Vanessa's Bad Grade is the 14th episode of Season 2 of The Cosby Show, also the 38th overall in the series. The episode was directed by Jay Sandrich and written by Ross Brown. The episode originally aired in the United States on NBC on January 16, 1986.


Vanessa steals a sweater from Denise. The two soon begin to fight. In the end, Rudy's choice of television viewing, the "I Have a Dream" speech, reminds the whole family of what a real problem is.

Plot summaryEdit

Vanessa, a straight A student, finds that her grades suffer when she studies with Robert, a classmate that she has a crush on. With a big school dance coming up, she is afraid to show her parents a bad test grade fearing they'll keep her home. The night of the dance, Vanessa wears Denise's new sweater without her sister's permission, causing an all-out brawl between the two.

Did you know?Edit

  • An excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is featured at the end of the episode—originally aired four days before the first observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a U.S. federal holiday.

Scene quotesEdit

  • Vanessa: Denise and I have fought over clothes before.
  • Cliff: Yes, but not to the death!

  • Vanessa: Dad, there's something else you should see.
  • Cliff: [after finding the girls have been taking his clothes] What? My tuxedo?