The Facts of Life, an American tv sitcom produced by Jenna McMahon and Dick Clair, aired on NBC from August 24, 1979, to May 7, 1988, marking it as one of the longest-running sitcoms of the 80s. The show follows Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) as she becomes a housemother (and, starting from the second season, a dietitian) at the fictitious all-girls boarding school, Eastland School, in Peekskill, New York.
With nine seasons and a total of 201 episodes, here are the top five episodes from The Facts of Life.
The Christmas Show
Season 5 – Episode 12 – Aired December 21, 1983
Mrs. Garrett emerges from the kitchen exclaiming, “Fa fa la…la la la la!,” while Natalie and Tootie are nattering about traveling home for the holidays while decorating Edna’s Edibles Christmas tree. Mrs. Garrett reassures Natalie that she will be OK and is looking forward to making more money when she sells several fruitcakes.
She informs them that she has hired a young man to assist her- old guy Lesseroni, the area’s graveyard caretaker. Blair enters the store sporting a lovely new coat and arrogantly declares that she will spend the holidays skiing on Vail’s slopes.
Jo receives a phone call from her mother, and she hangs up the phone and walks around the store, depressed. “Wha-wrong?” She wanders around before disclosing that her mother has declared that lazy people are the devil’s workshop and is heading for Miami to work at a friend’s restaurant.
When Mrs. Garrett shoots her an “excuse me?” look, Tootie makes a half-hearted attempt to backtrack. Blair expresses remorse at her canceled vacation plans, but Jo dismisses them as insignificant.
Out of the Fire…
Season 7 – Episode 1 – Aired September 14, 1985
Tootie is on a train going towards Peekskill, moaning to the man next to her that she’s worried her friends will miss it. “That’s absolutely terrible; I don’t care,” he adds as Blair and Jo enter the plane, followed by Natalie. They meet each other and discuss their summer plans.
Blair scoffs at Jo’s do-gooder nonsense and then says she shopped all summer, making Jo sneer at the level of shallowness involved to do nothing but shop for two months. That irritates Tootie, who is attempting to draw the spotlight to her new poof-tastic ’80s hairstyle.
When the Fact girls arrive at Edna’s Edibles, they find it in a state of disarray. Mrs. Garrett enters with an insurance representative, explaining that the kitchen caught fire while she was out running errands, but no one was hurt. The insurance agent agrees, but only if everyone provides a receipt for each item lost or damaged.
“My beautiful, beautiful shop,” Mrs. Garrett laments amid the burned rubble as the ladies rush upstairs to survey the damage.
Season 4 – Episode 16 – Aired February 9, 1983
Tootie is looking forward to seeing her brother Marshall, but his visit turns into a nightmare when he invites the ladies to a college party in which beer will be served. After the party, an intoxicated Marshall offers to take Tootie, Blair, and Natalie home while swearing that he isn’t drunk. However, their journey home is hampered by an accident.
Season 2 – Episode 10 – Aired January 28, 1981
Tootie introduces Blair Warner, this year’s student council president! Blair enters triumphantly, then humbly confesses that the votes haven’t yet been tabulated. Tootie believes Blair would triumph over her opponent (Cynthia), as she’s the most popular girl in school.
“Pretty hot stuff,” Jo comments, adding that Cynthia, although only being at Eastland for several months, is giving Blair a run for her money. Cynthia, a charming airhead with pretty side ponytails, arrives at the cafeteria with Mrs. Garrett. Mrs. Garrett informs the girls that she will be counting the votes upstairs.
Natalie declares that she would like to interview everyone, then begins grilling Cynthia about her father’s profession as a diplomat. Cynthia views student government as “little potatoes,” but she is thrilled to have been chosen. During dinner, Cynthia informs Natalie that Menachem Begin once praised her peacemaking skills, and Blair is taken aback by Cynthia’s strong international connections.
Natalie congratulates both candidates and declares them winners, as the girl who received the fewer votes will be appointed vice president. Cynthia adds as she retires to her room to anticipate the outcome, “May the best girl win.” Blair boasts, “I’m sure the best girl will.”
Tragedy strikes when Cynthia kills herself due to her parents’ upcoming divorce.
Season 4 – Episode 6 – Aired November 17, 1982
Natalie is overjoyed at the prospect of writing a weekly piece for a New York newspaper. The idea that the work would lead her to skip school and put her under needless stress drives her to argue with her mother. Natalie brings up her adoption during the dispute, prompting her adopted mother to tell her the identity of her birth mother.