‘Diff’rent Strokes’ was my favorite show growing up because it was extremely funny and all of the characters were very likable and interesting. I haven’t seen the series since it was on Nick at Nite & TV Land, a few years ago. It’s unfortunate that it is no longer on TV. But I was very glad to pick up this DVD set of the first season. It includes twenty-four, full and uncut episodes (more than most sitcoms) from the 1978 – 1979 season.
Here’s all the episodes included in this set with the original air dates:
Movin’ In (November 3, 1978)
Millionaire Philip Drummond (‘Maude’ star Conrad Bain) welcomes 8-year-old Arnold Jackson (Gary Coleman) and his 13-year-old brother Willis (Todd Bridges) into his New York penthouse. Mr. Drummond tries to make his new sons feel at home with the help of his daughter, Kimberly (played by the late Dana Plato) and his housekeeper (future ‘Facts Of Life’ star Charlotte Rae) Mrs. Garrett. Arnold also utters his trademark catch-phrase, “whatchya talkin’ about Willis” for the first time in this episode.
The Social Worker (November 10, 1978)
Arnold’s big ears cause him to misinterpret Drummond’s conversation with Mrs. Garrett. And, Arnold convinces Willis that Mr. Drummond doesn’t want them around. It’s all cleared up though when their new family comes to pick them up.
Mother’s Last Visit (November 17, 1978)
The title of this episode should be ‘Mother’s Only Visit’ because this is the only time Mr. Drummond’s busybody mother makes an appearance. When Grandma Drummond finds out about her two adopted grandsons she faints in front of them prompting the boys to tell Drummond that she isn’t happy to have them around.
Prep School (November 24, 1978)
When Mr. Drummond tries to get Arnold and Willis into his former prep school it turns out to be a valuable lesson in bigotry.
The Spanking (December 1, 1978)
Arnold is extra mischievous in this episode when he drops a homemade water balloon from the penthouse balcony on the apartment handyman. Mr. Drummond decides to give Arnold a spanking but resists when Willis convinces Drummond that his big brother should do it. Willis quickly learns that it isn’t easy dishing out punishment.
Goodbye Dolly (December 8, 1978)
Arnold flips out when Kimberly sells his favorite stuffed doll at a charity event. Mr. Drummond enlists the help of a P. I. to track down Arnold’s furry friend.
The Trial (December 15, 1978)
Willis sets up Arnold to take the rap so that he can prove to Drummond that fair trials are hard to come by. This episode is a total ‘Brady Bunch’ rip-off, but in my opinion ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ got it better because it was funnier and more believable.
Retrospective (1) (December 29, 1978)
This is a flashback episode with the boys and Mr. Drummond and Kimberly and Mrs. Garrett. The opening credits for this episode are different, it shows Arnold and Willis’ bedroom with the ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ logo and the theme song is shorter. Originally aired as a one hour episode.
Retrospective (2) (December 29, 1978)
This is second half of the retrospective episode. The opening credits for this episode are the standard opening credits.
The Fight (January 5, 1979)
Poor Arnold gets a black eye when he tries to go up against The Gooch at the insistence of Willis. Fans of ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ will recall The Gooch as the bully who Arnold mentions many tims throughout the series (Carmella finally beats him up) but he is never actually seen.
The Club Meeting (January 12, 1979)
Willis invites his friends from his former neighborhood over to show off.
The Woman (January 19, 1979)
Drummond’s intention to marry a widow doesn’t sit well with his children. They scheme to make his proposal a disaster.
No Time for Arnold (January 26, 1979)
Arnold has a new attention-seeking device that is sure to get the attention of everyone in his household. He starts ‘wetting’ the bed only until he is revealed to be a phony that only is seeking a little attention from his family.
The Relative (February 2, 1979)
LaWanda Page claims to be Willis and Arnold’s cousin who overstays her welcome in their penthouse apartment.
The Tutor (February 9, 1979)
Mr. Drummond hires a tutor for Arnold and Willis who doesn’t do his job very well.
The New Landlord (February 16, 1979)
The kids hatch a scheme to try to persuade the new landlord to allow the family to keep their penthouse.
Willis’ Privacy (February 23, 1979)
Another ‘Brady Bunch’ rip-off…Willis is sick of Arnold so he divides his room in half only to realize how much he really loves his bother.
Mrs. Garrett’s Crisis (March 2, 1979)
Unfulfilled with her life Mrs. Garrett makes an important…
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I love the packaging for this 3 DVD set. Each disc comes in it’s own plastic case which snaps closed. Of course each case has a picture of Gary Coleman on the cover. The three disc set is a must have for an 80′s or Different Strokes fan. These episodes are hilarious. The picture quality is decent. There are extras, commentary from the writer and new interviews from Charlotte Rae, Conrad Bain and Todd Bridges. I re-watched all of these episodes this past week and just realized that a lot of the little jokes Arnold would make were really for the adults to enjoy. I hope that future seasons will be released soon.
I’ve only watched the first 7 episodes but I am already so glad I bought this. It’s reasonbly priced and has great entertainment value. I was born in 77 so I was too young for tv during the first couple of seasons but watched the later years and loved it. This is a must have for any child of the 80′s.