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Welcome Back, Kotter
Welcome Back Kotter intertitle.jpg
Welcome Back, Kotter intertitle
Format Sitcom
Created by Gabe Kaplan
Alan Sacks
Starring Gabe Kaplan
Marcia Strassman
John Sylvester White
Robert Hegyes
Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs
Ron Palillo
John Travolta
Melonie Haller (Season 3)
Stephen Shortridge (Season 4)
Opening theme "Welcome Back"
Performed by John Sebastian
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 95 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 24-25 minutes, 30 Minutes with commercials
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run September 9, 1975 – August 10, 1979

Welcome Back, Kotter is an American television sitcom that originally aired on the ABC network from September 9, 1975 to June 8, 1979.

Contents

Premise

The show starred comedian Gabe Kaplan as the title character Gabe Kotter, a wise-cracking teacher who returns to his high school alma mater—the fictional James Buchanan High in Brooklyn, New York—to teach an often unruly group of remedial wiseguys known as the "Sweathogs." (The nickname reflecting the fact that the remedial classes were held on the very top floor of the high school.) The school based on New Utrecht High School used in the opening credits. The school's principal was perpetually absent, while the uptight vice principal dismissed the Sweathogs as worthless hoodlums and only expected Kotter to attempt to control them until they inevitably dropped out.

However, Kotter had attended the same remedial classes when he was a student at Buchanan and was a founding member of the Sweathogs. Recognizing that he is his students' last chance to learn enough to survive beyond school, he soon befriends them while they learn to recognize and appreciate his commitment and faith in their potential. His devotion to the class extended to the extent that his students often visit his Bensonhurst apartment, sometimes to the chagrin of his wife, Julie (Marcia Strassman).

Most of the major characters of Welcome Back, Kotter were based on people from Kaplan's teen years as a remedial high school student in Brooklyn. As a stand-up comic, one of Kaplan's most popular routines was "Holes and Mellow Rolls", in which he talked in depth about his former classmates. The names of three of the four major characters in Holes and Mellow Rolls were changed for the TV series: "Vinnie Barbarino" was inspired by Eddie Lecarri; "Freddie Washington" was inspired by Freddie "Furdy" Peyton; and "Juan Epstein" was partially inspired by Epstein "The Animal"; only "Arnold Horshack's" name remained unchanged (although on television, it was never mentioned that "by the third grade even the teachers called him Arnold Horseshit"[citation needed]).

Characters and catchphrases

Gabe Kotter

(played by Gabe Kaplan)
A facetious, but well-meaning teacher who returns to Buchanan High, his alma mater, to teach a group of remedial students known as the Sweathogs. Being a founding member of the original Sweathogs, Kotter has a special affinity for the potential of these supposedly "unteachable" students. His first day on the job he launches into a Groucho Marx impersonation. Kotter is married to Julie, with whom he eventually has twin girls (Robin and Rachel). When Buchanan High principal John Lazarus retires, Kotter becomes the vice-principal, though maintaining some teaching duties. He teaches Social Studies, and frequently role-plays events to the class. It was mentioned by Julie in the episode Follow the Leader (part 1) that Gabe is Jewish.

Kotter's catchphrase(s):

  • "Did I ever tell you about... (Varying relatives, usually an uncle)?"
    (early on, Kotter usually said this only to Julie, but it was later incorporated into conversations with other characters at the beginning and the end of a given episode. As episodes went on, the 'opening joke' dropped.)

Julie Kotter

(Marcia Strassman)
Gabe's wife and closest friend. Though she has a sense of humor, she often wishes Gabe would take matters more seriously. She is occasionally upset with the amount of time her husband spends with his students, and she is troubled that he allows them to regularly visit their apartment; in the 2-part story arc Follow the Leader the Sweathogs' constant intrusions led Julie to separate briefly from Gabe and even seriously consider divorce. Originally from Nebraska with a college degree in anthropology, Julie eventually became a secretary, and later a substitute teacher at Buchanan after Gabe's promotion to vice-principal. She makes several references to her "world famous tuna casserole", a common meal at the Kotter dinner table, which Gabe (and the Sweathogs) dislikes.

