Recap: Season 2 kicks off with a fancy new theme song - You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have: The Facts of Life - and a downsized cast. The headmaster dork is no more (yippee!!) and there's also no more Cindy, Molly, Sue Ann, or Nancy. The producers must have flipped a coin and decided that Natalie, Blair, Tootie, and Mrs. Garrett could stay. Oh yeah, and there's also a new main set: the school's cafeteria.
Natalie's milling around the cafeteria when Tootie arrives...and I guess she had enough of a growth spurt during the hiatus 'cause she's no longer wearing roller skates. She tells Natalie she was at camp over the summer, then pulls out a pair of boys' swim trunks from her bag and blurts out, "I was on a panty raid!" Er...OK. A few seconds later, Blair arrives...and Natalie jokes about how she's looking uglier than ever, and Blair smiles smugly, confident in her blonde gorgeousness. Natalie tells Tootie and Blair that Mrs. Garrett has been promoted to School Dietitian, and Tootie jokes about what an honor it is to be in charge of "the whole barfeteria". No mention is made of their missing cast mates from Season 1, so I'm not sure if we're supposed to assume that they still attend Eastland but won't be seen, heard from, or spoken about...or if the four girls left Peekskill in search of a better life.
A slimmed down Mrs. Garrett bursts into the cafeteria, and she's in pursuit of tiny Arnold...and I can't imagine what the shrimpy imp could possibly be doing at Eastland. He's clutching a lobster and tells Mrs. Garrett he refuses to hand it over to the cook 'cause he doesn't want the poor critter to get boiled and eaten. Natalie interrupts the superfluous schtick to say hey to Mrs. Garrett, and Mrs. Garrett rushes over to give her a hug, then shrieks, "Blair! Tootie!" and hugs them too. They remark on how thin she's looking, and she proudly announces that she lost twenty-five pounds during the hiatus. Tootie says hey to Arnold and asks him what he's doing here, and he smiles sweetly at her and replies, "It's about time you noticed me" and the two amble off somewhere together.
Everyone is startled by the roar of a motorcycle...and a few seconds later, a denim clad stranger lumbers in and asks if this is where you're supposed to check in. Blair assumes it's a delivery boy, then is startled when "he" takes off the helmet and turns out to be a teenage girl named Jo. Natalie and Blair giggle about how they both mistook Jo for a hot biker dude, and Jo takes offense and raises her arm as if to strike them. Mrs. Garrett hastily steps in and introduces herself, and Blair checks out Jo's outfit and makes fun of her flared jeans, to which Jo nonsensically snarls, "In a minute you're gonna be wearin' flared teeth." Mrs. Garrett urges the girls to make nice, so Natalie self-identifies as Eastland's foremost affable chubbo and jokingly tells Jo that all of her clothes are flared...and then Blair shakes Jo's hand, but gets icked out when she gets grease all over her fingers. Mrs. Garrett informs the girls that she just posted the dorm assignments - is it normal for a school dietitian to be in charge of that? - so they rush over to the wall to see who they'll be bunking with. Blair scrunches her face and says she can't even pronounce the name of her new roommate - Joanna Marie Polniaczek - and Jo bitchily warns her not to mock her name. Mrs. Garrett asks Natalie to show Jo where she can park her motorcycle, and Jo snarks, "Why don't I just park it on Blair's face?!" then stalks out. Blair's all, "Whassup with Butchie's anger issues?" and Mrs. Garrett explains that, according to the entrance exam results, Jo is very smart - but she has family problems and started skipping school, yadda yadda. She tells Blair it would be very nice if she became friends with Jo, then wanks her about how warm-hearted, compassionate, and perfect in every way she is. Blair mulls that over and concurs that she is, indeed, a supremely awesome human being.
