What you missed on ABC’s live version of ‘Facts of Life’ and ‘Diff’rent Strokes’
By Sandra Gonzalez, CNN
(CNN)Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the third “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” special with a moment made for live TV — but not for censors.
F-bombs aside, the superstar casts of their “The Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes” remakes seemingly enjoyed the in-the-moment nature of their assignments for the night.
Jennifer Aniston, playing Blair, had at least one wavering line, slightly interrupted by a desire to laugh and other cast members cracked knowing smiles throughout.
“The Facts of Life” cast included Gabrielle Union in the role of Tootie, Allison Tolman as Natalie, Kathryn Hahn as Jo and Ann Dowd as Mrs. Garrett recreating the episode “Kids Can Be Cruel,” from the third season of the classic series that ran from 1979 – 1988.
A headgear-wearing Jon Stewart played Carl Price, a nerdy schoolmate who bids on Blair’s dinner box during a charity auction, hoping to get some alone time with his crush Blair, much to her chagrin.
Will Arnett and Jason Bateman appeared as preppy teen boys.
Because this is sitcomland, in the end, Blair and Carl shared a sweet moment, with Aniston saying the Easter egg-y line as she feeds him pastry through his headgear, “I’ll be there for you.”
In the “Diff’rent Strokes” portion of the 90-minute special, Kevin Hart took on the role of Arnold, John Lithgow was Mr. Drummond, and Damon Wayans played Willis.
Snoop Dogg made a cameo as one of Willis’ friends, earning applause from the masked in-person audience.
The cast recreated the Season 1 episode “Willis’ Privacy,” which was about Willis growing annoyed with having Arnold and no personal space. “Diff’rent Strokes” originally aired from 1978 – 1986.
Yes, Hart committed fully and wore the “super Arnold” outfit. Lithgow equally committed, carrying Hart in full petulant child-style in one scene and letting Hart sit on his lap for a heart-to-heart chat in another.
The two previous “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” specials included remakes of “All in the Family,” “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons.”
This year’s special, produced by Sony Pictures Television, will be available Wednesday on demand and Hulu.