(from the episode Classroom Marriage)
Julie (to Gabe): You-u...love my tuna casserole.
Gabe: No! You love your tuna casserole! Nobody puts prunes in a tuna casserole!

Mr. (Michael) Woodman

(John Sylvester White)
The curmudgeonly vice-principal (and later principal) of Buchanan High. He makes no secret of his dislike for the Sweathogs, whom he considers the bottom of the totem pole at his school. He refers to non-Sweathogs as "real" students. When Kotter was a student at Buchanan, Woodman taught Social Studies, the same class Kotter returns to Buchanan to teach. His old age (and sometimes his diminutive height) are common jokes with the Sweathogs. Woodman was totally against Kotter's unorthodox teaching methods (though as the series progressed, he began to marginally tolerate them), and at one point even put Kotter in front of the school's review board in an unsuccessful attempt to get him fired. Nonetheless, in the season one episode No More Mr. Nice Guy, Woodman is shown to be a gifted teacher, willing to wear historic costumes and role-play in front of the class during his lessons.

Woodman was always looking to further his own career, his bitter personality having stemmed in part from being passed over in favor of John Lazarus for promotion to principal. In the season two episode Sweatgate Scandal, when the Sweathogs worked on the Buchanan Bugle, the school newspaper, a scandal implicating members of the school board and administration had broken; the unseen informant who leaked the information to the paper was revealed to be Mr. Woodman himself.

Woodman's Catchphrases:

  • "You're Nuts!"
  • "Nutsy Cuckoo!"
    (Often used to describe Kotter's class, Kotter's teaching methods, and sometimes Kotter himself.)
  • "They're not people!"
    (Another way he used to describe the Sweathogs.)

Vincent "Vinnie" Barbarino

(John Travolta)
A cocky Italian-American, "unofficial official" leader and resident heartthrob of the Sweathogs. Barbarino's prowess with women was a source of envy (and more often amusement) among his classmates. On occasion he would break out in song of his last name to the tune of The Beach Boys' classic, "Barbara Ann". He was the first of the Sweathogs to move out on his own when he got a job as a hospital orderly. In the first episode of the series and fourth season, he has a girlfriend, Sally. Vinnie is Catholic (often quoting his mother as a saint), and as shown in I'm Having Their Baby, is a "big Star Trek fan". Not much is known about Vinnie's life at home other than his parents argue a lot (Follow the Leader (part 2)), his mother's name is Margie (The Great Debate), and he shares a bed with his brother (California Dreamin'); the episode Don't Come Up And See Me Sometime implied that Vinnie is the elder of the two.

Vinnie's Catchphrases:

  • "Up your nose with a rubber hose!"
    (Barbarino was the first in the series to rank somebody. In later episodes, other body parts and objects whose names rhymed were incorporated into the rank. For example, "Up your gizzard with a rubber lizard!" was used by Washington in a later episode.)
    (The so-called art of ranking was immortalized in song in 1976 performed by Gabe Kaplan. The song, "Up Your Nose", didn't get very far as it highly dated itself by making numerous contemporary references-- CB Radios, The Gong Show, singing cat commercials, et al.).
  • "Wah-ha-ha-ha-howwww..."
    (Whenever he becomes love-stricken)
  • "What?" "Where?" "Why?"
    (Usually to feign ignorance when accused of something or asked to do something he's not ready to do)
  • "I'm so con-fused!" (Usually over-dramatized)
  • "I'm Vinnie Barbarino!" (Also over-dramatized, usually when a girl snubs or spurns him)

Arnold Horshack

(Ron Palillo)
The class clown of the Sweathogs, completely comfortable with his oddball, if innocent personality. Horshack was known for his unique observations and his wheezing laugh, similar to that of a hyena. It is possible that academically he is the smartest Sweathog. He was the only one of the central Sweathogs to be promoted out of remedial academics class, but he soon returned after feeling out of place. He eventually married Mary Johnson, a co-worker and fellow Sweathog. Although his surname sounds like a term for a brothel, he claimed it's a "very old and respected name" meaning "the cattle are dying." His middle name (and his mother's maiden name) is "Dingfelder."

