The WORST Episodes of Diff'rent Strokes

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Network: NBC

1980s sitcom staple centered around millionaire widower Phillip Drummond, daughter Kimberly, and adopted sons Arnold and Willis.

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Beauty is in the Eye of Arnold

#1 - Beauty is in the Eye of Arnold

Season 7 - Episode 21 - Aired Mar 2, 1985

Arnold is faced with a dilemma when his friends insist he take a cute cheerleader to the dance instead of the girl Arnold really likes who they consider an "ugly duckling."

star 5.25
4 votes
Directors: Selig Frank
Writers: A. Dudley Johnson Jr., Robert Jayson
Sam's Missing (1)

#2 - Sam's Missing (1)

Season 8 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 27, 1985

A family whose little boy died, forces the father to kidnap Sam, who is shopping for some snacks in a grocery store. After the kidnapping, the man threatens to kill Sam's parents if he attempts in any way to escape.

star 5.33
6 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Bob Brunner, Ken Hecht
The Reporter

#3 - The Reporter

Season 5 - Episode 22 - Aired Mar 19, 1983

Determined to prove he didn't fabricate a story about drug abuse in his grade school just to win a journalism contest, Arnold takes his article to the New York City newspaper sponsoring the competition, and when they run his story on the front page, Arnold receives some unexpected more support from First Lady Nancy Reagan.

star 5.80
5 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Mitchell Wayne Cohen
Undercover Lover

#4 - Undercover Lover

Season 7 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 20, 1984

Willis becomes the middleman in a police effort to halt use and trafficking of drugs at his high school.

star 5.83
6 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Maria Alexander, Susan Kessler
Arnold Faces Fatality (a.k.a.) The Will (a.k.a.) Drummond's Will

#5 - Arnold Faces Fatality (a.k.a.) The Will (a.k.a.) Drummond's Will

Season 2 - Episode 25 - Aired Mar 19, 1980

Arnold fears that his loved ones are checking out of his life when he stumbles upon Drummond's will and then uncovers the fact that his goldfish has given up the ghost.

star 6.00
2 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Albert E. Lewin
The Squealer

#6 - The Squealer

Season 2 - Episode 26 - Aired Mar 26, 1980

Willis seeks comradeship as a member of the Tarantulas, a street gang, but finds only deceit as he gets caught in a web of misplace loyalties. Willis allows himself to be arrested rather than "squeal" on his fellow-gang members by telling the truth.

star 6.00
2 votes
Writers: Alan Rosen, Ed Jurist, Fred Rubin
Assert Yourself

#7 - Assert Yourself

Season 6 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 10, 1983

Arnold turns a pal into an opponent when he resigns as Dudley's campaign manager and declares his own candiacy for class president.

star 6.00
2 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Blake Hunter, Howard Leeds, Martin Cohan
The Gymnasts

#8 - The Gymnasts

Season 7 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 1, 1984

Drummond's surprise meant to encourage an Olympic hopeful felled by a tragic accident backfires when the young man instead becomes embittered at meeting the 1984 Men's Olympic Gold Medal-winning Gymnastics Team until Willis and Sam take on the challenge of setting things right.

star 6.00
33 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Bob Brunner, Ken Hecht
Tonsils

#9 - Tonsils

Season 7 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 8, 1984

Drummond is a tower of strength for Sam as he prepares to have his tonsils removed, but what will happen when Drummond finds out he is to be Sam's roommate while having some "minor" knee surgery.

star 6.00
3 votes
Directors: Mel Ferber
Writers: Bruce Taylor
Arnold's Songbird

#10 - Arnold's Songbird

Season 7 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 15, 1984

In order to be elected the entertainment chairman for a school charity fundraiser, Arnold promises to get a celebrity but when it's time to deliver, he's forced to look to his nemesis Carmella for help, hoping she can save the day.

star 6.00
3 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Bob Brunner, Bruce Taylor, Ken Hecht
Baseball Blues

#11 - Baseball Blues

Season 7 - Episode 13 - Aired Jan 5, 1985

Sam persuades a reluctant Mr. Drummond to become the coach of his bad news baseball team and then regrets it after he winds up on the bench.

star 6.00
3 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: A. Dudley Johnson Jr., Robert Jayson
Russian Embassy

#12 - Russian Embassy

Season 7 - Episode 18 - Aired Feb 9, 1985

When Arnold's rocket for his school project is accidentally set off and lands atop the Russian Embassy, the state department is led to suspect the Drummond's participation is foul play.

star 6.00
3 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: José Rivera, Max Katz, Toni Wunsch
It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To

