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Tuesday, November 15

Top Five 80’s Sitcom Daughters Crushes: Part 2

Being number four on a Top Five list is kind of like being the fourth person in an orgy. The fifth guy, the one videotaping the whole thing, is just happy to be there. Then there’s the core threesome happening on the bed next to you. Number four? He’s just moving around the outside of the pack like a bird trying to find a way to get to the bagel. It’s a lonely spot.

My number four is an embodiment of this sad place. But this is through no fault of her own – she was a product of her environment. Could she have been a Top Three? Absolutely. But something went terribly wrong somewhere. Her agent, her parents, her drug dealers – somewhere down the line someone dropped the ball on her career, and now she’s just a Number Four, lost, looking in from the outside.

Dana Plato of “Diff’rent Strokes” was my original #4, and Dana Plato is remaining my #4.




















So why do I say that Dana Plato is the product of her environment? Because she was. (Bear with me, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these arguments where I have to make statements and provide factual evidence to support those statements. Since college, I’ve taken to the “scream and use emotional hand gestures” method to prove a point.)

But before we get to that, let’s first acknowledge that facts: Even with that hair, Dana Plato was hot.



















Not at the beginning, mind you, but none of these girls were hot in the very beginning (probably because they were pre-pubescent). What Dana had going for her though was that she was a product of the 70’s (like me). Her prime time came right after the sexy hippie/disco era and never quite made it to the big hair/baggy sweaters era that was like a wet blanket on so many other sitcom starlets. (See the other sister in “Charles in Charge.” If you’ve seen recent pictures of her, you know she could have been a contender . . .)

The other thing Dana had going for her was THAT LOOK.




















I can just imagine the publicity photographers trying desperately to get her to smile like a Barbie, or at least like a child who was happy with her life, but no – she insisted on giving the camera the look. It’s a look that says, “I don’t care how old I am, I want to be sexy.” To a 12 year old boy, this is probably the most exhilarating/terrifying look out there. It’s the same look Tracy had at summer camp that year when I had my first kiss. She was a year older than me (also the camp slut) and as the other campers crowded around us to create a shield from the counselor’s view so we could kiss, I remember looking at her looking at me with that gaze thinking, “She’s going to eat me.” Later on, we snuck away together to the sports shed where she sat on my lap. I was so petrified all I could do the whole time we sat there was offer idle chit-chat and kick a kickball against the wall . . . from the sitting position with her on my lap. I might never forget that. But that’s neither here nor there. Point is, Dana was sexy

Where did it go wrong? More like where didn’t it go wrong for Kimberly on “Diff’rent Strokes.”

First her mother dies. Never easy for a girl to grow up without a mother. But worse than that is her father’s reaction to her mother dying. Unable to stand his daughter’s resemblance to his deceased wife, Phillip Drummond goes out and adopts two black children from Harlem, essentially saying, “I need something different in my life.”

OK, this isn’t exactly what happened (the kids were his housekeeper’s sons and he promised to take care of them when she passed away). But you get the point. Mom dies, Dad adopts two new children, spends A LOT more time with them because, well, they were the crux of the show. Just think of how many times you saw the inside of Willis and Arnold’s bedroom. Now, do you remember what Kimberly’s looked like? Of course not! They never showed it! And you want to know why? Because they didn’t want the audience to see Kimberly crying herself to sleep every night. That’s not “funny” enough for “Diff’rent Strokes.” Pain isn’t funny.

In a way, though, you can’t blame Mr. Drummond or the producers of the show. Look what Kimberly was trying to compete with:























































































Cute freckles aren’t going to compete with Mr. T. Not in 1985, not today – not ever. The cards were stacked against her. The drugs, the ribald movies, the eventual tragic death, none of it was a surprise if you look at what she was forced to grow up with. Yes, it is a sad story. But this is no surprise ending . . .



















Was she one of my favorites? No doubt. Could she have been better? Even less doubt. Is she the perfect fit for my #4? The least amount of doubt of all.

That’s Kimberly. My #4. RIP (November 7th, 1964 – May 8th, 1999)*

Another word of warning: Don’t do a Google image search for Dana Plato. Just don’t.


