I’ve been in Austin now for about a month and a half. Since I’m still unemployed, most of my days have been devoted to job searching. But anyone in my situation knows that one can only write cover letters and send out resumes so much at a time without going insane, so I’ve also spent a lot of time with Netflix and Skyrim. I tend to bounce around a few shows at a time on Netflix; right now I’ve been mixing it up with Intervention, How I Met Your Mother, South Park, and The Cosby Show. The Cosby Show is something I picked up earlier this year, during the snowy days of last winter. I sort of dropped it for a while, for whatever reason, and then a couple of months ago picked it back up again. And since I’ve moved here I’ve watched an average of at least an episode a day. I’m currently smack in the middle of Season 5, having watched every episode up to this point. I’ve seen other later episodes before in my life, but not with the same dedication as I’m watching it now, so I don’t really count that.
There’s a lot of amazing things going on in The Cosby Show, which is pretty clear from the show’s 8-season run. I could dedicate multiple posts on all of the things that make it so great (the fashion, Clair’s sassiness, Cliff’s faces, Cliff and Clair’s overall annoyance and love felt for their children), but right now I’m going to focus on one small thing: Rudy Huxtable’s bedroom.
The room's main inhabitant, though, as Cliff would point out, not the room's owner.
At the beginning of the series, 4 out of the 5 Huxtable children are living at home: Sondra Huxtable, the oldest child, is away at Princeton, while Denise, Theo, Vanessa, and Rudy Huxtable are in the house. Denise has a bedroom, Theo has a bedroom, and Vanessa and Rudy share a bedroom. All three of these rooms share something unique, however: they each have two beds. Vanessa and Rudy share, so that’s obvious. It can be assumed that Sondra and Denise shared a bedroom before Sondra started college (they might have mentioned this toward the beginning of the series, in fact), but it’s never been explained why Theo has two twin beds instead of one double, queen, or king bed in his bedroom (though let’s be real, Cliff and Clair would never buy a king-sized bed for one of their children). But that’s all besides the point.
By the time Season 5 is happening, Sondra’s still gone, Denise has dropped out of college but is on a mysterious African photography trip and is gone, Theo is in college but forgot to pay for a dorm, Vanessa’s still in high school and Rudy is still in elementary school. As the case tends to be in situations like this, Vanessa has moved beyond her shared bedroom with Rudy and now has Sondra/Denise’s room, so now every child as a room to themselves (though each room still has two beds).
There’s Rudy’s bedroom, as seen in Season 4’s episode “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” It’s really just half of the room, but it’s nearly impossible to get the entire thing in one shot. But do notice the two beds (both of which are made pretty impressively, in my opinion).
Weird Things #1-#2
Here’s Rudy, again in Season 4’s episode “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” staring at a portrait of herself. A few seconds from this shot, she can be seen stroking the face of the portrait. Maybe all of my rooms have had different decorating schemes, but I just find it odd that Rudy has large-ish framed picture of herself on her dresser. There are no other photos of any other Huxtables, not even of Sondra, whom has not lived in the house for years, or of Denise, who is also out of the house, or her beloved grandparents, Russell and Anna Huxtable. I’d also like to point out that in Season 5, there are still no other photos of any other Huxtables, even though Rudy is by then the aunt to Sondra’s twins and Denise is on a seemingly endless trip to a rather dangerous continent. Now if we know anything about children, it’s that they’re self-centered. That’s all they can be, and really all they should be, to an extent. Now I believe Rudy is about 7 years old in Season 4, which would still put her well into the Self-Centered Child category. But usually that self-centeredness is marked with naivety and a lack of self-awareness, not so much self-worship. We know Rudy is confident and sometimes overestimates her abilities, but isn’t it weird that she takes time out of her day to gaze at herself? Now, to be fair, she’s sad in the scene above and there’s a decent amount of self-pity going on, but I think it can also be assumed that she sees the photo everyday and is happy enough with looking at herself to keep it there. You can also note the photo’s close proximity to the closet, and in the closet door is a mirror, for an even more up-to-date Rudy checkout.
The other thing is the nightlight to the right of the dresser. What is on that nightlight? A baby’s head? Is that what makes Rudy feel secure at night: a glowing baby head? Seems strange. If that’s not in fact a baby’s head, I don’t think I really want to know what it is.