Arnold's Catchphrases:

  • "Ooh-ooh-ooooh!"
    (Used with raised hand when Arnold gets excited because he believes he knows an answer to Mr. Kotter's question. The shout was an imitation of Joe E. Ross's phrase from Car 54, Where Are You?.)
  • "Hello. How are ya? I'm Arnold Horsha-a-ck"
    (How Arnold introduces himself)
  • "That was ver-ry impressive, Mister Kotter-r-r!"
    (How Arnold praises Mr. Kotter's teaching, sometimes jokes.)
  • "G'head, G'head! (Go ahead, go ahead)"

Freddie "Boom Boom" Percy Washington

(Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs)
The hip African-American known as the athletic Sweathog for his skills on the basketball court, Washington claimed his nickname came from his habit of "pretending to play the bass" and singing "Boom-boom-boom-boom!". Though often the voice of reason among his classmates, Washington nonetheless was a willing participant in the Sweathogs' various antics and pranks. Freddie also found success as a radio disc jockey along with another former Sweathog, Wally "The Wow" (played by George Carlin). At one point, Washington challenged Barbarino for leadership of the Sweathogs, and even replaced him for a time until they all reached a consensus that the Sweathogs didn't need a leader.

Washington had an older sister who got divorced twice while living in Vermont (The Longest Weekend), and a brother, Leroy, and in The Great Debate he has another brother named Douglas and a Father, Lincoln. Kotter would use his own past to bond with Freddie, as in addition to being a former Sweathog, he was a former star for Buchanan's basketball team as well.

Washington's Catchphrases:

  • "Hi there."
    (His normal greeting, usually in a basso profondo voice)
  • "Hey, Mister Kah-tare!"
    (How he addresses Mr. Kotter)
  • "My assignment? Yes, Mr. Kotter. I have my assignment. Unfortunately, I don't have it here... han-n-dy-y..."
    (Whenever he forgot his homework or didn't accomplish any given task)

Juan Luis Pedro Philippo DeHuevos Epstein

(Robert Hegyes)
A fiercely proud Puerto Rican Jew (his father was Puerto Rican; his mother's name was Bibbermann), and one of the toughest students at Buchanan High. He normally walked with a tough-man strut, wore a red handkerchief hanging out of his right back pocket, and was voted "Most Likely To Take A Life" by his peers. In the season one episode, One Of Our Sweathogs Is Missing, Epstein was shown to be the sixth child in his family, although his mother had 10, while in the episode 'I'm Having Their Baby' he mentions that his mother gave birth 8 times. The only names of his siblings mentioned in the show are two brothers, Pedro and Sanchez (One Of Our Sweathogs Is Missing) and a younger sister, Carmen (A Love Story). Epstein was also known to have a "buddy" relationship with Principal Lazarus as he often referred to him by his first name, Jack. On a few occasions, when Kotter would do his Groucho Marx impersonation, Epstein would jump in and impersonate Marx's Brother Chico Marx or Harpo Marx. Epstein's diminutive height and large hair are common jokes associated with him.

Epstein's Catchphrase:

  • "Hey, Mr. Kotter, I got a note!"
    (The phony notes, excusing Epstein from classes and other sundry functions, were always written by Epstein himself, though he claimed they were signed by, as written, "Epstein's Mother". Epstein would lip-synch the wording of the note while Kotter would read it aloud, usually proving the note was written by Epstein himself.)

Recurring Characters

Rosalie "Hotsie" Totsie

(Debralee Scott)
The femme fatale purported to have put the "sweat" in Sweathog, though her reputation was largely exaggerated by the Sweathogs' word of mouth. Her promiscuity was at least in part a reaction to the strict discipline enforced by her father, the Rev. Totsie. To restore her good name (and to prove a point), she fabricated a story about one of the Sweathogs getting her pregnant.

