Diff’rent Stokes up in Crack Smoke
Do you remember the 1980s? Have you seen the commercials? Cashcow or Cashcall.com. Yes, that’s the one…and YOU thought Gary Coleman (the man born with a congenital kidney disease causing nephritis; a disease House, MD specialized in) was dead?
He tried: “In 1993 Coleman appeared on the television talk show Geraldo and admitted he had twice attempted suicide with sleeping pills. Coleman went into semi-retirement and moved to Colorado and then to Arizona, where he was trained as a security guard, a job he often worked when unable to find other employment.”
After the close of Diff’rent Strokes, all three of the show’s child stars had trouble adjusting. Dana Plato and Todd Bridges had trouble with drugs and run-ins with the law, and Plato eventually committed suicide.
Perhaps, the most trouble Coleman got into happened defending his status in front of a confrontational fan and his addiction to model trains cost him as reported by Rotten.com “financial issues eventually forced Coleman to concede that he was indeed worse than broke – he was $72,000 in debt and addicted to the assembly of hobbyist model trains. “It’s part of who I am as a person. It is the best hobby I think there is anywhere. You can involve yourself in electronics, computers, puzzles… there’s a lot of creativity and brain working. There’s a lot to model trains that people don’t realize.”- Gary Coleman
So, it seems dear, sweet first-lady Nancy Reagan did not get her “Just Say No” message out in her guest appearance on Diff’rent Strokes in March, 1983.
What was the message; the lesson to be learned from the show born the same year as me? What should I have gleaned spending my formative years watching a sitcom that, for all intents and purposes, broke new ground for sitcoms and seemed to offer hope.
Hope that a rich, white man would adopt two black brothers from Harlem, NYC because of a death-bed promise to a housekeeper? Would the world stand for such a plot in the 80s filled with drugs and sex made famous for crack cocaine and AIDS?
Sometimes reality is just not shown in television, but can’t hope be? Wasn’t THAT the idea? Did you know the theme song for Diff’rent Stokes was written by Alan Thicke of Growing Pains, the show in which he starred as Kirk Cameron’s (now what teenage girl didn’t have a crush on him) psychiatrist father and learned enough from the experience to write a book
You know what I learned from the sitcoms of the 80s? Mrs. Garrett left the Drummond household after hearing Arnold say “Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout Willis” one too many times and I followed her to The Facts of Life where I learned the Period Table of Elements symbol for gold. One episode stuck in my mind from the airing until the day my 7th grade science teacher wanted me to remember it; I knew Au was the symbol for gold. One of the girls told another to remember it by thinking of walking down a NYC street when a man snatches your gold watch and runs…”A U gimme my GOLD watch back!”
Maybe the canned laughter gave way to crack cocaine and Kimberly Drummond killed herself, but if I ever have to adopt a child it will be the one who never grew taller than 4’8 and never out-lived his fame for staying a child well into adulthood. In 2008 Gary Coleman will be 40. Send him a loan through cashcall.com because I am SURE that is why he supports it!
By Ellen Aldridge, loyal friend to RationReality and an irrational lifestyle.