The family friendly series made a star out of Gary Coleman, forever immortalised as the loveable scamp with the chubby cheeks, Arnold Jackson and his catchphrase "What u Talkin' About?" made television history. Yet despite it's cosy sitcom settings Diff'rent Strokes was not afraid to address sensitive issues and during it's long run expertly dealt with the likes of racial prejudice, child molestation and bullying.
Conrad Bain a distinguished actor played tycoon Phillip Drummond the kindly widower who adopted the Jackson kids from Harlem, Arnold and Willis ( Todd Bridges ) after their death of their mother Lucy who had served as his housekeeper. The kids had to adjust to living in a swank Park Avenue penthouse with a new housekeeper and a teenage sister ( Dana Plato ).
Bain, Coleman, Bridges and Plato were a formidable team and you cannot help but warm to their likeable characters. Once Diff'rent Strokes ended the young cast were unable to escape the pressures of fame and their various scrapes with the law somewhat tarnished the show's image.
It still lives today in the minds of 30 somethings who grew up in there teens with the Drummonds and Jacksons.
I was recently YouTube-surfing and I came across a few old episodes of this series. "Aw," I thought, "A blast from my Gen X past!" I watched "Diff'rent Strokes" religiously as a kid, and I thought it'd be fun to see how it held up.
Good God, people, this was some bad TV.
Not sure what else to add. It's really just flabbergasting how bad it is. Every joke is hackneyed, every second is predictable. It's not offensive or anything, but it's just so... not... funny. The writers must've spent their days intentionally trying *not* to amuse themselves or anyone.
That said, there *was* a reason Gary Coleman was a star -- despite the painful dialogue, he had real personality, and alone among the actors, seemed to actually be having fun.
The Show Diff'rent Strokes ran from 1978 to 1986. This show is the epitome of 1980's culture. I fell in love with this show from its humble beginnings and right up to the end. NBC ran this show for 7 seasons then ABC took over for its final season in 1985-6. I loved all the characters including Arnold Jackson and his older brother Willis Jackson. Phillip Drummond as the father of the two adopted sons and Kimberly Drummond his biological daughter. There were some notable changes in this show. 1. Three housekeepers were used throughout this show. Mrs. Garrett was the original then Adelaide Brubaker and finally Pearl Gallagher. 2. Mr. Drummond gets married to Maggie McKinney. She has a biological son named Sam McKinney. 3. Kimberly Drummond leaves for Paris, France and shows up in the later seasons of Diff'rent Strokes.
I hope that Sony releases the rest of this wonderful sitcom in the near future. I have the first 2 seasons on DVD so hopefully more will come along soon.
This show is a good one I have liked for like 3 years now. But, it has far too many serious episodes. I mean, of course, there isn't anything wrong with it, it leads to interesting plots. I think they have a good deal of humor, and it does what current sitcoms today don't do: has a serious topic, such as kidnapping, hitchhiking, or something similar, and it handles it in a serious way. Even though it is a comedy, when it has issues like this, it forgets about the comedy and sticks to emotion and drama, something I commend it for.
This is a program that was part of my TV staple diet as I grew up and even now, as an adult, Diff'rent Strokes still holds a special place in my heart. As a kid I was more into the family aspect of the program and, to be honest, I didn't really get how odd it was supposed to be for a white man to foster/adopt two little black boys. There didn't seem anything wrong with it as far as I was concerned because all I got as a kid was how loving and caring Mr Drummond was for keeping his promise to his dying housekeeper. As an adult, I'm fully aware of racism and of what that entails and I can now see that Diff'rent Strokes was a wonderful platform on which to hi-light such things, as well as hi-lighting the different lifestyles/upbringing of those who live in poverty and those in high society. For me, Diff'rent Strokes was a program which dealt with potentially explosive issues sensitively through comedy, as well as with an abundance of intelligent writing.
As a side note, I've heard tell that Conrad Bain has taken some stick concerning his portrayal of Mr Drummond. As a kid, and even now as an adult, I had/have nothing but admiration for his portrayal as the Family Patriarch. You can see and at times feel his affection for both Gary and Todd, (and visa-versa), and I think this, for me, played a huge part in the success of Diff'rent Strokes, though Gary and Todd's ultimate cuteness in the first Two Seasons of this program certainly aided that success a heck of a lot too ...as did the wonderful writing. Sure there were occasions when I cringed at Conrad (usually when there was dancing was involved and him trying to be hip when clapping along with some song - chuckle) but how many times did that happen? Nigh-on all of the time Conrad Bain was that convincing as a loving, caring Father that I often wished I too had a Father who was as unafraid to say 'he loved me' as Mr Drummond was with Kimberly, Arnold and Willis.
