendall. Last appearance of Peter Costa as Peter.

star 8.76
225 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: Carmen Finestra, Gary Kott, John Markus
The Last Barbecue

#3 - The Last Barbecue

Season 7 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 4, 1990

The Huxtable family erupts in a battle of the sexes after Theo suggests having a stripper at Martin's post-wedding bachelor party.

star 8.70
162 votes
Call of the Wild

#4 - Call of the Wild

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 24, 1987

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 8.65
246 votes
And So We Commence (1)

#5 - And So We Commence (1)

Season 8 - Episode 24 - Aired Apr 30, 1992

Theo prepares to graduate from New York University.

star 8.55
168 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Courtney Flavin, Gordon Gartrelle, Hugh O'Neill, Janet Leahy
Day of the Locusts

#6 - Day of the Locusts

Season 5 - Episode 25 - Aired May 4, 1989

Sondra comes down with strep throat, prompting her mother Clair and Elvin's mother Francine to "steal" the babies.

star 8.40
146 votes
Directors: Chuck Vinson
Writers: Carmen Finestra, John Markus
And So We Commence (2)

#7 - And So We Commence (2)

Season 8 - Episode 25 - Aired Apr 30, 1992

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

star 8.39
157 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Courtney Flavin, Gordon Gartrelle, Hugh O'Neill, Janet Leahy
I Know That You Know

#8 - I Know That You Know

Season 3 - Episode 21 - Aired Mar 19, 1987

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 8.35
250 votes
Father's Day

#9 - Father's Day

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Dec 20, 1984

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 8.34
259 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Elliot Shoenman, John Markus
Theo and the Kids (2)

#10 - Theo and the Kids (2)

Season 7 - Episode 26 - Aired May 2, 1991

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

star 8.32
193 votes
Directors: John Bowab
Writers: Bernie Kukoff, Ehrich Van Lowe
Theo and the Kids (1)

#11 - Theo and the Kids (1)

Season 7 - Episode 25 - Aired Apr 25, 1991

Theo, who is majoring in pediatric psychology, begins an internship as a junior counselor at the community center; he soon suspects that one of the children there is dyslexic. First appearances of Merlin Santana as Stanley and Eugene Byrd as Eugene.

star 8.24
193 votes
Directors: John Bowab
Writers: Bernie Kukoff, Ehrich Van Lowe
Cliff in Love

#12 - Cliff in Love

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 17, 1985

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 8.24
256 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: John Markus

#13 - Theogate

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 1, 1987

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 8.22
196 votes
Goodbye, Mr. Fish

#14 - Goodbye, Mr. Fish

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 27, 1984

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 8.21
349 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Earl Pomerantz

#15 - Waterworks

Season 4 - Episode 18 - Aired Feb 11, 1988

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

star 8.19
146 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: Janet Leahy
Breaking With Tradition

#16 - Breaking With Tradition

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 25, 1984

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 8.19
324 votes
Pilot Presentation

#17 - Pilot Presentation

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 20, 1984

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 8.18
628 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Bill Cosby, Ed Weinberger, Michael Leeson
The Getaway

#18 - The Getaway

Season 8 - Episode 17 - Aired Feb 6, 1992

Sondra, Elvin and the twins finally move into their own house in New Jersey.

star 8.17
138 votes
Directors: Chuck Vinson
Writers: Hugh O'Neill
The Locker Room

#19 - The Locker Room

Season 4 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 10, 1987

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 8.16
179 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Janet Leahy
Independence Day

#20 - Independence Day

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired Jan 10, 1985

Theo gets his ear pierced to impress a girl, but Denise thinks it might be infected. She is correct, and Theo must go to Cliff. Cliff hopes that Grandpa Huxtable will punish Theo, but the old man instead relates the story of how Cliff tried to slick back his hair to impress Clair, but ended up burning it off! Russell brags, and Anna reminds him of the time that he had a tattoo of her name placed on his chest, but ended up with a huge scar on his chest when he tried to remove it after Anna found out he was actually trying to impress another girl! First appearance of Clarice Taylor as Anna Huxtable, Cliff's mother.

star 8.12
319 votes
No Way, Baby

#21 - No Way, Baby

Season 5 - Episode 16 - Aired Feb 6, 1989

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 8.06
138 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: Carmen Finestra, Gary Kott, John Markus
Denise Drives

#22 - Denise Drives

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 14, 1985

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 8.05
226 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Carmen Finestra
Mrs. Westlake

#23 - Mrs. Westlake

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 2, 1986

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 8.04
232 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Elliot Shoenman
Slumber Party

#24 - Slumber Party

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired Mar 28, 1985

Rudy invites all of her friends over for a slumber party. It's Cliff's job to watch over them, and he demonstrates some unique games to wrangle the youngsters. In the end, Russell drops by and demonstrates the perfect way to deal with kids-bribe them!

star 8.03
346 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Carmen Finestra
Autumn Gifts

#25 - Autumn Gifts

Season 4 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 5, 1987

Rudy goes to an older widowed lady's house each afternoon to have tea and play cards, but notices that she refuses to take her daily medication for diabetes. She tells Cliff, who devises a plan to try to convince her that she needs the meds to live. Eileen Heckart appearance. Keshia Knight Pulliam appears on the episode of A Different World which airs later that evening.

star 8.02
150 votes
Writers: Matt Williams