Don’t call me Tootie… or Tootsie either!

Star Dates, Episode 4
Featuring: Kim Fields (aka Tootie from Facts of Life)

Star Dates’ premise is to combine Blind Date, Elimidate, Disgusting Date, and any other dating show you can think of. The twist here is to set up dates between a B list actor and a normal (read: not famous, but probably trying to be) citizen.

The “Celebrity”

Kim Fields is best known for her portrayal of Tootie, one of the boarding school girls on The Facts of Life, a long lasting NBC sitcom that ended it’s nine year run in 1988. I was shocked to learn that they made over 200 episodes of the show. I think it must have had the same magic that JAG has, as in I have only recently met anyone who watches that show, yet there it is, year after year still in prime time.

Kim has also appeared in the multiple specials that the show spawned, The Facts of Life Down Under, The Facts of Life Goes to Paris, and of course, The Facts of Life Reunion, because really, we all just couldn’t move on until Jo and Blair finally settled their feud.

I have to confess that I know little to nothing about The Facts of Life. It wasn’t really a show that a 20-something guy could watch with any interest, and I chose instead to invest what TV hours I had in those days to a great show, highly underrated, and full of pure comedy genius… I speak of course, of ALF. It was a tragedy when that show was cancelled, though I am relieved to see Alf himself getting work in commercials.

I know that some relatively famous folks appeared on Kim’s show though, including George Clooney, Molly Ringwald, and the very embodiment of the theatric arts, Cloris Leachman… who I would not be surprised to find in a future episode of Star Dates… though the dates might be a little slow, what with her being 70’ish and all.

Kim also starred in a short lived sitcom called Living Single in 1993. She also has 24 other film and TV credits, including an additional 27 guest appearances. Kim has written and directed programs as well. In other words, Kim has a very good agent and apparently much more talent that I suspected. Further proof of that, would be her multiple appearances on Hollywood Squares, which is pinnacle of achievement for most child actors. She has also made her way to the live stage, performing in the very un-Tootie-like The Vagina Monologues in 2002.

Fields, now 33, graduated from Pepperdine University, in 1990, with a BA in Film. She is the CEO of her own production firms, Little Mogul Holdings, Inc. and Victory Entertainment, Inc.

Divorced in 2001, Kim is now looking for love again, and calling upon Jordan in the Escalade to deliver it.

But wait… where is Jordan?

Who is this guy hosting now? There is no explanation for the change, but Todd Caroll hosts this episode. I’ve never heard of Todd, but assume he is a local comedian… or weatherman…they are all the same nowadays.

Having no official explanation to work with provides me with the necessary context to completely fabricate a plausible reason for Jordan’s boycott of this episode. Obviously there is a history between these two… and it probably started on the set of Club Vampire, where Jordan played Gang Member #1, beating out Kim for the part. “She was really bitter about that audition, but we got our groove on later.” Jordan might have said, had any of this actually occurred.

So what are Kim’s dating goals? “I want to be married again. I want to have children and grandchildren and, you know, all of those things “… and whom shall he be dating?

The “Normal” Folks

Rach (pronounced “Raw-shhhhhhhhh”), is a 32 year-old bartender who has lived in Los Angeles his entire life. It is pretty clear that he fancies himself as quite the playa. He is a big fan of one-night stands and naked motocross…no word yet as to if he engages in those two activities simultaneously, and it seems you could pick up all manner of uncomfortable rashes...

The show spends quite a bit of time observing Rach getting ready for the date. It appears that he applies approximately $2,700 worth of hair care products to his head, forever on the quest for the perfect shape. Meanwhile, he is wearing what looks like an Old Navy polo shirt, and here is a word of advice for future contestants… Don’t hesitate to fire up the ole’ iron on occasion. You are going to be on TV you know.

I also assume that Rach is the current champion of World Wrestling Entertainment, for he is sporting a belt buckle about the size of a hubcap. While I was ready to root for Rach just because he was not wearing a gold chain, I am immediately disappointed to see that the chain is there, it is just attached to his wallet, and it too, is a bit oversized. He could wrap that chain around the Escalade’s tires and undoubtedly get through the snowy pass with nary a slip.

The second date will feature Julian, a 39 year-old aspiring filmmaker originally from Cincinnati, now living in LA chasing the dream. Julian has prepared well for the date. He looks good… well pressed… no auto accessories adorn his attire. He also lets us know that he is looking for a serious relationship.

Julian seems to be the prototypical nice guy.

So who will click with Tootie…the playa or the playa hater? Let’s go to the videotape!

Date #1 – Rachhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhh

The now familiar envelope ceremony begins, and Rach learns that he will be dating Kim. He recognizes her immediately and blurts out “It’s Tootie!”.

The scene cuts to Kim in the Escalade on the way to pick up Rach, and she states “If he says Tootie, he is outta here!” Kim is sporting blonde dreads for the date, and dressed in all black.

Now, the theatrically gifted among us might call that scene a tease, or a foreshadow, of pending doom. Me? I would call it anticipation… Kim outweighs Rach, but he is a WWE champ, so the battle royal could make for great television.

It seems though that Kim has a few other go/no go issues to talk about… If he is wearing a t-shirt under his shirt, he is outta there! If he talks about acting, he is outta there! If he makes eye contact, he is outta there! Okay, I made the last one up, but frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if that was part of her criteria, for it is becoming clear that Tootie is a high-maintenance gal.

On the way to Rach’s love pad, Kim is reviewing his personal information in the white envelope. Apparently the extensive data and photo isn’t enough, for Kim immediately commences a conference call with her friends to discuss the pending evening.

