Diff'rent Strokes (TV Series 1978–1986) Poster


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25th Anniversary--What You Talkin' About?
juliafwilliams6 June 2003
It's hard to believe, but 2003 marks 25 years since Gary Coleman asked Willis what he was talking about.

Norman Lear, who broke a lot of ground heretofore with All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, and Good Times, continued his magic touch with Diff'rent Strokes. A 25th anniversary marathon on any given television station would be a great way to remember this show, notwithstanding that Miss Dana Plato is no longer of this earth.

This show made Gary Coleman Gary Coleman, and he truly made the show what it was.
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Diff'rent Strokes Was An 80s US Sitcom Classic
wchngliu23 August 2007
Diff'rent Strokes was and still is regarded by many as not just one of the most successful sitcoms in TV history but one of the very few, which succeeded due to the multi-racial cast of Conrad Bain as Philip/Mr Drummond, Dana Plato as Kimberley, Todd Bridges as Willis, and the lovable scamp, Gary Coleman as Arnold Jackson. The performances given by the main leads in Diff'rent Strokes was great, particularly Conrad's as the strict but fair, Mr Drummond. Mrs Edna Garrett played by Charlotte Rae was funny, charming and witty and a great addition to the cast. But the star of the show was Coleman as Arnold and his famous catchphrase 'whatcha talking'about Willis?'.

Even though it was a sitcom, the show wasn't afraid of tackling and addressing social and controversial issues such as child molestation, racism, bulimia, class division and sex for example. The writing was funny but also sharp, witty and clever. Arnold has arguably the best and funnier lines out of all the characters, although Philip isn't that far off either.

He was one of the reasons why Diff'rent Strokes was such a huge success story, as Coleman's comic timing was almost spot-on. The cutesy factor that accompanies his cheeky and somewhat mischievous persona as Arnold was a huge incentive on his part.

There have been many sitcoms past and present, which centred around youngsters as the main protagonists, but whilst most of them have tried they have failed, mainly because one of the reasons for this is that those shows do not possess a central character as humorous, as versatile as Arnold and of whom has a personality of which viewers can fall in love with straight away.

Diff'rent Strokes didn't have just one but three child characters in Kimberly, Willis and Arnold. The concept was original and addressed the issue of child adoption in a straight-to-the-point manner but at the same time combine laughs with clean cut jokes, good gags and great humour. It's such a shame though that the notoriety of the show, in regards to the child performers was always brought up; likewise Coleman's own brushes with the law and surprising fall from grace, Todd's battle with drugs, and the rather unfortunate and well documented demise of Dana and her subsequent death during the late 90s, slightly tarnished the mainstream success, as well as history of Diff'rent Strokes. Next year in 2008, it will be the 30th anniversary of Diff'rent Strokes, since its debut in 1978.

All in all though, this was a great little sitcom, starring a little guy with a big heart played by Coleman which was destined to be a big hit, which it was and one that captured millions of audiences hearts, worldwide.
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Makes me Wish I didn't know the truth!
Syl17 October 2006
Watching the true Hollywood story on E! about the cast of Different Strokes was heartbreaking, after all, two of the three cast members had substance abuse problems and the star, Gary Coleman, had problems with his parents that he sued them. It's sad to watch the show, I wish I didn't know Dana Plato's problems because now I see how much she wanted her life to be like Kimberly Drummond. Conrad Bain was great as the father figure of the show. Of course, he was supposed to only be acting but I think he became a paternal figure to those youngsters. We went Mrs. Edna Garrett played by the wonderful Charlotte Rae who got her own show without all the drama of Different Strokes. She escaped it. I never approved of them dissing Dixie Carter for Mary Ann Mobley. I like them both in the role as the second Mrs. Drummond. Of course, there was the guest appearances of First Lady Nancy Reagan preaching against drugs. How little did we know the truth? Gary Coleman never escaped the image of the chubby cute kid on Different Strokes. Dana Plato who is gone to a better place never did get to experience the life of Kimberly Drummond except when she was on the set. I only wish Todd and Gary best for their future. I only wished that the off-screen drama was cut down for their sakes. I feel guilty getting laughs knowing that they went home and cried or faced abuse.
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A sitcom classic that is still adored by millions of fans throughout the world today
MorbidMorgan16 June 2003
' 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 will mark 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?
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Tender sitcom shadowed by a macabre reality.
insomniac_rod22 June 2009
Who would think that the main characters from a naive, tender, family show would end up meeting such fatal fates? Well, that's another story.

