With the death of Conrad Bain, the Curse of Diff’rent Strokes can at last rest. Well done, grim spirit. Well done.

Originally posted on Promethean Times:

By Smaktakula

Diff’rent Strokes proved an instant hit with TV audiences in September of 1978.  The Norman Lear sitcom about Harlem orphans falling into the lap of luxury was anchored by veteran stage actor Conrad Bain, and featured promising child stars Todd Bridges and Dana Plato.  But the breakout star of the fledgling show was an adorably precocious chubby-cheeked Gary Coleman, whose shameless mugging and hilarious catchphrase, Whatchootalkinbout, blurred the line between funny and precious.

For a time, Diff’rent Strokes was a cultural phenomenon.  There were spinoffs both successful and unsuccessful–The Facts of Life and Hello Larry, respectively.  A variety of high-profile guest stars appeared on the set, including Knight Rider and KITTMr. T and an only slightly punchy Muhammad Ali.  Nancy Reagan even made an appearance in an very-special 1983 episode, where she made famous the line, Just Say No, which would…

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10 Responses to

  1. El Guapo says:

    Wait – isn’t Todd still alive?

    Oh, how we miss your appearances on Howard Stern, Dana…

  2. I never watched that show once in my life so I only have the vaguest idea what it was about or who anyone in the predominantly dead (?) cast were. I feel very lucky.

    • Smaktakula says:

      One of my most annoying quirks (and one with which I wage a constant battle) is the idiotic tendency to, after somebody plainly and unambiguously states a fact, say “Really?”

      Having said that, Really? You’ve never seen Diff’rent Strokes? Good for you. It was, as you might expect, sub-moronic.
      I’ve only seen one episode of “Friends,” but I’ve managed to see it twice.

      • You saw the exact same episode of “Friends” twice? Were you in a hostage situation? I’ve never seen a single episode of “Friends” once. I’m not a snob. I’m just not much of a TV watcher.

  3. God, I hated that fucking show. That, and “Alf.”

    • Smaktakula says:

      I didn’t care for Alf, either. I can’t recall really looking forward to a weekly TV show during that era except for SNL (and in retrospect, it was really awful some of those years). I never cared for Miami Vice or Cheers or a lot of the shows my friends watched. I saw Diff’rent Strokes in reruns, and it was a show I loved to hate.
      Thinking about it, I can count on one hand the number of sitcoms I have actually enjoyed (particularly if you leave out animated shows)– MASH, Arrested Development, WKRP…Wow. So there’s 3. There could be a couple forgotten gems out there, but the number is low.

  4. Alex Autin says:

    Huh? What? Oh, yes…TV, hmmm.

    Hilarius post though!

  5. Luddy's Lens says:

    In the 90s — and this is true — Gary Coleman worked at a video arcade in Pasadena that featured a black-lighted indoor mini-golf course on the second floor. I forget what the place was called but everything glowed in the dark, and while I have no idea what Coleman’s job was, I can tell you he always wore a tie.

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