The character was phased out of the series by the end of the first season (when Scott was picked to co-star in "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"), but she reprised her role in a 1978 episode, The Return Of Hotsie Totsie, in which it was revealed that she dropped out of school because she became pregnant and that she became a stripper to support her infant child.

Judy Borden

(Helaine Lembeck)
A recurring non-Sweathog character in the earlier seasons, Borden is a Straight A student and editor of the Buchanan Bugle, the school newspaper. She was Barbarino's tutor at one point, and even dated him for a time. Despite her academic superiority, she can easily hold her own in a ranking contest with any Sweathog.

(from the episode Sweatgate Scandal)
Judy: I'm an honor student. In my whole life I've never even gotten a "B".
Horshack: Neither have I.

Beauregarde "Beau" De Labarre

(Stephen Shortridge)
Introduced as a regular character in the fourth and final season, Beau is a smooth-talking southerner from New Orleans who transfers to Buchanan High after being kicked out of several other schools. He ends up in Kotter's class, though his first reaction to the term "Sweathog" is "That sounds gross." He seems to have a way with women, as shown in later episodes. One of his running jokes involved imparting whimsical sayings, such as one about how a real man never steps on a pregnant alligator.

Other recurring characters

  • Vernee Watson as Verna Jean
  • Susan Lanier as Bambi: Bambi was a female addition to the Sweathogs introduced mostly as eye candy.
  • Charles Fleischer as Carvelli: Carvelli was introduced as a student foil to the Sweathogs in Season 4.
  • Bob Harcum as Murray: Murray was Carvelli's loyal, and extremely dim, sidekick.
  • Dennis Bowen as Todd Ludlow: Todd was a nerdy academic high achiever.
  • Geoffrey Stump as Kyle "the Heartbreaker" Lucas
  • Irene Arranga as Mary Johnson-Horshack

Show History

Welcome Back, Kotter's beginning had its controversial moments.

  • In Boston, the local ABC affiliate (WCVB) refused to air the show. The city was going through a tumultuous school busing program to enhance racial equality and the local affiliate felt Kotter's fictional integrated classroom would only add fuel to the fire. However, the show became an early ratings success and the affiliate relented, picking it up from its fifth episode.
  • Teachers in other cities had concerns about how Kotter would be portrayed, so producers allowed a union representative on the set to ensure the show protected the image of those in the profession. Kaplan opposed the idea, at one point asking a reporter if there was a junkman on the set of Sanford and Son to protect the reputation of junkmen.
  • There were also concerns that the show would celebrate juvenile delinquency. However, these sentiments faded after the Sweathogs' antics proved to be more silly than scary. Like Kaplan, Hegyes was a fan of the Marx Brothers. Hegyes claims that he suggested that the Sweathogs be modeled after the Marx Brothers in order to reduce tension.[1]

By the third season, the ratings began to slip. In an interview years later, Kaplan attributed the decline to the age of the actors playing the Sweathogs (Palillo was 29, Hegyes was 28, Hilton-Jacobs was 27 and Travolta was 24), saying they were no longer believable as high school students. His idea was that to have Kotter join the faculty of a community college attended by the Sweathogs. However, this storyline never materialized. To help lure more viewers, the Kotters had twin girls, but this didn't prove to be enough to regain the show's earlier momentum. The show introduced a female Sweathog, Angie Grabowski, played by future Playboy model Melonie Haller, but the character didn't last.

Major changes took place in the fourth and final season:

  • Travolta, who had already starred in box office hits such as Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Carrie, began to focus more time on his film career. He was featured in eight episodes and was billed a "special guest star". It was Travolta's phasing out from the storyline that was the primary contributor to the cancellation of the show itself. 
  • Mr. Woodman was promoted to Principal of the school (Principal Lazarus retired), and Kotter was promoted to Vice-Principal, and the show's focus moved away from Kotter's class.
  • Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes disputes led to limited appearances by Kaplan. To help fill the voids, Stephen Shortridge joined the cast as smooth-talking Southerner Beau De Labarre, and Kotter's wife, Julie, became a secretary at the school.

