Everett Collection
February 02, 2015 at 11:34 PM EST

The Facts of Life, aired more than 200 episodes between 1979 and 1988, receiving several Emmy nominations along the way. Now, ahead of the complete-series release from Shout Factory, the cast and crew sat down with EW to discuss the early beginnings, evolution and fandom surrounding the long-running series in an oral history entitled, “You Take the Good, You Take the Bad: An Oral History of The Facts of Life.”   

Facts of Life followed the lives of a group of girls at a boarding school (Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn, and Nancy McKeon) and their housemother (Charlotte Rae). But growing up isn’t easy, and the show wasn’t afraid to dig deep and address real issues including abortion and drug abuse.

The Facts of Life was never considered a prestige show compared to the other shows that were on the air at the time, but it was a show that, even if you’d wanted to kill it, you couldn’t,” said director, John Bowab. “They shifted it from one night to another night, from Wednesday to Saturday, but it had a tremendous fanbase—young girls, mostly—and they followed it. All of these girls would come to tapings, and they’d literally stomp the floor, they were so excited.”

Read more on what the cast and crew had to say about the fans, building characters, and the issues the show tackled in this oral history available here

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