Diff'rent Strokes

Season 1 Episode 2

The Social Worker

Aired Unknown Nov 10, 1978 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
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  • Social Worker

    Plot: A very opininated social worker visits to check up on how everythings going Arnold overhears Mr. Drummond say "blacks should live with black familys" which he mistakes for mr. drummond wanted them to go but he was merely repeating what the social worker said. But in the end they end up staying (of course)

    thoughts: this episode was good but not my favorite. it deals with racism which is good but it seem resolved a lil fast and some parts seemed slow but the humor makes up for the dull scenes(Gary Coleman.)

    Rating; 8.5/10
  • When a rather opinionated social worker visits to see how the boys are setting in to their new home, Arnold's eavesdropping leads himself and Willis to mistakenly think that Mr. Drummond wants them to leave. Narrowly misses out on a 10, but still good...

    This review contains spoilers.

    'The Social Worker' is an enjoyable second episode to what would be 'Diff'rent Strokes' long run. It builds on the situation introduced in the Pilot, "Movin' In", very well, and already the characters are starting to feel like old friends to us, the viewer.

    The main drive of this episode is Arnold mistakenly hearing Mr. Drummond say that black children should live with black families (when in fact, Mr. D was just repeating something that their opinionated social worker had said (which he had adamantly disagreed with)). This would very much set the template for the first and much of the second season – innocent childhood misunderstandings, and the complications that would follow.

    In one respect, I did feel that the whole "planning to leave" concept was used again a little too soon (Willis had planned to leave throughout "Movin' In", taking Arnold with him), so maybe another episode could have been placed in line before this one, but I'm mostly willing to forgive that, as it's still early in the show's life and the boys are still getting used to their new surroundings, a stark contrast of their previous home. Besides, there are more than enough great lines from the characters – especially Arnold – to keep the story moving along nicely.

    There is no Dana Plato (Kimberly) in this episode; she would be absent from a number of the early episodes, as Mr. Drummond comments that she is away at private school and only comes home at weekends. Although as a kid I did sometimes miss her (okay, so I kinda had a crush on her), to be honest it doesn't really matter too much, as there's more than enough else going on, and she would have little to do in this story; these very early tales are more focused on Mr. Drummond bonding with his two new sons. The writers would find more to do with Kimberly as the series progressed.

    This is a really enjoyable episode, and probably one of my favourites from the very early period. To be critical, the only thing that holds it back from a solid 10 rating from yours truly, is the slightly over-rushed and over-convenient conclusion (the social worker repeats her comment about black children and black families to Mr. D, conveniently enabling Willis and Arnold to hear for themselves just in time before they are whisked off to live with a wealthy black family). Sure it does the job, but this final payoff did feel a bit over-rushed, and results in some "black or white – it's love that counts" dialogue, and some realisations of reality from the social worker, that is maybe a bit too "cutesy" for my own personal taste.
    But that's a minor quibble, and I still like "The Social Worker" enough to give it a very high scoring 9.5.
  • I cannot say one bad word against this episode. It was sublime.

    "Social Worker" is one of my ultimate favourite episodes of the entire run of Diff'rent Strokes. I laughed out loud, awwed at the undeniable cuteness of Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges and due to Conrad Bain's wonderful, understated acting I got all misty-eyed towards the end of the episode when Willis was being deliberately hurtful towards Mr Drummond.

    I too hate misunderstandings, especially the one that occurred in this episode and also at such a time when all three characters, Mr Drummond, Willis and Arnold, were still trying to find their feet around each other. Oh but the end of the episode was a pure joy to watch and extremely well acted by all and sundry. Loved it!

    This episode also contained a quote which I think was the very foundation of Diff'rent Strokes - where Mrs Thompson replies "It's obvous the boys belong here... Black or white, it's love that counts." A fantastic line that was a succulent cherry on top of a superb episode.

    10/10 for me...
  • This episode was so sad. I hate it when misunderstandings happen, like when Arnold thinks Mr.Drummound doesn't want them in the house anymoer but in reality Mr.Drummound was shocked when the social worker said they shouldn't be in the house anymore. The s

    This episode was so sad. I hate it when misunderstandings happen, like when Arnold thinks Mr.Drummound doesn't want them in the house anymoer but in reality Mr.Drummound was shocked when the social worker said they shouldn't be in the house anymore. The show was still very funny and sad. :(
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