Source: The New Democrat
How do you describe the relationship of two young women which is what Blair Warner ( played by Lisa Whelchel ) and Jo Polniaczek ( played by Nancy McKeon ) were on The Facts of Life, going to high school at Eastland and then going to college together at Langley, how do you describe a relationship between two young women who on the outside you would almost have to think that these two women hate each other and yet it’s hard to see a time or point when they would ever be separated.
If you’re familiar with the movie Who’s Afraid of Virginian Woolf with Richard Burton and Elisabeth Taylor, they played a married couple who’ve been married a long time and they have two guest’s over during the movie and Dick and Liz are always arguing with each other in the movie. With the second couple noticing all of this and thinking they should go because their hosts are obviously fighting and arguing and would perhaps would like to be left alone. With Dick & Liz saying, “you don’t have to go because this is how we normally communicate with each other.”
I sort of look at Blair Warner and Jo Polnicczek as a married couple who’ve been together let’s say 30 years and perhaps haven’t been married that long and know each other so well and know each other’s weaknesses and strengths and then represent the opposite of what the other stands for and believes in and know how to exploit that and yet would always be the first one to help or comfort the other when the other is in trouble and going through a rough time.
As hard as this is to believe for anyone who is not a hardcore fan of The Facts of Life and just watches casually, Blair and Jo really were best friends on the show. I think they were really the only great and true friend that the other had on the show. Even though they were always riding each other on the show. They were the first to back up the other when someone was giving one of them a hard time, to to offer advice when they were going through a rough time. Generally critical advice and pointing out their flaws while at the same time offering them advice in how to improve.
You can claim you hate someone all you want, but you don’t try to prevent someone you claim to hate or act like you hate from making the biggest mistake in their life. Like dropping out of high school to marry a man who isn’t even a junior officer in the U.S. Navy and not an officer at all, who is also AWOL ( absent without leave ) but that is exactly what Blair did for Jo when Jo decided that she wanted to drop out of Eastland to marry her Navy boyfriend. And that is just one example of Blair and Jo coming to the rescue of the other.
The Facts of Life was a great show and I believe the best sitcom at least about Generation X. At least the best show about that generation growing up and what life was like back in the 1980s as a youngster and teenager, but without Blair and Jo and I would argue without Lisa Whelchel and Nancy McKeon, and Mrs. Garrett ( played by Charlotte Rae ) keeping the crew together perhaps especially Blair and Jo, it’s a good show but not a great show.
Those two women and perhaps Mrs. Garrett as well, brought people to show and to watch it. Sort of like a great soap opera where you have two great rivals on that show and people tune in every week or day to see what they might do to each other, Blair and Jo and I would argue Lisa Whelchel and Nancy McKeon just by themselves put people in the seats every week ( to use a sports analogy ) or had them tuning in every week to see what they would do next and what they would do to each other next.