Friday, March 30, 2007
What Sucks…What Mr. Horton Did To Dudley
Look, I know it’s been a long time, and it was, well, fictional, but still, there is no dark abscess of hell hot enough for Mr. Horton the bike shop owner. What that son-of-a-bitch did to Dudley was wrong and completely out of line. Plying Arnold and his best friend with wine, taking pictures of them shirtless and trying to get them to play “Tarzan” on his bed, is deplorable on every level.
Also, as a young person watching Diff’rnt Strokes back in those days, you just really didn’t need to see that shit. I don’t care if it didn’t actually occur- with those 3 actors at the top of their games, it may have just as well been real.
Further traumatizing was when, a couple of years later, Mr. Horton was able to get a job as the Maytag Repairman.
Forget that all his commercials had him talking about how “lonely” he was, what about the horrifying thought of coming home from school and seeing this predator working on your dishwasher? I guess it was just by the grace of God that those Maytag’s were so damn dependable.
So what is the legacy of Dudley and the bike shop owner who tried to touch Arnold? Would there be some sort of “Mystic River” existence? Kind of I suppose, only in reverse, it was Dudley touched on the show, but in real life he went on to be one of the only child actors on Diff’rnt Strokes not to spend time behind bars.
No, perhaps the legacy is the era of the “very special episode”. Mr. Horton and Dudley could be the reason why every once in a while we see Jim Belushi confront someone on his show about their drinking, or why a superfluous character on "Growing Pains" or "Who’s The Boss?" got beaten up by their father or husband.
Thanks a lot, Mr. Horton.