On that, when it comes to the family aspect of Diff'rent Strokes, my two favourite seasons are the first two, though the first season for me is, by the skin of its teeth, my ultimate favourite. The first season dealt with such an abundance of differing social issues ranging from strong, political ones to sensitive, personal ones. For instance, one of my favourite episodes in Season One was "Mother's Last Visit" where it plainly showed the difference between snobbery and bigotry – and, though both are ugly, there really is a world of difference between the two. In my opinion, 'Intent' is such an important part of understanding what is being said and done and that's what I think "Mother's Last Visit" hi-lighted so very well. Willis believing that Drummond's Mother's antics were all to do with racism and yet when it all came down to it, her briefly accepting the boys because she thought their father had been a member of the UN showed the audience that it was allllllll to do with snobbery and not at all to do with colour/race.
However, my ultimate favourite episodes of Season One were "The Social Worker" and "The Fight". In "The Social Worker" Conrad Bain broke my heart with his wonderful understated acting towards the end of the episode when Willis is being deliberately hurtful towards Mr Drummond and yet, despite all that, I still left this episode on such a wonderful high when, having sorted out the horrible misunderstanding which had occurred, the three of them hugged each other on the couch. "The Fight" was another favourite of mine because it showed two differing opinions concerning the handling of bullies in school and, as far as I was concerned, neither one was wrong, par se, but neither were right either because bullies are individuals and each one is possibly motivated by different reasons – Sadly we never got to know what motivated the Gooch, which was a shame because I think that would have helped more in trying to understand certain bullies and therefore in trying to handle them. However, Mr Drummond's advice to Arnold at the end was spot on and to this day I honestly think that that piece of advice is something I unconsciously took from Diff'rent Strokes and adopted into my own way of thinking.
But again it was an episode that pulled heavily on my heartstrings one way or another, (the tension between Drummond and Willis, the cuteness between Willis and Arnold and the uber cuteness between Drummond and Arnold), but ultimately it left me on such a high with the pillow fight at the end. Wonderful, wonderful stuff!!
There were others too, such as Prep School and The Trial and so forth. I even adored the Crossovers with Larry Alder and his kids, and wished there had been more of them, though, as an adult, I think that's because I wish Morgan and Mr Drummond could have got together. Oh well... :D
Aaaanyway, Diff'rent Strokes did have a lot to say comically, as well as politically, socially and personally, and most of the time it did get it spot on, however, every once in a blue moon it did leave a bit of a faux-pas along the way, such as in Season 3 the "Roots" episode. This was an episode that was a bit of a mish-mash thing for me, where you could see the point it was trying to make but, character wise, it did leave one huge faux-pas on show. ...It was when Arnold told Mr Drummond that as far as he (Arnold) was concerned he (Mr Drummond) was colourless. I know what Arnold meant, (Or at least I hope I do) and I do understand why Arnold believed that the whole issue was to do with colour – because Willis was mentioning black and white in nigh-on every sentence and they both (Willis and Arnold) had even divided those who resided at the Drummond household into colours – but because of that, for Mr Drummond not to have corrected Arnold when he defined him as being 'colourless' was a BIG faux-pas in my opinion.
But anyway, don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the episode as a whole, especially the last speech from the psychiatrist. From a character POV, I think Mr Drummond should have given Arnold that speech, but from an audience's POV, at least the message (that the colour of someone's skin doesn't define them but that who and what they are does) got out there one way or another :D
I know, I know, it's a comedy program, (and not only that a program made in 1978), and maybe I should have just laughed along with the audience at the time, but hey-ho, there you go :D
As a side note, this episode did also contain one of my favourite quotes as well, which was:
Kimberly: "Yeeah, you know, you didn't even eat your breakfast this morning"
Arnold: "That snap, crackle and pop stuff is white too"
Mr Drummond: "It is? ...Well maybe we can find a cereal that says diggit, get down and right on"
Aaanyhooo, all in all, of the Four Seasons I've seen thus far (I have seen the other seasons but only once and a looooong time ago) I thoroughly enjoy Diff'rent Strokes. A lot of the time it makes me laugh out loud and some of the time it has me misty-eyed, but on the whole it makes me wish for a world where ignorance/bigotry has been eradicated and that prejudice was something our ancestors knew all about but somehow got wise somewhere along the line.
