I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I used to love The Fact of Life. I was there from the beginning, the days of Molly Ringwald and when Tootie wore skates to try to hide the fact that Kim Fields was so much shorter and younger than the rest of the cast. It started as a group of girls at a boarding school, but soon became about four young girls and Mrs. Garrett.
Jo was by far my favorite. She was a "bad girl" because she rode a motorcycle, although now that I think about it they never actually showed her riding the motorcycle, it was all off screen. She got the other three in trouble and they had to work in the school cafeteria with Mrs. Garrett to pay off the damages they did to the school van. They came from fairly well-to do parents (except Jo), especially Blair, why did they have to work it off? Wouldn't they have been bailed out? The Facts of Life work plot lines work better when you're a kid.
Jo was from the working class, Blair the rich girl, and then there were Natalie and Tootie. They weren't focused on as much, and I can't think of any defining trait of either. They were both nice girls that would deliver a joke. The show seemed to go on forever, Edna was at the school, then opened her own catering business, which makes sense, and they all moved with her, which doesn't make as much sense. After the catering business burnt down she opened a trendy store. This one doesn't make any sense either, but the store seemed to do fine no matter how the economy was. They added characters, there was a boy and even George Clooney as a young handyman. Mrs. Garrett left, her sister came in. At this point I was long gone.
I went back and watched it when I was older, and it just isn't that good of a show. Why do these four always stay together? It's like Laverne and Shirley, when all their friends and family moved with them to California. This doesn't happen in real life, no one moves when you move unless you're married with children. The plots were very formulaic and nothing really groundbreaking happened, and I can't tell you a joke from the show. Oh well, it was the 80s, and it fit in well with the times.