For 189 episodes of Diff'rent Strokes during its nine-year prime-time run on two networks (1978-86), the American TV audience sat with mouth agape at Gary Coleman's diminutive character, young Arnold Jackson, as he related to life with a white New York City millionaire foster father (Conrad Bain's Philip Drummond), the rich man's daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato), and Arnold's natural bro, Willis (Todd Bridges). It was a confusing period for everyone, not just Arnold. Nancy Reagan even appeared in one 1983 episode of the show, no doubt advising Arnold and Willis to just say no. In the spirit of the October Surprise and trickle-down economics, no two people could agree on who this cute kid was and what he meant. One person's "adorable little shit" was another's symbol of changing times.
We decided to jump in our time machine and ask a few of Arnold Jackson's fellow TV characters, from his era and later, about Gary Coleman and his candidacy.
Steve Urkel of Family Matters: "Candidate of the year, Carl!"
Latka Gravas of Taxi: "He clean up the street. He leave good tip. I like him."
(Cosmo) Kramer of Seinfeld: "Could you repeat the question?"
George Jefferson of The Jeffersons: "Short, black, and pissed off. My type of individual."
Tony Micelli of Who's the Boss?: "Whatchoo talkin' about? You da man, Gary. Fuhgeddaboudit."
Doogie Howser of Doogie Howser, MD: "At last, a governor we can all feel good about."
Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Speaking from the future, I'm happy to report that Gary's entrance into politics was a turning point into a bright new day for humankind."
B.A. Baracus of The A Team: "I pity the fool who try to run against him."
Punky Brewster of Punky Brewster: "Gary, I don't care what anyone says -- you'll always be my 'little man.'"
J.J. Evan of Good Times: "The dyno-mite dude with the positive 'tude. He'll take the election in a whole new direction."
Fred Sanford of Sanford and Son: "That little motherfucker could teach them politicians a thing or two. But I want to be Secretary of Pussy."
Webster Long of Webster: "Shit."
Phoebe Buffay of Friends: "Eeew! The worst candidate ever!"
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