"Diff'rent Strokes" is an important sticom in American pop culture and also paved the way for comedy shows with a social message inserted.

Here, the inter racial situations mixed with poverty and social clichés were the spinal cord for the plot and even in jokes. Everything was extremely well done and executed with class. Nothing was vulgar or tried directly to impose a criteria; the situations were just put for the audience to judge it whatsoever they wanted.

The jokes were sometimes naive but always witty. The humor was family oriented but after nearly 30 years, none of them is boring. Sure, society has changed a lot but some things just can't disappear.

The acting is top notch. Gary Coleman is now some sort of cult hero for displaying a physical illness and being part of a social minority but his comedic skills and histrionic abilities make him one of the most likable child stars ever. Conrad Bain was excellent as the protective, tender but strong man that took care about his house. Dana Plato was extremely sexy, hot; she's the kind of girl I wanted to marry.

Anyways, watch this sitcom in order to witness part of America's pop culture talking about television. This show will teach you many things and as a plus, it will make you chuckle most of the time.
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One of the best older shows.
llihilloh28 October 2001
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!

(P.S. - The theme song is really addicting.)
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Gary Coleman made this show......when lasted eight seasons and 189 episodes
raysond8 June 2000
During my days as a kid,and partly through my high school years as well,this show was just that: The brainchild of Gary Coleman. Coleman made millions off this series,and when the show left the airwaves in 1986(and its repeats in syndication),it was totally discarded forever,never to be heard from again,despite of what the people may say about this show and the fate of its cast including Todd Bridges(who played brother Willis),and the sudden death of Dana Plato(who played big sister Kimberly),and also from Conrad Bain(who played the widower Mr. Drummond) who was a regular on TV's Maude before coming to this series.

If someone would come up to you on the street,they would asked "What you talking about?" in the form of that question.

Interesting point about this show: It started off as a show called "Milk" on the NBC network before it became a series. "Diff'rent Strokes" when it premiered on November 3,1978 became one of the network's biggest hits scoring in the top ten of the Nielsens during its astounding seven year run on the Peacock Network and made Gary Coleman a huge megastar. NBC canceled this series on May 4,1985 after 170 episodes.

Also Mr. Drummond would get married in the show too during the 1984-1985 season to Maggie McKinney(played by Dixie Carter before going on to "Designing Women",which was on a rival network),and also bringing in her son Danny as Arnold's other brother(played by Danny Cooksey-who would go on to star opposite Scwarzenegger in Terminator 2,and also do voice-overs for children's shows) Also,Janet Jackson would appear as Willis' girlfriend Charlene during the 1981-1983 season(which during this time Miss Jackson did have a hit album out along with this series at that time). Shavar Ross was Arnold's best friend Dudley. When the show was canceled by NBC on May 4,1985 there were several cast changes. Mary Ann Mobley replaced Dixie Carter on the show and also gone were Pearl(Mary Jo Catlett). On September 27,1985,the show moved to ABC-TV where 19 new episodes were produced before the network finally canceled it on March 7,1986 after 189 episodes.

This was a grand series that spawned two spin-offs,the short-lived situation comedy series "Hello,Larry",and another successful series "The Facts of Life",which would go on to become NBC's longest-running and successful series from 1979-1987.

