Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Facts of Life (1979-1988)







You take the good (The Edna years) you take the bad (Pippa) you take them both and there you have NBC's longest running comedy to date - The Facts of Life.  It was spun off from Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986)  and charmed audiences for nine seasons, with seven attempted spin-offs of its own.  While the first season episodes weren't the greatest, I do have a soft spot for them.  But 7 girls for a half hour show was overkill.  4 girls transferred out and Nancy McKeon arrived on her Harley as streetwise Jo, whom the producers sort of morphed tomboy Cindy and Blair's sparring partner, Sue Anne, into. 

The show saw a huge spike in popularity with its retooling and became part of pop culture.  Among some classic episodes (the paint fight, cramming for finals, Jo's pizza) the show dealt with its fair share of very special ones like Cousin Geri, Natalie losing her virginity, Tootie's breast enlargement surgery... just kidding.  The Facts of Life started to show its age once Beverly Ann replaced Mrs. Garrett, but there were a few standout episodes from the later seasons, including a reunion with the season 1 girls, minus Molly Ringwald, who got the last laugh and was now teen movie icon.

A Fact of Showbiz Life: Charlotte Rae had it in her contract that if The Facts of Life failed, she could return to Diff'rent Strokes.  Of course that wouldn't be necessary.  The Ropers had a similar clause but their spin-off was cancelled just a month after their one year deadline had expired.


Location: The Eastland School
Address: 170 E Bonita Avenue, Claremont, CA  Pomona College


This building was seen during the opening credits for the first few seasons.









Ever notice the perv in the background watching the girls wrestle?





Location Visited: March 2016

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