The Cosby Show

Beth Olson and William Douglas first mention the role of Clair Huxtable, the mother
of the family in an article on The Cosby Show. Clair plays the part of an attorney but
is almost always spotted throughout the home cleaning, cooking or getting her kids
ready for school. Most Americans would agree that her character represents a woman’s
stereotypical role, housework, even if she has another job outside the home, it does not
have the same importance as being a home mom. An example from one of the episodes
depicts this exact controversy. The son’s friend tries to do “woman’s work” by cooking
a dinner for the family. He ends up burning the meal and failing completely. He even tried
buying a cake from a store, but of course the mother could tell that he did not make it.
This episode might be showing the results of when things are taken out of the norm that
they rarely end well. Interestingly enough, the show did not have a woman attempting a
man’s job, like building something or fixing the kitchen sick. Letting a women have the
opportunity to prove that she can do anything just as good or even better than a man.
This specific episode mocked that even when women go out of the home to work, men,
without losing their masculinity, can attempt to contribute to house chores. When all else
fails, slowly the roles of genders are put back into “place,” with women in the kitchen, cooking
and men minding their own at work.

This clip from an episode of The Cosby Show is an example of how Clair, the mother, is seen in the
home like most of the episodes and then she is taking care of the younger kids and trying to keep the
household under controle. Steretyping that she takes of everying related inside the home.

Olson, Beth and William Douglas. “The family on television: Evolution of gender roles in situation
comedy.” Springerlink 36. (1997) 24 October 2010. <>