‘Facts of Life’ Alum Lisa Whelchel Revealed Her Kids’ Reaction to Jennifer Aniston Playing Blair Warner in ‘Live’ Special
Fans of the beloved classic sitcom The Facts of Life got a treat in December 2021 when the show was recreated in Jimmy Kimmel’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience. Set in an all-girls boarding school, the NBC series featured four main characters – Blair (Lisa Whelchel), Jo (Nancy McKeon), Natalie (Mindy Cohn), and Tootie (Kim Fields) – and recruited some A-listers to take over the roles for the mini-reboot. Whelchel ended up getting some street cred with her kids when they found out Jennifer Aniston of Friends fame was donning the Eastland uniform as their mom’s character.
Lisa Whelchel’s kids didn’t realize her level of fame
Whelchel commented on Aniston taking over her role for the ABC special and shared her gratitude for the film star’s involvement in the project.
“Are you kidding?” Whelchel told Extra. “Jen Aniston would not have had to say one word and I would have been honored that she played the part, but she just killed it – she was amazing.”
Apparently, Whelchel’s three kids weren’t aware of just how popular The Facts of Life was in the 70s and 80s. Blair was often the focus of storylines, so Whelchel got plenty of screen time. Still, her celebrity status didn’t register with her children until Aniston reprised Whelchel’s role.
“My kids weren’t around when I was on the show,” The Facts of Life alum explained to Fox News. So whenever I tell them, ‘Hey, I was kind of a big deal back in the day,’ they’re just like, ‘OK, yeah mom.’ But when they chose Jennifer Aniston to portray Blair, they were so impressed. So anything that impresses my kids makes me feel good.”
‘The Facts of Life’ is still a fan favorite
Though the sitcom went of the air in 1988, The Facts of Life fans can still get their fix thanks to streaming services. Whelchel commented on the show’s staying power decades after the series finale.
“You know, it always has something to do with childhood,” she remarked. “It’s that feeling of childhood. We try to hang on to those sweet moments and memories that do get buried underneath the stress of adulting.”
Now heading MeTV’s Collector’s Call, Whelchel considers her former NBC comedy as a nostalgic throwback to simpler times.
“I know, for me, it brings that same comfort whenever my favorite shows are on TV,” she said. “It brings us back to get a little taste of what feels lost sometimes. … It’s a wonderful trip down memory lane.”
Lisa Whelchel wants realism in a reboot
With the popularity of reboots of classic TV shows still going strong, Whelchel revealed that there has been some chatter of reviving The Facts of Life.
“We’ve been talking about a reimagining of Facts of Life and bringing it back again,” the former sitcom star shared. “Nothing is set yet, but it’s been really fun to talk about it. What I have brought to the table for those conversations is I would love to see a little bit more acceptance of what reality looks like for a midlife woman. … I’m about 15 pounds heavier than I was on Facts of Life. … If we were to do a re-imagining of the show, I would really like my character to address the realities that we face when we get to a certain age.”
She added, “Unless you want to devote your life to working out four hours a day and eating celery sticks, you’re going to look like a middle-aged woman. And I don’t want to hide from that. I don’t want to feel less than. Actors and actresses on television and movies have personal trainers and personal chefs. … I’d like to look a bit more realistic. And I’m proud of my journey.”