Popularity

The show enjoyed ratings success during its first two seasons, spawning a host of merchandising tie-ins including lunch boxes, dolls, comic books, novels and even a board game (advertised as "The 'Up Your Nose With A Rubber Hose' Game" in a commercial with a class full of Sweathog look-alikes). The Sweathogs (or at least an impressionist's version of them) even made a crossover appearance with characters from the Happy Days universe on one track (the disco-themed "Fonzarelli Slide") of a 1976 TV-promoted oldies compilation album.

The TV characters' signature lines became enormously popular catch phrases such as Barbarino's "up your nose with a rubber hose" and Washington's deep-voiced "hi there" and Horshack's wheezing laugh. It wasn't long before the previously unknown actors became hot commodities, particularly Travolta, the show's breakout star.

Theme song

Problems listening to this file? See media help.

The popular theme song, "Welcome Back", written and recorded by former Lovin' Spoonful frontman John Sebastian, became a #1 hit in the spring of 1976. The show was originally going to be called Kotter, but that was changed because of the theme song lyrics. Sebastian has said he tried to find a more general theme for the song after being unable to find any reasonable rhymes for Kotter.

Of arcane interest was a performance of the "Welcome Back," theme song that John Sebastian performed live one time on Saturday Night, Live (24 April 1976 - Season 1, Episode 18), when he flubbed the opening lyrics and stopped the song, to restart it again.

Comic books

DC Comics published ten issues of a Welcome Back, Kotter comic book starting in 1976.

Action figures

Azrak-Hamway produced a series of Welcome Back, Kotter action figures in 1977.

Episodes

DVD Releases

Kotterdvdcover.jpg

Warner Home Video released a 6-episode Television Favorites collection on February 28, 2006. Due to the success of this release, Warner released the Complete first Season on DVD in Region 1 on June 12, 2007. It is unknown if the remaining 3 seasons will be released at some point.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Television Favorites 6 February 28, 2006
The Complete First Season 22 June 12, 2007
The Complete Second Season 23 TBA
The Complete Third Season 27 TBA
The Complete Fourth Season 23 TBA

Nominations

Kotter failed to receive any major awards, though it was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1976 after its first season- it lost to Mary Tyler Moore.

Kotter was also nominated for three technical Emmy Awards: Outstanding Achievement in Videotape Editing for a Series in 1976, Outstanding Art Direction for a Comedy Series in 1978 and Outstanding Individual Achievement - Creative Technical Crafts (Dick Wilson) in 1979.

Guest stars

Several noteworthy performers enjoyed guest stints on Kotter either during or prior to their widespread fame. James Woods guest starred in the first episode ("The Great Debate") portraying a drama teacher who led the school debate team ("the Turkeys") in a competition against the Sweathogs. Pat Morita appeared in the first episode of the second season. Comedian George Carlin was featured, as was John Astin. Other guest stars included Ellen Travolta, Richard Moll, Jean Stapleton, Della Reese and Dinah Manoff who would appear in one of John Travolta's biggest movies, Grease.

Groucho Marx was set to have a brief walk-on role in one episode. He arrived on-set, but was deemed to be too sick to appear. Pictures of Marx with the cast were taken, but were never released because of his ill appearance. [2] [3]

Spin-offs

At least three spin-offs of Kotter were seriously considered, but only one ever became a series. The short-lived Mr. T and Tina starred Pat Morita as Taro Takahashi (Mr. T for short), a brilliant Japanese inventor whom he portrayed in one episode of Kotter. The show was not received well by critics and lasted just five episodes on ABC. There was also talk of developing a spin-off built around the Horshack character and his family, but it never went beyond the backdoor pilot stage, shown as an episode of "Kotter". In the mid-1990s, Hegyes announced on the Jenny Jones talk show that plans were in the works to create a spin-off featuring the Sweathogs (minus Travolta's Barbarino) all grown up. The project, however, never got off the ground, and little information about it was ever made public.

