An Unfortunate Episode: The Facts of Life “Starstruck”

The Facts of Life (Screen: NBC)

In honor of Jermaine Jackson’s 60th birthday, we’re revisiting the weirdest Facts of Life episode ever!
When we look back at the history of Unfortunate Episodes, it’s the cautionary tales we remember most. Don’t trust the bike shop owner who socializes exclusively with kids. Don’t play hide and seek in a broken down refrigerator. Don’t get hooked on caffeine pills. In this case, the unforgettable moral lesson is: don’t become a stalker-level teenage super fan.

This episode of The Facts of Life┬ábegins with Tootie reading a letter to her girlfriends in the Eastland boarding school lounge. Every one of them cranes their neck to glimpse the prized epistle, as Tootie recites, “And my very special thanks to you, Tootie, for starting the Eastland fan club. You certainly are my number one fan. Your friend, Jermaine Jackson.”

All the girls gasp! The hammy ginger of the group says, “You mean he signed it, too? Jermaine Jackson – I could die,” then swoons and falls to her knees. For real? For Jermaine?

Fan club president Tootie moves to their meeting’s next agenda item, which is preparing JJ’s birthday gift. This will include a card, a cake, signed photos of them assembling the card and the cake, and a jar of crunchy peanut butter (HIS FAVORITE). Oh boy. When one of the girls snidely asks if they’re going to sign the peanut butter jar, Tootie tells her giggling crew, “Get serious.” That’s when the other girls break into “Let’s Get Serious”, which I guess was one of Jermaine’s hits? I never hear it on The Groove XM, therefore it’s culturally irrelevant.

Chairman Tootie suffers none of their distracting bullshit. She whips out the final item for Jermaine’s birthday package, a papier mache bust hidden beneath a flannel rag. One of the girls asks if she can help mold and “carress” it, but Tootie gets control freaky. “I grew up with the Jackson 5,” she says. Like, in Gary? Or just in the sense of being a fan? Aren’t you all the same age? Don’t be such a freaking hipster!

Nope, nothin' creepy about this. The Facts of Life (Screen: NBC)
Nope, nothin’ creepy about this.
The Facts of Life (Screen: NBC)

Supreme Leader Tootie then discusses their plan for Saturday – the night of the New York City concert they’ll all be missing. Frowny face! Following the Scholarship Fair (more about that later), the girls will assemble in her room, listen to JJ’s songs all night, then scream his name out the window so he knows they care… for Jermaine is omnipresent. The meeting ends with the girls reciting their solemn oath to him and the fan club. FYI, this is your hint to be VERY AFRAID.

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Tara Rose
About Tara Rose 106 Articles
Since 2009, Tara has been writing snarky essays about pop culture, motherhood and her various neuroses at Rare Oats. She spends most of her other time selling cheese, raising a small human and goofing off with her husband Dan. E-mail: tara@whatelseison.tv
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