The Facts of Life: The First Time

I feel like The Facts of Life did not live up to it’s name because everyone on this show was a virgin until the last season when they’re all well into their twenties. And I mean obviously, this is a very personally thing that doesn’t have to happen at a certain age, I just feel like statistically it’s odd that they’re all still virgins. But honestly, they all shared one bedroom for basically forever so maybe that hampered things. It’s the late 80’s and the girls live with Cloris Leachman (for unclear reasons). Blair isn’t in this episode because Lisa Whelchel objected to the subject matter for personal reasons. The house is actually a lot more pleasant without her.

No one tapped that on The Facts of Life.

The episode starts off with Snake (Natalie’s boyfriend) showing up to take her out for their one year anniversary. He wears coveralls and makes Natalie feel unappreciated, but hey it’s all one big fake out joke and he’s got a suit underneath! That’s the kind of guy you want to lose your virginity to, am I right?  Snake is about thirty-five years old and also apparently a virgin. After a special night of romantic dining, no one wants to say goodnight, and that’s how babies are made! Just kidding, this is The Facts of Life and Natalie’s a core cast member, so you can trust that she’s well prepared.

Natalie comes home at 5 am and wakes up Tootie to tell her she lost her virginity. Then at breakfast she tries to tell Jo, but the two kids who live with him (why??) keep barging into the room and she can’t finish the story. Then it’s just Cloris Leachman (who is apparently Mrs. Garret’s sister and therefore privy to all of the intimate stuff) and the girls, so Natalie can finally brag about her night. And then they are so SHOCKED that Jo spills a pile of cereal onto the table and Cloris Leachman’s knees buckle. Then they all quietly slut shame Natalie because Cloris waited until marriage. And Tootie is waiting until marriage. And Jo won’t comment. Then everyone says that she’s probably going to get pregnant. And that’s really why this show is past it’s prime. It’s okay to have life lessons when you’re fifteen, but I’m offended that all of these adult women are commenting on another adult woman’s personal decision.

Then Snake calls and tells her that he can’t see her for a while. Because that’s what guys do. They date a girl for a whole year just to have sex with her. And then it’s all over after that! That’s a long con I just don’t believe in, but we are expected to believe this plot-line for the next ten minutes. After about 24 hours of not hearing from him, Natalie says she never should have slept with him. The she takes everything out on Jo, who won’t tell her if she was “right”or “wrong.”

Why do the Facts of Life girls live with these people??

Jo has been the only sane person in this episode, but Natalie says she’s afraid of emotions or something and that’s why she won’t judgee her choices. Ugh. So then after some yelling Jo tells her to stop feeling bad just because Snake is being a jerk. Then she says that sex made Natalie forget she was a good person before Snake. What? I’m so confused. I’m so glad I wasn’t a teenager in 1988 because I would have trusted these fools and this episode is really odd.

Anyway, Natalie finally decides that she doesn’t regret anything and it’s not her fault that Snake is being a loser. But then Snake shows up at the door! And it turns out that he’s been so emotionally affected that he avoided her for days to see if he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. So I mean I guess it’s thoughtful in the most selfish way possible. Then he says they’re heading towards marriage and Natalie is like nope. The episode cuts off here on YouTube. So I guess everything ends up okay?

Very Special Lesson: Don’t make life choices without running them by your friends and trusted older adult first. You thought you could make a reasonable decision on your own? Wrong!

22 thoughts on “The Facts of Life: The First Time

  1. As a guy, I can honestly say there is no greater joy than sleeping with a girl after dating her for a year and then fleeing the country. Every guy has done it.

    1. Yeah and theres nothing like watching that same guy slowly become fat ugly and end up empty and alone before he dies

  2. I was a teen in 88–my mom loved that episode for obvious reasons lol. And if this was an episode of the Cosby Show about Vanessa-& one of her friends had done the do-’cause you know it wouldn’t have been Vanessa (that’s the only show I can think of on in ’88 with a teen right now) it would have been a “good moral lesson” Or even if it was about one of the teens on Facts, it would have made more sense. But for grown women all in their 20s it’s OTT ridiculous with the morals.

  3. I remember an interview with Mindy Cohn in which she said that the writers originally wanted Blair to be the one to lose her virginity. But when Lisa Whelchel objected due to her religious beliefs, Mindy said, “Hey, I’ll do it!”

