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The Danger of Only One Story Bill Cosby vs. 227

November 1, 2009

The danger of only one narrative has been a mantra of postmodernists theorists. The metanarrative or only having one explanation of events discredits the other truths that may be out there.  We can extrapolate this idea and compare it to 227 and The Cosby Show.  227 showed a middle-class family that was living their truth.  While 227 was on the air they made us laugh out loud! As a more traditional sitcom, they were positive and funny. They portrayed a working family.  I think this view has been lost or distorted in some programs.  By highlighting only The Cosby Show, as the model black family,  we are ignoring other sitcoms that accomplished some of the same goals.

I’m an avid youtube viewer. I don’t own a television and even if I did, living in Japan would only give me the weekly Full House episode and a few other movies.  Fortunately, I have youtube, it ties you to the past in a way that a trip to your local Blockbuster (RIP) never could. In my list of suggested clips youtube  sent an episode of 227. 227 was a family sitcom set in Washington D.C.  I remember watching this show when I was younger and laughing at the antics of Mary (Marla Gibbs), Rose (Alaina Reed Hall), Pearl (Helen Martin) and of course Sandra Clark (Jackee Harris).  227 was full of black love.  I didn’t realize it then, I just enjoyed the show, but after watching an episode and looking at how familiar  everyone was, 227 was an honest to goodness black family that’s been ignored.

I was thinking about this because of the accolades that are still being given to The Cosby Show.  NBC aired a reunion for The Cosby Show that featured many of the original cast members.   I’m not saying that the show wasn’t entertaining. In a lot of ways The Cosby Show wasn’t your traditional family sitcom. They had funny moments, but it wasn’t filled with zany one liners and stock characters other than the bumbling husband and the over intelligent wife. Not trying to take away their thunder, but come on people! Let’s go back to 227!

When Mary, Rose and Pearl got together who knew what would happen. 227 was a great production! The characters exhibited class and grace. They didn’t have  men in drag and overly stereotypical gay characters. They just had some women who lived in the neighborhood.  Mary and Lester were a loving couple that were constantly getting in snuggle time.  Lester’s love for Mary was obvious even if he was a bit of a curmudgeon! Mary’s “ideas” were always centered in doing what’s right. Rose and Pearl were good friends who provided light-hearted balance to Mary’s stubborn ways. I don’t need to go into the rumors about Sandra Clark, from what I’ve heard they were all true,  from the wiggle to the tiggle of her voice, she created a lovable vamp who really wanted acceptance from the women in her neighborhood.

This  is dedicated to 227, “cause there’s no place like home”!

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