I was watching a trailer for Lifetime’s College Admission’s scandal earlier today and wondered why the name Penelope Ann Miller was familiar to me. It’s probably not because she guest starred in this episode of The Facts of Life (I think as a character with a really cartoonish voice), but I decided to watch it anyway.
First of all, I don’t understand the premise of this show in its final season. Why are these grown women living with Cloris Leachman? Why was anyone watching the episodes where George Clooney wasn’t present?
[No George sighting as of yet.]
Also, I would like to go on record here — there is no way that Jo and Blair weren’t closeted lesbians. I know Jo marries that man next season or whatever but the sexual tension between her and Blair is palpable. I know the writers want me to think that they’re frenemies, but that is NOT THE VIBE THEY ARE THROWING AND I WILL DIE ON THIS HILL.
Anyhow, the major controversy of this episode appears to be that Tootie is rushing a sorority and Natalie wants to write a story about it for The Peekskill Press. Oh and she’s undercover so she’s wearing this insane and not at all low-key outfit and wig:
The B-Plot of this episode is Jo convincing Blair to play field hockey. Blair getting injured. And then Jo helping her around constantly because they are in L-O-V-E. I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Obviously, Tootie can easily see through Natalie’s disguise. And they get into a big argument because they each feel that their goals are being undervalued in the relationship. (Once again, I think it may be a good time to point out that it is not always good to live with your best friend for twenty-seven years or however long it has been at this point unless you’re in a Golden Girls situation, which I wholeheartedly support).
Tootie wants Natalie to stop jeopardizing her chances of getting into this sorority by not-so-subtly writing an article on it in a poor disguise. And Natalie wants Tootie to support her first article in the newspaper–
Oh and I should point out that Natalie was not given this assignment. She got some weird vague opportunity to write “an article” for the newspaper and seemed to be able to pick whatever she wanted to write. This includes and idea she floated to the group (including Cloris Leachman’s young teenage son) called “Illicit Sex in Peekskill.” (Once again, I’d like to point out that these living arrangements feel really weird and rapidly leaning towards creepy. I’ve never been a big commune person but this is starting to feel like one and a bad one. I would advise Jo to run if anyone pulls out the kool aid packets because she’s the only character I feel at this point could function in society.)
Anyway, Blair convinces Tootie and Natalie to support one another in following their dreams or whatever. This involves Natalie writing her article and Blair proofing it (and Tootie not trying to stop her). However, when a sorority sister comes over to pick up Tootie (who has her own car) for the rush party (for entirely plot-contrived reasons), the sorority sister steals Natalie’s article. And this is 1987 SO THERE ARE NO DIGITAL BACKUPS. Natalie then heads over to the party and accuses Tootie of stealing the article.
While Natalie is at home re-writing her article, Tootie finds out that the sorority sister is a thief when she literally hands Tootie the article. And she’s all like “your sorority sisters are the most important things in your life now I STOLE THIS FOR YOU!!!” Please note, this is not an accurate quote and I fully made it up, but it is still 100% true to the spirit of the text.
Tootie decides not to pledge the sorority. Natalie admits her jealously about Tootie having new friends (omggggggg). And Natalie and Tootie pledge their undying loyalty to one another.
Very Special Lesson: I would suggest group therapy for this crowd, but I’m legitimately frightened by the thought of them spending any additional time together.