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November 25th, 2001

Sorry, No Jo

As promised in last week’s Pings to Do, here is the report on the Facts of Life Reunion shown on ABC last Sunday: it sucked worse than an ultra-powered Hoover.

I was quite psyched at the prospect of Mrs. Garrett returning with her four girls and reliving some memories. Shoot, I would have even dealt with the return of that annoying twit Mackenzie Astin. Instead, what I got was a crap ass Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen script reverse-fitted to a partial Facts of Life cast. Perhaps the worst part was that the movie alluded to the return of Jo Polniaczek at some point late in the movie, but instead delivered only her daughter and husband. I guess Nancy McKeon was too busy with The Division.

I honestly cannot stress how awful this “reunion” was. It would have been easy to please me: put the crew back at Eastland and let them relive some memories while showing how each had matured over the years. But no, instead, the Stamp of Suckfest was emblazened all over this script. Imagine, if you will, Natalie with two boyfriends. The cliched “keep one boyfriend away from the other while trying to date both of them” routine starts things off but degenerates into “the two boyfriends meet and argue about who Natalie will choose and decide to have a competition that ends with the two men in boxers pushing each other.” But nothing, nothing, demonstrates how painfully bad the writing was on this movie more than the line Tootie had when insisting that it would be no problem for Mrs. Garrett to push Thanksgiving dinner up a day (paraphrased): “Sure, Mrs. Garrett can do it. She can do anything! Didn’t you ever watch our show?”

But, as the theme song said, “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…” With a steaming pile that even Eisner should be embarrassed by (and tell me, Disney, why remake Brian’s Song? Was the original not emotional enough for you?), there were a few redeeming qualities. Charlotte Rae’s return as Mrs. Garrett was excellent. She had some great lines (“You look even better than your JPG!”) and was even more entertaining than she was on the original show (and who knew she was even still alive?). Blair (with license plate: BLR WTCH) and Tootie both looked good and there was something comforting about seeing Natalie, even though her character was nothing like during the show.

While I’m disappointed with how painfully awful the reunion was, I’m also not totally surprised. After all, it was presented on Sunday night’s “Wonderful World of Disney,” whose only halfway-worthwhile spawn was Mr. Boogedy. Perhaps somewhere down the line, we’ll see a reunion movie that will really bring back some memories… like an ass-baring Ricky Schroder joining up with an ass-baring Joel Higgins in a Silver Spoons reunion. Until then, we’re all left with the collective bad taste of the bad, bad, bad Facts of Life Reunion. Thanks for ruining our memories, Disney. -ram

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: fresh
DATE: Sunday November 25, 2001 -- 12:12:21PM
worst reunion-tv-show-into-a-movie-ever period althoguh gilligans island was pretty bad as well

FROM: Maria
DATE: Sunday November 25, 2001 -- 5:59:29PM
The main reason I watched the reunion movie is because I heard Nancy McKeon had said she wanted nothing to do with it, unless Jo was in a coffin. I wanted to see if the producers took her up on it. That would have redeemed an otherwise horrible movie and waste of viewers' time.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Sunday November 25, 2001 -- 10:10:10PM
Ryan, I really hope you actually erased this from your TiVO (or whatever it is you have).

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday November 25, 2001 -- 10:15:42PM
Maria -- Apparently, they were toying with the idea of a dead Jo in the plot, but, alas, they went with "Jo is a police officer than can't leave her job."

Robert -- Yes, it was quickly erased after I watched it. And, of course, the only reason I watched the whole thing was so that I could provide a thorough review for the Ping audience. Of course.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Monday November 26, 2001 -- 12:18:48AM
Was it up there with the Growing Pain reunion?

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday July 9, 2002 -- 9:51:05 am
PCJM had a link to the mighty scary Facts of Life Fan Fiction that I just had to pass on...

FROM: Charlotte Rae Fan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday July 18, 2002 -- 6:18:38 pm
I rather liked the reunion...although I have to agree, Natalie wasn't the same. Maybe I'm just partial though, to Facts of Life, because it got me through so many things. Who knows, but, there is ONE thing I do agree with you on...and that is Charlotte Rae's acting! She was indeed, usual!"I can't help you with instruments of self-destruction, but, Java I got!"
Granted, it wasn't the BEST Facts of Life ever, but I'd really have to say that Brain and Sylvia was the WORST Facts of Life ever...I mean, did that even really have anything to do with FOL?!
nice review though, good to get other people's opinions!

God Bless,
~Lizzie Marie~

DATE: Monday September 16, 2002 -- 1:25:42 am

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday September 16, 2002 -- 2:56:01 pm
Opinions are like ellipses?

FROM: Mark
DATE: Wednesday September 18, 2002 -- 4:31:15 pm
The guy at the end was Jo. She had a sex change and became a man. At the end Edna says"....blah blah blah my girls and to Jo for going for it" did you all miss it. The man was JO.

FROM: Keith
DATE: Friday September 20, 2002 -- 4:17:19 am
It was pretty awful...although I thought Charlotte Rae looked pretty elderly and had put on quite a bit of weight.
She seemed confused a bit too.

FROM: Charlotte Rae Fan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday February 17, 2003 -- 4:52:42 pm
Are you an idiot? That guy at the end was jo's husband, Rick. Which reminds me, that kinda sucked too. They pulled a Brady Bunch and used a different guy to play Rick. The original would've been just fine!
And, there was one other thing that bothered me. The scene when Blair was giving Jamie and Sam a lecture...whoa...I mean, she says she was embarrassed by Geri, when, she wasn't. They only had Mrs. G say it who knows how many times in the episode 'Cousing Geri' that she wasn't embarrassed of Geri, she was JEALOUS of her, but some idiot can't keep their "facts" straight. Pardon the pun.

DATE: Wednesday November 19, 2003 -- 11:03:07 am

FROM: Myztique
DATE: Sunday January 4, 2004 -- 4:29:31 pm
I didn't think the show was bad. I just saw it for the first time on ABC Family channel. It wasn't blockbuster or anything, but it was okay. The plot could have been more developed along with the characters...

FROM: Miss C
DATE: Tuesday January 6, 2004 -- 11:01:40 pm
NO WAY! That movies was CRAP CRAP CRAP! Natalie a player? GET REAL! Plus the plot made it seem like it was okay to play with people's emotions and make them think they are the only one! If she were dating two (which would still be a SHOCK based on her sitcom character then fine) but making them believe they were the only one? Get REAL! Also the cuter guys PROPOSING to her at the end without even seeing if she is trustworthy? I

DATE: Tuesday January 6, 2004 -- 11:02:52 pm

DATE: Tuesday January 6, 2004 -- 11:03:41 pm

FROM: Miss C
DATE: Tuesday January 6, 2004 -- 11:07:59 pm
I was meaning to put that I wanted to see Jo as well George Clooney

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:54:07 pm

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