Four decades after the ladies of Eastland taught us how to take the good and the bad, "Facts of Life" star Lisa Whelchel visited TODAY and shared her favorite episodes of the classic sitcom.
"My all-time favorite episode of 'Facts of Life' is where Jo handcuffs herself to Blair in protest until Blair agrees to read an editorial about the homeless situation in town in a college cable news station," the actress revealed. "Blair just thinks that is so not newsworthy, because she has an opportunity to interview the head cheerleader. So she refuses. And so Blair does the newscast with Jo handcuffed to her underneath the desk. It's very slapstick Ethel-and-Lucy kind of broad humor. And it was just one episode that encapsulated so much of the fun that I had on the show."
Whelchel also opened up about working with George Clooney, who played handyman George Burnett on the show from 1985 to 1987.
"I would say that the episode where I got to kiss George Clooney would have been a favorite — except that I didn't even remember that I had done that until years later," she said. "Somebody showed me a clip of it. And I thought, 'How in the world could I have forgotten that?' But back then he wasn't George Clooney. He was just George."
"It was fun having George Clooney on the show," she added. "And it was nice to have some testosterone after six years at that point of estrogen. He was like a big brother to everybody."
Whelchel, 56, said the show is still beloved by fans because its themes are "timeless."
"It's relationships; it's friendships; it's things that girls go through as they're growing up," she said. "And no matter what generation you're in, you're going to be going through the same things. And you're going to want that same kind of relationships."
Whelchel and her co-stars — Nancy McKeon, Kim Fields and Mindy Cohn — still keep in touch "very regularly."
"We have a group text that we're on," she said. "And anytime there's a birthday, or a death, or somebody does a show, we're all very supportive."
Whelchel recently returned as host for the second season of MeTV's "Collector's Call," in which she meets with collectors who are passionate about pop culture memorabilia.
"We have a lot of great guest stars," she said. "For instance we do have a show about (late 'Facts of Life' co-star) Charlotte Rae's collectibles that her son Larry is sharing with us, along with his granddaughter. And then I bring ('Facts of Life' actress) Geri Jewell on as a special guest. We have Scott Hamilton this year. We have Mancow, a radio host in Chicago who brings his best friend, Barry Williams, who played Greg on 'The Brady Bunch.' So we have just a lot of really fun shows that are unique."