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YMMV / Diff'rent Strokes

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  • Accidental Innuendo: In "Father and Son Day", Kimberly's cheer about Mr. Drummond includes the line "Give me a big fat 'D'", followed by a joke by Arnold about her getting her "big fat 'D'" off the ground. In Arnold's case, "D" probably stood for "derriere", but hearing the line from Kimberly, you get the idea that "D" stands for "dick".
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: ...
    • Gary Coleman died from a brain hemorrhage, which could be termed as a FAM. A brain hemorrhage is also a type of stroke, making the show's title a FAM as well.
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    • The episode "Little Mother", where Kimberly's childhood friend learns she's pregnant involves a misunderstanding where the boys mistake Kimberly herself for pregnant. Several seasons later, Dana Plato was fired when the writers refused to incorporate her own pregnancy into the show.
    • The episode "Green Hair" had Kimberly upset over how acid rain had turned her hair green and said that if she couldn't get a hair appointment to fix it, she would do the next best thing: kill herself. Yikes...
  • Harsher in Hindsight: "The Bicycle Man" is even tougher to watch once you've learned that Todd Bridges was preyed upon by a pedophile publicist in Real Life when he was 11.
    • The live studio audience laughing at the titular Bicycle Man's advances before it was outright revealed he was a pedophile. Not helped since some of the dialogue seems tailor-made to seem uncomfortable in hindsight.
    Mr. Horton: What's the old saying? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours?
    Arnold: You keep coming up with these presents and you can scratch me all over!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In a lot of episodes to get Arnold's attention they yell Hey Arnold!.
    • This isn't the last time Pearl the housekeeper's actress is on a show with a character named Pearl. She doesn't play the character in the latter show though.
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  • Memetic Mutation: "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
  • Never Live It Down: "The Bicycle Man".
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Howard Leeds wrote or co-wrote 33 episodes and served as producer and executive producer. Leeds co-developed The Facts of Life and is also best known for co-creating Silver Spoons and as creator and executive producer of Small Wonder.
    • Martin Cohan wrote or co-wrote 32 episodes and also served as producer and executive producer. Cohan is best known as co-creator and co-executive producer of Who's the Boss? and also co-created Silver Spoons.
    • Ben Starr wrote or co-wrote 24 episodes. Starr also co-developed The Facts of Life and also co-created Silver Spoons.
    • Blake Hunter wrote or co-wrote 11 episodes and served as executive producer. Hunter also served as co-creator and co-executive producer of Who's the Boss?.
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    • Paul Haggis wrote or co-wrote three episodes. Haggis is best known as creator and executive producer of Due South, as co-creator and co-executive producer of The Black Donnellys, and for co-creating Walker, Texas Ranger.
    • Jose Rivera also wrote or co-wrote three episodes. Rivera is best known as co-creator and producer of Eerie, Indiana.
    • Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon co-wrote an episode. Both created The Facts of Life and are also best known for creating Mama's Family.
    • Michael G. Moye wrote an episode. Moye is best known as co-creator and co-executive producer of Married... with Children and for co-developing Silver Spoons and co-creating 227.
    • David W. Duclon co-wrote an episode. Duclon is best known as creator and executive producer of Punky Brewster and also served as co-developer and executive producer of Silver Spoons.
  • Squick: In "Sam's Father", Pearl is infatuated with Sam's father, Wes. When Maggie jokes that Wes' horse can autograph her copy of Wes' album, Pearl comments "I bet his horse is sexy, too."
  • Tear Jerker: The entirety of "Memories", which is kicked off by the family finding an old recording of Arnold and Willis's mother, Lucy. Arnold has an extremely difficult time with this, first hiding the tape and vowing never to hear his mother's voice again, lashing out angrily when it's found, admitting to a hefty case of Survivor's Guilt over living the life Lucy never got to have for herself, and expressing regret that he never told her how much he appreciated all she did to make ends meet. It ends with Phillip taking him to the cemetery, where he delivers a crusher of a speech to her. When all's said and done, he says goodbye, brushes snow from her grave, and they depart, leaving the credits to role over the quiet cemetery.
  • Values Dissonance: The whole premise of a couple inner-city black kids being "saved" by a kindly, paternalistic, rich old white guy may well provide this for some viewers.
    • Certain episode plots or events within the plot may be this for some viewers. "The Spanking" from Season 1 is a biggie, considering today's attitudes regarding corporal punishment. A lighter example occurs late in the show, when Maggie scolds Sam for wetting his bed. The family doctor later explains this was the wrong way to handle the situation, but it's still disconcerting, especially since Phillip reassures Maggie that she technically did nothing wrong. A plethora of similar examples exist.
  • Values Resonance: On the opposite token, the scene where everyone discusses the Aesop of The Bicycle Man has Willis express surprise that Mr. Horton is "gay." The detective who busted Mr. Horton bluntly but politely tells him that there's a major world of difference between gays and pedophiles. In a decade that wasn't particularly gay-friendly, that was a very important lesson for the masses to learn, even if it wasn't the focus of the episode. It also averted the common Stranger Danger tropes by having the titular child molester be someone Arnold and Dudley had been on friendly terms with for some time before making his move, and gradually manipulating them towards having his way rather than come out of nowhere.


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