Inside Quotes: Bill Cosby On The 'I Love Lucy' In Reverse Beginnings Of 'The Cosby Show'

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
August 15, 2013 2:00 PM
5 Comments
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The chauffeur thing was my idea. Also Clair was going to be a plumber in the union …. Clair was also going to be Dominican, and have a mother and father speaking Spanish—which would be the reverse of [I Love] Lucy. I would be the person that didn’t understand when she spoke Spanish. And in the first show, Phylicia speaks Spanish and throughout the show, she understands Spanish. She doesn’t use it the way I wanted to use it. Mrs. Cosby, along with [executive producer] Marcy Carsey, said, ‘No, we think it’s more interesting to have this career professional.’ And I’m not going to argue with my wife. The day [Rashad] got the part, I was sitting in the back, and women were … reading with a couple of the kids. And many of them when … they were going to tell the kid off, started the head moving like a bobble doll … (laughs). And when Phylicia’s turn came and she was reading with Malcolm [Jamal-Warner] and he said something to her … there was a pause from her. And do you know what she did in that pause? She did something with her eyes. She didn’t bop her head; she didn’t throw her hand up on her hip; and she didn’t say anything out loud. She cut a look that said, oh, maybe four or five things (laughs)—and none of them were good. And I turned to Marcy, and I said ‘That’s Clair.’

Ahhh... a trip down memory lane I thought I'd share for those who weren't aware of what The Cosby Show almost would've been, if it weren't for the interference by Camille Cosby and Macy Casey, and also how Phylicia Rashad landed her part.

It's all from a 2009 interview with The Root that I stumbled upon while researching for another piece; and thought I'd share it on a slow news day, assuming that while some are familiar with the stories, others may not be.

Would his original idea for the show have worked? Well, we'll never know now, will we.

You can read the full interview HERE.

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5 Comments

  • FenderGerl | August 17, 2013 3:36 PMReply

    I remember seeing segments of Phylicia's Cosby audition tapes on a tv special. Some are on Youtube - I think the spam filter is blocking them from the comments section. ("The Cosby Show - Clip 5")

  • JMac | August 16, 2013 8:03 PMReply

    This is funny considering there were some who criticized (and still criticize) The Cosby Show for being a buppie sitcom family. They definitely made the right decision.

  • Donella | August 16, 2013 12:26 AMReply

    227 filled the blue collar gap quite nicely. They provided a nice contrast to the Huxtables. The late 80s/90s still provide well-written must-see-African-American-tv in reruns.

  • Ava | August 15, 2013 4:50 PMReply

    I had heard in an interview Cosby did years ago that he wanted the Huxtables to be a blue collar couple. I had read/heard that he was talked out of it but I guess I assumed it might have been Dr. Alvin Poussaint that suggested it. But this version is far more interesting. I think in some ways, the show he and Phylicia Rashad did on CBS was sort of a fulfillment of Cosby's earlier desire to be a blue collar character.

    Claire Huxtable as a Latina. I could see that being interesting as well but I also like the fact that she was fluent in Spanish without being of Latino ancestry. There are some of us who can speak Spanish after learning (lol).

    I remember being in the library of a theater company and coming across the pilot script for The Cosby Show years ago while doing an internship. For some reason, it was a pretty exciting feeling and I just had to sit down at the table and read.

  • Helluva | August 17, 2013 12:16 AM

    That's interesting because I actually enjoyed the CBS show with he & Doug E. Doug more than his earlier show, partly because of the blue-collar angle. I also liked Rashad on that show as well, she wasn't as unnecessarily "sassy" as she was on "The Cosby Show." Good stuff...

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