Recap: In a burst of spring cleaning, Beverly Ann and Jo turn over the couch so that they can clean out all the dust, while Natalie returns home from campus with Tootie and announces that she just took her last exam and is convinced that she flunked out of Langley. Tootie tells her not to think the worst and be optimistic - at least until she receives her grades in the mail in a few weeks. Andy and Pippa enter the room carrying an old lamp and an ancient toaster and wonder what they should do with the items, so Blair suggests hosting one of those events that peddles old junk to passersby...and Andy has to explain that she's referring to a garage sale, and that, yeah, it's a great idea.
Tootie suggests to Natalie that she take her mind off her (failing) grades by tagging along with her to Manhattan this Friday while she auditions for a theater role. Natalie perks up at that idea and proposes they make it a weekend trip, then says she has a friend named Cory who lives in a SoHo loft and once told her that she has an open invitation to stay at her place any time she wants.
Natalie and Tootie arrive at Cory's SoHo loft and find a spare key hidden beneath the cap of a bum who's slumped in the hallway and who the writers expect viewers to believe is actually an art sculpture. The two let themselves in and find aspiring artist Claire, who's sitting on the couch with Christmas lights wrapped around herself along with a large ON/OFF sign, and who proudly admits to "sculpting" the hallway bum. Natalie and Tootie are all, "Wha-a-at's going on here?" and ask her if Cory is home, so Claire tells them that Cory got a job on a game show and abruptly moved out - but that she's A-OK with two complete strangers crashing in the disordered loft apartment she shares with three other people. One of the other roommates, a sassy aspiring dancer named Nina, says that she too is totes fine with it, then begins her stretching regimen.
Roommate #3, an aspiring actor played by a young Richard Grieco, returns home, complaining about how all directors are swine. He rails at Tootie about his unsuccessful audition for Hamlet, and Tootie's like, "Hey, weren't you in a margarine commercial?" and wanks him about how awesome he was in it.
Roommate #4, played by a young David Spade, breezes through the door and announces to everyone that rent is due Monday and that the amount will be increased by a third due to Cory's sudden departure. As the three lament their lack of adequate funds 'cause of how hard it is to make ends meet when one is an aspiring whatever, David Spade draws up a schedule of stereo use, finally notices that Tootie and Natalie are in his orbit and asks them who the hell they are, then changes into scrubs and heads off to the hospital where he works as a third year medical student.
Later, Natalie returns to the loft and excitedly yammers at Claire about how she could feel the energy of New York pulsating beneath her feet...and says this as if she's in the big city for the first time, as opposed to someone who, I'm pretty sure, grew up in New York. Claire serves her one of Nina's Twinkies and wryly tells her that the pulsating energy she's feeling is actually the underground subway, har har. Natalie says she came up with a great idea for a story as she was walking Tootie to her audition, and Claire's like, "That's nice" and reminds Richard Grieco that they have to be at work (waiting tables) in an hour. When the roommates once again complain about the unaffordable rent, Natalie suggests they ask their parents for money...and they shoot her seriously? looks before explaining that a more helpful solution would be to find a roommate to take Cory's place. [Hmm...I wonder who that will be?] As Nina heads off to her jobs as a dog walker and New York tour guide, Richard Grieco complains about his ongoing failure in landing acting gigs. Claire suggests that perhaps it's because he's too good looking, and he mulls that over and decides that, yep, that must be the reason.
As Natalie helps Richard Grieco with his tie, he asks her if she wouldn't mind breaking his nose to give his face some character, but she tells him she's not into committing senseless acts of violence. After that, Claire shows her a conceptual art piece she created, but is having problems making any money from, so Natalie offers to try selling it in Washington Square, then gushes again about how inspired she is every minute of the day being in New York. Tootie returns from her audition and is so bummed by how terrible she thinks she did that all she wants to do is catch the next train to Peekskill and wallow in her misery. Natalie's like, "Uh, about that.." and breaks the news that she's decided to take Cory's spot in this SoHo loft so that she can stay in New York and fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. Tootie stares back at her in mute bewilderment, as do the four roommates who look as though this is the first they're hearing of Natalie's declaration to join their chaotic household.
After the commercial break, Natalie elaborates, "They need a roommate. I need a change", then directs her attention to her future roommates and assures them that she can afford to pay rent...and so they assure her, in that case, they're delighted with her moving in. As the roommates head out to continue their artistic lives reaching for the stars, Tootie tells Natalie she can't just leave her here and that she suspects she's making this drastic change 'cause of how afraid she is of failing at Langley. Natalie argues that she's able to write soooooo much better when she's in New York and insists that now is the perfect time for her to launch her career as a writer. Tootie reluctantly accepts this life decision and sadly tells Natalie that she's going to miss her and gives her a goodbye hug.
Days later, Richard Grieco wraps himself in a bedsheet and delivers a medley of movie and stage monologues, which Nina jokingly calls his greatest hits. Claire asks Natalie when she's finally going to go to Peekskill to get her stuff, and Natalie vaguely replies, "Oh, whenever" ... and a few seconds later, Claire and Richard Grieco head off to do laundry, while Nina departs to teach a ballet class. David Spade, meanwhile, returns home from his hospital shift, listens to Natalie yammer about Nina's anxiety about not yet making it as a dancer, then coldly asks, "What are you doing here?" He complains that every time he turns around, there she is...and Natalie scrunches her face perplexedly and reminds him that she lives here and that he didn't have a problem accepting her rent check. David Spade mutters about the need to draw up a privacy schedule, then ambles over to the terrace to mope in solitude - but Natalie follows him and calls him out on his rude 'tude. He sadly shares that he lost his first patient tonight [despite the fact that he's currently just a third year medical student, and that it's highly doubtful anyone on the hospital's staff would have considered the deceased his patient - but then I'm a recapper, not a hospital physician]. Natalie gently tells him that her late dad was a surgeon and that he always said that the hardest part about being a doctor was not being able to cry...and, indeed, an emotional David Spade looks as though he's doing his best to keep the tears from spilling out.
Natalie returns to the loft after a trip to the grocery store...and when she finds only her purse strap around her shoulder, she realizes she's been mugged. She's so bummed by being the victim of a petty crime that she announces she's returning to Peekskill asap with her tail tucked between her legs. David Spade comforts her by telling her that when his mom got mugged, the hardest part of the ordeal was not crying, and Natalie reacts by bursting into laughter. Claire urges her to give New York a chance, and Richard Grieco points out that she still hasn't returned to Peekskill to pack up her stuff and bring it to the loft. Natalie concedes that she's been wavering about making a firm commitment to her new life as a struggling writer in the Big Apple, then declares that she's going to go back to Peekskill to wrap up what's left of her life there, then return to SoHo to properly launch a Facts of Life spin-off show that's never actually going to materialize.
In the next scene, Natalie is back in Peekskill, finishing up an article for The Peekskill Register, while the rest of the Facts gang is busy with the garage sale. Blair carries in Tootie's roller-skates from Season 1 and excitedly says she has a buyer for them...and a few seconds after she returns to the garage to complete the sale, Tootie returns home to excitedly announce that she got the part she auditioned for, and that it requires her to be on roller-skates for the majority of the time. The rest of the Facts gang is all, "Ack!" as they race out of the room to stop Blair from selling the old skates, despite it being unlikely that Tootie's feet would comfortably fit in them, eight years later.
Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying TVofYore's recaps, consider thanking me by buying me a "coffee"!