Home / Entertainment / ‘Modern Family’ signs of a crisis, as ‘The Cosby Show’ did in 1992

‘Modern Family’ signs of a crisis, as ‘The Cosby Show’ did in 1992

Just like another family comedy “The Cosby Show” did almost 30 years ago.

“Modern Family”, the ABC series, will air one final episode of an hour – after a retrospective of the program’s 11-year, 250-episode run – with viewers staying indoors because of the new coronavirus.

“Cosby” – one of the highest-rated shows of all time – aired its finale in the middle of a more localized event, the outbreak of riots in Los Angeles in the wake of police release accused of beating motorist Rodney King. For Los Angelenos, the scenario of temporarily escaping bad news by looking at a long-running comedy has clear parallels.

On April 30, 1

992, “The Cosby Show” aired its 201st episode. But the program also included a special message recorded by its star, Bill Cosby, who played on KNBC TV in Los Angeles and told viewers: “Let’s all pray that everyone from the government’s top down to the people on the streets … would all have good sense. And let’s pray for a better tomorrow, which begins today. “

Cosby actually taped two messages, one that would be broadcast if the episode was not broadcast, in the midst of the violence that occurred over the city and a locally enforced curfew.

Long-time KNBC news anchor Jess Marlow introduced the show, noting that the then L.A. mayor, Tom Bradley, had urged people to “stay on the streets and watch” The Cosby Show. “We think we need this time (as) a cooling off period … to remember what our Thursday nights were like before all this madness began.” Marlow closed by saying, “We hope you use this hour to say goodbye and thanks to a good friend. “

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In a piece marking the 30th anniversary of the premiere, then-New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry observed that “The Cosby Show” – held as an idealized example of America’s race progress – had collided with a harsher reality.

“I have always loved ‘The Cosby Show’,” he wrote. “But it doesn’t detract from my attention that a show that gave the impression that black people had vanquished went on the air just as black Los Angeles made a strong case that we hadn’t done.”

Obviously, the line from “The Cosby Show” to “Modern Family” only goes so far. And memories of the former cannot be separated from the association with its imprisoned star, who was convicted of sexual assault in 2018.

Still, both programs brought families, with casts of children growing up before the eyes of the audience. Where “Cosby” was seen as a unifying force by showing that a show featuring an African-American actor could appeal to such a broad audience, “Modern Family” broke the ground with its portrayal of a loving gay couple, whose marriage in one episode of 2014 brought a years before the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.

During the retrospective, the stars of “Modern Family” discuss what the show has meant to them. Because Burell says the series “has in a way ruined me in the best way,” and Julie Bowen, who plays her wife, adds, “If this is my best job, I’ll take it.”

As a commercial hit that shares the record with “Frasier” (five) for most Emmy winners as outstanding comedy – and the last broadcast series to claim that award – “Modern Family” has no mountains left to climb.

But when it comes to removing people’s minds from their daily worries, much in the way that “Cosby’s” finale completed that role, the show has a job left to do.

“Modern Family” will broadcast its series finale April 8 at. 9pm on ABC, after an hour of retrospective.

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