    1. Oh my gosh, I am just now replying to your comment a year late! This is a very tardy response haha. I just got another comment on this post and decided to look back at the overall comment list, so I saw yours sticking out like a sore thumb! Yes, I remember Mindy being super on-board for this episode, feeling that it was probably well overdue. Lisa actually skipped the episode entirely because it disagreed with her beliefs. I’ve always thought that the most interesting thing about this episode was Snake’s reaction more than Natalie’s.

  4. I love that you made a whole blog post out of this. God bless the 21st-century. There’s insightful and funny commentary on everything, no matter how obscure. But now I have to wonder if Natalie and Snake ever got back together?

  5. First of all, if I remember the series the girls had graduated from Eastland about four years earlier, which would have made them perhaps 22 or 23 in that particular episode.

    Secondly, there is nothing like applying your 2015 sensibilities of morals and ethics — or your lack of them — to a show that was produced almost thirty years earlier.  Not every girl in 1988 was phuquing on the first date, and some *were* saving their virginity until they were married.

    1. They specifically say in the show that Natalie is 21. And I personally have no qualms with anyone choosing to abstain. I think it’s great that Natalie did things in her own time. What I do take issue with is everyone else’s reactions, especially the woman they added in after Mrs. Garrett. Natalie was an adult and didn’t need other adults to treat her with kid gloves over a natural progression in her life.
      Also, if we’re talking 2015 morals, people statistically had sex earlier in the 1980s than statistics show for the 2010s. (http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/22/health/teen-sex-rate/)
      Either way, the fact that 4 women over the age of 21 have not had sex is statistically unlikely. However, 4 is a small sample size so anecdotally it does make sense.
      Finally, this blog pretty exclusively applies 2015 ethics to 1980/1990s TV shows. I lampoon pretty much everything I watch but I still have a lot of love for the Eastland Girls 🙂

  6. So every first sexual experience is supposed to be a glorious good move into “womanhood?” Be real! Be it the 2000’s or 1980’s or any point before or after there are good and bad afters—good and bad choices. So to judge one “after”as bad because her friends did not think this was a good move for this woman at this time in this relationship (you yourself don’t seem to have warm-fuzzy romantic feelings about this guy) seems as judgmental as your opinion of them. Especially as this relationship, for whatever reason, did not last past the sex.

    But as I have lived through both erea’s I may have a more realistic view of such decisions in both. Experience tends to have a mind-broadening effect for some. (Pls forgive me as I lampoon everything I read in-line.)

    1. I’m not sure if your first statement is directed at me or the show, but I certainly don’t look at first sexual experiences as a “glorious good move into womanhood.” Those situations are so dependent on the individuals and circumstances. Some good. Some bad. Some healthy. Some unhealthy. I would never categorically label something like that.
      I’m not judging the “after” in this episode as bad, only reporting that Natalie felt bad when Snake didn’t contact her. And yes, I do take issue with her friends’ behavior, but not necessarily in the way you seem to be implying.
      My main point in this post (and something I’ve always felt about this episode) is that the writing of this show felt a little age-inappropriate, considering how freaked out her friends (who are all in their 20s or older) were about a normal right of passage.
      I do tend to paint in broad brushstroke for comedic effect, but if you go back and watch the episode, her friends have strong reactions to sex in general, not specifically about this relationship. And even if they did feel that there was something unhealthy about this particular relationship and wanted to keep her in check, the way they went about it wasn’t helpful. For most of the episode, they’re so wrapped up in their own feelings and judgments about sex that they are not taking care of their friend.
      I don’t love the Snake character, but if my friend is feeling crappy because some dude hurt her when she did absolutely nothing wrong, I’m not going to unload all of personal judgments onto the situation. I’m going to comfort my friend because that’s what being a friend means. And if that makes me judgmental of her friends, then color me judgmental.

  7. Let’s tip out hats to Jack Riley, Ken Mars, Roger Perry, Hugh Gillin, John Randolph, Robert Alda, Alex Rocco, Murray Matheson, and Charlotte Rae, they have gone to the great Eastland Academy in the sky.

  8. Correction:
    Let’s tip our hats to Jack Riley, Ken Mars, Roger Perry, Hugh Gillin, John Randolph, Robert Alda, Alex Rocco, Murray Matheson, and Charlotte Rae, they have gone to the great Eastland Academy in the sky.

    New stuff:
    Also, let’s tip our hats to Robert Mandan, the TV husband of Charlotte Rae, Mandan went to the great Eastland Academy in the sky. Ironically, Charlotte and Robert went Home to be with the Lord the same year. It seems God had planned that way.

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