03/07/1994 at 01:00 AM EST
The half-hour situation comedy was virtually dead when he of the puckish grin and family values introduced The Cosby Show, the only smash of the 1984 TV season. By the time the cast bade farewell in 1992, Cosby took heat for its idealized portrait of upper-class blacks who never encountered racism. But what's wrong with upbeat? "The series was a joyful look at human beings," says costar Phylicia Rashad. "It showed we are more alike than we are different."