But about halfway through the article, the writers land on something interesting when they get to The Cosby Show.
"The novelty of that series, at once revolutionary and profoundly conservative, lay in its insistence, week after week, that being black was another way of being normal.Could Barack Obama have been elected without the Cosby Show? Who knows? I think that Bill Cosby did a lot of work for Obama. We already have a cultural memory of feeling totally comfortable, feeling right at home, in the house of two highly educated, wealthy, successful black adults. Can't you just picture the Obamas in that Brooklyn Heights home we loved so well? Maybe its Christmas Eve, the girls, who are supposed to be asleep, are huddled on that great staircase. Michelle, looking fierce, is "mad" at Barack for sneaking a cigarette (his version of Cliff's weakness, the hoagie), but they're smiling, so in love, he gives her an early Christmas gift, tickets to see Harry Belafonte or an original issue of her favorite Ella Fitzgerald record, she forgives him his weaknesses. Then the doorbell rings, its Bill and Hillary from across the street, coming to bring some side-character Christmas cheer, it's Michelle's mother, who calls the girls down, everyone can see them anyway, and they all gather together on those couches that may as well have been from our own childhoods, we know them so well.
The traditional composition of the Huxtable family, with the father as its benevolent, sometimes bumbling head, was part of the series’s strategy of decoupling blackness from social pathology. “The Cosby Show” did not deny the existence of serious problems in black America — not least the problem of absent fathers — but the presence of Cliff Huxtable, in his own home and yours, suggested that the problems were not intractable."