If it comes back on the air,its worth seeing.
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Easily The Best Family Sitcom Ever Produced!
powermandan22 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I know that this may seem like a bold statement, but it is true. Well, to me it is. After reading this review, you will respect my opinion and see why I think this is the very best.

Diff'rent Strokes became an instant success in the late 1970s as it was dealing with racism and a multicultural family. Having taken inspiration for some episodes seen in Good Times, Diff'rent Strokes tackled these episodes with, sometimes, better results than in Good Times. The issue of racism was more complex in Diff'rent Strokes because there was whites involved too. Multicultural families are still somewhat rare today, so Diff'rent Stokes is a good thing to learn from in that respect.

Diff'rent Strokes is about highly successful businessman and widower, Phillip Drummond, (Conrad Bain) who adopts his late housekeeper's two black sons, Willis and Arnold Jackson (Todd Bridges, Gary Coleman) from Harlem. Together, them and Drummond's daughter, Kimberly (Dana Plato) live the lap of luxury in a penthouse on Park Avenue.

Conrad Bain is a real actor who has done more stage work and who just finished the sitcom, Maude. He does an amazing job playing a wonderful and loving father. You can tell that he truly loves his family. He may be just an actor, but I can feel him. He may be the breadwinner of a filthy rich family, but he is strict and firm with his children. He isn't like any rich father these days that spoils their kid rotten and raises ungrateful brats. If I had a different father, I would want Mr. Drummond. When I have kids, I will be patterning myself after my own dad and Mr. Drummond.

Gary Coleman quickly stole the show as the extremely cute and adorable one. His huge cheeks, big eyes, low height and wisecracks made him a huge success. Everybody wanted to see the lovable Arnold Jackson. His quote "Whatchu talking' 'bout...?" has become an immortal catchphrase that many people imitate without even knowing that Coleman started the it. He was so great, more episodes were being shifted towards him and he became the one that carried the show. In the later seasons, if there was not an episode about Arnold, then Arnold would be the sole opposite that character. As a kid, he was severely overworked, sometimes doing 12 hour work days. Plus there was regular school stuff on top of it. It was different for somebody else like Henry Winkler doing Happy Days, he was a full-grown man with a formal education. Coleman was just a child. He grew sick of the show and sick of his phrase. His parents and agent used up all his money and he had to sue them. Coleman never touched drugs or anything, but he developed anger issues and had to go to court at times. Poor guy. But Arnold still is the best TV kid of all time. He's cute, hilarious, smart, witty, even his serious bits are awesome. VH1 ranked Coleman the greatest child star of all time. I very much agree that he is.

Todd Bridges is a wonderful big brother figure. As great as Drummond is as a father, that is how Willis is as a brother. Willis is one of those popular, rebellious, girl-chasers that's been seen in many sitcoms, but Todd Bridges was one of the first to do so. He is awesome. Dana Plato is just as great as Willis, but is a more straight-laced, daddy's girl. But she still is a wonderful big sister. Late in the show, she became pregnant and was written off. Her and Todd both had many run- ins with the law and became huge drug-addicts. Both at rock-bottom, Plato committed suicide via drugs, but Todd was able to pull himself out and become normal again. Gary's, Todd's and Dana's miserable lives became known as the Diff'rent Strokes Curse. But that does not change how good they were on the show and how great their characters were.

Diff'rent Strokes also has a fair share of celebrity appearances. Charloote Rae is the first housekeeper in the show who leaves part way through season 2 to do The Facts of Life, taking place at Kimberly's school. Janet Jackson is reoccurring as Willis' steady girlfriend, Charlene. Due to her singing career taking off, was faded out. Mr. T appears in an episode and helps Arnold see within himself. That was cool. Designing Women's Dixie Carter plays Drummond's wife, Maggie in seasons 6 and 7, but left for Designing Women full time. Maggie's son, Sam (Danny Cooksey) was a fine addition, I think he was used to replace Gary Coleman's cuteness since he was growing up. Sam was good, but no Arnold. Cooksey has gone on to do movies and play in rock bands.

