Awesome / The Cosby Show

  • "Theo...?" (Long pause as Cliff gets up; Beat.) "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my LIFE! No wonder you get Ds in everything!"
    • Meta-wise: The fact that this moment was a MAJOR subversion of the typical sitcom moment where the kid's rewarded for "asserting himself". (See the "Funny" tab.)
    Cliff: You are afraid to try because you think your brain is going to explode and it's going to ooze out of your ears. Now, I'm telling you that you are going to try as hard as you can. You're going to do it because I said so. I am your father. I brought you into this world, and I'll take you out!
  • Any time Clair loses her cool. Many of them also double as a Crowning Moment of Funny for her.
    • There's one in season 2 when Denise wanted to impulsively buy a car that was more-than obviously a complete lemon and complained that it was, "her money in her account" and wondered if America was still a free country.
    Clair: "If you ever try to pull anything like this on us again, missy, then you can leave this house, take that money, and go discover America."
    Cliff: "Elvin, when she brings that coffee back... If I were you, I wouldn't drink it."
    • Season 4: Sondra tells Clair that she's changed her mind about going to law school.
    Sondra: Mom...
    Clair: Yes?
    Sondra: I'm not going to law school.
    Clair: (tries to be calm) What?
    Sondra: I decided not to go to law school.
    Clair: What do you mean you decided not to go to law school?
    Sondra: Well this is our dream. So I'm going to take a temporary job while the Wilderness Store opens then I'll be working side by side with my husband
    Clair: Sondra, what are you saying? You have always wanted to go to law school, you haven't talked about anything else!
    Sondra: I changed my mind.
    Clair: Change it back! After all that money we spent sending you to Princeton? Sondra, you owe us $79,647.22! And I want my money now! *Cliff tries to drag Clair out of the room and into the kitchen, but she refuses* I'm not going anywhere without my money! *Cliff tries again* I'll take whatever she's got! Empty her pockets!
    • Season 5: To say that she disapproves of Vanessa and her friends' less-than-modest attire for a singing competition is a massive understatement.
    • Season 6: So Vanessa snuck off to Baltimore for a concert and lied about its location. Getting her car, tickets, and money stolen become the least of her worries when she finds Clair waiting for her back in New York.
      • Let's put it this way: There's no Golden Moment to Sentimental Music Cue moment or acceptance hug later, just one of the most pants-shittingly "GO TO BED!!" moments in TV history.
  • After Theo learns that he's dyslexic, he doesn't blame anyone, he takes the bull by the horns and turns his life around!
  • Theo convincing the school to re-do the auditions for drum major not because Vanessa lost, but because he learned the judging was rigged.
  • Sondra has to be the only one to not only stand up to Clair, but her mother-in-law at the same time.
    Sondra: "You are my mother. I am their mother! If either of you ever try anything like this again the next time you see these children will be at their college graduation!
    • This is also the only time in the entire series when anyone stands up to Clair and Clair backs down. Every other attempt ends with Clair coming back out on top.
  • Another one for Clair: Shooting down elitist political snobs who only wanted her on their TV show to exploit her position as a black woman and then turning down future appearances despite bringing in record ratings. To quote Cliff, "That is not a donut."
    • Cliff gets one in that same episode when he and the janitor retrieve a book that Clair needed to prove her point from one of the panelist's desks during the filming.
  • Walter "Cockroach" Bradley gets an off-screen one in season 2 when he gets Mrs. Westlake's class back in line to prepare for the last test she was giving them when they were fooling around and making the substitute's teacher's experience miserable.
  • How Cliff wins the "King of Romance" contest.
    • Cliff has spent most of the episode phoning various people for an unspecified reason. At their dinner at the climax of the episode, he tells Clair a story about a young man who went on his first date with a young woman who wanted a barrette, but the young man couldn't afford it. Turns out he'd been looking for it, and he found it, and then he presented that young woman, now his wife, with a box wrapped up with a pretty bow. Then Clair tells Cliff that she wanted a bracelet. There's a lovely bit of acting by Cos as his face just drops while Clair upbraids him for confusing him with the girl who wanted the barrette. In anger, she opens the box, takes out the bracelet, realizes what she's holding as Cliff grins, and hugs Cliff with a delighted squeal. It's one of the best-acted scenes in the whole series.
  • The family performing Ray Charles' "Night Time is the Right Time" for Grandpa & Grandma Huxtable. Watch it!
  • The dancing in the season 1 episode Jitterbug Break.
  • Theo thinks he has some impressive jump rope skills when he goes to start working at the community center. He gets one-upped big time.
  • In season 6, Sondra has to give up an evening with Elvin and two girls he once knew, but while Elvin insists that he stay home, Sondra repeatedly insists that he go for the evening, which he does. The events that followed for Sondra put her in quite a sour mood, and when Elvin comes home late and having paid the whole bill, Sondra won't even speak to him. Later, while Cliff is blaming Elvin for being an idiot, Clair places the blame on Sondra for being dishonest with Elvin and herself.
  • Theo and Cockroach breaking down Marc Antony's "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" speech from Julius Caesar into a rap.
    • In that same episode, Cliff's father and two professors from his college days performing a scene from the very play, then performing the play that little Rudy wrote.
  • After Theo scrapes by on a test on Macbeth without actually reading the play he's pretty confident that he's done with Shakespeare. Clair promptly bursts his bubble by declaring that he will be taking another exam over the play, given by her. Of course, Clair has to re-read the play herself first...
  • How about the fact that the show itself spent 5 straight years as the #1 show on TV? Often, it brought in more than 50 percent of the audience in its timeslot.
  • In one season 5 episode, Cliff has had more than enough of Rudy and Vanessa's fighting not only disturbing the peace of the house but also causing structural damage that he exiles them to the basement. Clair ends up in full support of the idea.
    • He also doesn't give in to their fake attempts at trying to make up and they stay in the basement until all of the damage is repaired.
  • Another one from Cliff: When Theo's "colloquy" ends up destroying the house, Cliff drags him to the Army Recruitment Center. Even though that fails, the alternate solution is still very fitting.
    • It gets a follow-up in season 8 when Cliff and Clair punish Rudy and her friends with something similar after one of their escapades.
  • Season 2: Theo getting an 89 on what was described as one of the hardest math tests that year. Cliff explains that Theo completely earned it after spending an entire week studying for it. This is also the moment when Theo begins taking his school work much more seriously.
  • One of the season 4 episodes has Cliff sit in on Clair's book club and offer an observation about one of the events in the book being discussed, with Clair believing all the while that he'll only put his foot in it since he hasn't read the book. Turns out, to Clair's delighted astonishment, Cliff has indeed read the book and knows exactly what he's talking about, to the approval of the rest of the club. Subverted almost immediately after when, in typical Cliff fashion, he doesn't quit while he's ahead, makes one comment too many, and does indeed put his foot in it.
  • Although she did so because she was being petty and stubborn about her broken toe, seeing Clair hop up the stairs with one foot is quite impressive to watch.