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Welcome Back Kotter: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Gabe Kotter, formerly a Sweathog, returns to James Buchanan High as a teacher and is assigned the remedial class to which he once belonged. Mr. Kotter is an involved and caring teacher, which one would have to be in dealing with a certain four students in his class, who end up in trouble on a regular basis -- lady's man Vinnie Barbarino, the always cool Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington, the tough Juan (Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos) Epstein, and the sheepish Arnold Dingfelder Horshack. Welcome Back, Kotter was based on Gabe Kaplan's own high school experiences with remedial education and a teacher who cared dearly for her students.]]>
Travel back to a time when sitcoms were recorded live on tape before a studio audience and dialogue was dominated by nonsensical catch phrases, like "Up your nose with a rubber hose!" and "Off my case, potato face!" The year was 1975. Saturday Night Fever had yet to make John Travolta a star, and stand-up comedian-turned-creator Gabe Kaplan had yet to become a late-night poker mainstay. Welcome to four years at Brooklyn's Buchanan High School.
Along with What's Happening, Welcome Back, Kotter was what the cool kids were watching--just as their kids would turn to Freaks and Geeks in the years to come. Unlike the teens of Happy Days, Buchanan's remedial students aren't polite preppies, but slang-slinging hooligans. Gabe Kotter (Kaplan) serves as home-room teacher to a "pack of howling baboons" led by Vinnie Barbarino (Travolta), Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), and self-described Puerto Rican Jew Juan Epstein (Robert Hegyes) Their adversary: Vice Principal Woodman (John Sylvester White), who lives to put a kibosh on their high jinks--just as he did when Kotter was a Sweathog in the 1960s.
Other regulars include Kotter's wife, Julie (Marcia Strassman, who hosts the featurette "Only a Few Degrees from a Sweathog"), and Rosalie "Hotzy" Totzy (Mary Hartman's Debra Lee Scott). At the time, Welcome Back, Kotter was more than just a show. It was a cultural phenomenon, spawning lunch boxes, schoolyard taunts, and the like. In retrospect, the jokes are cornier than ever, but the anything-goes spirit--crazy costumes and musical numbers--is hard to resist. At least that's true of the first three seasons. By the fourth, Travolta and Kaplan became scarce, and Kotter ran out of steam. Rest assured, though, that John Sebastian's clap-happy, chart-topping theme remains as catchy as ever. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
First and second season are equally entertaining. All four "students" were very well trained actors by time the show aired. Mr. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Frank J. Altschul
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|What's The Delay With Season 2 and 3?||
Considering that we've lost both Robert Heyges (Juan Epstein) & Ron Palillo (Arnold Horshack) within a seven month period,Warner Brothers should go ahead & release the remaining three seasons.
Aug 14, 2012 by Scott N. Burton | See all 2 posts
it's the same way with "CHiPS", they took forever to get season 1 and it seems like it will be at least a full year before we even hear about season 2. Pretty annoying how slow Warner Bros. puts out some tv show dvds. And they are doing a HORRENDOUS job with 'Whose Line is it... Read More
Dec 15, 2007 by Bryan | See all 5 posts
|John Travolta MIA||
Yeah, I noticed that, too. You'd think he'd take the time to say a few words about the show that made him famous. Oh, well.
Jul 28, 2007 by Kiwi Kenobi | See all 2 posts
|Where's Seasons 2 through 4 of Welcome Back Kotter?||Be the first to reply|