Because the family was multicultural, there was issues from all walks of life that are talked about. Some have been done in every family show, but Diff'rent Strokes shows no mercy in how they show them. Most shows are afraid to show the true dangers of drinking and other bad habits, not Diff'rent Strokes. Some episodes are so bad and were so controversial that Conrad Bain had to do brief intros giving a warning for parental discretion to be strongly advised. They are known as "very special episodes." Two part "specials" include subjects about molestation, dangers of hitchhiking, and kidnapping. Other shocking episodes include bulimia, epilepsy and drinking and driving. Most are meant to put scares into children and make them think twice, and good thing they do! Even adults may feel uneasy with these episodes. There's so many life-lessons learned on this show, and not all of them are shocking. Some are nice and funny.

Fine acting, wonderful characters, and episodes that have strong and lasting impacts are why I find this to be the best family show ever.
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Very gulity pleasure
DunnDeeDaGreat25 February 2002
Diff'rent Strokes is a show that I came to love later in life. The show heart and soul was little Gary Coleman. Although Todd Bridges and Dana Plato would have the occasional good one-liner this was Coleman's show. He was so the pimp sh*t on the show. I wonder where his charcter of Arnold would be now?
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Funny Show!!!
moviemachine24 September 2001
Diff'rent Strokes is one of my favorite comedy shows I watched on Nick-At-Nite!! Arnold (Gary Coleman) and Willis (Todd Bridges) are my two favorite characters. My favorite part from one of the episodes from this show is when Arnold dropped the plastic with water to the man outside from the apartment accidently and he pretended he got lost.

Very Funny Show, huh? **** out of **** stars. That means excellent!
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Almost 40 years on...
safenoe10 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
It's hard to believe Diff'rent Strokes debuted nearly 40 years ago, and it's tragic to think that Dana Plato and Gary Coleman have passed away too soon (and horribly Dana's son died soon after her untimely death). Whilst there is much racial subtext to this series, it was still fun to watch and Gary Coleman became an overnight sensation big time.

