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Series / Silver Spoons

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Silver Spoons was a sitcom which ran from 1982 to 1986 on NBC before wrapping up in First-Run Syndication in 1987. It is best known for launching the careers of three young actors: Ricky Schroeder (who was actually pretty well known as a child actor before this show started), Jason Bateman and Alfonso Ribeiro.

It revolves around young Ricky Stratton moving in with and getting to know his estranged, wealthy father. Edward Stratton III is laid-back and even irresponsible regarding his company, Eddie Toys, whereas Ricky has spent his life in military school (placed there by his mother and stepfather). They bond throughout the series as Edward tries to get Ricky to lighten up and Ricky tries to get his father to grow up.

Don't mistake this with the manga Silver Spoon.


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This show contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Derek would shamelessly and repeatedly hit on Kate. Derek being only 12 didn't help matters.
  • Adorkable: Joel Higgins as Ricky's fun-loving dad.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Ricky Schroeder in the early episode "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"
  • Black and Nerdy: Dexter Stuffins.
  • Black Best Friend: Alfonso.
  • Breakout Character: Jason Bateman's portrayal of Eddie Haskell-ish Derek led to his being cast in his own series, It's Your Move.
  • Car Meets House: In "Driver Ed". While Edward and Kate are away, Ricky convinces his grandfather to let him drive his old racecar, but when they actually put it to the test, Ricky forgets to put the car in reverse and crashes into Edward's library. Edward isn't very happy when he finds out about it.
    • It happens again at the end of the same episode, with Ricky's grandfather deciding to drive and making the same mistake.
  • Camping Episode: "A Hunting We Will Go". Ricky and his father and grandfather all go hunting (which is essentially "camping but with guns") as a bonding experience. Ricky enjoys it until he has to shoot a deer. Even after that, he says that he liked all the rest of it and that is what he'll remember. It is the first time we see the father & grandfather get along and enjoy each other's company.
  • Advertisement:
  • Celebrity Lie: In his first episode, Alfonso claims to know Michael Jackson.
  • The Comically Serious: Dexter Stuffins.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In a Halloween dream episode Ricky, Alfonso, and their nerdy pal Freddie got trapped in a haunted house. The room they were in had only one door and no doorknob. Freddie sighs, reaches in his backpack and pulls out a spare. He then opens the door and snarks, "And you guys always make fun of me for carrying around a spare doorknob!"
  • Crossover: Gary Coleman made a one-episode appearance as his Diff'rent Strokes character, Arnold Jackson.
  • Dark Secret: In the series' second episode, Edward confides in his son that he was verbally abused by his father (Edward Stratton II, Ricky's grandfather) on a regular, repeated basis. The final straw came one evening when, trying to please him any way he could, the younger Edward gave him a glass of orange juice. Just as young Edward was handing the glass to him, he tripped, and the glass spilled all over the elder Edward's important paperwork. The senior Edward was beyond furious and screamed at his son, saying many hurtful things to him before permanently banishing him from his study; young Edward was sent to his room and cried for hours, but all the hate he had for him never went away. Shortly after college, young Edward estranges himself from his father, and are not reunited until the events of the episode immediately following.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Dexter Roosevelt Stuffins.
    Ricky: Roosevelt?
    Dexter: Leave it alone, Richard.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Edward claims that his father fired him from the company twelve times.
  • Grumpy Old Man: John Houseman played Ricky's curmudgeonly grandfather, estranged from his son until Ricky, longing for a grandpa, reached out to him. He later transitioned into Cool Old Guy when he embraced his grandpahood, even giving the underaged Ricky an illicit driving lesson (which led to not one but two unfortunate cases of Car Meets House).
