You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have The Facts of Life. This 1980s sitcom was known for its broad comedy, and its habit of producing Oscar winners like George Clooney, Paul Haggis and Charlotte Rae.

Early OriginsEdit

The Facts of Life was set at the Eastland boarding school in Switzerland. The first season featured a wide variety of characters, including wholesome fangirl Sue Ann (Julie Piekarski), the sultry Nancy (Felice Schachter), the naive Molly (Molly Ringwald), the playful Tootie (Kim Fields), the snobby Blair (Lisa Whelchel) and the blobby Natalie (Mindy Cohn). Only the last three characters survived an off-screen binge-and-purge session; the others suffered fatally perforated esophaguses.

Fearless Treatment of Social IssuesEdit

The show then introduced Jo (Jason Bateman), the tomboy from the wrong side of the tracks. Although many episodes revolved around Jo and Blair's hostilities -- and fearlessly pointed out that these skirmishes were based in class resentment -- they did not ever acknowledge, explicitly or implicitly, the seething sexual attraction between the two older girls.

Tootie's radicalization after reading the works of bell hooks became a sweeps event.

Meanwhile, the neglected Natalie began seeking out positive attention by sleeping with everything that crossed her path. The episode in which kindly housemother Edna Garrett rescues her from a motorcycle gang intent on pulling a train the night before finals was nominated for the prestigious Peabody Award.

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