I'm not sure if a reboot of Diff'rent Strokes would work now with the election of Trump.
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Like a lot of shows that prominently featured children started out good and faded as they grew older.
Aaron137522 December 2011
I watched this show as a child and I enjoyed it for what it was. However, as the show got older even I could see that Gary Coleman was getting a bit to old for the role and that is of course when they did what every show featuring children who age do. Do they simply end the show gracefully...No! They try to keep the show alive, by interjecting a younger kid to try and bring the cute factor the show once had and lost when the children grew up. They did this on numerous shows, this is one of the few that I actually saw that did it. I watched Brady Bunch a bit when I was a kid, but I have never seen an Oliver episode. This show is about a wealthy guy who takes in the children of a former maid or something. That is about all there is to it. He has a daughter of his own and he raises the children the best he can as they go out in the world and face all of life's little challenges, including a guy who kidnaps young Arnold (Gary Coleman) and Kimberly (Dana Plato) in an episode that was a bit much considering this show was aimed at the family market. I mean you want your child to be safe and all, but you also do not want them becoming fearful and paranoid. They also had one where cute little Sam (the youth interjection) got kidnapped as well. Then they have an episode where they basically try to capitalize on the success of the film "Ghostbusters". So in recap this is a show that should have stayed on four or five years tops, but tried to keep the show going as long as possible and weakening what little did work.
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Different Strokes still moving the world
pose1420 November 2006
I have just finished watching season two of Different Strokes and it is still as priceless as when I used to watch it as a kid.The actors where great from Conrad Bain(Mr.Drummond) to pint-size Gary Coleman(Arnold Jackson). I look at shows today and notice every time they try to used the child element, they usually get a kid that is cute but can not act and hope his cuteness will carry him over.I see this every week in a show call All of Us. This is what made Different Strokes so special. You had a young kid who was cute and who could read his lines flawlessly. The premise was a great concept. Have to orphans from Harlem being adopted my a millionaire. It was great to watch how they tried to conform to there newfound wealth without giving up there street element. I just can not wait for the rest of the episodes to be release on DVD.
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Different Strokes For Different Folks
FloatingOpera713 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Different Strokes (1978-1986): Starring Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, Conrad Bain, Charlotte Rae, Dana Plato, Mary Jo Catlett, Danny Cooksey, Mary Ann Mobley, Dixie Carter I first saw Different Strokes sometime in the 80's. Being ages 1-9 in the 80's, I don't recall what year it must have been but if the show ended in 86, it must have been either 85 or 86 when the show was wrapping up. I had no idea it was on as far back as 1978. I recall enjoying the opening song, with its thought-provoking theme: "Now the World don't move with the beat of just one drum....it takes different strokes to move the world, yes it does..it takes different strokes to the move the world." During the opening credits, we see Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges looking out of a limo to the vast New York City vista of high-rise buildings.... Nolstalgia! The premise: A wealthy businessman who resides in Manhattan has adopted the children of his late maid. The mixture of black children and white parents must have been new and innovative at the time, like an interracial Brady Bunch. But it seems pretty absurd now, as so many families are interracial. The kids were cute and hilarious. Gary Coleman became a celebrity through this and all subsequent successes was due to his role as Arnold. "What you talking' bout Willis ?"... The show dared to tackle issues that had never been tackled on TV before like unprotected sex, drugs, gangs and racism. The 80's was full of shows which tackled issues like these and often contained inspirational and educational messages to parents and kids after the show was over. I think it was because the 80's was Reagan's reign and he was a strictly conservative President who launched a lot of anti-drug and celibacy programs at a time when AIDS and drugs were a huge problem. This show was well-written and often moving. Actress Charlotte Rae who played Edna Garrett the maid would later move on to "The Facts of Life" yet another popular 80's show.
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American Masterpiece
sewheele29 November 2001
"Diff'rent Strokes" ranks among a handful of masterpieces that have made their debuts on American television. So powerful and three-dimensional are its characters that it puts lesser works such as the over-bloated mini-series "Roots" to shame. "Strokes" hit the airwaves like a bombshell back in 1978; most of its viewers had yet to see the harsh realities of the ghetto depicted on the small screen. Before their eyes, they noticed two hard-edged African-American street urchins in a highly competitive game of basketball (these scenes were no doubt a key influence on the works of future African-American filmmakers Spike Lee and the Hughes Brothers). This no doubt awoke white America to the grittier, more nihilistic aspects of the urban community. If that wasn't reality enough, the children are taken aback by the presence of wealthy WASP Mr. Drummond(who despite such class and ethnic differences is miraculously able to relate to the youngsters without resorting to urban slang). In an act of great compassion, he hugs them and decides to save them from depravity in a modern-day Dante's Inferno. The threesome soon rejoice as they enter Drummond's slick limo and take off. Because of his frail demeanor, Mr. D is barely able to wave his driver off yet does so out of desperation. This is a terrific character quirk that genius actor Conrad Bain brings to such a complex role.

Had "Strokes" simply stayed on this route, it would've remained a TV classic. However, nothing prepared audiences for the ground-breaking episode in which pedophilia, of all topics, was presented in such harsh detail. Actor Gordon Jump blew away all his previous achievements ("WKRP", Maytag commercials) with his remarkable performance as a seemingly benign old man with a dark, dark secret. I won't spoil it for you here, but the reaction of the child's father is one of the most heartwrenching and subtle displays of Method acting in recent memory. A great episode, and one indicative of this landmark series' finest moments.
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Rest in Peace Mr. Bain
MWNiese27 March 2013
*******Seven Out Of Ten Stars*******

