All it takes to send you back in time are the opening notes of that fun upbeat song that we all know and love as the theme song of The Facts of Life. It’s one of those quintessential sitcoms that made us laugh and taught us life lessons as we grew up.
It was a show that was easily ahead of its time. Between an all female led cast, a person of color treated the same as other characters, and a plus size character that wasn’t there to be a joke, and mature storylines that usually weren’t discussed, some might even say that it was radical for what it brought to that era of television.
The Facts of Life began as a spin off of the popular sitcom, Different Strokes, by taking their housekeeper Mrs. Garrett, and putting her in charge of teenage girls at a boarding school as their house mother. It ran for nine seasons between 1979 to 1988, and produced over 200 episodes in that time. Even after it ended the series went into syndication where it was repeatedly shown on multiple networks.
The show mostly centered around a small group of girls living together at boarding school under the watchful eye of Mrs. Garrett. Over the course of the show we got to watch as these girls blossomed into women, and shared their experiences of growing up with us. Something about them felt relatable and comfortable, as if they were our friends as well. Whether you were laughing at something Tootie said, or feeling inspired by a talk from Mrs. Garrett, it was impossible not to fall in love with the characters.
Today, you can find fans of the show across the globe, and spanning multiple generations. The challenges of growing up as a young woman are timeless, and that’s precisely what draws people in to the show. Whether you remember watching it live on TV, or decades later on reruns, you still felt like you were one of the girls.
It’s hard to believe that nearly 30 years has passed since we said goodbye the ladies of The Facts of Life on live TV. Times may have changed since then, but we still love to look back and revel in our nostalgia. Over the years the actresses who played the young ladies we grew up with are now grown up themselves, and all accomplished women in their own right. Throw in all the top notch guest actors from the show, and those who were only on for one or two seasons, and you’ve got yourself an incredible list of actors to look at.