Welcome Back, Kotter: Season 1
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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.]]>
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
Top Customer Reviews
Welcome Back Kotter was a cross between the Blackboard Jungle mixed with the Marx Brothers and Burns & Allen. The jokes were recycled Marx Brother msterial, but Gabe Kaplan (who created this show with Alan Sacks, based this on his stand up act) and crew made this stuff work.
And by crew, I mean actors John Travolta (pre Saturday Night Fever/Grease), Robert Hegyes, Lawrence Hilton Jacobs and Ron Palillo (as his students-the Sweathogs), Marcia Strassman (as Julie Kotter) and John Slyvester White (as Mr. Woodman). These actors keep this pace fun and well timed
A friend remarked I have not laughed that hard in years..and so will you. This perfect Family fare for all ages. It may be from 1975, but you could run it today and everyone would still enjoy it, GREAT STUFF
Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
I was thrilled to find out that I still enjoyed the vast majority of the first season of "Kotter." When any of the Sweathogs are on the screen, it's a joy - they played off each other so well and obviously enjoyed working together. The telethon episode, when the guys do a song-and-dance version of "Me And My Shadow," led by a very young John Travolta as Barbarino, had me laughing so hard I was crying.
Also fun are the episodes in which Horshack (who's still cute) gets promoted out of the class and hates it, where Epstein cares for his pets, where the class has a sleep-over at the school and gets into a surprisingly philosophical discussion for low-achieving students, where Washington thinks he's going to be a basketball star, and where Mr. Woodman becomes a nice guy - temporarily. And you can't forget the Barbarino dance, which would show up later in a few other movies. When I was younger, I never caught all the old Hollywood allusions they make - someone is always imitating the Marx Brothers, James Cagney, George Burns, etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Took me back to my Jr. HIGH school days. The 70's. Those were the day. Would suggest it to anyone who grew up during this time.Published 8 months ago by Joanne D. Reasor
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