Upstairs in Mrs. Garrett's room, Jo apologizes to Mrs. Garrett for riding her motorcycle over her flowers and offers to repair them with electrical tape. She then looks around the room admiringly and says she'd much rather bunk here with her than with Blair, aka The Human Barbie Doll...but Mrs. Garrett tut tuts her and says it's important in life to get to know new people. Blair enters the room, and Mrs. Garrett discreetly steps out to check the menu. Blair flashes a fake smile at Jo and tells her she's sure they'll make great roommates...and Jo wryly asks her if Mrs. Garrett has been working on her to convince her that this is a good idea, and Blair admits she has. She tells Jo it's clear that she's not going to be the perfect roommate, then describes Prince Charles as the perfect roommate, which...OK, I get that this is 1980, but...yikes. That man was never the slightest bit hot. Jo gets in Blair's face and tells her she's not winning any popularity contests with her either, so Blair apologizes for making fun of her flared jeans earlier and admits that she probably pays too much attention to fashion...and Jo concedes, "And me not enough." The two stand side by side and stare at themselves in the mirror and decide that they'll give the roommate thing a shot. Not that Mrs. Garrett is giving them much of a choice. Blair offers to loan her any of her Jordache jeans (bwahaha!), so then Jo cheekily asks her if she'd mind if she took them in. Blair looks stung by the dig at her thickening waistline, but manages to shake it off.
Tootie and Arnold enter the room, and Arnold snaps at Blair and Jo that he's bunking with Mrs. Garrett, not them. Whatever, Napoleon complex. Tootie gets introduced to Jo, and then tells Arnold to beat it so that she and the other principle cast members can indulge in some girl talk. Jo asks the girls what they do for men around here, and Natalie enters the room at that moment and squeals, "Oooh! Just in time for the good stuff!" Blair tells Jo that Bates Academy is a boys' school about a mile away, and Jo makes a face and says she was talking about men, not high school boys. Blair huffs that she's currently dating a senior at Bates who's nineteen years old, and then she and Jo bicker about which of them would more appealing to men, blah blah. Tootie suggests they go to the nearby Chugalug Bar, since that place is always loaded with college guys...and Jo likes the sound of that. Blair tells her they'd need ID to get in, then points out that they're both underage...so Jo pulls out a fake ID and says she can make one for Blair as well - she just needs a photo. Blair obliges and opens her wallet from which a long strip of photos of herself spills out. She looks them over and giggles and gushes about how exquisite she looks in every single one. Jo stares at her in bewilderment, then snaps at her to shut it and just pick one already.
Jo and Blair make plans to sneak out of the dorm later...and Tootie and Natalie insist that they want to come as well. Blair points out that neither of them can pass for eighteen - and they realize that, but they're just interested in coming along to spy. Plus, Tootie threatens to tattle to Mrs. Garrett if they leave her behind. Blair suddenly realizes that the Chugalug is five miles away, and she makes it clear to Jo that she has no interest in riding on the back of her motorcycle. Jo mulls that over and suggests that they "borrow" the cafeteria van. Blair tells her that the keys are never in it, and Jo furrows her brows and goes, "Who needs a key?" Blair looks aghast at the notion of hot-wiring, and Tootie cackles about what an awesome semester this is going to be.
The four arrive at the Chugalug Bar. Jo has changed into a slightly more feminine outfit and is tottering around on a pair of heels. Natalie peers through the window of the bar and remarks that there are lots of cute guys inside (um, there are not), and Tootie bellows, "Go in there and get some studs!" Blair and Jo stumble inside and present their fake IDs to a beefy bouncer...and since he doesn't look smart enough to tell a fake ID from a real one, they have no trouble getting past him. They hang back for a few minutes to scope out the joint...and eventually they spot a dork - who's maybe a two on the looks meter and well past college age - dressed in a brown sweater and seated at the bar. The girls head over, order a couple of "brews" and introduce themselves to the dork, who tells them his name is Fred. He shakes each of their hands, then stands behind them, puts his arms around them and rhetorically asks, "Who says the beautiful ones never travel in pairs?" Jo actually looks kind of into it, while Blair is unmistakably icked out.
