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The Facts of Life could have been a  paint-by-numbers setup for a network sitcom, but it was groundbreaking in many ways. While not the first TV show to focuses on female protagonists, many coming of age series focused on girls and women through the men’s eyes in their life.

The Facts of Life was different. Now, many are trying to look back at the series on streaming. That task, however, might take some effort. 

You take the good; you take the bad…

According to IMDB, The Facts of Life was a Diff’rent Strokes spinoff featuring Edna Garrett, played by the late Charlotte Rae, as she opened up a boarding school for girls. Joined by actresses Natalie Cohn, Kim Fields, Lisa Whelchel, and from season two on, Nancy McKeon. On top of this, everyone from Molly Ringwald to George Clooney graced the series in regular roles before their big break. 

The show took on a few different forms. It started with the bulk of its main cast being young teenage girls and ended as they entered into the scary world of adulthood. While family-friendly, it dove into issues such as sex, sexism, and other topics that other series in the 

Living up to your dreams

Tom Fitzsimmons as Alex Garrett, Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Edna Ann Garrett
Tom Fitzsimmons as Alex Garrett, Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Edna Ann Garrett | Ron Tom/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the show’s history, the cast reunited for an oral history. During it, they dished on the show’s penchant for hitting taboo topics while remaining family-friendly and the impact that the female-centric show had on its audience, young and old. Rae, who passed away in 2018, beamed about how fans approached her on the street to thank her. 

“People still come up and tell me how much Mrs. Garrett and the girls meant to them when they were growing up,” she told the magazine. “And some people who really didn’t have much of a family life will tell me that it felt like I was their mother, because of the warmth of Mrs. Garrett. Knowing that I was doing a service to some children who were in need, that I was there for them with what they felt was an unconditional love, that makes me so happy.”

According to Lisa Whelchel, who played Blair on the show, the impact that it had took many years to hit her. However, once it did, she realized why she was such a role model to a generation of eighties girls. 

“In the middle of doing the series, being young, I don’t think I had the kind of perspective to realize or appreciate what kind of an impact it was having,” she told the magazine. “But with age and time and now having that perspective from meeting women who watched the show when they were younger, it’s made me so incredibly grateful to have been a part of something that’s been able to bring so much joy to so many people.”

Despite its special place in so many lives, however, The Facts of Life is not easy to find on the usual streaming services. 

Where can I watch it?


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Those who are looking to stream the entire series will have to open their wallets to do so.], The Facts of Life is not streaming in its entirety on any of the major platforms. Some of the episodes are streaming on Pluto, the ad-supported online service specializing in nostalgic content such as this. Otherwise, it’s streaming on Amazon and several other services for purchase. 

The Facts of Life is one of the most groundbreaking television series in history. There’s a reason that nearly 40 years after its premiere, it remains in the cultural lexicon.

While one might expect this to lead to Netflix and other popular services, it hasn’t happened yet. Luckily, they remain in heavy rotation on home media, syndication, and other places that nostalgic television such as this can thrive.