The true star of this show, Conrad Bain, died this past January in the year of 2013. In my humble opinion, Bain really held this show together through the years. He was the only cast member to appear in all 180 episodes. And Bain always offered what I thought were the best comedic one liners in the series; and clearly was the most polished actor of anyone that ever appeared on the show. Other highlights of the show included the seemingly unending supply of guest stars: Reggie Jackson, Dorothy Hamill, Nancy Regan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Captain Lou Albano, Muhammad Ali, Milton Berle, and of course, Mr. T. Pretty incredible stuff. Also worth mentioning, is much of the social commentary the writers often tried to weave into the scripts; it didn't always work, but when it was did, it was really touching. Some of the episodes dealt with some pretty adult serious issues: Robbery, sexual abuse, racism, sexism.... it was progressive writing for the time. "Different Strokes" has a special place in my mind and in my heart. So God rest Plato, Coleman, and Bain.
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Where's the beef?
ColJ4 March 2001
I just watched an episode of Diff'rent Strokes. Man, I was truly surprised how funny it was. I mean, not ever having laughed once during the perpetually syndicated episodes of Full House, I thought that it was I who had outgrown sitcoms, but no, it was they who had changed. My roommate musta' thought I was giggling with some girl on the couch. Alas, none of that lately...

First note, I can't stand child actors... they are never cute; their lines are never written to represent their age; they just ruin all believability of any show I'm watching. I never believe any email or television show with the premise of "Kid's say the darndest things." If they are true, then most parents are more behaviorist than we think. The thing is, Gary Coleman was the exception. (Willis and Kimberly were nothing special. Mrs. Garrett we had seen for the past decade in her other show. Phil Drummond was a fabulous actor--perfectly representative of that class of people whom I've known, but also full of more energy than any other actor his age.) But Gary Coleman really was amazing. For all the stereotype, he wasn't old. He was 9 or 10 when the show started, and playing a 7-8 year old.

I noticed how much the show acted like a three-act play. There was laughing throughout, but people only clapped at the end of each Act-not at the end of each scene, but right before each commercial, even when the ending was serious. "Arnold, it's about time you tell me what's really going on" often signaled the end of the second act.

I want to see Gary Coleman say "Where's the Beef?" in a film. Dave Thomas would give him permission.
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NBC's flagship of lame.
flackjacket30 July 2013
There was an era on NBC where every show was lame except for the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. Of all of those shows, this show was the flagship of lame. Sub-standard writing, horrible acting and a script built around one unfunny catch phrase: "What you talking about Willis?"

Of course, over the years, there were many variations, "What you talking about Dad?", "What you talking about Kimberly?", "What you talking about Mrs. Garrett?", and then there's the ultimate creative variation, "What you talking about 'insert name of guest star of the week'?"

Secondly, has Conrad Bain ever been on a show that had any value? Then they surround him with kids who couldn't act their way out of a loosely tied Walmart bag and an old hag with a quivering voice? This is comedy? Worse yet, you can see the child actors often mouthing the lines of their costars while awaiting their canned "humorous" reply, or their eyes wandering left to right as they read their poorly written lines from a cue card.

To further the vomit aspect, they bring in friends of Arnold to add to the fun. The annoying little girl crush, the kid in a wheelchair (to posture the show as caring and all inclusive) and his pet gold fish, with which he has heart to heart talks. And as ratings fell through the floor, big name guest stars would be brought in to help salvage the shipwreck.

And of course, as expected each one would be asked, "What you talking about?"

And yet there seems to be nothing but praise for this steaming pile of canned laugh track sitcom from NBC's era of suck. More than 1 star, seriously? No wonder all the child stars of this show crashed and burned. If it was this pathetic on the surface, I can only imagine how bad things were behind the scenes.

In summary, I could eat a box of Apha-Bits and crap a better script than any episode of this show, 1 star because zero isn't an option.
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"Wodju talking about,users?
richard_wright12 February 2003
I hate to burst everybody who loved this show's bubble, but the sad fact is this is arguably one of the worst programmes to ever be unleashed on that box of tricks called a TV. Everything about it was bad, from the flat delivery of the characters they called acting, to Gary Colemans quickly irritating catchphrases that he seemed to say about half-a-dozen times a show. Also noteworthy is the horrible fashion and stupid hair that may have looked good for the 70's but will now provoke more hysterics than anything contained in the so-called "scripts".

