An entire generation is still trying to cleanse itself from the creepy psychological residue left behind by a two-part “very special episode” from the multiple shark-jumping sitcom DIFF’RENT STROKES‘ fifth season entitled “The Bicycle Man”. GORDON JUMP, who was well on his way to being remembered fondly as the simpleton station manager from WKRP IN CINCINNATI, erased his entire previous incarnation in one fatal swoop when he appeared as a pedophiliac bicycle shop owner named Mr. Horton on the alleged comedy. To make a real dent as a traumatic presence in the DIFF’RENT STROKES universe is no small feat. The alternative dimension that the Drummond family resides in is a perpetual seething cesspool of various terminal illnesses, near constant attempted kidnappings, seizure prone pan handlers, extortion, evil alternate sex doppelgangers from Holland, and school visits from Nancy Reagan. Armed with an arsenal of cheap wine, Boston cream pies, and cartoon mouse porn the suspiciously attentive Mr. Horton lures young Arnold Jackson (GARY COLEMAN) and his long suffering pal Dudley (SHAVER ROSS who fared better battling Jason in FRIDAY THE 13th: A NEW BEGINNING) into the back of his creepy bike shop. Once alone with the boys, Horton introduces them to a world where jumping on the bed is no longer forbidden, horsey rides are mandatory, and out of date THREE STOOGES jokes run rampant. Arnold is able to escape before he is introduced to Horton’s ominous sounding final game “King Neptune” but not so “collateral damage” Dudley, who the DIFF’RENT STROKES writers have no problem throwing to the wolves teetering drunk and partially clothed. More frightening still is the show’s diabolical insistence on milking the grotesque situation for would be chuckles that would never occur without the existence of it’s notoriously unconvincing and trigger happy laugh track. Hiding behind the veil of public service, the episode is book-ended with a universally ignored call to arms for parents to talk openly with their children about the abomination masquerading as entertainment that they just witnessed, a fate perhaps more traumatizing than the episode itself if any parent were insane enough to take it seriously.
I totally want to play King Neptune with Nancy Reagan. Whatever happened to Arnolds friend… erm Cathy or something? The girl in the wheelchair whose catchphrase was “You Turkey!” then whimsically rolled over their feet. HYSTERICAL!
CWP, I found this posted on JUMP THE SHARK:
“I went to high school with the wheelchair-bound “midget” girl, Melanie (Melanie Watson aka Kathy Gordon on STROKES) who was Arnold’s friend on the show. Dana Hills High School in SoCal.
When I met her in real life, that’s when the show jumped the shark for me.
She had a reputation for being kind of nasty, and there were some strange rumors about her, but rumors are rumors I thought.
Then one day she cut me off in her joystick-driven wheelchair on the way into the school library and screeched, “Out of my way bitch!”
How do you argue with a tiny, twisted little, barely able to move girl with Coke bottle glasses in a specialty-fit wheelchair? I just decided you didn’t.”
and this from Former child star central:
“Pedestrians Beware: The girl [Melanie Watson], I think her name was Kathy on Diff’rent Strokes, went to the same high school I did. This was back in 1983-84, and we went to Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, California — also the same school Nicole Brown Simpson went to. … I do know that [Watson] practically used to run people down with her wheelchair in the halls.”
It seems that whole running over people’s feet in her wheelchair routine was not an act, but a way of life!
Aw Christ, I’d forgotten all about that episode … until now!
I was in my early20’s when it aired, but still it creeped me out to no end!
Could never watch reruns of WKRP the same way again.
Remembering those episodes with Kathy, I set out online to find out what really did happen to her and found this:
You need to scroll down, she’s near the bottom
“Tarzan never wore a shirt”