ABC broadcast history

September 1975 - January 1976 Tuesday 8:30-9:00 p.m.
January 1976 - August 1978 Thursday 8:00-8:30 p.m.
September 1978 - October 1978 Monday 8:00-8:30 p.m.
October 1978 - March 1979 Saturday 8:00-8:30 p.m.
May 1979 - August 1979 Friday 8:00-8:30 p.m.

Nielsen Ratings

1975–1976 #18
1976–1977 #13
1977–1978 #27
1978–1979 -

International Airing

  • In Germany 23 episodes of "Welcome back, Kotter" were shown dubbed, but under its original name - first from September 1979 till May 1980 by the ZDF, then again from April to July 1985 by Sat.1.
  • In the United Kingdom 26 episodes were shown from December 1981 until July 1983 on ITV.
  • In Australia the show was broadcast on The Seven Network from June 1976 and rated very well for the first two seasons
  • In New Zealand the show was screened on Television New Zealand's TV ONE. As in Australia, the first two seasons rated highly.
  • In Italy the show was aired by the Italian TV second channel RAI 2 in the spring of 1980. Since at the time there were only 2 national TV networks, the rating was high. The show was dubbed, and the title was translated in Italian into I ragazzi del sabato sera (Saturday Night Guys), clearly aiming to build on the success of Saturday Night Fever. As a matter of fact, most viewers believed that the show had been shot after the movie.
  • In Greece the show was screened on ANT1 really late, in the summer of 1992, on a morning slot (07.30). It pass unnoticed.

After the show

When Travolta hosted Saturday Night Live in 1994, he appeared in a sketch that lampooned his old show. Quentin Tarantino's Welcome Back, Kotter gave viewers a humorous look at how the Pulp Fiction director might have brought a strong dose of violence to the tame show. Travolta reprised his old character, Barbarino, with Mike Myers as Mr. Kotter, Adam Sandler as Epstein, Tim Meadows as Washington and David Spade as Horshack.

In 1997, Hegyes, Hilton-Jacobs and Palillo reprised their Sweathog roles on an episode of the NBC sitcom Mr. Rhodes. Kaplan did not appear; instead, John Kassir assumed the role of Mr. Kotter. The episode originally aired on February 3, 1997 and was entitled The Welcome Back Show.

Kaplan welcomed back Hegyes and Hilton-Jacobs on his short-lived NBC 1981 sitcom, "Lewis & Clark". Their characters joked that Kaplan seemed familiar and being a smart guy, "should become a teacher."

Kotter had a renewed surge in popularity in the mid-1990s when it aired as part of the Nick at Nite lineup on Nickelodeon. Kaplan later said that the show found plenty of new fans during that run but that they were turned off by the quality of the episodes from the fourth season. The fourth season episodes rarely aired on Nick at Nite. A full weekend marathon occurred on TV Land during their Fandemonium weekend stunts in 1999.

Cast members opened up about their experiences on the show in 2000's Welcome Back, Kotter: The E! True Hollywood Story. The two-hour program included interviews with cast members, including Kaplan, Travolta, Palillo, Hilton-Jacobs, Strassman and Shortridge. Kaplan spoke of a difficult relationship with executive producer James Komack, whom he saw as not serving the show's best interests. Like many viewers, Kaplan said the quality of the show dropped off in the fourth and final season. Hilton-Jacobs agreed, saying that the new writers brought in that year were not suited to a show of this nature. Palillo said the impact of an attempted ratings-grabber in the final season, Horshack's wedding, was derailed when President Jimmy Carter gave a televised speech that pre-empted the heavily advertised episode. Strassman recalled how disappointed she was at her limited time on camera, a situation that changed in the fourth season when her character became a substitute teacher at Buchanan High.

In 2003, as part of ABC's 50th Anniversary Celebration telecast, Kotter was featured in tribute montage and the original cast appeared together on stage.

In 2006, Welcome Back, Kotter was seen in reruns for a brief period on "i" (now ION Television) before its cancellation in December 2006.

