“Diff’rent Strokes” season three (whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Willis?)

       One of our all American sitcoms lasting from November third 1978 through May fourth 1985 gave us eight seasons of laughs, crazy situations, and heartfelt moments. Diff’rent Strokes, the touching story of two young black boys from the poor side of Harlem (Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis Jackson) taken in by a rich white Park Avenue businessman and widower, Philip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato), after the passing of the boy’s mother who worked for the family with the promise of caring for them and eventual adoption. During the course of the first two seasons, Charlotte Rae, who also starred as their housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett, had spun off onto her own very successful show, “The Facts of Life”. In this third season, Janet Jackson had made regular appearances as Willis’s girlfriend until the sixth season when they decided to breakup but remain friends. This time around, Arnold, Willis, and their Dad are held at gunpoint by two unscrupulous bank robbers, celebrate Mr. Drummond’s 50th birthday in of all places, a hospital, Kimberly lends a helping hand to a pregnant girlfriend, and Arnold tries his hand at a magic act gone wrong with his usual catch phrase “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Willis” tossed in at every opportune moment. In these days of television, the boldness to speak honestly about the issues at hand brought tears to our eyes, tugged at our hearts, and gave life to the never-ending laughter that we still enjoy today.