Weird Thing #2.5
Full disclosure: the above almost doesn’t count because these weird paper fish are not a permanent fixture in Rudy’s room. But in “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” there’s a decent amount of time spent on Rudy sadly sitting at her desk, looking at and holding the weird colored cartoon fish, so I felt like I had to point them out. I have to assume they’re some sort of school project, or maybe some kind of flashcards, but they really aren’t doing a great job of cheering Rudy up and ARE doing a great job of being confusing.
Weird/Awesome Thing #3 (and note the aforementioned mirror)
That stuffed dog is not weird, and is in fact sort of awesome, but I have to keep with the theme and call it weird. But what its purpose is is quite confusing. Is that dog some sort of safety spokesdog? Or the face of doggy construction workers everywhere? Whatever he represents, he’s good at it, as indicated by the medal around his neck. The hat could either be some sort of safety helmet or strange plastic 10-gallon cowboy hat, but for dogs. And if that’s the case, then I’m extra curious about what he won an award for. Cow wrangling? Cow branding? Maybe he’s some sort of rodeo doggy. But since Rudy has, at this point, never shown particular interest in either safety or cowboy activities, your guess is as good as mine.
Straight-up Awesome Thing #4
Okay, so that record player isn’t weird or weird/awesome, just straight-up awesome. But I’m still numbering it the same. I just wanted to point it out because I think it’s really cool and interesting. My first thought is that it’s pretty cool of a 7 year old to have a record player, but when I was 7 I at least had a cassette player and possibly also had some sort of CD player, as it was 1993. But still, I’m really into Rudy’s record player, especially the giant metal rod in the middle (for the record [ha!] I tried looking up to see if that metal rod on a record player has a specific name but couldn’t find one, so if there is one and you know it, know that I tried).
Also, bonus side-view of the safety cowdog.
Awesome Thing #5
Now here’s Rudy in her bedroom from Season 5 in “Cyranoise de Bergington.” Notable are the beds, not as well-made (but that’s a plot point here) and the pretty awesome new addition to her door. If you refer back to the first photo, you’ll find that there was some poster of unknown origin on her door, being pretty uninteresting. But at some point between Season 4 and Season 5, Rudy got into Whitney Houston, and added a poster on her door to show for it. And so now Rudy has (as far as we can see) exactly one other photo in her room except for the one of herself (which is still there, just obstructed from view here), so Whitney must be feeling pretty accomplished.
Awesome Things #5.5-#6
A few things worth noting here: the poster above the safety cowdog and record player (but I can’t tell what it is so it doesn’t get a number), the sweet addition of the dust cover to Rudy’s record player, and, most importantly, Cliff’s awesome annoyed/disgusted face. Again, this annoyed face of Cliff’s is not exactly a permanent staple to Rudy’s room, but one can be assured it shows up in her room often enough to count. He’s annoyed because he’s making Rudy do chores to pay him back for the necklace that he bought Clair for Clair’s birthday, which will be from Rudy. And Clair has just discovered Rudy cleaning her bedroom and is overjoyed with motherly pride for her go-getter daughter. And Cliff knows Rudy is just full of shit.
Weirdest Thing of All #7
And of course, the weirdest/most terrifying thing Rudy’s room is saved for last. Maybe you caught glimpses of it earlier, like when we saw Rudy’s room as a whole or when Rudy was stroking her photo. I am of course referring to the painting of the satanic clown that can be seen above Rudy’s dresser. Is that a clown in blackface? And is the clown kidnapping one child while beckoning its other child followers along? Naturally, the face is the scariest thing of all. Rudy sleeps in the bed to the left of the door, essentially right next to where she’s standing in the photo above. So, as far as we know, when Rudy goes to sleep at night, she turns over to see that horrifying monstrosity staring back at her. That horrifying monstrosity, as illuminated by the glowing baby head below it.
If my calculations are accurate, Rudy will be about 11 years old in the show’s final season. Will she have outgrown all of this stuff by then? Will she still have the photo of herself as a 5 year old to look at everyday? Will she still be a Whitney Houston fan? But really, most of all, will that scary clown be gone or will he be a part of the show until the end?
There’s only one way to find out, so from now on, I will be finishing the series for the sake of art.