The Transformers: Timelines character of Rodimus is based on Vinnie Barbarino, using variants of his catch phrases.

"Hey Mr. Kotter" by Kingsauce parodies the show's main characters

Motion Picture

A motion picture based on this television series is being planned. Ice Cube has been selected to play the role of Gabe Kotter. Gabe Kaplan applauded the move of Ice Cube winning the part of Mr. Kotter.[1]

The film will take place in South Central Los Angeles as opposed to Brooklyn. No release date has been scheduled.

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Welcome Back, Kotter (1975 - 1979) was an American sitcom, airing on ABC, about a compassionate teacher who returns to the inner city high school of his youth to teach a new generation of trouble making kids.

Contents

Season 1

The Great Debate [1.01]

Kotter: Just think of a debate as sort of a, um, rumble with words.
Vinnie: You mean like, 'Up your nose with a garden hose?'

Freddie: This coat was worn at the famous Lincoln-Douglas debate.
Kotter: This coat was worn at the famous Lincoln-Douglas debate?
Freddie: I wore this coat when my father, Lincoln, beat the daylights out of my brother, Douglas!

Basket Case [1.02]

Vinnie: You scratch my back, I scratch yours.
Kotter: I can't do that. You see, my wife has an exclusive on my entire body. She'd be disturbed if I came home with a pre-scratched back.

Kotter: Do I look like Miss Fishbeck, the art teacher?
Epstein: Only around the moustache.

Welcome Back [1.03]

Kotter: James Buchanan is not anywhere. It's in Bensonhurst, which is in Brooklyn, which is where I spent four degenerate years as a student. You know how rough that is? The gangs there don't use guns. They insert the bullets manually.

Epstein: Hey, look, we can't stay long, we got a cab waiting downstairs.
Kotter: You took a cab?
Epstein: We're gonna give it back.
Kotter: You stole a cab?
Vinnie: No, no, no, no. It's Horshack's father's cab. You can't steal a guy's father's cab. You can't.
Horshack: Then why'd we tie him up, Vinnie?

Whodunit? [1.04]

Kotter: So nobody did it. I think we should put a candle in the window, because the last time this happened, three wise men came from the east.

[Kotter comes in the class after the bell rings]
Vinnie: You're late.
Freddie: That's your fourth tardy this semester.
Epstein: Did you bring a note from your mommy? [Horshack laughs]
Gabe: Boy, what an honor, in my class, all four Marx brothers: Wacko, Stupo, Jerko, and Dummo.

The Election [1.05]

Vinnie: I feel like this is just the beginning. Today, Buchanan, tomorrow, who knows? Governor Barbarino, Senator Barbarino, Emperor Barbarino! [Sweathogs cheer] You know, Julius Caesar was an Italian.

Kotter: Vinnie's not the first Sweathog who ever ran.
Woodman: No, that's right. Back in 1962, Jerry Slater was disqualified for stuffing the ballot box... with his opponent.

No More Mister Nice Guy [1.06]

Kotter: Can anybody tell me who settled New Jersey?
Horshack: Ooh! Ooh ooh! Is New Jersey settled?
Kotter: Arnold, New Jersey's been settled for more than 250 years.
Epstein: Ha! You never been to Newark on a Saturday night!

Woodman: Now today, we will discuss the Revolutionary War. Now, who can tell me where that war started? Mr. Washington?
Freddie: Right. [whispers to Kotter] What's the answer?
Kotter: [whispering] Lexington and--
Freddie: Right. [stands up, clears throat] Lexington Avenue. Probably near 129th Street, by that barbecue, man. It's a tough neighborhood. A lot of wars went on over there.

Classroom Marriage [1.07]

Vinnie: You're not our friend. You're nothing but a teacher.
Kotter: Why can't I be your teacher and your friend?
Epstein: It don't work that way, Kotter. You see, in this vast universe of ours, people are divided into two groups, us and them. You're them.

