Recap: Tootie bursts into the cafeteria and excitedly introduces this year's student council president: Blair Warner! Blair breezes in a few seconds later, looking triumphant and smug, then sheepishly admits that the votes haven't actually been counted yet. Tootie says she's confident that Blair will emerge victorious over her opponent (Cynthia) since she's the most popular girl in school. Jo says she's not so sure 'bout that and calls Cynthia's "pretty hot stuff", and points out that despite being at Eastland for only a few months, she's giving Blair a good run for her money.
Cynthia, a pleasant airhead who styles her hair with girlish ponytails on the sides of her head, enters the cafeteria with Mrs. Garrett. Mrs. Garrett informs the girls that all the votes are in, and that she's going upstairs to count the ballots. Natalie says she'd like to interview each candidate, then starts peppering Cynthia with questions that relate to her father being a diplomat. Cynthia politely says she doesn't view student government as "small potatoes" and was thrilled just to have been nominated. She then gives Natalie a delightful anecdote about how Menachem Begin once complimented her peacemaking abilities during dinner - LOL - and Blair looks startled that Cynthia has such high level, international connections. Natalie puts her arms around both candidates and declares them both winners, since the girl with the least votes will become vice president. Cynthia announces that she's heading back to her room to wait for the results...but before she leaves, she shakes Blair's outstretched hand and says, "May the best girl win." Blair cockily retorts, "I'm sure the best girl will."
The suspense of the election results is killing Tootie, so she tells everyone she's sneaking upstairs to do what she does best: snoop. Jo asks Blair if it's occurred to her that she may not win, and Blair says, "Yes. Every time I look over my shoulder, Cynthia's gaining on me." She's worried how she'll save face if the unthinkable happens and she loses the election, and Jo suggests she commit a ritual suicide, the way they did on Shogun. (Heh...Shogun. That was a truly awesome mini-series.) Blair says that winning this election is important to her 'cause there's so much she wants to do for her fellow students, namely change the school song. Natalie agrees that that's an issue they can all get behind, since it's virtually impossible for anybody to hit the high notes. Blair snootily tells Jo that being born into wealth and privilege makes her feel obligated to serve - like the Kennedys. Jo wryly says she has no problem voting for her 'cause she's a natural politician with a phony smile.
Mrs. Garrett comes downstairs to announce the winner of the election. She tells Blair she knows she's going to be mature about this...and Blair looks stricken and goes, "How mature am I going to have to be?" and Mrs. Garrett replies, "Mature enough to accept the responsibility of student council vice president." Blair stares back at her in disbelief, then shuffles across the room making wounded whimpering noises.
Blair wanders around the cafeteria in a funk, barely able to help the other girls clean up the breakfast dishes. She mutters, "I can't believe it" and Tootie concurs that she can't believe it either. Blair says she hates the way vice president sounds, and would much prefer to be co-president. She can't figure out what went wrong, and Jo just kind of shrugs and says that Cynthia clearly has more charisma. And speaking of Cynthia...she suddenly ambles into the cafeteria, and everyone congratulates her - except Blair, who dickishly mocks her behind her back. Cynthia ignores Blair's hostility (or maybe just doesn't notice) and tells everyone she just got off the phone with her father and that he was very pleased she won the election. She then asks if it's too late to get something for breakfast and Blair blurts out, "Yes!" but Tootie graciously says it'd be no problem to rustle up some grub for their school's new student council president. Blair bitchily offers, "How about some warn milk and cold oatmeal?" and Jo glares at her, pulls her aside, and calls her out on being a sore loser. Blair argues that she's always a good sport, but Jo corrects her, "You're a good winner. A good sport is what you have to be when you lose." Blair looks a tad contrite and promises to try, then pastes a super fake smile on her face and phonily congratulates Cynthia on her win. Jo rolls her eyes and says that she's still being an insincere douchewad.
