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Archive for March 20th, 2018

Diff'rent Strokes

When I initially signed up to review Diff’rent Strokes, I was thinking it would be an easier proposition than it ended up being. What follows is a remembrance, a critique and an honest struggle at knowing that although I have affection for it, Diff’rent Strokes brings up emotions that are sad, problematic, and bittersweet. It’s a show that hasn’t aged very well, despite the fact that my childhood self loves it. So although it pains me to do it sometimes you gotta call a spade a spade.

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Anyone would be hard pressed to argue in favor of Diff’rent Strokes being called one of the greatest television programs of all time. But is it one of the most memorable shows? Heck yeah. Unfortunately it is often memorable for all the wrong kinds of reasons. It starts with the stars of the show. This show is “exhibit A”, when it comes to examples of child stars who have taken a sad, horrifying fall. It’s hard to imagine a more tragic trio than Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges and Dana Plato. Plato became engulfed in drugs, poverty, and porn in the late 80’s and early 90’s and died of an overdose at age 34. Coleman sued his parents, declared bankruptcy, attempted suicide multiple times and died of a tragic accident in his home at age 42. Bridges managed to overcome his crack addiction, but only after suffering for many years, including being charged for a murder in which he was acquitted. Whenever anyone points to child stars falling from grace, this is the crew that we think of. (more…)

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