December 20, 2012

A Fact of Life: Christmas with Mrs. Garrett is Divine

This year my six-year-old has picked up on what’s sure to be a hilarious Christmas tradition in my family. Here’s all we have to do: in a mock operatic-voice, and very loudly and off key, sing the word “diviiiiiiiiiiiiine,” and she’ll instantly drop to the floor and roll around laughing.

What’s so funny about that? Well, let me tell you a thing or two about the facts of life. No, no, not those facts of life. I mean The Facts of Life.

Last year around Christmas, I had a flashback from the 80s. For reasons unknown, I suddenly remembered a very special (that’s usually how you describe a sitcom when it tackles “tough” issues like drugs, etc.) Christmas episode of The Facts of Life. I don’t recall why, but Mrs. Garrett and the girls had to perform a makeshift Christmas show in front of a bunch of angry inmates in a jail. They called the episode, “Christmas in the Big House.”

The most memorable performance in the pokey was Mrs. Garrett’s rendition of O Holy Night. Wait ‘til you hear her hit the high note: “diviiiiiiiiiiiiine!” (You’ll get your chance below.) I remembered it being both good and hilarious, and I just had to hear it again. Sure enough, it’s on YouTube thanks to canw1, whomever you are.

So this year I played it for our daughter, and she thought Mrs. Garrett's part was both funny and fantastic. Now to make her laugh we do our best Mrs. Garrett impression and say that one word. I know this doesn’t sound funny reading it. So you have to hear it. Fast forward the clip to 3:10 to get to Mrs. Garrett’s part. She hits the high note at 5:03. (Or play the whole thing if you want to hear Natalie, Tootie, Jo and Blair sing too, but I wouldn’t recommend it!)

[Dec. 2013 Update: Tragically, the video is no longer available]

Thank you, Charlotte Rae, wherever you are (according to Wikipedia, she's still alive). I'll keep this clip bookmarked on my iPhone in case I need any divine intervention at the Christmas dinner table next week.

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