What a busy day today is for not only is it Good Friday, it also Earth Day. So as you head over to the recycling center in an effort to appreciate Mother Earth, spend a moment commemorating the day that Jesus was crucified. After you have given proper respect to both of those events, then please turn your attention to the the real reason that April 22 is so damn important. Today is the 85th birthday of Charlotte Rae, also known as Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life. It is no secret that I have a thing for this classic television show as evidenced here. I even dreamed about it a few days ago. In that dream I went to Central Park to meet some friends and when I got there, all of the girls from the show were lounging on a blanket behind us. They were all in bikinis and lookin‘ good. Even Natalie. Within moments, I was hanging out and having a picnic with them. Can dreams like this really come true? God, I hope so.
So what does Charlotte Rae have to do with The Bitchy Waiter? Gimme a second and I’ll come up with something.
Okay, got it. You know on the second season of the show, Charlotte lost a lot of weight so the producers wanted to write it into the script. Therefore they changed her role on the show and Mrs. Garrett went from being housemother to all the girls to being the dietitian for the school cafeteria. All the girls worked there and there were many episodes that had them clearing tables and bussing trays. That Natalie really knew how to hold a bus tub. In another episode, Jo decided to become an entrepreneur and started selling pizzas from a recipe handed down from her mother, Rose. In this episode, Charlotte Rae gives her finest line reading of all time, “What’s that wonderful smell?” (at the 18 second mark). You see? More food service involving Mrs. Garret and the girls. They were practically the original Bitchy Waitresses and Mrs. Garret was head bitch. And who can forget their foray into business when they opened Edna’s Edibles which was a bakery? Yet again, The Facts of Life is about service and food, just like my life. The store eventually burned down because producers were probably sick of looking at that set that consisted of wicker baskets and breads and wanted something hip and cool to keep the kids interested. This is when they took the show into the wrong direction by opening a gift shop called “Over Our Heads” where they sold inflatable palm trees, records by Oingo, Boingo and other stupid ass shit. This was when Charlotte Rae knew she needed to jump that ship and get the hell out of Dodge.
But happy birthday to you, Charlotte Rae. I wish you would come into my station so I could sing a song to you and present you with a semi-thawed birthday cake with a dirty birthday candle that I found in the back of the drawer underneath an old menu insert. But for you, I would really mean it when I sang. For you are my food service inspiration for the day.