May. 22nd, 2006

ceebeegee: (golden hearts)
Last week I bought the Season 1 & 2 DVDs of The Facts of Life (the TV show)--they FINALLY released it. Yay! This show was one of my big favorites during my early adolescence (I lost interest a bit after they entered the "Over Our Heads" years--couldn't stand those nasty '80s mullets all of them seemed to have). My favorite season was the first, which was very different from the other--the show had seven main girls instead of four, and they lived in a dormitory where Mrs. Garret was the house mother. There were a LOT of blondes, including my favorite, Blair. She's remembered as the snobby rich girl, but her character was a lot wilder--she dated a LOT, and even had to fight off an older guy in a van on one date. She was in a clique where the girls--*gasp*--smoked pot. The best was when Blair ever so delicately hinted that Cindy, the tomboy who played baseball and ran track, might be gay. "You're really WEIRD with all that HUGGING and 'I love you'--you'd just better be CAREFUL." Even at the tender of age of 11, I knew what she meant--that was eye-opening stuff for that era! Especially coming from a Mousketeer (Lisa Whelchel and one of the other girls, Julie Piekarski, had both been on the '70s-era The New Mickey Mouse Club which I also watched religiously with my BF Beth. We even choreographed our own dances in the back yard. "Hurry, hurry grab a seat/This is to the rhythm of the Mouse-ka-beat/We're gonna sing/We're gonna shout/We're gonna show you what it's all about/It's Showtime...with the Mouseketeers." I ADORED all those disco-tastic color-coordinated jumpsuits they had on).

Molly Ringwald was also in the first season, and Julie Anne Haddock (who'd played the youngest daughter in The Great Santini) played Cindy, the afore-mentioned lesbionic athlete. And if anyone remembers that classic '80s cheese-fest, Zapped!, Felice Schachter was also a regular cast member. After the first season, though, the long knives came out and they fired four of the girls (Molly, Julie Piekarksi, Julie Anne Haddock and Felice) and then hired Nancy McKeon to play Jo, the tough-as-nails biker from the Bronx who fought with Blair at every opportunity. The show became different--and, I must admit, better-written. The smaller focus lent itself to better character development, and there were some genuinely sweet moments between the girls, as when Blair goes after a family friend--a teenage boy who attends the school down the road--who asked Jo to a dance but instead, took her out on the 9th green to pressure her for sex, saying later to Blair, "c'mon, she's that kind of girl..." I love it that her sense of sisterhood--and she and Jo were arch-rivals--was stronger than her desire to feel appreciated by the guy (and of course she also recognizes what he's saying is an insult to all women). Interestingly, after sacking all those girls, they still used them for featured guest roles and under 5s, which couldn't have been easy for the fired girls.

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ceebeegee

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