Rach and Kim meet, and it is clear that neither is attracted to the other. I am reminded of the classic scene in Better Off Dead where Lane Meyer is forced into a date with his father’s business partner’s daughter. They meet at the door, and decide to simply settle up for what the cost of the date would be, and go on their separate ways. I think these two would gladly take that option, but the cameras are rolling, and Rach wants his 15 minutes, so off they go.

In the Escalade on the way to their first event, Rach is volunteering all kinds of interesting information about himself. He wishes that he had been the author of the “Naked Pictures of Girlfriends Book”, and he indicates that every woman he meets is probably going to end up being an ex-girlfriend. Kim has to interrupt him to answer her cell phone.

Now, I am hardly an expert dater, but I can’t understand why some guys just don’t shut the hell up and ask this person they just met some questions. My crazy theory is that if you simply allow the other person to tell a little about themselves, you might find better things to talk about than your failed publishing dreams… Nevertheless, apparently such an attitude is rare, at least among Star Daters.

After sharing all of this key data, Rach continues to bury himself with the comment, “You read my sheet, and you are still willing to go out?”

Kim responds with the always endearing, “Well, I was already in the car…” while rolling her eyes, turning away, and taking yet another cell phone call.

They arrive at an ice skating rink, and their first activity will consist of ice skating lessons. Now Kim is quite an accomplished skater, so this is now double boredom for her. While I have been a little harshhhhhhhhhh on Rachhhhhhhhhhhhh in this review, I do give him credit for trying to have fun, as opposed to pouting like Kim is… or maybe I read that wrong, perhaps Kim is just upset that her cell phone is taking a brief respite.

However, Rach’s version of fun can be downright scary. He spends some time showing Kim his newly learned ice-skating disco routine, while his wallet chain is whipping around randomly striking innocent nearby skaters… and that is just wrong on so many levels… I had to avert my eyes, and my cat is currently seeking therapy.

The two star-crossed lovers proceed to the Amazon club for a couple of drinks. During the drive over, Rach finally gets his chance to drop in the obligatory reference to his “big muscle”, and Kim has the opportunity to catch up on several phone calls she missed during the half-hour of time in the skating rink.

At the bar, Kim and Rach really get to know each other. Rach points out that when it comes to acting… or the ‘craft’ as they will refer to it… you either have it, or you don’t have it. In other words, you can’t learn it. That is probably a poor choice of words to use with Kim, who spent quite a bit of her life studying acting at Pepperdine.

Gosh, I am beginning to think at this point that these two aren’t going to hit it off…

They proceed to argue about the acting issue, and Kim even criticizes Rach for the manner in which he expresses what his ideal woman would be. Now, I admit, the way he said it was not that great, but it is his ideal, and you asked the question, so shut up and take the answer. The argument is cut short by a couple of Kim phone calls, and then the dramatic moment when she excuses herself to go outside for some air after Rach indicates some displeasure with the constant interruptions.

On the way home, Kim takes a few more calls while Rach ponders his next big wrestling match or book idea. This date is long since over, and all that is left is the transportation arrangements.

The date ends with the editors noting that Kim made 27 (!) phone calls during the date, while Rach topped that by flashing the rock and roll hand sign on more than 60 different occasions.

This date was by far the worst experience of the show to date, hopefully date #2 might bring a little more happiness Kim’s way.

Date#2 – Julian

On the way to pick up the second date, Kim is reviewing the white envelope materials. Upon finding the name Julian as the date, Kim seemed to subconsciously be reaching for the cell phone, but it is gone. No doubt the producers took it from her.

She appears to have distaste for the name Julian. I expected her to say, “If his name is Julian, he is outta here!” But, Kim controls her inner demons and decides to give him a chance.

For his part, when Julian opens the envelope, he smiles and says “Tootsie!” Todd politely points out that the name is Tootie, and probably off-camera advises him to avoid either name on the date lest he desire a face full of pepper spray.

At the door, the two meet and Julian immediately compliments her. See appreciates it, and notes that “you look swell too”. Swell? Swell? Jeez…

In the car on the way to their first event, Julian asks several questions of Kim, and interjects his opinions at various times. His only misstep was in talking about Kim’s work on The Facts of Life. He pointed out that he didn’t watch it much, and Kim asked if he had seen Living Single. He seems a bit deceitful… or just confused… when he says, yes, but only a couple episodes.

“I did see In Living Color though.” Julian helpfully points out.

Kim is less than impressed, “I wasn’t in that one…”

Julian covers his mistake using the tried and true guy tactic… “Oh yeah, I knew that.”

Julian is a recent film school graduate, and very much believes in learning the craft. This seems to be the magic words for Kim, and she is blushing, and getting a hard time for it from Julian and Todd… yeah, Todd is still here…

In fact, Todd asks the couple how they feel about horses. Kim immediately chirps that she loves to ride, while I think the only word that would properly describe Julian’s expression at that moment would be… terror.

Not to worry Julian, for the horses Todd has in mind are the betting variety, at Santa Anita. They have lunch and bet several races. The conversation is good, and clearly Kim is letting her guard down a bit. They both are food lovers too, for they are loading up pretty impressively during the meal.

In the confessionals, Kim notes that Julian is cool. His eyes are gorgeous, and she is looking forward to getting to know him. For his part, Julian reciprocates the feelings, saying that Kim is very nice, and doesn’t have any “Hollywood BS”.

They spend quite a bit of time at the track, and decide to walk the grounds after closing. The conversation continues to be good, and it appears that the producers have found Kim a match.

Upon return home, they agree to get together later… and frankly it wouldn’t shock me if later was a matter of hours rather than days.

Next Week:

It what some of the reviewers who have seen advance copies of the show describe as the best episode, Phyllis Diller is the next featured Star Date.

Until next week…

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