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While Bill Cosby used to be an icon and an idol to many people of all races and all walks of life, he has become an entertainment pariah following accusations by dozens of women who claim that the comedy legend took sexual advantage of them in the past, often with the help of drugged drinks. And these actions didn’t just put Cosby in a negative light, but also his entire past, with many looking down on the oh-so-wholesome The Cosby Show. One of the show’s producers hopes that this reaction has an expiration date, though.
For the first time since Bill Cosby first found himself at the center of a public outcry, Tom Werner of the production company Carsey-Werner has shared his thoughts on where the legacy of The Cosby Show sits in the current climate.
I certainly think that at the moment the show is kind of tarnished. But hopefully people can distinguish between the show and Bill. I think about all the great episodes that we’ve done and the impact that it had. I’m certainly hoping that people can continue to watch it.
Werner, who told TV Insider that he still considers the series “one of the most groundbreaking shows in television,” is understandably wary of taking a different approach in defending a series that many consider (or used to) one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. It is indeed hard for most people to separate a person’s creative work from their personal life, and although time tends to help in those kinds of situations, Cosby has been accused of some severely heinous shit by a lot of women. It’s hard enough to distance oneself from one crime, much less a number that seems to keep growing by the month.
Eventually, though, Werner hopes that people can view the show without that hideous filter and be able to enjoy the stories and the acting. This has all certainly affected Cosby’s co-stars like Phylicia Rash?d, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Lisa Bonet and more, possibly also making them a little nervous to talk about the series in public. It’s so strange to think that The Cosby Show used to do battle in the ratings against The Simpsons, which became a public nuisance because Bart said “hell” and “damn” and other relatively lighthearted behavior. If we only knew then what we know now.
You probably won’t be seeing Cosby anywhere but the news in the coming months or years, as his Netflix special ended up getting dropped by the streaming giant. His potential NBC sitcom got stonewalled almost immediately. Interestingly, that show was being put together by Mike O’Malley, whom Werner appeared with at TCA to promote the Starz comedy Survivor’s Remorse, which the two worked on together.
Do you guys think that The Cosby Show will ever be viewed independently of Bill Cosby’s actions?