For the Four Seasons of Diff'rent Strokes I've seen recently I'll give this program 9/10 because it was/is funny, sensitive and intelligently written. I also couldn't imagine anyone else playing the roles of Mr Drummond, Arnold and Willis. Truly top notch stuff that gave me such a lot when I was a kid and it still makes me laugh to this day :-)
Originally on: NBC (30 min.) Status: Ended, Premiered: November 3, 1978, Last Aired: August 30, 1986, Show Category: Comedy Diff'rent Strokes took place in New York and centered around the happenings in the Drummond household. Philip Drummond was a widower and had a daughter, Kimberly. He was also quite wealthy and lived in the penthouse of a luxurious apartment building. His wealth was due to the fact that he was the president of Trans Allied, Inc.
However, the household was shaken up when Drummond's black housekeeper died and her deathbed wish was that he would take care of her two sons, Arnold and Willis Jackson. So, Drummond took both of them in and they became the sons Drummond never had.
Others in the cast included Mrs. Garrett the new housekeeper who later left for her own series, The Facts of Life. She was replaced by Adelaide, who was seen occasionally and she was later replaced by Pearl. In the seventh season, Drummond wed an aerobics instructor, Maggie McKinney and she moved in with her son, Sam, from a previous marriage.
Okay my mother always used to watch the re runs of this show. And i was drawn in because of the theme song. Thats how i am if i like the theme song then i'm gonna watch the show. May be not a lot but just enough for the theme song. Of course to me Gary Colesman was the best character to me and when ever i'm truely bored i say his catch phase what you talking about willy's and it always make some one laugh. Together with the catch phase and the theme song all together it maded the show.
Now this was an awesome comedy! With a catchy theme song, a unique idea, great plot, and all the crazy antics by Arnold and Willis, Diff'rent Strokes was a pretty funny comedy about heart and family.
Phillip Drummond was the very respectful white dad who took care of them. His personality along with actor Gary Coleman's funny personality and actor Todd Bridge's sense of maturity made them one of the most classic TV families out there.
Pretty evident, in the fact that this lasted nearly 190 episodes, this was a sure classic--as is Gary's "What you talkin' about Willis?" line (he also said "What you talkin' about Rabbi?" once, ha ha!)
President of Trans Allied, Inc., widower Philip Drummond and his daughter take in two boys. They were the children of his recently deceased housekeeper. It was her dying wish that Drummond take care of the boys. Being the gentleman that he was, he obliged. They lived in New York City in the penthouse of a luxurious apartment building.
The children in the cast were Gary Coleman as Arnold Jackson, Todd Bridges as Willis Jackson and Dana Plato as Kimberly Drummond. Conrad Bain played the father Philip Drummond. Mrs. Garrett the new housekeeper (Charlotte Rae) who later left for her own series, The Facts of Life.
The show doesn't hold up very well today, but at the time was pretty good.
A wealthy, white bread businessman promises his black housekeeprer, that he will raise her boys on her deathbed. He follows through on his promise, and they move from the urban city, to the penthouse life.
\"Now the world dont move, to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, might not be right for some\" Those are the opening lyrics to the Diff\'rent Strokes theme song, and they are catchy, to say the least. The show is just as catchy, full of laughs, and human bonding experiances. Philip Drummond had employed the Jackson boys mother, as his housekeeper for years. She falls ill, and He promises her that he will raise her boys as his own.
In move the boys. Eight year old wise-cracking Arnold. His older, twelve year old brother Willis, plays the protective \"father\" role when they first move in. Arnold shows up toting his black gold fish \"Abraham\".
The household takes on a whole new feel, with the additions. Until now, Mr.Drummond, a widower just had his daughter Kimberly, and the new housekeeper Ms. Garrett to fill his days. The boys bring a lot of new energy to the penthouse.
The early days took quite an adjustment, the boys really missed their home in Harlem. They felt uncomfortable in such lavish surroundings. But in no time, these guys are running the show, so to speak.
They share a room with bunk beds, and have lots of new things to do, Mr. Drummond made sure of that. He, himself was unsure how to bond this family together. Ms. garrett, is just like an extended member of the Drummond clan as well, and takes excellent care of everyone there. She shares a special relationship with Arnold, though. The two of them spend a lot of time together.
Watching this family unit week to week was a blast. The highs and lows of the household were often very real situations, and were always resolved within their half hour allotment.
Unfortunately, after the spin-offs spun away, and the Drummonds closed their door to us, that was it. No other sitcom has come close to that kind of family/humor realism.
Diffrent strokes was a master piece of racial harmony that I was proud to watch.
The Gouch was one of my favourite characters and I also enjoyed the sandman.
