YMMV / The Facts of Life

In the TV series:

  • Ear Worm: "You take the good / you take the bad / you take 'em both / and then you have..."
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Nancy McKeon as Jo is one of the most famous examples in TV history. She was an overnight sensation who completely changed the dynamic of the show, helping to make it a viable commodity.
    • George was so popular it ended up working against his character when his actor started getting much better offers.
  • Foe Yay: A good number of fans see this in Jo and Blair due to the... interesting chemistry that sometimes shows up during their fighting.
    • Common opinion seems to be that if FoL was done in modern times, Jo & Blair would be together and no one would bat an eye.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Joan Rivers infamously dubbed the cast members "The Fats of Life" following an appearance at the Emmys one year.
    • In reality, Lisa Whelchell had gained a bit of weight early in the show, but nothing too out of the ordinary for a teenage girl. Mindy Cohn, on the other hand, was, incidentally, losing weight due to an interest in dance and had to be hidden under baggy clothes.
  • Retroactive Recognition: The guest cast throughout the series is packed with then-unknowns including Helen Hunt, Mayim Bialik, Richard Grieco, David Spade, Seth Green, Jami Gertz, Richard Dean Anderson, Juliette Lewis, Molly Ringwald—oh, yeah, and George freakin' Clooney.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Any regular character outside of Mrs. Garrett and the four girls due to their Cousin Oliver tendencies (save for George.)
    • Of the four girls themselves, Tootie tends to be the least popular. Even as being the youngest of the quartet (which already limited her on storylines at the time), her naiveté can come off as irritating at times. Examples include the episode where her older brother drove her, Natalie and Blair home while drunk and even with the evidence staring her in the face, she stubbornly refused to believe he had a problem or the episode after Natalie's father died and she couldn't understand why she wanted to call her mother all the time or why she didn't want to hang out with her.
  • She Really Can Act: All of the cast had their moments, but when Nancy McKeon cranked on the waterworks, the audience followed suit.
  • Tear Jerker: Many moments. Jo's were especially tear-worthy.
    • The sudden death of Natalie's father went beyond the usual Very Special Episode. Its impact on Natalie spanned a couple of episodes.
    • The episode, "Breaking Point", about the suicide of a schoolmate of theirs named Cynthia who had ran against Blair for student council president (and won). Each of the girls' reactions were really sad (especially Tootie's, who at this point was only 11, who found the girl before she ultimately died and went through periods of shock and anger over why she did it.)
    • The sudden reveal of Jeff's death in the reunion movie.
  • Values Dissonance: Modern audiences will find it highly unsettling to hear the subject of suicide in "Breaking Point" (like when Jo was talking about a friend of hers who jumped to her death and described the girlfriend as ending up "splattered on the sidewalk") being met with laughter.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheFactsOfLife