Cosby and Friends is a fictitious ultra-low budget Saturday Morning children's television series from the YouTube comedy/animated sitcom/social commentary The Lenny Leggo Show. It stars the fictitious Saturday Morning television character Cosby The Caterpillar.
Since its debut, "Cosby and Friends" has been universally panned by television critics and parents around the globe and it is widely known as the worst children's show in television history. Scientific studies also show that children lose an estimated 10% of their IQ points after viewing the series for one year on a weekly basis.
Despite being widely panned, the show has continued production due to its viewership ratings, reaching just barely above the required limit in order to continue the show for an additional season.
The show is a parody of numerous children's productions, such as Barney and Friends. It also satires lesser known, lower budget, and cheaply acted television shows such as The Donut Man Sunshine Factory and The Dooley and Pals Show.
The show, produced at PSS Studios (the same studio where titular character Lenny Leggo is employed), is notorious for being one of the cheapest and laziest television productions of all time. Each episode is made on a budget of an estimated $75 and the show's ultra low-budget is responsible for it's insanely quick producing time (about 90 minutes from the time the children arrive to the time they're dismissed), cheap lights, cheap sets, cheap special effects, cheap costumes, cheap cameras, cheap camera tripods that always cause the camera to record at a retarded angle, constant use of pre-recorded stock footage (used to cover-up many types of shooting mistakes so the studio doesn't have to re-shoot it), soundtrack containing exclusively stock music (including the show's theme song), horrific audio quality, horrific video quality, and rushed editing.
Every Wednesday and Thursday, the series has "Audition Day", where children ages 6-17 can audition for the series. When the show began, it featured 20 kid hosts per episode, but it was later reduced to 12 per episode due to budget cuts. Each audition had an average total of 16-21 submissions.
Each episode is taped on a Monday morning. Children arrive at the studio at 7AM and for about an hour have "rehearsal" time, where they listen to the songs that will be used for each episode and learn the basic motions that go along with the music. At 8:00AM, filming begins, and is usually finished in about 30 minutes, as the series is done one-take only unless there is a major mistake that demands otherwise: even then, the show sometimes just adds stock clips later on in editing to (poorly) cover up the mistake instead of reshooting a scene. Around 8:30AM, the children are dismissed from the studio.
On one occasion, the studio messed up the scheduling for its Christmas special (there was nothing different about this episode other than the constant mention of Christmas as well as cheap, poorly set up Christmas decorations in the background). The episode was planned to air the Saturday before Christmas, but confusion with the studio resulted in the episode being taped, rather than aired, around this time, the Monday before that day. Since every episode of the series airs three to four weeks after its tapping day, the studio was forced to delay the episode until January.
During one of the show's regular segments, the kid hosts are divided up into teams and partake in a competition, which itself varies by episode, and always results in Cosby declaring victory to every team. This has been heavily criticized by viewers who claim that this is a means of political propaganda. As a result, critics have resorted to the said character's nickname, "Cosby the Communist". The show is also infamous for its poor editing, bad audio quality, and constant use of re-used footage and audio recordings.
Each episode of "Cosby and Friends", which lasts 25 minutes, features five segments, evenly dividing into five minutes each. The first segment is "The Greeting". This is the part of the show where Cosby welcomes the viewers of the show, where he, and the kid hosts sing the "Welcome to Cosbyland" song, which takes up the entire first five minutes.
The second segment is the story-time segment. All of the children, as well as the additional characters, sit down as "Betsy the Butterfly" tells them a story. The stories are basic fairy tales, such as "Three Little Pigs", "Cinderella", etc. Because the story-lineup is rather limited, the entire lineup on the show will start over again once it reaches the end, thus each story is re-used for several episodes of the show.
The third segment is the learning segment, where "Rodney the Rat" "teaches" the children any random given educational fact. They are almost always exceedingly obvious in nature, such as that "Giraffes are Tall", "The Sky is Blue", "People without feet couldn't walk", and "People live in houses". There is a song that follows this relating to whatever is talked about in this segment: the actual song itself and most of the lyrics are exactly the same for every episode, with each song depicting the varying topic in the episode.
The fourth segment is known as the competition segment. Unlike the previous two segments, this is the first segment, minus the introduction, hosted by Cosby himself. For the competition segment, there are a total of three "competitions" used for the various episodes of the show: The "joke" competition (each team must come up with the funniest joke), the "painter's" competition (each team must paint the best picture on an easel), and finally the "poem" competition (each team must come up with the best poem). The three competitions are rotated out in an A,B,C,repeat pattern throughout the entire series. There was also a fourth competition called the "Relay" competition, that was intended for use for "Special" episodes (episodes that were marked and celebrated as such for no reason at all). However, it was only used once before being permanently scrapped, possibly due to budget cuts. For every competition, kid hosts are dividing up four teams of three (it was five teams of four prior to the show's budget cuts), and Cosby claims that the team that does the best job (or in the case of the "Relay" competition, the one that finishes first) wins. However, in every single episode, he proclaims victory to every team, regardless of the outcome. Afterward, a song is then sang about teamwork and perseverance.
The fifth and final segment is the recap. Cosby then sings the "Good-Bye to you" song, which, like the opening song, lasts the entire final five minutes. In the song, Cosby and the kids repeatedly sing about coming back for more fun "tomorrow": however, Cosby and Friends only airs once a week. Also, throughout the episode, the sun goes from rising in the east at the beginning of the episode to setting in the west at the end, in a supposed effort to portray each episode taking place over the course of a full day, despite only happening in a time span of about 25 minutes.
- Cosby The Caterpillar: the titular character: A green anthropomorphic character who stands in a "bent" sort of position on two hind legs.
- Rodney The Rat: An anthropomorphic gray rat with a terrifying face and with huge teeth. He wears a orange T shirt that is way too small for him.
- Betsy the Butterfly: An anthropomorphic butterfly that also, somehow, has legs. Betsy is a female butterfly and has three baby butterflies: Bertha, Brittney, and Barbara: this is factually nonsensical, however, as baby butterflies do not exist: they only exist as caterpillars.
- Hank the Human: the only human character of the series outside of the kid hosts and the only human adult on the show: Hank serves no purpose on the show whatsoever.