Recap: Tootie tells Jo and Andy [but not Natalie 'cause for some reason she's absent this episode] that she wants to plan a super special 21st birthday surprise for Blair - just as Blair breezes into the room, doesn't bother pretending she hasn't been eavesdropping on their conversation, and tells them she's sure she'll like whatever hare-brained idea they come up with. She then purposely drops a piece of paper onto the floor before exiting the store. The piece of paper contains a poem, which leads the Facts gang to a cryptic clue/note in a copy of Alice in Wonderland...and Tootie translates this to mean that Blair wants to have an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party for her birthday and for guests to come dressed up as their favorite character from the book. Seems like something that should probably be more clearly communicated and/or verified, but OK. Jo grumbles about having to wear an elaborate costume, while Tootie checks the newspaper for a superfluous party entertainer.
Party time! Jo arrives dressed as the White Rabbit, George Clooney as the Jack of Hearts, Tootie as the Mad Hatter, and Andy as a cross between a Santa elf and a Wizard of Oz munchkin 'cause apparently he doesn't know shit about Alice in Wonderland. Tootie informs her castmates that in order to offer some extra fun she hired an entertainer named Louise Le Beau, who described herself in her newspaper ad as "the life of the party".
When Blair enters the store dressed in an understated black dress, her Facts castmates (and the various extras playing partygoers) shriek, "Surprise!!" When she stares back at them confusedly, Tootie explains that since she left a note in Alison in Wonderland, they made the leap in assuming that she wanted that to be the theme of her 21st birthday party. Blair says she was thinking more along the lines of them treating her to dinner at the Wonderland Café, and Tootie's all 'oops', irritably points out that dinner won't be necessary 'cause they have all the bread and butter she can eat, and leads the partygoers into half-heartedly singing Happy Birthday. LOL.
Louise Le Beau arrives at Over Our Heads decked out in a colorful get-up. She does a lap around the store while showcasing her horrible singing voice and making honking noises with her tuba. As everyone stares at her with WTF? expressions, a despondent Blair slumps into the nearest chair and miserably covers her face with her hands.
The next morning, Tootie argues with Jo about how the party wasn't nearly as shitty as she's claiming...and all the commotion wakes up Blair after she moans in her sleep about the horror of having to endure Louise's singing...and is all, "Ack!" when she hears it coming from the kitchen.
Louise serves the Facts gals a hearty breakfast while cracking terrible jokes and making honking noises with her tuba. She thanks them for letting her sleep over and borrow some clothes...which prompts Jo and Blair to glare daggers at Tootie, who explains that Louise missed the last bus home so she figured 'why not let this hopefully harmless, loony stranger sleep in Mrs. Garrett's bedroom and wear her clothes?'
Tootie pulls Louise aside and starts to break the bad news that she's going to have to vacate...and Louise reacts by tearing up and pulling out a hanky, which causes Tootie to pack pedal and meekly praise her cooking. As Jo and Blair look on in dismay, Louise excitedly says, "There's plenty more where that came from!", blows into her tuba some more, and scampers back to the kitchen. Jo admonishes Tootie for chickening out of asking their "houseguest" to leave, then says it looks like she's going to have to do it herself.
In the next scene, we learn that Jo too was unable to bring herself to throw Louise out and bought the lame excuse that she needs a place to stay 'cause her apartment is being painted - but then decrees that Louise is to do all of the cooking and cleaning while she's here. Blair mockingly tells Jo she hopes she wasn't too hard on the old lady, then wonders aloud if she has any friends or family she could stay with.
The Facts gals are studying in the bedroom when Louise enters with the laundry and plays a ukulele while periodically blowing into her tuba. Once she's out of earshot, the gals decide they really really need to find a friend or family member she can go live with, and Tootie decides to call the phone number that Louise had included in her newspaper ad.
Blair breaks the news to Louise that they tracked down her son (Stan) and daughter-in-law (Fran), who are on their way to pick her up. Louise puts her sad face on and complains about how the two are always laughing at her for wanting to be an entertainer, and that she ran off so she could live her life the way she wants. A few seconds later, Stan and his wife Fran - a woman who looks like a man playing a woman - arrive and stand awkwardly in the doorway as they announce that they're here to collect Louise...and to needlessly share the icky tidbit that Stan regularly refers to his wife as "mother". The Facts gals are so freaked out by the couple's uptight, asexual weirdness that Blair fibs and tells them that Louise left without leaving behind a note...and when Stanley suggests they call the police to report her missing, Tootie hastily says she's pretty sure the old lady is on her way home. Jo waxes on about how funny and talented Louise is, but Stan and Fran snappishly retort that her incessant singing and tuba honking irritates the shit out of them.
The gals agree to tell Mrs. Garrett that Louise is their new maid - just as Louise bursts into the room to announce that she just found a job performing at a dinner theater. She thanks them for covering for her with Stan and Fran, promises to call the grisly couple to let them know she's OK, and assures the gals that she's more than capable of taking care of herself.
Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying TVofYore's recaps, consider thanking me by buying me a "coffee"!
8/12/2021 06:09:29 pm
Betty Kean played Louise. She appeared in 1940s B movies and episodic TV since the 50s. She was the first wife of Jim Backus (Thurston Howell on “Gilligan’s Island”). Her biggest claim to fame is probably starring with her sister Jane Kean in the affectionately remembered Broadway musical flop “Ankles Aweigh.”
8/17/2021 06:28:51 pm
I didn’t know Betty Kean was married to Jim Backus.
9/2/2021 04:53:38 pm
Wow! I never would have thought the idea of Jane replacing Charlotte would have been a possibility! She’s certainly no Cloris Leachman.
8/17/2021 11:20:01 pm
What an awful episode. Mindy Cohn was wise not to appear in it!
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