Bill Cosby was widely known for his ridiculous sweaters, his ability to make people laugh and his famous "zip zop zoobity bop" sounds.
But that’s all changed in recent weeks as allegations that he raped 15 different women resurfaced and reminded America of the 77-year-old comedian's darker side. That darker side raises questions about what the actor will be remembered for and how America will view TV dads moving forward.
Everyone loved Cosby’s hit sitcom “The Cosby Show.” Earlier this year, articles a plenty commended the show for hitting all the right notes portraying a middle class American black family. Chandra Johnson of Deseret News National explained in a story earlier this year how the show matters to us today. Similarly, I listed Cosby as one of the most influential fathers on television because of his character Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable, who wasn't afraid to teach his children life lessons n their own terms.
Cosby’s fall has already resonated with American culture and tarnished his legacy. According to The Huffington Post, the Internet went to town on Cosby when he dared web users to make him into a meme. The memes specifically pointed to his rape allegations, showing just how far he may have fallen from the public's good graces. His NBC comeback sitcom — which once again put him at the head of a family — was also canceled, and a Netflix special on the actor was nixed, The Washington Post reported.
Cosby isn't the only TV dad to show his darker colors years after his show's prime. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saget’s released memoir called “Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian” shows how he’s considerably less family friendly since his days as a TV dad.
And then there’s Stephen Collins, the man who played a pastor and father on “7th Heaven,” who confessed in October to molesting children in his past, according to the Chicago Daily Herald.
Modern TV mirrors the way people view families. I wrote last year about how different sitcom families represent today's American life. And entertainment's portrayal of the American father, inside and outside of the small screen, seems to be changing. Maybe that’s why, as NPR reported, more recent TV dads are nefarious and villainous, opposed to being the hero like they were just years ago.
"These destructive dads aren't just dysfunctional goofballs," NPR reported. "They are deeply troubled men whose issues cause serious problems for everyone close to them. And they're at the end of a long decline in the portrayal of dads on television."