Tootie brings out a tray of food for Cynthia, and Cynthia calls her sweet, then takes off the necklace she's wearing and gifts it to Tootie. She says it symbolizes friendship and hospitality, and credits Tootie with always making a special effort to make her feel welcome at Eastland. (Heh. In your face, Blair!) Tootie happily puts it on, and Blair gets all uppity and demands to know if the necklace is payback for a vote...but Tootie assures Blair that she dutifully voted for her. Mrs. Garrett enters the room carrying the newspaper and tells everyone there's an article about Cynthia's father, who's about to embark on a diplomatic mission to Germany. Blair suddenly perks up and gabbles about how beautiful Berlin is this time of year, but Cynthia quickly informs her that she's staying at Eastland. Apparently, her dad strongly feels that it's important for her to stay in one place and be able to do regular teenage things. After that, she abruptly excuses herself to go to her room, since she's expecting a call from her mother. A miserable Blair slumps over on a table and moans, "She's not going." Mrs. Garrett tells her to buck up...but Blair does the opposite of that and heads back upstairs to cry in her pillow.
Hours later, Blair sweeps into the kitchen, still dressed in her robe. Jo shakes her head and snarks, "So what if you're not 'number one' in everything? Bounce back!" Blair just sighs and asks Tootie to call Chuck and break their date for tonight...and after she's done that, she has a bunch of other dates for Tootie to cancel as well - since, for some reason, she's unable to dial the phone herself. Natalie announces that she's off to finish interviewing Cynthia, which only depresses Blair further. She sighs again and concedes that Cynthia - and not she - is the front page story. Tootie's worried that Blair's depression might be contagious, so she offers to go with Natalie. After they scamper off, Mrs. Garrett tells Blair she should let it all out and sob...but Blair can't seem to make the tears come. Jo urges her to concentrate on how humiliating it is to be such a loser, and Blair contorts her face and tries to cry, but she still can't do it. Jo hands her an onion to force out the tears - and Blair cuts it, tears up, and talks about how she feels like she's a big zero.
A distressed Tootie suddenly bursts in and shrieks, "Mrs. Garrett! It's Cynthia! She's unconscious in her room!" She explains that she and Natalie found an empty bottle of pills and suspect Cynthia took them all. She wails, "She won't move, Mrs. Garrett!" Mrs. Garrett orders Jo and Tootie to get the headmaster, then barks at Blair to call an ambulance, like pronto. Blair looks shaken as she rushes to the phone and dials for help.
Later, the girls are busily preparing fudge for Cynthia - I guess for lack of anything more appropriate or useful to do. Natalie assures the girls that Cynthia will be be starved when she wakes up from her near death pill-popping, but Blair asks, "What if she doesn't come out of it?" Mrs. Garrett says she's confident everything's going to turn out A-OK and orders the girls to think positive thoughts and stay busy with their fudge making. Natalie says she's shocked that Cynthia would try something like this, but Jo tells her that Cynthia probably didn't really want to kill herself, since she knew they'd find her and rush her to the hospital. She then tells them the grisly tale about her childhood friend, Gloria, who killed herself by jumping off the school roof. Yeech. Natalie says she was so disturbed by the sight of Cynthia unconscious, she wants nothing to do with anything resembling investigative journalism and wants to become a sports writer. The phone rings, and Mrs. Garrett answers it...and it's clear the news is bad when her face turns ashen and she murmurs, "I can't believe it." Everyone looks over at her with somber expressions, and as she quietly hangs up the phone Jo bluntly declares, "Cynthia's dead." Tootie says she refuses to believe it, but Mrs. Garrett tells her that Jo's right...and all the girls stare down at their fudge ingredients and look sad. The laugh track must be enjoying its time off during this very special and somber episode.
The girls gather together in Cynthia's room to help Mrs. Garrett pack up her things. Blair glances at Cynthia's stuff and says she had wonderful taste...and that she now feels awful for the shitty way she treated her. Natalie is dumbfounded that she's suddenly gone, and Jo bluntly corrects her and says, "She's dead." Blair tells her to stop making it sound so brutal, then expresses amazement that someone as pretty and popular as Cynthia would off herself. Jo suggests that maybe the life of a diplomat's daughter isn't so glamorous, especially since she had to move around so much - but Natalie points out that she had settled in at Eastland and wasn't going to be moving around anymore. Jo thumbs through Cynthia's notebook, trying to make sense out of the sudden suicide, but Natalie glumly says that committing suicide could never make sense to her.