  • I Owe You My Life: Derek saves Ricky's life during a cave-in. To repay the debt, Derek wants Ricky to get him a date for an upcoming party so he can look good to the other guys. Ricky calls every girl he can think, but they all say no, so he gets stuck being Disguised in Drag as Gloria. It gets to the point where Ricky has to restrain himself from strangling Derek; by his logic, he just saved his life and so he considers them even.
  • Jerkass: Ricky's friends Derek and JT. Also Bob Danish, a blowhard, would-be suitor to Kate.
  • "L" Is for "Dyslexia": In "Trouble With Words", Dexter starts getting worried about Alfonso neglecting his schoolwork. Then Bruce Jenner shows up and tells him that Alfonso is dyslexic.
  • Losing Horns: Of the Subverted variety, when Ricky comes home (unnanounced) to his estranged father while the latter is in the middle of a Pac-Man game. As Ricky announces he's Edward's long-lost son, cue the Signature Sound Effect of Pac-Man being eaten as Edward looks up in shock.
  • Manchild: Ricky's father, Edward Stratton III, owns a toy company, plays Pinballs and videogames, and rides a Live Steam model railway around the house. He also neglects his business and thinks his son needs to loosen up.
  • Moonwalk Dance:
    • When Alfonso gets caught in a Celebrity Lie, claiming he knows Michael Jackson, he hires a Jackson impersonator to come to the local hangout and moonwalk dance with him. This actually succeeds, until the pressure of keeping the lie going gets to him and he 'fesses up. At the end of the episode Alfonso and Ricky put on a breakdance demonstration for their parent[al substitute]s, including moonwalking and posing on their toes.
    • In the episode "Mr. Cool" Ricky shows off his "coolness" by wearing Sunglasses at Night and moonwalking.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: In a Christmas Episode, Freddy's house is burned down in an accident. The Strattons don't hesitate to invite the Lippincottlemans to stay with them, but the Lippincottlemans' traditions and quirks quickly irritate the hosts. Edward is about ready to ask them to leave just before each of the Lippincottlemans talk about how thankful they all are to have such good friends to turn to in a time of need and how it reaffirms the Christmas spirit. Unsurprisingly, Edward doesn't have the heart to go through with it.
  • Odd Name Out: In a Mood Whiplash moment during "Blazing Hotel Rooms," an episode of Family Feud can be heard starting up on TV right after Kate sees the newscast about the burning hotel.
    Announcer: It's time for the Family Feud! Introducing the Smith family: John! Mary! Buffy! Skipper! And Chip! And the Gambucci family: Guido! Anna-Maria! Salvatore! Dominic!...And Chip!
  • Personal Arcade: Edward has several pinball and arcade video machines amongst his collection of expensive toys. In the opening credits he starts up a game and dances along to the music it makes.
  • Politician Guest Star: Then Speaker of the House Thomas "Tip" O'Neill guest stars in the season 4 episode, "Three Musketeers", which involves him delivering a mock press conference praising Freddie's efforts on behalf of the homeless.
  • Pretty in Mink: Kate wore a few furs, like a mink cape and silver fox coat.
  • Punny Name: The Dexter Stuffins is rather stuffy.
  • Rearrange The Theme: The first three seasons used a light, easy-listening type theme with vocals by Ron Dante, best known as the lead vocalist of The Archies. The fourth season began with a synth-heavy theme, with vocals by a different vocalist; midway through the fourth season, a rock version, was used with Dante once again on lead vocals. The latter two themes were mixed, with the rock version becoming the more-often used during the final season.
  • Robot Buddy: Foobie, who had the ridiculously human tendency to chase after Kate.
  • Sexy Secretary: Kate.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the episode "Three Musketeers", mentioned above in Politician Guest Star, Freddie's father, Troy Lippincottleman, is more proud of the fact that his son managed to get mentioned in the local news, rather than the fact that he's helping out the homeless.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Alfonso Ribeiro replacing Jason Bateman before the 1984-85 season.
    • In season 1 Mr. Stratton has a different black friend/business associate.
  • They Do: Kate and Edward eventually marry.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Edward is eccentric and childlike, whereas Ricky spent his formative years in military school.

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