The Facts of Life—Season 3

facts of life season 3 dvd cover episode guide
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Classic '80s

Typical '80s but still fun nostalgia

facts of life season 3 episode 16 the four musketeers cast

Cuddle up for another season of The Facts of Life!

Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon), Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel), Tootie Ramsey (Kim Fields), and Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn) are still working off their probation and working under the watchful eye of Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae).  Growing up is hard to do and the girls of Eastland School are facing challenges like cancer, assault, fandom, and prostitution.  When the girls learn that they can move out, will they stick together?

The Facts of Life—Season 3 aired from October 23, 1981 to May 5, 1982 on NBC.  The series remained strong in the ratings.  This season features two spin-off series attempts in “The Academy” set a boys’ military academy school called Stone Military Academy and a second attempt in “Jo’s Cousin” focused on Jo’s uncle’s garage.

I grew up watching The Facts of Life.  Despite spinning off of Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life became our show of choice, and this season of The Facts of Life is classic with the girls still in school and having realistic reasons remaining together.

facts of life season 3 episode 15 starstruck jermaine jackson guest star

…because you couldn’t get Michael

The show’s plots are very standard ’80s sitcoms.  There are a lot of “issue driven” episodes that later would be known as “a very special episode of Blossom” due to that series’ attempts to push dramatic stories.  They are episodes without lasting repercussions and for the most part standalone.

The cast acts in the style of the show.  It is overacting but it works with the forced laugh track.  Charlotte Rae is technically the “star”, but it always feels that she’s overshadowed by her wards.  Interestingly enough about the series is how balanced it is…there is no breakout star.  Kim Fields, Lisa Whelchel, Nancy McKeon, and Mindy Cohn all get about equal time.  The season features some guest-stars like Jermaine Jackson, Blair’s cousin Geri (Geri Jewell), Megan Follows, Donnelly Rhodes, Norman Adler, and other character actors.  The characters introduced in the first season Julie Anne Haddock, Felice Schachter, and Sue Ann Weaver do make cameos this season before disappearing until a mini-reunion in Season 8.

facts of life season 3 episode 16 teh four muskateers jo blair tootie natalie bathroom lisa whelchel nancy mckeon kim fields mindy cohn

I officially propose that in a few years the Facts of Life girls regroup to become the new Golden Girls!

The show looks like an ’80s show and is fun to revisit the styles.  The standard set based episodes are limited so you can always tell when they plan a spin-off episode like “The Academy” and “Jo’s Cousin” where the sets are more elaborate and plentiful.  The sets are even reused within the season with a diner in “Runaway” appearing in the next episode (but redesigned) in “New York, New York”.  It is cheap but expected.

The Facts of Life is fun nostalgia if you grew up with the show.  Kids that like Full House and other standard sitcoms might actually like the throwbacks of the series, but mostly it is for those wanting to go back to their childhood.  It is still (even in these PC times) pretty wholesome and the characters often learn lessons…the facts of life I guess.  Falling after The Facts of Life—Season 3, The Facts of Life Goes to Paris aired in 1982 before Season 4.

The Facts of Life—Season 3 Complete Episode Guide:

facts of life season 3 episode 1 growing pains tootie drinks wine kim fields

“Growing Pains”

3.1       Growing Pains Airdate:  10/28/81

Tootie (Kim Fields) finds that Blair (Lisa Whelchel), Jo (Nancy McKeon), and Natalie (Mindy Cohn) are all treating her like a kid.  When Blair brings back wine from their summer vacation, Tootie has her own party and could get expelled when Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) finds out.

facts of life season 3 episode 2 fear strikes back natalie attacked mrs garrett charoltte rae mindy cohn

“Fear Strikes Back”

3.2       Fear Strikes Back Airdate:  11/04/81

When Natalie is attacked on the way home from a campus party, she is afraid to go out because of her fear.

facts of life season 3 episode 3 a baby in the house sean cassidy pillow natalie jo nancy mckeon mindy cohn

“A Baby in the House”

3.3       A Baby in the House Airdate:  11/11/81

Blair’s friend Alison (Heather Kerr) comes back to Eastland for a visit bringing her new baby.  When Alison leaves without the baby, Mrs. Garrett, Blair, Tootie, Jo, and Natalie realize Alison’s abandoned her…and they have to play mommy.