Jo notices that the return address on some of Cynthia's mail is someplace in Nevada, so Mrs. Garrett explains that that's where her mom is currently living. Blair looks puzzled and says, "Nobody lives in Nevada, except Wayne Newton...or women getting a divorce." She then looks as though she just stumbled onto a secret, and Mrs. Garrett confirms that Cynthia's parents were, in fact, getting a divorce. Natalie mutters, "I don't know what I'd do if my parents got divorced" but Blair assures her she wouldn't kill herself. After all, she's lived through it three times. No duh. It's definitely a lame-ass reason to kill oneself.
Tootie enters the room, and Jo snaps, "She shouldn't be here. She's just a kid!" but Mrs. Garrett says it's OK if she wants to help out. Tootie sullenly says she only came to return the necklace Cynthia gave her, and wants it taken away with the rest of her things. Blair's all, "Wuh?" and tells her that Cynthia gave her the necklace because she cared about her, but Tootie argues that she didn't, then wails, "How could she do that to herself? She didn't even say goodbye!" Mrs. Garrett points out that maybe the necklace was Cynthia's fucked up way of saying goodbye...then tells them that sometimes young kids feel as though they can't cope with life's problems. Tootie says she could have come to her, and she'd have talked her out of killing herself. Jo grimly retorts that suicidal people usually just decide that one day they're checking out and then follow through. Mrs. Garrett gets extra motherly and assures the girls that it's OK to feel confused, scared, and insecure - but if and when they feel that way, they need to talk about their problems. Natalie points out that sometimes it helps to talk to other kids their own age, and Blair looks like she just had a brilliant idea and proposes they make something available at Eastland for kids in crisis - like a hotline! Natalie perks up and goes, "Can we do something like that?" and Blair says she's going to bring it up with the student council, which I guess she's president of now. She asks Mrs. Garrett if she has time to help her set it up, and Mrs. Garrett barks, "I'll make time" and adds that it's a wonderful idea. They all look sad as they glance around the empty room, and Tootie has second thoughts about giving up the necklace and says, "I forgot something." She retrieves it from Cynthia's pile of stuff and puts her around her neck again...and as everyone files out, Mrs. Garrett gives Tootie a motherly pat, looks around the room sadly again, and shuts off the lights.
Thanks for depressing the hell out of me, show.
Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying TVofYore's recaps, consider thanking me by buying me a "coffee"!
10/20/2018 03:21:26 am
very sad episode 😢
1/7/2020 05:19:14 pm
Very sad episode
6/11/2020 01:04:51 pm
Lmao this recap was funny af.. yet still quite accurate (I just watched the episode 5 minutes ago)
11/29/2020 09:24:02 pm
that was a really sad episode, i just got done watching that episode
4/19/2021 01:27:02 am
Watched it when it was new.
10/26/2021 01:35:07 pm
Same here. Just watched it again tho. Mannn these were the days. Awesome shows that addressed so many relevant topics. Miss those days.
11/19/2021 03:48:02 pm
I used to watch The Facts of Life every week when I was a kid. Rewatching now, I see it from a completely different perspective. So many of the subjects the show covered actually addressed topics that were taboo for young kids up until then, but were actually happening in real life. I can remember asking my mom all kinds of questions if there were “messages” or “lessons” from the show that I didn’t quite get being all of 6 years old (and later, older). The Facts of Life actually broke barriers for that time period. Now, nothing is too taboo for television. And unfortunately, so much of it is crap these days.
1/24/2022 11:53:01 pm
Has anyone noticed?( I believe this is a good thing).In1980 and moving forward, females were pictured in magazines as thin. No bad @ss biceps or quads. The look was pencil thin, and we were judged harshly.
11/27/2022 06:54:17 pm
This is my vote for one of the best episodes of the series. Daring for Norman Lear and company to have one of the girls actually commit suicide; that was a first for a show aimed at kids. I also liked Cynthia and thought she was a cool foil for Blair, made her seem less self-important; too bad they had to kill her off. Still- a good episode.
Leave a Reply.
The Facts of Life homepage
Recapper: Isabel K. French
Your contributions help keep the site ad-free
Television of Yore
Snide recaps of television's most entertaining classics