I still remember that first Molly Ringwald season when it premiered in 1979. I was there through the years of Mrs Garrett's Edna's Edibles and even the later years with George Clooney and Cloris Leachman helping to run the Over Our Heads gift store.
The series was last seen on DVD when Sony released Season Three in late 2006. They then moved away from TV on DVD and the series seemed to be stalled.
I'm happy to say it is back on track. Season Four is now being released by Shout! Factory.
Season 4 was the 1982 to 1983 season. This was Jo and Blair's final year at Eastland before heading off with Mrs. Garrett to open up Edna's Edibles.
The season opened up with the two hour movie THE FACTS OF LIFE GO TO PARIS. This was a popular gimmick for many series. FAMILY TIES went to London a couple years later. It was always strange to see a shot on videotape sitcom appear on location in an episode on film.
Watching the series again, I was struck by how the 1980's seem to treat issues in a different way. For example, there is an early episode where Natalie writes an article in the school paper about a student who has an abortion. There is really no discussion about abortion in political terms. In fact, it is more about journalist ethics than anything else. I don't think this type of episode could air today without protests from both sides, or being so sanitized that it can't offend anyone.
Not that this was a political show. This was FACTS OF LIFE after all.
This is a 4 DVD set. The episodes in this season are:
THE FACTS OF LIFE GO TO PARIS (9/25/82) - The two hour film.
AIN'T MISS BEHOLDEN (9/29/82) - Jo may need financial help from Blair.
THE SOURCE (10/6/82) - Natalie writes an article about abortion.
THE SOUND OF SILENCE (10/27/82) - Tootie has hearing problems.
THE OLDEST LIVING GRADUATE (11/3/82) - An elderly woman wants to leave money to Eastland.
DIFFERENT DRUMMER (11/10/82) - Blair tutors a mentally challenged man.
DEAREST MOMMIE (11/17/82) - Natalie learns the name of her birth mother.
A WOMAN'S PLACE (11/24/82) - Jo gets promoted, over her boyfriend.
DADDY'S GIRL (12/1/82) - Blair gets audited.
THE BIG FIGHT (12/8/82) - In this pilot for a proposed spin off, Natalie visits a military school.
FOR THE ASKING (12/15/82) - Natalie plans to boycott a dance.
SEPTEMBER SONG (12/22/82) - Mrs Garrett gets a marriage proposal.
A ROYAL PAIN (1/5/83) - Royalty enrolls at Eastland.
MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1/12/83) - Jo is worried about the boy Blair is dating.
UNDER PRESSURE (1/19/83) - Mrs Garrett suffers from high blood pressure.
TEACHER'S PET (1/26/83) - Jo's favorite teacher is dying.
LET'S PARTY (2/9/83) - A special episode about drinking and driving
BEST SISTER: Part 1 (2/16/83) Part 2 (2/23/83) - Blair sister (THE BRADY BUNCH's Eve Plumb) wants to become a nun.
GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (3/9/83) - Mrs. Garrett's cooking instructor from Paris comes to visit.
WHO'S ON FIRST (3/30/83) - Tootie is jealous of Natalie's new boyfriend.
HELP FROM HOME (4/6/83) - Jo once again may need financial help from Blair.
TAKE MY FINALS, PLEASE (4/27/83) - The girls study for finals.
GRADUATION: Part 1 (5/4/83) Part 2 (5/4/83) - Blair and Jo graduate.
The DVD also includes a 15 question trivia game. I got an A, with two wrong.
If you are a fan, please buy it. After four years, it is great to see this series continue. Lets hope we see the rest of the episodes (it ran for nine seasons) on DVD.
THE FACTS OF LIFE SEASON FOUR will be available on DVD May 4, 2010 from Shout! Factory.