facts of life season 3 episode 4 a friend in deed blair mom cancer marj dusay lisa whelchel

“A Friend in Deed”

3.4       A Friend in Deed Airdate:  11/18/81

Blair’s cousin Geri (Geri Jewell) is in town but so is Blair’s mother (Marj Dusay) when she’s supposed to be having a facelift.  When Blair finds out that her mother is hiding a biopsy, Blair doesn’t know how to deal with it.  Jo tries to get a job at the motorcycle store and looks to Blair for help.

facts of life season 3 episode 5 front page jo teacher steve anderson nancy mckeon

“Front Page”

3.5       Front Page Airdate:  11/25/81

Jo finds herself at odds with her journalism teacher Mr. Gideon (Steve Anderson).  When she gets a tip that Gideon was busted for possessing cocaine, Jo sets to write her smear article.

facts of life season 3 episode 6 give and take mrs garrett charlotte rae

“Give and Take”

3.6       Give and Take Airdate:  12/02/81

Mrs. Garrett seems distracted as Tootie, Blair, Natalie, and Jo find that she doesn’t have time for them…but Mrs. Garrett has her own problems that could cause her to leave Eastland.

facts of life season 3 episode 7 sweet sorrow jo boyfriend eddie bob clark brandon shawn stevens nancy mckeon

“Sweet Sorrow”

3.7       Sweet Sorrow Airdate:  12/09/81

Jo’s boyfriend Eddie (Clark Brandon) has come to visit but finds Jo paired up with Bob (Shawn Stevens) for a project on marriage…but Bob has more than just a passing interest in Jo.

facts of life season 3 episode 8 from russia with love natalie grandmother molly picon mindy cohn

“From Russia with Love”

3.8       From Russia with Love Airdate:  12/16/81

It is a winter break, and Natalie has big plans for a date.  Natalie finds her grandmother Mona (Molly Picon) has come to Eastland, and Natalie discovers her plans are ruined.

facts of life season 3 episode 9 dear me blair tootie natalie jo mrs garrett lia whelchel kim fields nancy mckeon mindy cohn

“Dear Me”

3.9       Dear Me Airdate:  12/23/81

Tootie doesn’t want to go on an overnight hike with the boy school and creates a fictitious boyfriend “Teddy”…and must write herself to keep the girls believing her.

facts of life season 3 episode 10 cousin geri returns lou richards

“Cousin Geri Returns”

3.10     Cousin Geri Returns Airdate:  12/30/81

Geri is in town for a comedy gig and gets a date from Eastland’s French teacher Mr. Palmer (Lou Richards), but Blair worries that Palmer is using Geri.

facts of life season 3 episode 11 legacy blair tootie lisa whelchel kim fields


3.11     Legacy Airdate:  01/06/82

Blair’s building a library in her grandfather’s legacy.  Blair asks Natalie to do a story for the paper, but Natalie uncovers that Blair’s grandfather opposed desegregation leading Blair to question the relationship she had with him.

facts of life season 3 episode 12 green eyed monster south pacific tootie natalie mindy cohn kim fields

“Green-Eyed Monster”

3.12     Green-Eyed Monster Airdate:  01/13/82

A performance of South Pacific has Tootie and Natalie at odds when Tootie “steals” the lead from Natalie.

facts of life season 3 episode 13 the americanization of miko lauren tom

“The Americanization of Miko”

3.13     The Americanization of Miko Airdate:  01/20/82

Miko (Lauren Tom) is adjusting to life in America, but her father Mr. Wakamatsu (Mako) doesn’t approve of Miko’s new lifestyle and decides Miko shouldn’t be at Eastland.

facts of life season 3 episode 14 the marriage brokers garrett ernest norman alden charlotte rae

“The Marriage Brokers”

3.14     The Marriage Brokers Airdate:  01/27/82

Mrs. Garrett’s “friend” Ernest Melbourne (Norman Alden) has come to visit.  Blair thinks Mr. Melbourne is using Mrs. Garrett when she learns Mr. Melbourne doesn’t want to get married.

facts of life season 3 episode 15 starstruck jermaine jackson guest star tootie kim fields


