The Facts of Life—Season 2

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

The Facts of Life you remember

Goofy '80s comedy


The girls leaving the building from season 1 are gone…much like the cast

Things are changing at Eastland.  A new student named Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon) has rolled in to school and gotten herself, Tootie (Kim Fields), Natalie (Mindy Cohn), and Blair (Lisa Whelchel) in trouble…forcing them to live under the watchful eye of Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) while under probation.  As the girls adjust to their new living quarters, they deal with the challenges of growing up and going to school at an elite upper class private school.

The Facts of Life—Season 2 was still a partial season with a shorter sixteen episode run on NBC.  Both the short Season 1 and Season 2 have been collected on DVD in one box-set.

The Facts of Life—Season 2 is the Facts of Life that everyone remembers.  While the first season had an expansive cast, and no Jo Polniaczek, Season 2 pared down the cast created the classic version of the theme song and made the series much more watchable.


Meet the new girl

As with many comedies (especially from this period), lots of issues are dealt with in The Facts of Life, we have stories about suicide, sexual activity, shoplifting, and teen marriage.  Sometimes they do a good job keeping comedic and other times they fail (there are some uncomfortable laughs in the suicide episode especially if you know where it is going).

The season smartly kept the best girls from season 1 and added a great dynamic by bringing on street smart Jo as a comedic foil for the upper class Blair.  With the smaller cast, you get to feel the characters out more and begin to start to know them and their personalities, lives, dreams, etc.  It is notable that all of the first season regulars did appear in this season.  Molly Ringwald makes her last appearance in the two part first episode, but Felice Schachter, Julie Anne Haddock, and Julie Piekarski appear sporadically.  The show also features guest appearances by Zsa Zsa Gabor, Alex Rocco, character actor Hugh Gillin (as semi regular cook Howard), and the obligator Diff’rent Strokes appearances by Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges.


Cousin Geri!

Also significant this season is that The Facts of Life became one of the first shows to regularly employ a person with a disability as a cast member.  She only appears in one episode this season but frequently returns in later seasons.

The Facts of Life is just one of those fun, pointless ’80s comedies.  I enjoy watching it but recognize that I enjoy it because I grew up watching it.  The series levels out at this point and gets its rhythm so if by chance you only somehow have seen first season episodes, you need to see what this series ended up doing for the next eight years.

The Facts of Life—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:


“The New Girl—Part 1”

2.1       The New Girl—Part 1 Airdate:  11/19/80

It is a new school year and Tootie Ramsey (Kim Fields), Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn), and Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel) are back with Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) as Eastland’s new dietician.  When a new tough girl named Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon) rolls into school on her motorcycle, Blair finds herself with Joe as her roommate.  When Blair and Joe find themselves challenging each other, Natalie, Tootie, Blair, and Jo decide to sneak into a bar.  When a visiting Arnold (Gary Coleman) reveals the plans to Mrs. Garrett, the girls might not be going back to Eastland.


“The New Girl—Part 2”

2.2       The New Girl—Part 2 Airdate:  11/26/80

The girls are going to be suspended if they don’t agree to Eastland’s school…which means Tootie, Blair, Natalie, and Jo are now under Mrs. Garrett’s control and living across from her.  Forced to work in the cafeteria, they find themselves criticized by the other classmates…and Jo might not be willing to stay.


“Double Standard”

2.3       Double Standard Airdate:  12/10/80

Blaire and Jo find themselves facing off when Blair brings one of her upper class friends named Harrison (Grant Wilson) to the school.  When Harrison asks Jo to the country club cotillion, Blair questions how she could lose to Jo…but Harrison has other plans for Jo.


“Who Am I?”

2.4       Who Am I? Airdate:  12/17/80

There is a new delivery boy named Fred (Erik Moses), and Tootie’s got the hots for him.  When Fred criticizes Tootie for going to an all-white school, Tootie considers dropping out.


“Cousin Geri”

2.5       Cousin Geri Airdate:  12/24/80

Blair’s cousin Geri (Geri Jewell) is coming to visit.  Mrs. Garrett learns that Geri has cerebral palsy, and Blair might be ashamed of her…the truth is more surprising.



2.6       Shoplifting Airdate:  12/31/80

Mrs. Garrett’s birthday is coming up, and Jo, Tootie, and Natalie decide to get her a shirt…unfortunately, they don’t have the money, and it could land Mrs. Garrett in jail when they shoplift.


“Teenage Marriage—Part 1”

2.7       Teenage Marriage—Part 1 Airdate:  01/07/81

Jo’s boyfriend Eddie (Clark Brandon) comes to see Jo after a fight with her mother.  When Eddie proposes, Jo must decide if she’s going to run off with him.


“Teenage Marriage—Part 2”

2.8       Teenage Marriage—Part 2 Airdate:  01/14/81

Blair’s interfering with Jo has caused Jo to accept Eddie’s proposal.  Now, Mrs. Garrett is in a rush to try to stop Jo from running off and eloping.



2.9       Gossip Airdate:  01/21/81

Tootie finds herself stuck at Eastland when the older students are going on a field trip to New York City.  When Tootie hears Blair tell Jo that she intends to see the boyfriend of Nancy (Felice Schachter) when she’s there, Tootie uses it to her advantage which turns Blair against Jo, but a rumor about Mrs. Garrett could cost Mrs. Garrett her job.


“Breaking Point”

2.10     Breaking Point Airdate:  01/28/81

Blair is in competition with a new student named Cynthia (Denise Halma) for class president.  Blair loses and becomes vice-president, but Cynthia takes a drastic step that shocks Eastland.


“Sex Symbol”

2.11     Sex Symbol Airdate:  02/04/81

Natalie gets her first date, and an evening out with a boy named Neil (Dan Spector) gets Natalie a reputation when he says that Natalie put out on their date.  When Blair, Jo, and Tootie think it is a joke, Natalie decides to live up to reputation.


“The Secret”

2.12     The Secret Airdate:  02/25/81

Tootie accidentally opens a letter from Jo and she and Mrs. Garrett learn that Jo’s father (Alex Rocco) is in prison.  When Mrs. Garrett convinces Jo to talk to her father, Jo’s father tries to get Jo to forgive him.  When Jo’s father is paroled, Jo tries to keep it a secret.


“Bought and Sold”

2.13     Bought and Sold Airdate:  03/04/81

Blair tries her hand at selling cosmetics and decides to use Natalie as her advertisement.  When Countess Calvet (Zsa Zsa Gabor) visits the school, Blair learns her work might have been in vain.


“Pretty Babies”

2.14     Pretty Babies Airdate:  03/11/81

Famed photographer Jonathan Dutton (John Mark Robinson) comes to Eastland to discover his next model.  While Blair thinks she’ll be the next top model, Dutton finds Tootie.


“Free Spirit”

2.15     Free Spirit Airdate:  03/18/81

Mrs. Garrett’s musician son Alex (Tom Fitzsimmons) has stopped by for a visit, but Blair doesn’t think Alex is telling the truth about his success.  When Alex starts to influence Tootie, Mrs. Garrett decides he has to step in.


“Brian and Sylvia”

2.16     Brian and Sylvia Airdate:  03/25/81

Natalie and Tootie go to visit Tootie’s aunt Sylvia (Rosanne Katon) and her uncle Brian (Richard Dean Anderson) in Buffalo.  Struggling as a mixed race couple, new problems arise when Sylvia is offered a reporting job in New York City.

Related Links:

The Facts of Life—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Facts of Life—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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