Each week, we will be taking an in depth look at some of the best sitcoms and comedy shows from both the UK and the USA.

Today we will be looking at a comedy that made Gary Coleman a household name with a catchy catchphrase  – Different Strokes

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Opening title Sequence / Theme Tune

About the Show

Summary of Plot

The misadventures of a wealthy Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American housekeeper from Harlem.- IMDb

Number of Seasons / Episodes

8 Seasons

Characters:

Conrad Bain – Philip Drummond

Gary Coleman – Arnold Jackson

Todd Bridges – Willis Jackson

Dana Plato – Kimberly Drummond

 

Trivia

+ Alan Thicke, who played the father on Growing Pains (1985), sings the theme song.

+ Arnold Jackson’s question “Watchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” was ranked #17 in TV Guide’s list of “TV’s 20 Top Catchphrases” (21-27 August 2005 issue). It was never intended as a catch phrase; the writers simply made it so after the positive reaction to Coleman’s delivery in the premiere. Towards the end of the show’s run, Coleman had become so tired of it that he demanded it be retired; he has not uttered it publicly since his 1999 cameo as himself on The Simpsons (1989).

+ Conrad Bain was the only cast member to appear in every episode.

+ The addition of Maggie Drummond and (in particular) Sam McKinley is generally seen as the show’s “Jump the Shark” moment by fans of the series.

+ Mr. Drummond paid $3,500 a month for his Park Avenue apartment.

+ The original concept for the show was different from what would come on the air. The working title was “45 Minutes from Harlem.” It would have been on ABC and set in a mansion in the upscale Westchester County town of Hastings on Hudson, not in a Manhattan penthouse. There was no older brother, originally, and the housekeeper would have been younger and sexier. The production company balked at the changes the network suggested, and ABC lost interest.

+ Arnold Jackson’s friends Dudley Johnson and Robbie Jayson are named after two of the show’s writers.

+ To help promote the series before its debut, Gary Coleman made appearances on The Tonight Show. NBC used clips of Coleman from those appearances as promotional spots announcing the coming of the series. The network primarily aired them during their coverage of the 1978 World Series.

+ “The Bicycle Man” is considered one of the most infamous TV episodes ever.

Classic Clips

Mohammad Ali meets Arnold

Bicycle Man

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