________________________
*Terrifying Statistic Of The Day: Not only was Dana Plato born on my birthday, but she DIED on my SISTER’S birthday! No wonder I had no idea she died. I was too busy eating birthday cake. Just another injustice against Dana Plato. Add it to the list.

23 Comments:

It's taking every bit of willpower I have not to google Dana Plato.

By Blogger Lizzie, at 1:19 PM  

Creepy - the birthday thing, that is.

By Blogger Trix, at 1:21 PM  

She was a drug addict and a whore. I know exactly why you liked her... and I can't stop laughing at the "they like me better" picture. Very nice touch!

By Blogger Julie_Gong, at 2:58 PM  

I have new respect for poor Kimberly

By Blogger Margo of Mystery and Mayhem, at 3:06 PM  

Different Strokes had a lot of casualities. I blame the writers and producers.

By Blogger Momentary Academic, at 3:31 PM  

I'm impressed that you're sticking with this topic. It seems to require a lot of research.

By Blogger The Bourbon Samurai, at 5:22 PM  

I'll tell you, these pictures don't find themselves that's for sure.

Also, there's a good chance this series of posts might get me fired from my job. I haven't done any actual work in days.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 5:59 PM  

Of course, now that you said NOT to do a Google image search for Dana Plato, that's all I want to do. The curiosity is killing me!

By Blogger Rabbit, at 6:37 PM  

Fine everyone, just do it. I'm trying to keep you safe from the underbelly of Dana Plato's life. But if you're too curious to preserve her good memory, then go right ahead. Just make sure Safe Search is turned off.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 7:15 PM  

I don't understand what is going on with Josie Davis' chest in that picture. Those puppies are all over the place, none of which is the right place.

By Blogger green_canary, at 7:41 PM  

I need to google search Dana Plato now. It seems like a lot of us ladies can't seem to resist...

By Blogger mysterygirl!, at 8:12 PM  

Oh my god! So now you know she made a porn called "Different Strokes"?!?! hahahahaha That could cause some confusion in someone's Amazon.com shopping cart this Christmas...

By Blogger mysterygirl!, at 8:14 PM  

The "Different Strokes" movie is almost too much. Actually, I can't even comment on it. There's nothing I can say about it that isn't deconstructive and probably inadvertantly racist.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 9:10 PM  

poor Dana Plato. How far we have fallen... hahahha laughing at mysterygirl's finding of that porn!! ohhh, i love me porn titles. such punnery there.

By Blogger Sub Girl, at 10:51 PM  

Porn stars didn't groom as much back then, did they?

By Blogger spinachdip, at 11:58 PM  

I was afraid of you going into the Dana Plato story...

By Blogger Neil, at 6:46 AM  

Arrested Development: Seasons 1 and 2 DVDs for $32 shipped
Amazon.com offers Arrested Development: Season 1 bundled with Season 2 for $31.94. (Click "buy both and save".)....nice

By Blogger [Disgrundled], at 8:30 AM  

Well here's to not working for a few more days - by the looks of this, the list will only get better and better.

Also, the warnings may be the most entertaining.

By Blogger Kelly, at 9:31 AM  

Didn't she leave behind a daughter too?

How will that messed up trickle down affect her?

Is there farther down for her to go? Or does she end up being uber goody?

Okay ouch, that even hurt me.

I went to school with a porn star---She played Alice in the XXX version of Alice in Wonderland--- amoung others.

Jimi Hendrix died on my birthday---- my brother still blames me for that. Yes, the force was strong with me even at 10.

By Blogger Angel, at 9:34 AM  

I know about the bitterness towards the cancelation of Arrested Development(sorry to bring it up again) but now you can join others and fight to save it. Maybe this letter will work a little better than your Mom's to save Am Dreams. http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/arresteddev

By Blogger Julie_Gong, at 12:43 PM  

Wow. I was gonna say that those images didn't even get dicey until like page 5. But then I realized I had the safe search on.

Just, wow.

By Blogger Helena, at 4:42 PM  

Clicks page 5...

By Blogger missy, at 5:18 PM  

Sitcoms offer you a chance to unwind, let go of actuality along with expertise a quality stomach laughters. Let's search a bit more deeply in to the character of the Plato of sitcoms heroes to decipher exactly how most of these shows produce visitors using the use of pressure relief [read more]

By Blogger Thomas Braylen, at 5:53 AM  

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