Friday, February 6, 2009

The Facts of Life

Stay with me a second. 

I wrote a blog a long, long time ago, when people still used MyFace to interact with each other socially.  It was a post about television shows I dug in my youth.  I’m not going to REPOST the entire blog, however I am going to tweak it a bit, blow it apart, expound upon it, and hopefully make it better.  Rather than just put down a list of shows I dug, I wanted to do a sort of “where are they now” in relation to the show.  Hopefully make it a little more interesting AND informative.  My plan is to break down each of the shows from the original post, showing what I wrote in the original post…as well as some updates.  If you like it, marry me.  If you don’t, just leave your money on the nightstand like everyone else and get the hell out.

Obviously, based on the title of this post, we’re going to start with The Facts of Life.

cast photo

When I was a wee lad growing up in Europe, we had no television. My sisters and I had to play outside for our entertainment and make up our own stories. The whole concept of serialized television or Sitcoms was completely foreign to me when my family moved stateside when I was 11. I have no regrets of growing up without the idiot box, in fact, I wish I had never been turned on to television. I quickly became absorbed with the colorful moving/talking pictures. Most of the stuff on television these days is crap. I'm sure folks from the generation before mine would argue "they sure don’t make shows like they used to," and I have the same argument. In no particular order, these were some of my more memorable shows.

This show had it right. You take the good, you take the bad, you take all of your stereotypes, and then you have...Token colored girl, token fat ugly "funny" girl, token lesbian girl, token blonde girl, token older woman with funny accent, and throw in a dose of Molly Ringwald, and you've got yourself an instant hit. I bought into the whole segregated girls school thing and always dreamed about going to an all boys school and bunkin' with some hotties, and not-so-hotties. In my dreams, we would stay up late at night fixing each others hair, plot ways to sneak out, pick on the above average good looking one. When we grew up we would all open a cookie shop that would eventually burn down and we would convert it into a Spencer’s-esque gift shop that specialized in "adult" toys. We would eventually all move off to college and get an apartment together, and then we would all get married and have the world's largest house built and all live together for the rest of our lives. Perhaps we would even take a trip to Australia together and get mixed up in some intrigue???

So let me point out, real quick here, the italicized paragraph above was from the original post…

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Charlotte Rae then

Charlotte Rae now

Charlotte Rae played Enda Garret for all but the last 2 seasons of F.O.L.  She was replaced by that successful sitcom killer, Cloris Leachman.  There were MANY reasons I loved Charlotte Rae.  For starters, she came from my folks’ home town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  That automatically makes her good people.  Her accent was awesome (though, not technically a native Milwaukee speaker!).  You could walk all over her, burn down her house, her business, her lover, and she’d turn it into one of life’s little lessons rather than getting upset with you.  She was amazing.  I was COMPLETEL relieved to learn, while researching this post, that she’s not dead.  She was most recently in a movie called You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, in which she plays Adam Sandler’s love interest.  That kind of icks me out a bit, because she deserves WAY better than Adam Sandler.  Charlotte was smart enough to know when the show had run it’s course and bailed 2 years before the rest of the cast.  I guess age does bring experience.  Unfortunately she was NOT smart enough to stay away from the two subsequent made for t.v. movies the show spun out, Fact of Life go to Australia, and Facts of Life C.S.I.: Who put the battery acid in Blaire’s masengill? 

From here I’m having an internal struggle about where I go next.  Because how do you identify the next major player?  Do you pick them alphabetically?  In order of star power?  How about in order of people who still have careers?  How about in order of popularity?  It’s my blog, so I’m going to do it in order of race.

kim fields thenkim fields now

 Kim Field’s was the very first African American girl to be shown on television…with braces.  She’s also the only member of the cast who was able to continue a somewhat successful television career after jumping the shark in Australia with that second shitty made for t.v. movie.  (Incidentally, it was not Tootie who burned Blair’s cooter with battery acid.)  Kim Fields was able to show America that black girls could go to school without getting pregnant and dropping out.  She also gave everyone a sense of how awkward it was being the very obvious black elephant in the room.  She opened a lot of doors for white men everywhere…I mean, other women of color.  Following (actually, DURING) the run of F.O.L., there were other “All Girl School” sitcoms that featured an all black cast with a lone whitie.  Only Kim Fields can be thanked for that.  Kim is still acting on the small screen, and can be found, most recently, on your local NBC affiliate in Lie to Me (or whatever network it is that’s cancelling that show after 3 episodes). 

Alright, since there were no other racial minorities on the show, let’s go with the lesbian:Mindy Cohn then mindycohn now

Come on.  Was there a teenager alive who didn’t feel sorry for Mindy Cohn at the time?  Bad complexion.  Bad hair.  OBVIOUS food issues.  Destined to be a lesbian because there wasn’t a single male character on the show that had a scene with her where she wasn’t looking at his back.  I mean, seriously she was the most relatable character on the show.  We were all…what was her name on the show?  See, invisible.  Mindy Cohn is still active in the acting world today.  As I mentioned above, she currently a lesbian…or, I should clarify so I don’t get sued, she’s currently GAY FOR PAY, “playing the PART of a lesbian” in Sex and Death 101.  She’s also doing voice-overs for Scooby Doo (still has the voice for radio, eh?).  And I’m sure she’s just “gay for pay”…with that haircut, Cindy?  Really?  Come on out, the water’s warm.

