The Cosby Show Wiki
Truth or Consequences
Season 05, Episode 12
Air Date January 5, 1989
Writer Carmen Finestra
Gary Kott
John Markus
Director Tony Singletary
Previous Is There a Hamster in the House?
Next Cliff Babysits

Truth or Consequences is the twelfth episode of The Cosby Show's fifth season which was first broadcast on January 5, 1989.


Vanessa's new boyfriend, Jeremy, wants to see more of her, so she sneaks out to meet him, lying to Cliff and Clair in the process. Initially she lies about being why she was late for dinner, and then she claims to be going to her friend Kara's house to study when she's really going to see Jeremy. She asks Theo, who knows what's going on, to cover for her, but he refuses to do so, as he's in college, so she goes to Rudy.

About five minutes before Vanessa's 10:00 pm curfew, Rudy attempts to inform Cliff and Clair that Vanessa called and said she'd be late getting home, but they question why they didn't hear the phone ring. Rudy claimed she started to call her friend Kenny, and Vanessa was on the line, and she called Kenny afterwards. Clair is prepared to call Kenny herself to confirm Rudy's story, and she warns Rudy that if she's not telling them the truth, she'll be punished. Rudy is forced to reveal the truth about Vanessa and Jeremy. Cliff and Clair prepare to get Vanessa back, first by facing the sofa towards the front door so they'll be facing her when she returns.

Vanessa and Jeremy kiss in Jeremy's car, and he does not return her to her home until after 11:00 pm. Once home, she claims to her inquiring parents that Kara's father dropped her off. Cliff starts to call Kara's father to thank him, but Vanessa defensively claims he had to take the car to a garage. Clair then drops the bomb on Vanessa that they know she's been lying to them, and that she's been with Jeremy tonight, and she is grounded for at least a month for all of this. Cliff then tells Vanessa, that he and Clair are going to call Jeremy, or as Cliff calls him, "The boy" over to have a talk about all of this.

The next day, Jeremy does come over, and he quietly admits to Cliff and Clair, his role in Vanessa's breaking curfew and dishonesty. They question why Jeremy would expect Vanessa to lie to them, and Jeremy simply claims they're stricter than his own parents, as his curfew isn't until 11:30 pm. Clair informs him that if he wishes to continue to date Vanessa, he'll have to play by their rules, and he'll have to wait at least a month before Vanessa can date him again. Jeremy agrees, is ready to leave, but Cliff isn't done with him yet, and takes him into the kitchen for further discussion.

It becomes a hilarious inquisition when Cliff uses a pair of apples, designated "Jeremy" and "Vanessa," to discern just how close the two of them were when they were parked in Jeremy's car! After Jeremy uses them to show nothing went on beyond kissing, Cliff makes an interesting proposal: at 1:00 am, Vanessa is actually allowed to go out again, so if Jeremy's willing to stop by then, the two can go out and have their date. However, Jeremy can't accept this proposal because of his own curfew, and is forced to admit that he wouldn't defy his own parents. Finally, he understands why he shouldn't expect Vanessa to defy hers.