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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Gabrielle Union to Play Tootie in Live From a Studio Audience: ‘The Facts of Life’ and ‘Diff’rent Strokes’

Gabrielle Union, Kathryn Hahn, Allison Tolman and Jennifer Aniston lead The Facts of Life half of Live From a Studio Audience.

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Host Gabrielle Union at Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 23, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Host Gabrielle Union at Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 23, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence
Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images)

Fresh off the announcement that it’s bringing back the Live From a Studio Audience special in December, ABC has now revealed the cast for The Facts of Life portion of the show.

Per a press release, Gabrielle Union, Kathryn Hahn, Allison Tolman and Jennifer Anistion will portray Tootie, Jo, Natalie and Blair respectively. Ann Dowd was already announced as Mrs. Garrett.

As previously reported by The Root, Kevin Hart as Arnold, Damon Wayans as Willis and John Lithgow as Mr. Drummond will lead the Diff’rent Strokes presentation.

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Live From a Studio Audience: “The Facts of Life’ and ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ premieres Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 8 pm. It is followed by a special preview of the new Quinta Brunson comedy Abbott Elementary at 9:30 pm.

“I cannot imagine a better group than Jennifer Aniston, Allison Tolman, Gabrielle Union, Kathryn Hahn and Ann Dowd, and I can’t wait to do their hair,” said executive producer Jimmy Kimmel.

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Though we still have adult actors playing kids, this casting, while still weird, doesn’t seem as egregious as the Diff’rent Strokes choices.

All four actresses are comedy vets, so we know they’ll be funny. There’s just something off-putting about adults playing kids, even if they are perfectly cast.

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Image for article titled Gabrielle Union to Play Tootie in Live From a Studio Audience: ‘The Facts of Life’ and ‘Diff’rent Strokes’
Image: ABC

For the youngsters, The Facts of Life followed four friends from different worlds who attended all girls school Eastland Prep and worked in the kitchen. It ran for nine seasons from 1979-1988, with the characters finding crazy reasons to keep living together as they got older, went to college and got married. Seriously, why were they still living together all those years?

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A spinoff of Diff’rent Strokes, it featured Mrs. Garrett leaving the Drummond household to become the girls’ advisor, boss and surrogate mother.

It originally starred Kim Fields as Tootie, Nancy McKeon as Jo, Mindy Cohn as Natalie and Lisa Whelchel as Blair. Like most other ‘80s sitcoms, it had a catchy theme song, made for sing-a-longs.

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We know it sounds silly, but you have to understand, it was even more ridiculous than it sounds. In retrospect, those girls got into so much trouble and were only ever grounded or put on dish duty.

Why weren’t they arrested when they stole that car? Why was everyone so mean to Jo, just because she didn’t like wearing dresses? And you just know Blair and Natalie grew up to be Karens.

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Previous Live From a Studio Audience installments have featured original series cast members guest starring, like John Amos appearing in the Good Times edition. Sometimes those cameos are announced ahead of time and sometimes they’ve just been fun surprises. There’s been no word on if we’ll see any such guest stars this time around/

ABC also hasn’t announced which episodes will be reenacted.

Live From a Studio Audience: “The Facts of Life’ and ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ premieres Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 8 pm.