A spin-off from "Diff'rent Strokes" (the first episode has a guest appearance from the Drummonds) and incredibly popular on its own during its run, "Facts of Life" had an impressive run that lasted from 1979-1988. The series saw Edna Garrett (Charlotte Ray) becoming the housemother at a popular boarding school, watching over the girls and teaching them those facts about life. Just about every episode had the girls facing a serious subject (drugs, dieting, sex, acceptance, friendship and adoption are just some of the subjects the show tackled over the years) and trying to overcome their issues before the credits rolled.
Although the series had quite a few speaking parts in the first season, the producers smartly narrowed the focus for the second season, where the main characters are the ones that audiences would follow for years - rich girl Blair (Lisa Whelchel), gossip Tootie (Kim Fields), funny Natalie (Mindy Cohn) and the newcomer, bad girl Jo (Nancy McKeon).
3- 1 28 Oct 81 Growing Pains
* When Blair, Jo and Natalie have a wine party in the room and don't invite Tootie, she shows them she's not a kid anymore by getting drunk.
3- 2 4 Nov 81 Fear Strikes Back
* Natalie is attacked when she walks home from a costume party alone, and is afraid to go out again.
3- 3 11 Nov 81 A Baby in the House
* A former student who got married and had a baby comes for a visit than vanishes, leaving the girls and Mrs. Garrett to care for the child.
3- 4 18 Nov 81 A Friend in Deed
* Blair is shocked to find out that her mother's recent hospital visit for cosmetic surgery was actually a procedure to test for breast cancer.
3- 5 25 Nov 81 Front Page
* In order to get back at her journalism teacher, Jo writes a story about a drug arrest, but doesn't get all of her facts straight.
3- 6 2 Dec 81 Give and Take
* Mrs. Garrett suffers from a financial setback and has to take a second job, but the girls are too self-involved to notice.
3- 7 9 Dec 81 Sweet Sorrow
* Jo's boyfriend Eddie feels they are growing apart, especially with Jo spending so much time with a boy from Bates Academy.
3- 8 16 Dec 81 From Russia With Love
* Natalie gets an unexpected visit from her old-fashioned grandmother, who still treats her like a child.
3- 9 23 Dec 81 Dear Me
* Under pressure from the other girls to date a boy from the Bates Academy, Tootie tries to fool the girls by writing herself letters from an imaginary boyfriend.
3-10 30 Dec 81 Cousin Geri Returns
* Blair is afraid her Cousin Geri is going to get her heart broken when a handsome teacher asks her out on a date.
3-11 6 Jan 82 Legacy
* Just as the school is putting finishing touches on a new library in honor of Blair's late grandfather, a dark secret about him surfaces.
3-12 13 Jan 82 Green-Eyed Monster
* Even though Natalie had her heart set on the lead role, Tootie gets picked to start in the school's production of "South Pacific", causing jealousy to rear its ugly head.
3-13 20 Jan 82 The Americanization of Miko
* The new Japanese students rebels when her strict father insists that she move back to Tokyo.
3-14 27 Jan 82 The Marriage Brokers
* When the girls find out that Mrs. Garrett has a date with a man she's known for fifteen years, the girls feel it's time that he proposed.
3-15 3 Feb 82 Starstruck
* Mrs. Garrett worries that Tootie's crush on singer Jermaine Jackson is turning into a full-blown obsession.
3-16 10 Feb 82 The Four Musketeers
* Arguing more than ever, and with their probation period over, the girls all decide they'd rather move back into the dorms and live separately.
3-17 17 Feb 82 The Affair
* At an exclusive restaurant in Manhattan, Mrs. Garrett and the girls spot Natalie's father, who is dining with his mistress.
3-18 24 Feb 82 Runaway
* Tootie runs off to New York City, hoping to see a Broadway play, but ends up in Times Square, where a pimp tries to recruit her.
3-19 3 Mar 82 New York, New York
* Rivals Blair and Jo head into the city to meet with old friends, but are surprised to find how much they've changed since they've been at Eastland.
3-20 17 Mar 82 Kids Can Be Cruel
* When Blair blabs about Natalie's secret crush, Natalie retaliates by setting up Blair with a nerd.
3-21 24 Mar 82 Mind Your Own Business
* When Blair reads Natalie's diary, the girls feel the need to draw up a set of privacy rules, with disasterous results.
3-22 31 Mar 82 The Academy
* Jo's friend Buzz, who was sent off to a military academy, needs a date for the big dance, so she sets him up with Blair.
3-23 14 Apr 82 Jo's Cousin
* Jo gets caught up in a family frama, when she visits her uncle, who doesn't like the idea of his own tomboy daughter being interested in boys.
3-24 5 May 82 Read No Evil
* Newspaper editor Natalie writes an editorial against the controversial book banning going on at Eastland and then finds herself fired from her position.
VIDEO: "Facts of Life" is presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. Considering the age of the series, "Facts of Life" looks surprisingly decent. Sharpness and detail aren't remarkable, but the picture at least looks mostly crisp, with only the occasional touch of softness.
A few minor instances of wear and some slight shimmering appeared on occasion, but the presentation otherwise looked clean and clear. Colors looked natural and nicely saturated, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The show is offered here in basic mono audio, but the sound does come across well, with no distortion or other issues.
Final Thoughts:"Facts" is sappy at times, but the show doesn't seem quite as dated as some other sitcoms from the era. Fans who liked the show during its original broadcast run are likely going to find revisiting the series on DVD a pleasant experience. The DVD set offers fine audio/video quality, but no supplements. Recommended for fans.