Who can go past Aarnold and his What you talking about Willis. Pitty they all got messed up on drugs and that WIllis had one too many Willis trips.
I bet it was coz Mr Drummond was a pervert. He sure looks like it with his evil pale white skin.
I have a crush on drummong, I wish I was a drummond I could spy on Mr Drummond naked through the shower screen.
i used to love to watch this show when it was TV! they need to show it again! what's not to like about the show? it's original, it's funny, and it has the great catch phrase "whatchoo talkin 'bout willis", compliments of arnold! it also shows that just because someone's a different color doesn't mean they aren't family! despite the show not being the same after kimberly left and mr. drummond got married the show was still one of my favorites! the only season i didn't really like was the last season because willis wasn't in it too much and focused too much on arnold and sam(just needed diversity)! at least the show knew when to call it quits when that happened and stopped airing with grace! it's such a cool show!
This show is awesome! Not only does it have funny and intelligent humour it also gave people a taste of the discrimination towards African American people at those times without it being forced on or harsh. Even after around 20 years this show remains one
This show is awesome! Not only does it have funny and intelligent humour it also gave people a taste of the discrimination towards African American people at those times without it being forced on or harsh. Even after around 20 years this show remains one of my favourites.
I love all teh characters in the show, ARNOLD especially, omg sooo cute!! His wise-ass jokes were hilarous and oh so cute. Kimberley was also interesting she was really pretty and showed how it was like for teenage girls and would have been a good role model for girls in the 80's.
after kimberly was fired and mr.drummond gets married this show got worse and worse but the early episodes were the bset and there are alot of them.
another tv show with a change in the cast well ya everybody likes the original cast and then suddenly no more kimberly.as for the last episode s or the last 2 or 3 seasons with that annoying sam kid.
why not just end the show when mr.drummond gets married and thats the end of that.
Unfortunately, this show is not remembered for the good, topical show it was. More often than not, it is the punchline for jokes because of what has become of the cast. This show dealt with some serious issues in its day and even got Nancy Reagan to guest star on it! Dana Plato's troubles and subsequent death, Todd Bridges' run-ins with the law and Gary Coleman's...uhh...well he's kind of odd these days, have overshadowed what Diff'rent Strokes was all about.
Since I wasn't around when the show originally aired, I have to catch it whenever I can on Nick at Nite or TV Land. And since TV Land just showed a 48 hour fandemonium marathon, I was able to catch a lot of episodes.
I absolutely love this show. The plot approach is different which works out great. The writing and quick comedy is terrific and the acting is one of a kind. The writing that was given to Gary Coleman was unbelievably hysterical, and being such a young kid at that time, he handled it so well. While I like the entire cast and think that they all did a nice job, I must say that I especially like Todd Bridges. I don't know, there's just something about him that you can't help but like.
This show like all shows has its moments where the plots could use some improvement but what show would it be if it didn't have its moments? Overall, the eight seasons are filled with the better episodes.
'Diff'rent Strokes' scared me a little during the seventh and eighth seasons when they hauled in Danny Cooksey and Dixie Carter/Mary Ann Mobley to join the Drummonds. I think that it would have been better off leaving the family as it was. Then again, the boys were getting older, they lost their afros, and Kimberly started to move on. So, it's kind of a tricky situation.
I would really like to see a reunion but it would be a little hard without the sadly missed Dana Plato. All in all, this show was an above average, very funny, good family get-together show. I know I'll keep watching whenever it's on!
You can currently catch this show on Comcast Digital Cable (On Demand), that is if you have Comcast Digital Cable and On Demand.
Note: If you don't have Comcast Digital Cable (On Demand) please ignore the message below. Caps are not shouting, just emphasis. Thank You.
~This is the lineup as of August 1st 2005~
Great news for myself and other's that have Comcast Digital Cable (On Demand) I'm sure some of you know this by now, but On Demand has several classic TV shows that are FREE to watch. Yes, FREE!
Diff'rent Strokes is just one of the shows that's being aired.
1. Click on the "ON DEMAND" button or just go to "ON DEMAND"
2. On the menu, go to "CABLE FAVORITES" which is three bars from the top "LEFT" side of the screen.
3. Click on the first bar that you see "TUBE TIME"
There, you'll find several classic TV shows (Classic to you, or not classic to someone else) Barney Miller, Partridge Family, Diff'rent Strokes, Starsky & Hutch, S.W.A.T., The Three Stooges, and Maude.
There's Jeff Foxworthy (comedian) as well.
There are several shows you can watch in each classic TV show.
