The Best Episodes of The Cosby Show

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2018

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

Theo and the Joint

#1 - Theo and the Joint

Season 1 - Episode 17

Clair discovers a marijuana joint in one of Theo's school books. She and Cliff confront him about it, and accept his explanation—another boy slipped it in. Theo confronts the boy and brings him home to confess in order to remove any uncertainty from his parents about his telling the truth. Theo and the boy actually start to become friends. Stephen Thompson as Anthony Braxton, Iman as Mrs. Montgomery. Rudy says her full name in this episode, Rudith Lillian Huxtable.

star 8.45
62 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: John Markus
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Theo's Holiday

#2 - 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 8.43
58 votes
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Call of the Wild

#3 - 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 8.41
71 votes
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Theo and the Kids (2)

#4 - 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 8.41
24 votes
Directors: John Bowab
Writers: Bernie Kukoff, Ehrich Van Lowe
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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
84 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: John Markus
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Isn't It Romantic?

#6 - 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 8.37
35 votes
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No Way, Baby

#7 - 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 8.35
23 votes
Writers: Gary Kott, Carmen Finestra, John Markus
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Grampy and Nu-Nu

#8 - 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 8.32
34 votes
Writers: John Markus, Gary Kott
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Slumber Party

#9 - Slumber Party

Season 1 - Episode 22

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 8.28
60 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Carmen Finestra
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I Know That You Know

#10 - 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 8.26
49 votes
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Denise Drives

#11 - 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 8.26
54 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Carmen Finestra
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Father's Day

#12 - 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 8.24
58 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: John Markus, Elliot Shoenman
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The Birth (2)

#13 - 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 8.24
17 votes
Writers: John Markus, Carmen Finestra, Gary Kott
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That's Not What I Said

#14 - 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 8.23
39 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Carmen Finestra
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Theogate

#15 - 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 8.22
49 votes
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And So We Commence (1)

#16 - 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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Happy Anniversary

#17 - 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
98 votes
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Independence Day

#18 - Independence Day

Season 1 - Episode 14

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 8.20
89 votes
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Planning Parenthood

#19 - Planning Parenthood

Season 3 - Episode 24

Clair's sister decides she wants to be a mother. Cliff takes Rudy and her friends out to eat at a fancy restaurant.

star 8.20
35 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Elizabeth Hailey, Oliver Hailey
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A Touch of Wonder

#20 - 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
60 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Matt Williams
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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 8.19
53 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: John Markus
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And So We Commence (2)

#22 - 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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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 8.19
59 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Elliot Shoenman
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Jitterbug Break

#24 - Jitterbug Break

Season 1 - Episode 16

Cliff tries to impress Denise's friends by teaching them how to jitterbug. Some of Clair's friends also show off their dance moves. Soon, the whole house is full of dancers. Blair Underwood as Denise's boyfriend (uncredited), Judith Jamison as Marie, Donald McKayle as Ralph, Gerard Cooper as Guy, Christine Langner as Girl

star 8.16
75 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Matt Williams
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Theo's Gift

#25 - Theo's Gift

Season 6 - Episode 5

Theo is diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability which contributed to the academic problems he has had over the years. Michelle Thomas as Justine.

star 8.16
38 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Mark St. Germain
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