Ever wonder what it would be like if DUDES acted like kooky preggo broads? No? Too bad. “The Day the Spores Landed” still exists. Happy Father’s Day?
When we think about Unfortunate Episodes from thee 1980s, most of us tend to remember those sitcom moments that traumatized us emotionally – like when the bike store pedophile went after Arnold and Dudley on Diff’rent Strokes or the time Punky Brewster‘s best bud Cheri locked herself in the broken fridge. Perhaps one reason a program like The Cosby Show still resonates with viewers today is that its producers wisely avoided those sporadic attempts at intense, cautionary drama. But make no mistake, “The Day the Spores Landed” is a highly Unfortunate Episode and it’s weird that hardly anybody talks about it as such (I have a theory why, but we’ll get to that later).
The episode opens with patriarch Cliff Huxtable squirming in bed beside his wife Clair – NOT what you’re thinking (they were more a “couch sex” kinda couple, anyway). Cliff is having a nightmare. Then the shot dissolves, signaling that everything we’re about to see is just a dream…
Cut to Clair sitting at the living room desk, listening to classical music on the radio. A news broadcast interrupts to announce that four more men have become pregnant. RUH-ROH! This brings the overall preggo man count to over 11,300,000. Apparently, a volcanic eruption in Peru released some mysterious spores that got into the water supply and made it possible for men to give birth. No man has popped yet, but every one of them is about to drop any minute. Clair listens carefully then calls upstairs to Cliff, “They just found four more!”
That’s when we see Cliff slowly trudging downstairs and – wait for it – he’s got a big ol’ bun in the oven. ZOINKS! Actually, it looks more like a basketball shoved under a sweatshirt. What can I say? Six Emmys, seventeen nominations – great job with the costume, guys. Cosby/Cliff makes a big show of the slow, stilted waddle, his frayed nerves, and his inability to sit without assistance. The live studio audience is cracking up the entire time. Lucky for them, this whole episode is an extension of that one tired gag.
Once Cliff is seated on the couch, Clair tries comforting him – she tucks a pillow under his back, sets his feet on the table. He whines the entire time, just like every single pregnant woman that ever existed (according to TV). He scolds her for not cleaning up after herself. “I’m sorry,” she says. “No you’re not sorry!” he counters, then breaks down in tears. “You don’t care about the way I look!” You know, like knocked-up broads do, with their nonsensical hormones.