Recap: The ninth - and final (yippee ki yay!!) - season of Facts of Life opens with Tootie nattering on the phone to her boyfriend Jeff, promising to not kiss the leading man in the stage production she's currently starring in, despite the fact that she's playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet...and Blair rifling through the closet for Jo's old catcher's mitt, which Andy decides he wants to take along to summer camp. Blair admits to Natalie that she really really misses Jo (but doesn't want to be quoted), while Beverly Ann gives Andy a stack of stamped, self-addressed postcards to take along to camp so that he can stay in touch.
After Tootie ends her conversation with Jeff, Jo calls (from a local Malibu police station) ... and after listening to Tootie blather on about how she and Jeff are officially on again and Natalie gabble about how excited she is to have registered at Langley College, she snarls at them to put Blair on the phone. She tells Blair she has an emergency situation on her hands and desperately needs her to mail a few hundred bucks, and Blair says she'd be happy to help her out of whatever pickle she's in. Jo thanks her and gives her the police station's address in Malibu, without letting on that it's the address of a police station in Malibu.
Jo tells the sheriff that she was mugged on the beach, and that the scoundrel somehow took off on a paraglider with everything she owns...then explains that her foot is in a cast after she broke it while filming the made-for-TV movie Strange Voices during her summer hiatus from Facts of Life. She adds that prior to her mugging she lost her fancy tech job, then naturally her apartment, and since then couldn't think of anything better to do than ride aimlessly riding around SoCal on her motorcycle. She asks the sheriff if she can spend the night in a jail cell...and after deciding he'd rather not go through the trouble of arresting her for sleeping on the beach (her stated Plan B), he tells her she's welcome to bunk at the station.
The next morning, Jo is happily occupying a jail cell when Richard Moll enters the station to inform the sheriff that he's going to be out of town for the next few weeks and is hoping that the cops can keep an eye on his place...I guess whenever they're not busy doing actual police work. An eavesdropping Jo perks up at that request and calls over Richard Moll to point out what a startling coincidence it is that he's looking for a house sitter at the exact same time she's available and could really use a temporary home. Richard Moll gives her a seriously? look and says he generally prefers his house sitters to not be criminals, so she explains that was actually the victim of a crime and had no better option but to sleep in a jail cell. She then backs off and dejectedly says she realizes what a stupid idea it is, and he's like, "Uh, yeah. I thought so too."
Richard Moll asks the sheriff on the down low if the jailbird was telling the truth just now, and the sheriff says she was, and that - despite knowing her for only a day - he can totally vouch for her. Richard Moll wanders back over to the jail cell and asks Jo what her name is, so she introduces herself and wanks him about what a huuuuuge fan of Night Court she is...and he happily rejoins, "You're hired!" and hands her the keys to his house and tells her that he left a list of instructions for his house care atop the kitchen counter.
Blair arrives at the police station, her face scrunched confusedly as she explains to the sheriff that her friend gave her this address for a money order...and he correctly guesses that this friend must be Jo, then motions towards the jail cell. Blair chucklingly says, "I knew it" and tells Jo that regardless of what crimes she's committed she'd prefer that her name be left out of it. As the sheriff unlocks the cell, Jo explains that she wasn't actually arrested, and how she figured a night in the clink was better than roaming the mean streets. She sheepishly adds that earlier in the summer she lost her job and her apartment, and Blair half-heartedly says that these types of life failures are nothing to be ashamed of, and urges her to cope with the humiliation she must be experiencing right now by returning with her to Peekskill. Jo stubbornly refuses and smugly informs her that she has plans to return to her luxury beach house, and a skeptical Blair reacts to that nonsensical pronouncement by chucklingly retorting, "I have to see this."
Blair is impressed with the beach house Jo implausibly claims is her current residence and asks how in blazes she's able to afford such a swanky pad, then notices the instructions Richard Moll left on the counter and asks whassup with that. Jo tells her she wrote that up for her housekeeper, and a shocked Blair coos about how awesome it is that she's so quickly compromised all of her strongly-held principles. She then looks around for a bathroom and disappears down a hallway, only to re-emerge a few seconds later with a jock strap in her hands. When she assumes that Jo is shacking up with a guy, Jo pretends that, yep, that definitely explains why there's a jock strap just randomly laying around.
Blair calls Tootie to report to her and the rest of the Facts gang that Jo is living with a man...and a few seconds later, a guy named Paul drops by and tells Jo that he's been scouring SoCal for her. She apologizes for not calling in awhile, and the two are hugging when Blair enters the room and assumes that Paul is her boyfriend. Jo introduces her to Paul and pretends that, yep, he's her live-in boyfriend...and a confused Paul makes a wuh? face while also playing along...and Jo steers him to the balcony as she promises to privately fill him in on this deliberate misunderstanding.
Out on the balcony, Paul recaps everything that happened during the show's off-camera summer hiatus:
Paul tells Jo that when he finally realized how much he missed her, he stopped seeing the various other women he was dating...then suggests that they move in together for real.
After the commercial break, Paul insists that they could make cohabitation work - but Jo argues that everything is moving too fast for her and points out that they really don't know each other very well. Paul urges her to at least consider the possibility...then says he's off 'cause he needs to get stuff done, but will stop by the house again later.
Late that night, Jo and Blair are alarmed when they hear scuttling noises at the front door - before they realize it's Tootie, Natalie, and Beverly Ann who heard what a fab house Jo is living in and decided 'let's all drop in unannounced and have ourselves an impromptu California vacation'. As they explore the house and shriek excitedly after discovering the hot tub on the second floor, Jo snarls that they can't be here, then confesses that the house belongs to Richard Moll and that he hired her to house sit while he's out of town for a few weeks. After that, she sits everyone down to explain in full the details of her misfortunes of the previous summer.
Natalie and Tootie tell Jo that they're pretty much OK with her living in sin with Paul, while Blair warns that cohabitating with a man isn't the same as living with the rest of the Facts gals and a superfluous house mother. Jo dryly replies, "That's one point in his favor", then reverses her edict for them to leave and grants everyone permission to stay in Richard Moll's house, provided they're ultra careful about not damaging anything.
Beverly Ann pulls out a map of Los Angeles and makes a sightseeing list. Jo says that she'd prefer to stay at the house 'cause she doesn't want it to sit empty...but when Beverly Ann points out that Richard Moll can't possibly expect her to be home 24/7, she agrees to join them.
After a day of shopping, rollerskating, and otherwise frolicking around the touristy parts of Los Angeles and a nearby beach, they return to Richard Moll's house and are all 'the fuck?' when they see that the living room is completely flooded. As a mystified Jo investigates the cause of the flooding, she determines that the second floor hot tub is leaking - just as the entire living room ceiling collapses.
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