So now we have realised that it has virtually nothing in the laugh department, what kept people watching for 6 odd years? What it the lead's height problem? The "catchy" theme tune? The disbelieving state of mind that a programme so awful could take up valuable air time? I have to draw a blank, I'm afraid. All I will say is: if you can survive half an hour of any episode of this without rolling your eyes whenever Arnold does his little routine, cringing whenever Kimberly opened her big fat gob to moan about how unfair life is or feel violently sick whenever Drummond spun yet another of his sentimental philosophies about family unity which always ended in a "group hug" then you are a better man than me.
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When The Younger generation had more MUCH more respect for authority, their peers, and each other
and now, in May 2010, the entertainment industry is forever robbed of an icon of the days when prime time television was well worth the watching. Gary Colrman. NO! not little Gary Coleman, just Gary Coleman, plain and simple. A man with his problems in life, as we all have, whatever those problems are, who, none the less, seemed to over look them and make manifest an extraordinary entertainer. Stand tall young man. This is what he would tell those who are at the disadvantage today. Well spoken , Gary. God made a giant in the entertainment industry. His name was Gary Coleman, 1968-2010. Aim High. Look Good. Such is the essence of life itself.
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I mean, come ON! It's Gary Coleman!
Humplik30 July 1999
What else is there to say? Gary Coleman made this show what it was...

I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it's true. When someone comes up to you on the street and says "Hey, remember that show Diff'rent Strokes?", what do you think of right away? The same damn thing as anyone else.

Gary Coleman saying "What you talkin about, Willis?"

That line made Gary Coleman's career. End of story.
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AdrienneGrayceMusic24 April 2019
Watching the reruns on the Stars network as I write this. As a kid in the 80s, I watched this show and loved it, but didn't really start to appreciate it until I started watching the reruns. The quick-witted comebacks and one-liners are great. The show had fantastic writers. Gary Coleman definitely stole the show and it would have not been the success it was without him. The show touched on lots of topics, from racism, sexism, and everything in between. I love that. There's a reason why this iconic show lasted 8 seasons. Its a shame that barely any actors or actresses from the show are alive today. Such talented people and they will all be missed.
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The Drummonds and the Jacksons
bkoganbing25 January 2019
Rich Park Avenue guy Conrad Bain employs the mother of the two Jackson boys as a maid. When she dies Bain who has a daughter of his own does a truly nice thing. He adopts both the boys and gets himself an instant blended family, a really blended and biracial family.

Only Todd Bridges who was Willis Jackson in the show is still with us and he's had his share of troubles with both the law and personal. I think everyone knows about the tragedy that Gary Coleman endured. He was a cute kid who had all the best lines in the show. But he was in fact a dwarf and one of the big reasons that the show eventually was canceled was that when Bridges and Dana Plato matured, Coleman looked almost freakishly small next to them. He was also horribly abused as a kid, one of the greatest show business tragedies ever.

Finally Dana Plato also had her drinking and drugging issues. She was far from the Junior Miss teen Kimberly Drummond that she portrayed on screen. When she died also too young it was like participation in this show was cursed.

Still it was a nice gentle family comedy that certainly had its fans including me. I hope the spirits of Gary Coleman and Dana Plato are at peace.
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The show every child should watch
hannaman-5424224 December 2018
Growing up in a white community I learned about race relations from watching this show. The highly underrated Conrad Bain is the center of this show while 'Arnold' gets the pub.... Great show!!!
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teefus876 August 2002
this show premiered the same year i was born so i mostly started watching it in the later years. i have now seen the earlier ones thru reruns its a great show gary coleman is good but the performer i really enjoyed was danny cookesky the kid who played sam.
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