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
#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.
#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.
#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)
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.