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The Cosby Show

Season 3 Episode 5

Mother, May I?

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Oct 23, 1986 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
30 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Vanessa tries to get away with wearing make-up even though Clair has forbidden her to wear it until she is 15. Theo drives the family crazy with his study of fire safety.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Too rigid a parental enforcement.

    I am probably a little more lenient than 'in-correct' in reviewing this episode, but this is the one that turned me off about the show a lot. I will grant that probably a lot of parents have a rule banning makeup until a certain age, and I do credit Clair for keeping her cool here. But I have to think over the years that this did not have a major influence, for instance the campaign "Parents the Anti-Drug" has had I believe more effect. This I think was the first episode that specifically emphasized a parental act and not as much funny antics around the house. And it didn't seem to work.

    The scene with Vanessa and Rebecca seemed to show off the sensitive issue of peer pressure, and it looked like that was completely ignored!

    As far as something interesting what 'in-correct' says: "If Claire gets this angry over THAT, then you don't want to see her get angry if one of her kids does something actually bad. Vanessa Wearing Makeup isn't illegal, but if she drove and did drugs and alchohol and assisted Theo in the raiding of the places with the food, then that WOULD be, and something to be furious about" -- you can check out the episode "Off to See the Wretched", that was where Vanessa seemingly was headed for a life of crime and an indication of how the parents' control was not effective.

  • My Review On This Horrible Episode:

    In this episode you can tell that Claire is completely unreasonable about things, and that she is a total snob, set in her ways, proud of what she does, and with absolutely no apologies or no regrets of anything, and the belief that whatever the parents say goes, no matter how stupid or unreasonable it is.

    If you don't understand any of this, all you have to do is observe Claire's opinion on Vanessa wearing makeup. She cannot wear makeup until she is much older. She is 13 in this episode. She is grounded for a simple thing like wearing makeup. This would be understandable if they couldn't afford makeup, but they obviously can, and she doesn't want to.

    This episode is a perfect example of why this show is pointless. It is about some stupid immature snobs and their spoiled bratty kids that make a big deal of little things that is unnecessary about making a big deal about, which says that this family has no idea of what they are talking about and no idea on what they are doing.... ( They try to make it a little different when Pam arrives, but remember that Pam isn't one of their kids. )

    They have no idea on what a real problem is. Why would any parents make a big deal on little things like that?? She shouldn't care if she wants to wear makeup. No Big Deal. A big deal is that if Theo eats all the food in their house, that he starts robbing every place that has food, and if all the girls want to become married or something at 13, and if Vanessa does something like this.... then that would be a perfect reason for Claire to get mad. But she shouldn't get mad at all. She obviously has some anger issues if she can't sit there and not say that she is so mad that every word will be from anger and Vanessa needs to go upstairs and that Claire doesn't want to see Vanessa until Claire calms down.

    If Claire gets this angry over THAT, then you don't want to see her get angry if one of her kids does something actually bad. Vanessa Wearing Makeup isn't illegal, but if she drove and did drugs and alchohol and assisted Theo in the raiding of the places with the food, then that WOULD be, and something to be furious about.

    If you are looking in this show for an apology, or something, don't look for it in the parents, because they think that they are perfect and that NOTHING that they do is wrong. They are proud and stubborn and have no regrets.

    This is one of the worst episodes, yet one of the perfect example of this show. The other one is where Denise makes the mistake of getting into a bad marriage that the first wife of Martin was lucky to get out of. ( Which this entirely clueless family places all of the blame on her, a woman that they don't even know ) Olivia should have not stayed with Martin. He is allways away, The Snobs have to raise Olivia, and she eventually has to move out of the country. She could have been added as a neighbor, or she could be added the same way that Cousin Pam got added to the show.

    All of this is what makes this show unwatchable. The only reason that it is still airing today is because the "network" doesn't know how to become an independant 24 hour station, and that most of the stars are so proud and think that the show is better than it actually is, and better than COSBY ( Which it's NOT.... and people, get it right, this show isn't called Cosby, It is The Cosby Show... THE Cosby SHOW... They are both different shows, and each of them has one title, not two, and neither of them have both titles. ) and will probably file a lawsuit if anybody wants to take this show off the air.

    And also Vanessa gets into WAY more trouble than Rudy, who should have gotten in trouble for messing with Vanessa's things. Rudy never seems to get in trouble.... And the ending of this episode is okay, since they all get locked out in the cold weather. That's what you get for becoming enraged over nothing, ( I'm surprised that Claire wasn't throwing furniture or something like that ) , and that's what you get for living where it gets that cold....moreless
Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable

Keshia Knight Pulliam

Keshia Knight Pulliam

Rudith Lillian "Rudy" Huxtable

Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia Rashad

Clair Olivia Hanks Huxtable

Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Theodore Aloysius "Theo" Huxtable

Tempestt Bledsoe

Tempestt Bledsoe

Vanessa Huxtable

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Clair: Cliff. (laughs) Cliff. (laughs)
      Cliff: Hi, how are you doing?
      Clair: I'm fine. (laughs)
      Cliff: What ya laughing at?
      Clair: Cliff, you are so beautiful.

    • Vanessa: I did it, I'm sorry and I should be punished.
      Cliff: We know it, we accept, and you will be.

    • (After Clair makes Vanessa take off her sunglasses)
      Clair: Mmm, mmm,mmm, mmm. It is amazing what you can find when a person takes off her sunglasses.
      Vanessa: Mom, I didn't mean to put on the make-up. But, all of a sudden all of this stuff was on my face. It was like temporary insanity!

  • NOTES (4)

    • In syndication, additional dialogue in the bathroom scene is cut out, and the commercial break comes earlier.

    • In Vanessa's room, there is a poster of pop superstar Whitney Houston. In 1984, Houston competed with Sabrina LeBeauf for the role of Sondra.

    • Phylicia Rahshad is pregnant in real life during this and the previous episode. You can see it in her face and her rather oversized clothing. Note how she clutches her briefcase blocking her tummy, and in the previous episode she was sending Denise a care package: a huge box that blocked her belly.

    • This was originally aired by NBC before Game 5 of the 1986 World Series in which the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Mets. The Mets won games 6 and 7 to win the Series; in Game 6 the Red Sox led with a strike to go but were tied on a wild pitch, then lost on the famous Bill Buckner error.