Keshia Knight Pulliam was 5 when she read for the part of Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show. At her audition, she kept looking away from the director, who finally asked her what she was looking at. “That’s me,” she said, pointing at the monitor. “How can you make me on the TV?”
Aw. That’s the Keshia I want to remember. Little Rudy — smart as a whip and cute as a bug — or a goldfish.
Sure, I know that the actor and her character are two different people. I know that it’s been over 15 years since The Cosby Show‘s original run. I know Pulliam turned 29 a few weeks ago. When I see pictures like this, I can deal with her growing up. You can still see a little of Rudy in her, can’t you?
Pulliam at the 39th NAACP Image Awards on Feb. 14, 2008
But pictures like this one, in which Pulliam clearly is trying to get as far away from Rudy as she can, make me wish I surfed the net a little less and watched reruns a little more.
I can almost hear Clair: “March up to your room right now, young lady, and put on the rest of your clothes.”
The Huxtables also would not be pleased with Pulliam’s next role: a prostitute in Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail. Pulliam appeared in a 2006 episode of House of Payne, one of the latest unfunny attempts to clone The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and she and Perry apparently hit it off.
Although it’s not my cup of tea, Perry’s Madea franchise attracts a healthy box office, and I understand why Pulliam would want the visibility. But the plot does not exactly make me wish the movie well: “The Lionsgate comedy centers on Madea (Perry), whose penchant for trouble-making lands her behind bars. She comes to the rescue of Candy (Pulliam), a fellow inmate preyed upon by a large woman named Big Sal.”
While I have no objection in principle to stories about lesbians in prison, I’m not too keen on Rudy playing a hooker in a homophobic movie. Am I overreacting? Is Perry’s movie a good career move for Pulliam? Or does she think she signed up for a movie version of another Phylicia Rashad role, Medea? Hey, I’m trying to give Keshia the benefit of the doubt here.