Haywood Henderson
Intro to Mass Comm
Dr. Cirucci
Hard work Doesn’t Discriminate: No matter the circumstances

Fashion's Finest Throwdown: The Cosbys vs. The Banks
Fashion's Finest Throwdown: The Cosbys vs. The Banks

Growing up I was raised by a single parent mother majority of my childhood. My mother who was fairly young, worked numerous jobs to provide for my siblings and I. Being that my mother worked so much my siblings and I watched and looked over each other a lot. Television was and still to this day plays a major factor in my life. I learned things from televisions programs, and two of my favorite shows were “The Cosby Show”, and “The Fresh prince of Bel-Air. These two shows depicted African Americans as positive, wealthy, decent people with morals. There are many similarities when comparing the shows, as well as differences but from almost every episode there is a message. “The Cosby show” aired in the 80s during ‘The Crack’ epidemic which swept the nation and caused many problems. “The Fresh Prince” aired during the early 90s where racial tensions were flaring over figures such as: Rodney King, and OJ Simpson. However, through all the distractions going on in the world, these very similar but different shows showed a different side of African Americans. One of the biggest lessons I have learned from both of the shows, is that hard work pays off.
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The male authority figure on the “Cosby Show” was characterized as Cliff Huxtable, a Doctor and very educated, funny, wealthy family man with good sense. On the “Fresh prince of Bel- Air ‘Uncle Phil’ feels the role of the dominant male. He is a successful magistrate raising his family in California. Both father figures display and behave in such appropriate manner, but are also down to earth and comedic. In season four, episode 26 (The Philadelphia story) of the ‘Fresh Prince’ it shows when ‘Uncle Phil’ was a young, struggling, law student living in Philadelphia with his wife and three kids. This particular episode was significant to me because it ultimately showed me what hard work can get you. The Banks family struggled in the beginning but eventually rose to a better financial state.
Unlike the ‘Fresh Prince’ there was no episode of the Cosby’s showing a struggle, but ‘Cliff Huxtable’ was looked at nationally as the ideal father figure. In the overview of the Cosby sitcom it says that ‘Dr. Huxtable’ is the son of a prominent Jazz trombonist. From that knowledge I conclude that ‘Cliff Huxtable didn’t struggle as much growing up, and was raised in a proficient financial state. Now although both fathers from each show had different beginnings they both became successful. This comparison of the shows lets me understand that no one has that much of an advantage in life, and hard work prevails no matter the circumstances.
In the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ ‘Will’ is the main character, and he is a very unique individual to the television world. The character of ‘Will’ can be described as a playful, silly, disobedient youth, who gradually becomes a mature adult with goal and aspiration. ‘Will’ is given the opportunity to leave the streets of West Philadelphia and grow up in the Suburban Upper class environment of Bel Air. I view the whole idea of the move to Bel- Air as rehabilitation for the troubled youth, something most kids growing up in the inner cities wish they have the opportunity to do the same. Change is for the better in a lot of cases and that was exactly what ‘Will’ needed. He was able to accomplish goals that looked impossible to reach the way his life was going. Put in the right environment, and with the help of family and hard work ‘Will’ was able to succeed. Now his cousin on the show ‘Carlton’ is an educated, preppy, snob and many would consider his character to be a stereotypical white guy. Although Carlton knows where he came from he had no problem adapting to the predominately white neighborhood and often expressed it. However, from watching the series I learned that Carlton always had the need to prove he could be 'tough' or a 'gangster'. In Season 1, episode 23 Will makes a bet that Carlton couldn’t stay in the rough neighborhood of Compton, Carlton not only stays in the crime invested neighborhood but actually likes it. Another episode I can recall Carlton behaving inappropriately was Season 5, episode 15. Will and Carlton happened to be getting robbed at an ATM machine, the crooks then would open fire on Will causing damage. Will was glad to be alive, but Carlton wanted revenge and would go to the extreme. Now Carlton was not raised to be behaving in such a horrific manner, but it’s the aggressiveness that lives in us all. Will and Carlton were raised by the same man Uncle Phil of course; both have different backgrounds, characteristics but the same ambition that was instilled in them. Through time in their live they acted differently but ultimately remained focus.
It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you are, or any excuses you may have, hard work conquers all and puts you in the position you prefer. 'The Cosby Show', and 'The Fresh Prince of Bell- Air' showed me that it is possible to excel, and that everyone has problems some way or another. Whether the problems are financial, drug related, emotional, or sociological they exist and it's always better to talk to someone about them. These two shows had great father figures and they always seemed to have the right thing to say to all of their children. I learned from the mistakes characters made on both shows, and stored knowledge because a lot of the problems shown on television come from real life situations.
I am truly grateful for these sitcoms and I wish that there were more shows like 'The Cosby show' and 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air' because they were entertaining as well as educational. Nowadays there is a lot of non-sense displayed on the television, and children are being taught the wrong things. Shows that depict love, value, family, and life lessons are important because just maybe the youth will follow. Hard work does not discriminate and anyone can be successful, no matter the race, sex, or any other problem they may feel as a crutch or burden.

Works Cited

"The Cosby Show (TV Series 1984–1992) - IMDb." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 04 Nov. 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086687/>.

"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (TV Series 1990–1996) - IMDb." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 04 Nov. 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098800/>.

Jhally, Sut. "Enlightened Racism: the Cosby Show ... - Sut Jhally, Justin Lewis." Google Books. Web. 04 Nov. 2011. <http://books.google.com/books/about/Enlightened_racism.html?id=91UVXquXilcC