‘Angel Heart’ Is An Impossibly Rich, Impossibly Complex Examination Of The Lies That America Tells Itself

In 1987, two years into The Cosby Show‘s dominant run as the most popular show on television —it was the most-watched show for five of its eight seasons— star and creative mastermind Bill Cosby became incensed when Lisa Bonet, his daughter on the show, filmed an explicit sex scene with Mickey Rourke and then posed for naked photos to promote it in INTERVIEW magazine. He created a spin-off series for her (A Different World) where she would go for its first season before returning to The Cosby Show for a little while before a pregnancy gave Cosby a reason finally to fire her. Cosby was, for decades, an influential voice in the industry. His partnership with Robert Culp in I, Spy gave him particular clout in a climate that is to this day notoriously unwelcoming to black creators. When asked to create a show for Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner’s new production company in the early ’80s, Cosby conjured the affluent, Brownstone-dwelling Huxtables who moved among the 1% with nary a mention of the race issues that continue to divide this nation. The Cosby Show, while aspirational for some, is a dangerous fantasy of a post-racial America for others. Like so many things our leaders told us in that decade, it was all a disgusting lie.

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