Diff'rent Strokes will go down as one of my favourite shows of all time. There are a variety of reasons why:
1. The show was groundbreaking for its' time. Black and white in one household was once considered risque territory! This show proved that there should be no barriers between the black and the white, and indeed the rich and the poor.
2. The show covered controversial subject matter. Molestation? Yep. Drug abuse? Been there. Bulimia? Done that. It wasn't afraid to cover areas that hadn't been featured in drama serials before, let alone in a sitcom.
3. The writing was consistently witty for at least 6 years. The jokes seem corny at times, but the jokes throughout really are clever and the episodes were consistently very witty.
4. The characters were likeable and loveable. Drummond himself was the perfect father; Arbold and Willis the perfect brothers; Kimberley the perfect sister; and each of the housekeepers were excellent and funny in their own unique ways. The excellent casting almost certainly played a part in this.
It's clear this is a show that has a lot to offer, and it's highly recommended to all sitcom fans that haven't already seen it. Season 1 is currently available on DVD; I'm hoping for season 2 in the near future.
This is another one of those shows with cute and interesting episodes you enjoy again and again. Usually shows that add children to keep it interesting or keep changing actors (as with the housekeepers) lose their touch, but these actresses added their own unique touch to the show and made it really fun. Gary Coleman was cute when he was little, and he kept his charm as he grew older in the show. The character of Sam McKinney complemented the character of Arnold really well. Considering the turmoil that the actors went through in their personal lives, they managed to warm people's hearts with this adorable sitcom.
Different strokes was a good show. It had its good and bad episodes but as a whole it was enjoyable to watch. It had its serious moments like when Sam got kidnapped and when Willis got beat up by the bullies that were bothering Arnold. It had some funny episodes as well like the one with Mr T and the one where Kimberly's hair turned green. The three different housekeepers added comedy to the show. This show we always be welcome in my house in syndication for many years to come and I will always remember the fun I had watching it.
' Diff'rent Strokes ' is undoubtedly a sitcom classic, one of those hugely popular television shows that is still adored by millions of fans throughout the world today. Through regular reruns a whole new generation is being introduced to the antics of the Park Avenue bunch, a bunch who so entertainingly captivated us all during the show's initial screening between 1978-86.
The family friendly series made a star out of Gary Coleman, forever immortalised as the loveable scamp with the chubby cheeks, Arnold Jackson, and his catchphrase "Whatchu Talkin' About?" made television history. Yet despite it's cosy sitcom settings, ' Diff'rent Strokes ' was not afraid to address sensitive issues and during it's long run expertly dealt with the likes of racial prejudice, child molestation and bullying.
Conrad Bain, a distinguished actor who had earlier appeared in tv's ' Maude ' played Trans-Allied tycoon Phillip Drummond, the kindly widower who adopted the Jackson kids from Harlem, Arnold and Willis ( Todd Bridges ), after their death of their mother Lucy who had served as his housekeeper. The kids had to adjust to living in a swank Park Avenue penthouse with a new housekeeper ( initially Charlotte Rae as Edna Garrett, spun off into her own sitcom, ' The Facts Of Life ') and a teenage sister ( Dana Plato ) - cue plenty of comical misadventures!
Bain, Coleman, Bridges and Plato were a formidable team and you cannot help but warm to their likeable characters. They were wonderfully supported by the likes of Rae, the late Nedra Volz ( so funny in the 1985 movie ' Moving Violations ' ) and Mary Jo Catlett as housekeepers Edna Garrett, Adelaide Brubaker and Pearl Gallagher.
Once ' Diff'rent Strokes ' ended the young cast were unable to escape the pressures of fame and their various scrapes with the law somewhat tarnished the show's image. The lovely Dana Plato for one sadly passed away in 1999 due to a suspected drugs overdose.
2003 marked the 25th Anniversary of ' Diff'rent Strokes ' and I would hope that a reunion of sorts is on the cards. And wouldn't it be intriguing if Gary Coleman stepped into the shoes of an adult Arnold Jackson, perhaps as the new head of Trans-Allied in a spin-off series?
A show about an millionarie who adopts two African-American children after their mother who worked for him as a maid dies. He takes them in his home (his penthouse)and treats them as their own. He has a daughter named Kimberly and a housekeeper named Mrs.
I loved this show. I remember when they had first shown this show on Nick at Nite when they had the Revenge of the 80's marathon showing Diff'rent Strokes. I didn't know too much about this show but once I got into it, I fell in love with this show. My favorite characters would have to be Willis and Arnold. I wish that they would bring Diff'rent Strokes back because it would be nice to see it back on TV again.
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