'We Need to Talk About Cosby' Explores the Sickening Double Life of 'America's Dad'

W. Kamau Bell’s four-part docuseries is a deeply thoughtful, searing examination of Bill Cosby’s path from pop-cultural hero to accused serial rapist

Bill Cosby, Documentary

1/28/2022 11:56:00 AM

W. Kamau Bell’s four-part docuseries is a deeply thoughtful, searing examination of Bill Cosby ’s path from pop-cultural hero to accused serial rapist

W. Kamau Bell’s four-part docuseries is a deeply thoughtful, searing examination of Bill Cosby ’s path from pop-cultural hero to accused serial rapist

“Can you separate the art from the artist?” is a thorny question that many have asked and few have easily answered.Bell divides the story into four chapters: Cosby’s rise to fame as a comedian and Emmy-winning TV star in the Sixties; his pivot into family-friendly educational TV in the Seventies; his Eighties explosion in popularity thanks to

(*) The release occurs right when Bell thought he was wrapping up the movie; his only on-camera appearance of the project comes as he’s absorbing this latest development and trying to figure out how much it changes what he’s already shot.Within those roughly chronological borders, though, Bell frequently fast forwards and rewinds. We get long stretches chronicling the very public, celebrated Bill Cosby, then double back to hear stories from the women who say he was drugging and assaulting them even as he was winning awards and endorsement deals. Some of the accusers appear via archival footage from the last few years, but several of them participate in new, harrowingly detailed interviews with Bell and his crew. Victoria Valentino recalls how she was only weeks removed from her young son’s drowning death in a friend’s pool when she had the misfortune to meet Cosby, who drugged her, raped her, then told her the next morning to call a cab to get home — “And the horrible thing is,” she notes, “I said, ‘Thank you.’ ” The survivors’ accounts overlap in various stomach-churning ways: They say Cosby was fond of playing backgammon with his targets while waiting for the drugs to kick in. Janice Baker-Kinney remembers feeling their effects and groaning, “This game isn’t fair anymore.”

Read more: Rolling Stone »

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