nancy mckeon then

nancy mckeon now

I believe I owe my life to Nancy McKeon.  It was while watching season two of F.O.L. that I realized there were other homosexuals, other than myself.  (I didn’t realize Natalie, THAT WAS HER NAME!!!  NATALIE! was gay until much later in the series).  “Jo” came onto the scene with her sassy little undid tie, her motorcycle, her grease stained face, her pleather jacket.  She was the every dyke.  I honestly think the producers got in some serious shit by introducing this OBVIOUSLY pussy starved character into an all-girls school and the AFA demanded they make her elope with someone.  ANYONE.  As long as he wasn’t black, it would be fine by them.  Where was I?  Oh, yes.  Jo.  Part of my obsession with Nancy McKeon at the time was that she was sister to Philip McKeon, whom I had a GINORMOUS gay crush on at 11 years old.  I used to have fantasies about “dating” her just to get to him.  But that’s for my blog I’m going to do about “Alice”, and this is about THE FACTS OF LIFE!  Nancy McKeon has managed to solidify her star power on the Lifetime Channel and can be seen in any show ranging in hot topic issues as “My son was ass raped by a gang of priests and I’m out for blood revenge” to “I’m having private lady surgery” to “I drink my lunch and then drive”.  She’s a staple actress over there, but, I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen her in anything since F.O.L., cuz I just don’t watch Lifetime.

Does anyone remember the three episodes starring:



Yeah, neither does George Clooney, I bet.  I bet he’s trying as hard to forget that stint as his publicist is trying to forget this picture of him.  George CLEARLY went on to be the biggest star following    F.O.L.  He’s been in everything, including the smash hit, BATMAN.  (Folks, seriously, you should try to learn when I’m being SARCASTIC.)  He WAS the original Dr. McHottie, and he has had his string of successful “Oceans” movies…Oh, and don’t forget his run on Rosanne too.  I forgot all about Rosanne (cuz I had given up on sitcoms by that point!).  Something very interesting, as you’ll see with my next cast member too, George’s name on the show was, wait for it, wait for it, “George”.  Guess they didn’t want him to flub his lines.  You know, he’s pretty, but…I doubt HE had a 4.0.


Or what about:

Molly cast

Molly now

Yes, the little mini-dyke with the page boy hair-cut is none other than MOLLY RINGWALD.  Molly played “Molly” on the show (I guess the creators were having a hard time coming up with original names?).  She was destined for things FAR greater than F.O.L. though.  She quickly disappeared and reemerged as John Hughes’ most celebrated stock actresses in hit movies like Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, etc.  Somewhere along the way she got upity and moved overseas and had a fairly successful run as a French actress before realizing the food in France tasted like foreskin and moved back to the U.S. to try to revive her career.  She had a couple of television series fail upon her return.  And while she’s still acting these days, her biggest role now is mom.  Incidentally, that picture (top, right) isn’t REALLY what she looks like today.  That’s just what I think of her for FUCKING FLEAING TO FRANCE.  Whore.

I think that’s it folks.  I’d write about Cloris Leachman, but I fear she’d kill my blog like she’s killed every television series she’s been connected with since the dawn of motion pictures.  That’s everyone from the series…oh, wait.  Except for:

lisa whelchel then

lisa whelchel now

How could I forget this fucking douche-nozzle?  I mean, seriously, for being “the hot one”, how many episodes did we have to endure with seeing her gravy covered grease chin?  How did Lisa Whelchel’s, “Blair” get all the guys?  Look at that hair?  I mean, seriously, her rat’s nest would be competing against pubic hair for a totally awesome blow-job.  That’s like 9-10 inches of clearance she’s got going on in her bangs.  Yet guys found that attractive?  REALLY?  Thank god I was thinking about boning Philip McKeon.  At least his lips would be able to make contact.  Anyway, Lisa isn’t doing so much in the entertainment world these days.  Despite the fact that she should have gone directly into porn or drugs after the F.O.L. run based on her acting ability (and HAIR), she didn’t.  She’s like some super conservative (even more than Kirk Cameron) Christian mom  who talks to girls about saving their virginity for Christ, or some shit like that.  Good on her for busting stereotypes and doing something.  “Blair”, while America’s sweetheart, CLEARLY wasn’t my favorite.  I hate her as a character.  I hated her “acting” ability.  I gave two shits who put the battery acid in her douche.  Frankly, the world would have been a better place without Blair.  (NOTE: There is a CLEAR distinction between my feelings for THE CHARACTER, and the person who played her)

As they say in television, folks, STAY TUNED!  There’s LOTS more to come…(And I’m not referring to Philip McKeon!)


Breenlantern said...

desperate for blog material much? my money's on the dresser...

Jed said...

i think there should have been a concern when George Clooney is the 3rd most butch person in the show.

Ella Loves You said...

I had the biggest crush on Jo my whole damn life. I still have it. Thanks for reminding me.

Kay said...

I still have a huge gay crush on Nancy McKeon, but mostly as her Jo character. I effen hated Blair.

Melanie said...

Coming in a little late here, but what about the hottie headmaster? Now I have to go look him up on IMDB and find out what the heck he's been doing these last few decades.

Anonymous said...

I love Jo and hate Blair as well. Lots of people ship Jo with Blair but I'm not one of them. Jo can do better.