Diff’rent Strokes: The Bicycle Man
Due to Gary Coleman’s death, I figured I’d revisit one of Diff’rent Strokes’ most noted episodes other than that Nancy Regan episode.
This is one of the very famous “Very Special Episodes” that the show was known for. After renting out bicycles, Arnold and Dudley find themselves caught up in this strange pedo thing with a creepy bike shop owner (played by the late Gordon Jump).
The silly jokes by Arnold do get annoying at times, but even today I think letting kids know that are “bad” people out there that want to harm them is important. I don’t see Sponge Bob talking about pedos. Like most DS very special episodes, it is very ham-fisted.
Because this was a season five episode, all the actors seem to really be in the swing of things.
-The Bicycle Man gives the two kids wine. That must make him extra evil.
-The episodes get even creepier when Dudley and Arnold start taking pictures with the creepy Bicycle Man.
-Philip Drummond shows up to the shop when the Bicycle Man is having Dudley and Arnold over. It really is a creepy scene.
-Why do the detectives look like they stepped out of mid-70s?
-The last 10 minutes comes across as a public service announcement. The characters almost break the fourth wall while talking about child abuse. However, when I was young the last scene was important for me to understand that. Children probably learned more about child abuse and pedophiles from this episode than any in school teachings.
-Gordon Jump: You have to wonder if he ever regretted playing one of the most famous Pedo-characters on TV…He was a rather famous comedic actor on TV for a long time. And, I wonder if this hurt his career in any way.