A "very special episode" that fails under weak writing and acting and an unsupportable continuity issue
jaybeebrad from United States
3 November 2017
The writers of "Facts of Life" were obviously beefing up the 9th and
final season with opportunities to showcase Lisa Whelchel as Blair, as
the plan was to carry her over to a spin-off series.
In this, the 18th episode of season 9, Blair crashes her car after
falling asleep at the wheel. She wakes up in the hospital with a
massive gash across her forehead. The episode essentially focuses
around her horror at no longer being "perfect"; moreover, that her only
worth is her looks and those will forever be tainted.
There's a long childhood story about a spotless white dress that Blair
tells, setting up a metaphor for her now blemished face, but it comes
off overwrought and trite. Jo is the only one who finds out about the
injury, and chooses to tell Blair's boyfriend after Blair breaks up
with him in a preemptive attempt at stopping him from calling it off
with her over her tainted appearance.
The episode wraps up with Blair and her beau patching things up and
everyone reassuring Blair there is more to her than just her looks. The
whole thing is an obvious attempt to showcase Lisa Whelchel's acting
chops, but unfortunately she just doesn't have them. This may be the
reason why the spin-off was axed: Whelchel simply isn't as good an
actor as Charlotte Rae, and there's no way she could have pulled off an
entire series as the motherly headmaster.
Additionally the writers really didn't think through the scar
situation, as the following six episodes feature not a trace of the
injury in question. There are references in conversation in this
episode to plastic surgery, but an injury this severe would take
numerous surgeries over a year if not more, so a real continuity
It's not the worst episode in a series that featured more "very
special" ones than you could count, but the trite writing and shaky
acting make it one worth skipping.
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