The Final Times “The Facts of Life” Was Gay

The Final Times “The Facts of Life” Was Gay

As of season 7, Tootie is (finally) 16, Natalie has decided to not go to college after her father’s unexpected death, and Jo and Blair are still trying to figure out what to be. This is also the season that introduces George Clooney as layabout George Burnett, the handyman and elevates itty bitty MacKenzie Astin to regular. And? This is when it gets really obvious that Charlotte Rae will be leaving. She’s gone for half the season, and you barely notice.

Except that it seems there’s surprisingly less gay when Clooney is around.

I guess we can make a joke there…

Anyway, the heteronormativity of the final seasons aside, we were still able to fine some fun gay moments in the final seasons of The Facts of Life. And no, it’s not about the mullets.

Double Dating

It’s time for George’s high school reunion and he wants to impress the girl he longed for. So he gets Blair to fill in as his snazzy date. Only Blair is double booked, and has to get Jo to help her try to get out of it.

Yes, her brilliant idea was to pull Jo into the closet. Jo ends up borrowing one of Blair’s dresses and going with George as his Duchess fiancé. Blair eventually shows up and they pretend to be twins.

Empty Nesters

In the end of season seven, Natalie and Tootie (temporarily) move out, leaving Blair and Jo alone. Of note here, Blair has redecorated and Jo let her.

The rest of their conversation is banal as possible. They talk about the weather, Mrs. Garrett, farming, Stocks, and the Mets.

I can find no heterosexual explanation.

Gayer than the Mullet

Season eight begins with Mrs. Garrett getting married and leaving. She’s replaced by Queer Coded Beverly Ann Stickle. No really.

She has short hair. She wears pants (shorts) and suspenders. She drives around in a Winnebago. She also had a disastrous first marriage.

Made for Each Other

After Beverly Ann accidentally wipes Blair’s guy-rating app (yes, Blair invented Facebook), Jo reimports the code with a few tweaks, making the ’10’ Blair went out with a 2, and the 2 Jo went out with a 10. The irony? The original-10 guy is basically a male version of Jo.

Of course it ends with the girls dating the boys for a while, but come on. Jo’s Blair’s perfect guy.

Blair Sports

As graduation from Langely looms, Blair has all sorts of requirements to finish off. Like she has to get a job for work credits (she slings tacos) and she has to play sports! Bring in Jo!

Of course, Jo accidentally breaks Blair’s ankle, resulting in Blair being more of a princess than normal and Jo doting on her.

Sha-la-la La-la-la La-la-la-la’s

Teen Idols (from the 60s) Bobby Rydell and Fabian show up and claim they used to live in the house where the girls now live. Beverly Ann has a flashback of life in the 60s, where in she plays the beatnik boarding house owner. The girls show up in the most predictable character archetypes possible.

Jo is Rizzo, Blair is Pinky, and I just cannot explain that dream sequence. The girls have a ‘hit song’ called “Hot Rod Lover” and do a full dance sequence and sing and I gave up to the giggles.

Jo vs Jo-Jo

One of Lisa Welchel’s unrecognized talents is as a ventriloquist. Once, she pulled Jo into her lap and pretended to use her for a dummy. So logically the next step is …

Yes, she made a little dummy that looks just like Jo and she did a total Jo voice. But that’s just what friends do. I totally have dummies made of my best friends so I can enjoy their presence when they can’t be here…

Legal Eagle

It’s the Friday before the LSATs and Blair has not studied at all. Not one iota. Why? Because she was going to pay her way into school. At least that was the plan before the dean at Langley Law (yeah) informed her that they require she get a 42 (out of 48) on the LSATs.

Queue the montage of Blair and Jo studying together.

In the end, Blair crams for 14 hours and then goes to take the exam while letting Jo sleep in. How does she do? In the final episode of the season, Blair got a 42 and got into Langley Law. And Jo? She leaves Peekskill for LA!

Hey, Sailor

It’s a reverse costume party where Jo is in a tux and her date (Rick) is in a dress. And her dad shows up. But before then, Blair admires Jo.

Sadly Jo was out on a date with Rick, whom she ended up marrying, but Rick was really like a male Blair, only less snooty (he was a good looking, relatively wealthy, talented musician). And yes, Blair married a male Jo. Teen Mika is still mad.

There’s no one else like Blair

Earlier in season 8, it was established that Jo hates hospitals. So naturally when Blair’s hurt, that’s where she is. And she’s not complaining at all. In fact, she’s comforting Casey (Jo’s boss and Blair’s boyfriend), because they both love Blair.

One of the gayest scenes without Blair in it! Speaking up gay, how about the fact that Jo snuck back and was there to wake up Blair?

And the rest of the episode was all about Casey confessing his love, but that works well when you remember he’s a Jo-analogue.

“I’m One of Them”

If this was any other show, this would be the true confession. Instead, what it is, is Jo trying to talk Sandy (the suicide counsellor) out of … committing suicide … Blair hears Jo is on the roof, that it’s a suicide attempt, and runs to help.

There are actually 3 more episodes after this, but basically Tootie’s going to London (with her fiancé, Jeff), Natalie moved to SoHo (no word about if Snake is coming), Jo got married (I know!!!), and Blair bought Eastland. But for me? This is where it ends. A declaration of love.

That brings us to the end! The show did get considerably less gay as the girls got older, sadly, and the big hair (and shoulder pads) made it easy to forget what you were watching. The halcyon days of the show’s peak absolutely was the three years where they were in high school and lived in that small storage room. At the end, the show set up multiple spinoffs (for Natalie and Blair at least), but really all that happened is … Blair bought Eastland, made it co-ed, and the show ended.

Some things never change, though. Jo and Blair forever loved to pit against each other and torment each other. They never passed up a chance to see the other one embarrassed, but they were never far from each other’s sides when they were in need. It’s been two (almost three) years since they announced a reboot, and I can only hope they keep it as gay as possible.

Oh and if you were wondering about the movies and the bonuses like Facts of Life Down Under? Well that’s a binge for another day.

If you want to have The Facts of Life all to yourself, so you could reminisce, pick up the complete DVD collection via Amazon.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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