"You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both -and there you have
The Facts Of Life"
It was never a ratings blockbuster, nor was it a show critics loved. But The Facts Of Life was one of the best-remembered and most loved US sitcoms of the era.
Part of the reason was that at a time when comedies seldom tackled issues important to teenage girls, "Facts" dealt with everything from alcohol use to sex -and did so years before teen-oriented dramas such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Dawson's Creek. Another reason was the relationship between the always wise Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae), and the four girls who were at the center for much of the show's long run (Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn, Kim Fields and Nancy McKeon).
A spin-off of Diff'rent Strokes, "Facts" starred Garrett (the Drummond family maid) as housemother of a group of girls at the exclusive Eastland School near Peekskill, New York. The show had a trial run in the summer of 1979, then came back as a midseason replacement in 1980 with little success in the ratings. In the fall of 1980, four of the seven original girls (Felice Schachter, Molly Ringwald, Julie Piekarski and Julie Anne Haddock) were let go, and Garrett became the school's nutritionist. Only three of the original girls stayed: snobby and rich Blair Warner (Whelchel); plump and wisecracking Natalie Green (Cohn) and young roller-skating gossip Tootie Ramsey (Fields). To add some spice to the cast, a new character was introduced: Jo Polinaczek, a tough-talking girl from the Bronx with the required heart of gold (McKeon).