The BEST Episodes of Diff'rent Strokes
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Aug 27, 2020
1980s sitcom staple centered around millionaire widower Phillip Drummond, daughter Kimberly, and adopted sons Arnold and Willis.
#1 - The Older Woman
Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 13, 1982
A false I.D. and a false bravado create real problems for Willis and a beautiful "older" woman when an evening on the town doesn't go quite as he had planned.
#2 - In the Swim
Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 9, 1982
Willis is completely supportive of Kimberly's transfer into his public school, until his sister's "innocent" actions begin getting him into hot water.
#3 - Have I Got a Girl for You
Season 4 - Episode 21 - Aired Apr 8, 1982
Aunt Sophia's matchmaking unites an unsuspecting Drummond with her "working-class" hairdresser, but a slip of Arnold's tongue ignites charges that Drummond is a snob, turning a "budding romance" into a roaring feud.
#5 - Return of the Gooch
Season 2 - Episode 20 - Aired Feb 6, 1980
The "Gooch" is back and this time he's terrorizing Arnold, but Arnold plans to be ready when the bully strikes. In building Arnold's confidence, Willis convinces him that his martial arts lesson has given him a "killer" foot.
#6 - Growing Up
Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 29, 1981
His friends' stories of their sexual exploits convince Willis it's time he became a man, so now he must convince his girlfriend Charlene.
#7 - Kathy
Season 4 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 4, 1982
Arnold and his friend Kathy face big challenges in their lives and each holds the key to overcoming the other's obstacles, but when Arnold takes the first step forward, their entire relationship takes a big step backwards.
#8 - The Squatter
Season 4 - Episode 15 - Aired Feb 18, 1982
Drummond learns the hard way that converting apartments into condominiums can mean hurting lots of innocent people when he becomes the unsuspecting "victim" of an eccentric tenant he's displacing.
#9 - Willis' Birthday
Season 1 - Episode 23 - Aired Apr 13, 1979
Willis is hurt when he thinks his family has forgotten his upcoming birthday. After dropping several unsubtle hints he discovers that not only has everyone remembered, but also his fondest wish has been granted -- a birthday party in his old Harlem neighborhood.
#10 - The Car
Season 4 - Episode 16 - Aired Feb 25, 1982
When his girlfriend plans on taking a drive with someone else, a careless Willis -- refusing to be outdone -- gets an idea for a real joy ride neither of them will forget.
#11 - B.M.O.C.
Season 4 - Episode 19 - Aired Mar 25, 1982
Willis' obsession with joining an "exclusive" high school club rocks the Drummond household and leaves several victims in its wake, including a shaken Arnold who takes his brother's "insensitive" actions to heart.
#12 - The Music Man
Season 4 - Episode 24 - Aired May 6, 1982
Willis sets what he's sure is a "cinch" audition for girlfriend Charlene to sing with his musical group, but his "big plane" hit a sour not when Arnold's intervention threatens to destroy both Charlene's chances with the group and her relationship with Willis.
#13 - A Growing Problem
Season 5 - Episode 13 - Aired Jan 8, 1983
At 16, Willis thinks he's man enough and old enough to "top" a few drinks with the guys, but Drummond's objections send Willis storming out of the house intent on proving his father wrong.
#14 - The Goat
Season 6 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 15, 1983
Arnold's first day at junior high is emotionally devastating when he's shunned for not measuring up to the expectations that everyone had for Willis Jackson's brother, but Arnold devises a risky scheme that he feels certain will elevate his prestige.
#15 - The Trip (2)
Season 1 - Episode 21 - Aired Mar 30, 1979
The stars of "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Hello, Larry" get together in a special, hilarious hour in which Phillip Drummond realizes that the purchase of a Portland radio station could mean the loss of a job for his old friend Larry Alder.
#16 - Willis' Privacy
Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired Feb 23, 1979
To get rid of his pesky little brother, Willis divides the bedroom in half and spends more time at his friend's house.
#17 - Poor Drummond
Season 2 - Episode 18 - Aired Jan 23, 1980
A crucially important business deal keeps Mr. Drummond on edge and Arnold and Willis wondering whether they pack for a California vacation or move back to Harlem.
#19 - Dreams
Season 4 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 28, 1982
A cancelled fishing trip leaves Arnold having a series of bad dreams that the entire family loses sleep over, until a psychiatrist's examination reveals what really is causing his nighttime terror.
#20 - Cyrano De Jackson
Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 16, 1982
Arnold's on the outs with his best friend Dudley after he innocently offers to help his bashful buddy win the heart of a young lady -- who falls for Arnold instead.
#21 - Substitute Teacher
Season 5 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 6, 1982
Arnold and his buddies fabricate a "little white lie" in an attempt to get rid of an overly-conscientious substitute teacher, but their tell tale could result in more than just removing the teacher from the classroom -- it could destroy his entire career.
#22 - The Van Drummonds
Season 6 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 19, 1983
A short visit to the United States by Phillip Drummond's Dutch cousin Anna and her son Hans becomes an eternity for Arnold and Willis, who are made scapegoats for cousin Hans' mischief.
#23 - Carmella Meets the Gooch
Season 7 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 10, 1984
The Gooch returns to taunt Arnold and take on a new target--Sam, only to face his first challenge in the Drummond's new neighbor, an Italian foreign exchange student.
#24 - Bully for Arnold
Season 8 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 4, 1985
Guarding the school bully's girlfriend, Ramona, seems like a simple task to Arnold, until his natural Jackson "charm" creates some problems, Ramona falls head over heels for him and Herman, the bully, wants to rearrange his face.
#25 - Love on the Run
Season 8 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 11, 1985
Sam and Arnold fear that the time their parents are spending apart is a symptom of an ailing marriage and the boys attempt to give them a dose of romance, hoping it will be the cure that will keep them from divorce.