#13 - It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To

Season 8 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 13, 1985

Drummond has "insured" that Sam will have an unforgettable birthday party by arranging for a local television personality to be the main attraction, until the swash-buckling "Captain Jack" steals the show and the birthday boy jumps ship.

star 6.00
3 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Al Aidekman
Sam's Big Brother

#14 - Sam's Big Brother

Season 8 - Episode 14 - Aired Jan 24, 1986

Arnold's preoccupation with girls and school leaves younger brother Sam alone and bored until Willis steps in, takes over as "big bro" and causes a row when Arnold decides to fight back for the title.

star 6.00
2 votes
Directors: Mel Ferber
Writers: Susan H. Lee
Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown

#15 - Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown

Season 8 - Episode 16 - Aired Feb 7, 1986

Sam's contempt for a classmate who incessantly insults and badgers him is pacified when he learns that the boy is an orphan who's jealous of Sam's "perfect" family life.

star 6.00
4 votes
Directors: Mel Ferber
Writers: Barry Gold
The Big Bribe

#16 - The Big Bribe

Season 8 - Episode 17 - Aired Feb 21, 1986

A date with a gorgeous girl has Arnold walking on a cloud, until he learns she was bribed by Willis to go out with him.

star 6.00
2 votes
Writers: A. Dudley Johnson Jr., Robert Jayson
Burial Ground

#17 - Burial Ground

Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired Jan 7, 1982

Drummond's company may destroy what could be an ancient Indian burial ground.

star 6.14
7 votes
Writers: Howard Meyers, John Donley
Crime Story (Part 2) (a.k.a.) Crime in the Schools

#18 - Crime Story (Part 2) (a.k.a.) Crime in the Schools

Season 4 - Episode 18 - Aired Mar 18, 1982

Arnold doesn't know when to leave well enough alone after Willis comes to his rescue, he gets himself involved in an "undercover" scheme to capture the "punks" at school who have been harassing him.

star 6.20
5 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Ben Starr, Howard Leeds, Martin Cohan
Willis Goes to College

#19 - Willis Goes to College

Season 8 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 18, 1985

Willis takes a big step when he leave home for college, but fears his initiation to dorm life is only one of the freshman experiences he may not be ready to handle.

star 6.20
5 votes
Directors: Tony Singletary
Writers: Richard Gurman
Arnold's Job

#20 - Arnold's Job

Season 8 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 25, 1985

Arnold's dream of becoming an "overnight" success as a photo-journalist run headlong into reality when he gets his first job on a local newspaper.

star 6.20
5 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Bob Brunner, Ken Hecht
Short But Sweet

#21 - Short But Sweet

Season 4 - Episode 25 - Aired May 13, 1982

Arnold feels shortchanged, he's growing older but he's not getting any taller and he's convinced that's the reason why he doesn't have a girlfriend.

star 6.25
4 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Ben Starr, Howard Leeds, Martin Cohan
A Haunting We Will Go

#22 - A Haunting We Will Go

Season 7 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 29, 1984

When Arnold and Sam creep through the crevices of the neighborhood's haunted house they find the ghost boasts a bounty of surprises--the biggest being a love for people and contempt for war.

star 6.25
4 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Bob Brunner, Ken Hecht
Arnold Saves the Squirrel

#23 - Arnold Saves the Squirrel

Season 7 - Episode 14 - Aired Jan 12, 1985

When Sam visits a taping of "The Sandy Squirrel Show" he is overcome by the news his favorite television idol is about to be cancelled, but it's big brother Arnold to the rescue as he rallies the Boy Scouts of Manhattan to demand the Squirrel be given a reprieve.

star 6.25
4 votes
Directors: Mel Ferber
Writers: Max Katz, Toni Wunsch
Stress? What Stress?

#24 - Stress? What Stress?

Season 4 - Episode 23 - Aired Apr 22, 1982

Stress is diagnosed as the cause of hard-working Drummond's frequent attacks of pain, but suddenly young, healthy and "normal" Willis learns that he, too, is a prime candidate for the same debilitating "attacks."

star 6.33
3 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Glenn Padnick
Family on Ice

#25 - Family on Ice

Season 5 - Episode 18 - Aired Feb 19, 1983

Kimberly is overjoyed when Olympic Gold Medalist Dorothy Hamill sees great promise in her as a competitive figure skater, but she's even more astounded when Drummond agrees to let her leave the New York "nest" to train full time with the award-winning skater... in Los Angeles.

star 6.33
3 votes
Directors: Gerren Keith
Writers: Gerren Keith