Mrs. Garrett is in her room, reading and doing leg exercises. Arnold staggers in and tells her how bummed he is that he hardly got to spend any time with Tootie today. Mrs. Garrett explains that Tootie's busy settling in with the other girls, and he laughs caustically at that explanation and wails, "But they're not even here!" He then starts pacing back and forth maniacally and says they're probably enjoying life in the fast lane, while he's being treated like a little kid who's driving a kiddie car in the bicycle lane. Well...d'yuh. Mrs. Garrett tells him to slow down and spill the beans about whatever the hell he's implying, so he tells her that when he was downstairs earlier, he heard someone messing around with the cafeteria van...and by someone, he means Tootie, Natalie, Jo, and Blair. He says that somehow the girls managed to get the motor started without a key - and Mrs. Garrett furrows her brows and goes, "Hot-wiring..?" She shakes her head and says there's no way these girls would do a thing like that. (Would. Did.) She then rushes over to the window and shrieks, "The van is gone!" Arnold, who also eavesdropped on the girls as they were plotting their daring outing, provides Mrs. Garrett with the name of the bar they went to...and she orders him to stay put and watch TV, then rushes out.
Fred asks Blair and Jo which college they attend, and they both mumble a non-answer. Fred guesses that Jo goes to Sarah Lawrence College, and she just shrugs and chirps, "Sure!" and then tells Blair she looks like she's in secretarial school. She gets offended and calls him "a low class creep" then haughtily asks Fred if he's ever heard of Warner Textile Mills. He's like, "Well, d'yuh" and assumes that Blair works at one of the company's factories. Blair smugly declares, "I own the place" which is funny, since she's not the owner of anything - her father is. Tootie and Natalie watch the interaction from outside the bar and worry that Blair and Jo have gotten themselves into trouble, so they burst inside to see whassup. When Fred sees them approach, he snarks, "Who are these kids?" and Blair flails around for an answer and says they're her younger sisters.
A few seconds later, Mrs. Garrett bursts into the Chugalug and shrieks, "Girls!" and demands to know what's going on. Blair tells her that they were just letting off a little steam after a tough first day of school...and then Tootie stupidly blurts out, "And now comes Miller time!" Fred takes this moment to declare that he's an undercover cop, then flashes his badge and tells Mrs. Garrett he knows that Blair and Jo are underage and used fake IDs to enter the bar. Mrs. Garrett explains that they're students at Eastland and implores Fred to let them off the hook, but he insists on arresting them. She needlessly remarks that they stole - er, borrowed the school van...and a couple of seconds later we hear the sound of a van being crashed into. Mrs. Garrett asks the girls where the van is, and Jo assures her she carefully parked it down the street. Fred snarkily informs her that that's no street - it's a one way alley. This provides the perfect set-up for Tootie to unleash her fave catchphrase, "We are in troouu-ble." Fred announces again that he's arresting Blair and Jo, so Natalie shoves him and barks, "Leave my friends alone!" and Tootie climbs up on something and pours an entire pitcher of beer over his head. This appears to be the last straw for Fred, who gets enraged and threatens to throw all of them in jail...and hopefully he'll consider throwing away the key.
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8/13/2020 08:27:03 pm
i love this epsode it si such aclassic on eand willa lwys bemy fasveate on fact sof life i absoutly loved blair and joe they weremy favertes i wsih icould be tough like joe and i could relate to blair athough not as rich as blair
6/23/2021 07:06:40 pm
Pretty sure other girls from Eastland would try to get into the Chugalug. For that matter, boys from Bates would try too.
11/27/2022 07:05:05 pm
It's funny one of the biggest and most significant changes in the series; Tootie loosing her roller-skates; is just thrown out there and no one even notices it. Nobody comments at all. New head writers Linda Marsh and Margie Peters demanded that they nix Tootie's non-stop roller skating addiction; or they would quit the show. They were that annoyed with this blatantly unrealistic character detail, and how it undermined the credibility of the whole series. ("Nobody wears roller-skates...in the house!" Ms. Peters said in interviews.) The writers even called it "stereotypical" to have the one black character be constantly roller-skating. So Norman Lear and company relented. There's one or two episodes after this where we see Tootie's skates hanging off her bed as a reminder of things past; but beyond that they're never really shown or mentioned again.
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