3.15     Starstruck Airdate:  02/03/82

Tootie and her Jermaine Jackson fan club is Tootie’s only love causing Tootie to miss assignment and forget a promise to Jo.  Mrs. Garrett worries that Tootie’s obsession could be dangerous when she sees the level of Tootie’s fanaticism.

facts of life season 3 episode 16 the four musketeers paint fight nancy mckeon lisa whelchel kim fields mindy cohn

“The Four Musketeers”

3.16     The Four Musketeers Airdate:  02/10/82

Tootie, Natalie, Blair, and Jo’s probation is over and the girls learn that they can move out.  Feuding, the girls split up but staying apart could be difficult.

facts of life season 3 episode 17 the affair natalies father norman burton mindy cohn

“The Affair”

3.17     The Affair Airdate:  02/17/82

A trip to a New York City high-end restaurant with Blair, Natalie finds her father (Norman Burton) is having an affair…and decides she must confront him.

facts of life season 3 episode 18 runaway tootie prostitute kim fields tammy lauren


3.18     Runaway Airdate:  02/24/82

Tootie decides to runaway to New York City to meet Jo, Blair, and Natalie to prove she’s responsible.  When Tootie misses the girls, she finds herself lost in New York City alone and a young prostitute named Kristy (Tammy Lauren) is asked to recruit Tootie.

facts of life season 3 episode 19 new york new york jo blair alex kenin dana kimmell lisa whelchel nancy mckeon

“New York, New York”

3.19     New York, New York Airdate:  03/03/82

A trip to New York City for Blair and Jo has Blair and Jo realizing that their lives have changed since going to Eastland when they meet up with their old friends Dina Becker (Dana Kimmell) and Jesse (Alexa Kenin).

facts of life season 3 episode 20 kids can be cruel blair lisa whelchen dan frischman

“Kids Can Be Cruel”

3.20     Kids Can Be Cruel Airdate:  03/17/82

When Blair’s burn book exposes Natalie’s crush on Tim Holifield (Marc Poppel), Natalie sets out to get revenge on Blair by hooking her up with Rocky (Dan Frischman)…but neither one realize Rocky’s feelings could be hurt.

facts of life season 3 episode 21 mind your own business natalie blair lisa whelchel mindy cohn

“Mind Your Own Business”

3.21     Mind Your Own Business Airdate:  03/24/82

When Blair reads Natalie’s diary, Natalie and Blair decide to set up rules for the room and everyone’s privacy.

facts of life season 3 episode 22 the academy spin off jimmy baio john p navin peter frechette

“The Academy”

3.22     The Academy Airdate:  03/31/82

Jo’s friend Buzz Ryan (Jimmy Baio) calls from the Stone Military Academy for a date, and Jo omits the truth about Buzz to hook him up with Blair.  Tootie finds himself matched with Chip Nelson (David Raynr), Natalie meets Alfred Webster (John P. Navin Jr.) while Jo juggles George Knight (Peter Frechette) and Hank (Ben Marley).  When George tries to trap Buzz with Major Dorsey (David Ackroyd), Buzz and Blair must find a way out.

facts of life season 3 episode 23 jos cousin spin-off donnelly rhodes megan follows john mengatti dw brown

“Jo’s Cousin”

3.23     Jo’s Cousin Airdate:  04/14/82

Jo goes to visit her uncle’s garage.  As Sal Largo (Donnelly Rhodes) prepares for the birthday of his daughter Terry (Megan Follows), Jo learns that Terry is interested in dating the family friend Tony (Grant Cramer).  With Terry’s brothers Paul (John Mengatti) and Bud (D.W. Brown) trying to run interference on the date, Sal realizes Terry is growing up.

facts of life season 3 episode 24 read no evil book banning mrs garrett natalie charlotte rae mindy cohn

“Read No Evil”

3.24     Read No Evil Airdate:  05/05/82

Natalie learns that the Eastland Library is censoring books.  Mrs. Garrett encourages Natalie to take her complaints to the paper but learns that the situation might be bigger than she thought…causing Natalie to lose her job.

Related Links:

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

The Facts of Life—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Facts of Life Goes to Paris (1982)

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.

Leave A Response