Woodman: The world is divided into two parts--us and them. They're them! And come to think of it, you're them too.
Kotter: Yeah? Well, thank you. [in Groucho voice] That's the nicest remark I ever hoid.

One of Our Sweathogs Is Missing [1.08]

Kotter: Maybe Epstein has decided that there's more to being a man that winning or losing a fight. That manliness is not measured by the amount of macho a guy's got.
Horshack: Right you are, Mr. Kotter! I get along without any macho at all.
Vinnie: Yeah, I'm holdin' it for him 'till he gets older.

Epstein: I ain't goin' to class, man. I ain't never goin' to class.
Kotter: Where you goin' then?
Epstein: I don't know, uh, into the religious life.
Kotter: Brother Epstein, huh? I can see the headlines: 'Puerto Rican Jew enters monastery, becomes the first 'Schlamonk.'

Mr. Kotter, Teacher [1.09]

Kotter: You went to the library where they keep the books?
Vinnie: Yeah. And for three whole days we spent lookin' up what you call legal 'presidents'.

Kotter: I'm a teacher. That's what it says on my locker, "Mr. Kotter, teacher." And I'm teaching a bunch of students called Sweathogs. Now, contrary to popular opinion, Sweathogs are not dumb. I mean, a dumb person does not think of a way to make it rain in the gymnasium.
Vinnie: I did that.

The Reunion [1.10]

Lyle: Gabe, all through school I wanted to be a Sweathog, but dirt never stuck to me. I was... too perfect.
Mary Frances: It's lovely being perfect.
Lyle: It's boring being perfect. It's boring being rich. I have five boring bedrooms.
Mary Frances: Am I included in those five boring bedrooms?
Lyle: Mary Frances, no one has a headache for seven years!

Kotter: I have a bad case of Lyle Flannigan.
Freddie: When did you first notice that something was wrong with your Flannigan?

Barbarino's Girl [1.11]

[Kotter asks Freddie where his report card is]
Freddie: My momma's got it, you dig? Yeah!
Kotter: I dig it! Didn't she sign it?
Freddie: Heh, no. She just took it in her left hand, and then she hit me upside my head with her right. See, man, and then, and then, she threw a chair at me. And then she tried to cave my back in with a TV set!
Kotter: All right, all right, have your father sign it.
Freddie: You crazy? He's the one with the bad temper!

Judy: You know, Vinnie, you're so low, you could crawl under a pregnant ant!
Kotter: That's a good one, Vinnie.
Vinnie: Oh, yeah? Well, listen, Blimpo, you better watch yourself, or I'll let the air out of your dress.

California Dreamin [1.12]

Kotter: What's your first name?
Bambi: It's Bambi. [giggling] But, uh, my friends call me Sunshine.
Freddie: Well, uh, let the sunshine in, darlin'!

Bambi: Didn't we live together in another life?
Epstein: Oh...oh, I would have remembered that!
Bambi: [giggling] Oh, he's magic!
Kotter: Yeah, maybe one day he'll disappear.

Arrividerci, Arnold [1.13]

Kotter: Has it occurred to any of you that by trying to help Horshack, you're hurting him? You're not giving him a chance to prove himself outside the Sweathogs. You gotta let him try and make new friends.
Vinnie: Something wrong with his old friends?
Epstein: Yeah, you couldn't give friends like us away.
Kotter: You got a point there, Epstein.

Freddie: [to Horshack] You know, I never really thought I would miss you, but you sort of grow on a guy... like mold.

The Longest Weekend [1.14]

Vinnie: I happen to know this girl. She's a little too, uh, old for me. She's nineteen. But believe me, she's ready to trot!
Kotter: Ready to trot?
Vinnie: Yeah.
Kotter: Then take her out to Yonkers Raceway.

Epstein: Well, you had your little fun, now, Arnold. Now you're gonna fold, right?
Horshack: Ep-stine, I think it's high time I made a stand! [stands up]
Epstein: Horshack!
Horshack: I fold! [sits back down]

The Sit-In [1.15]

Vinnie: I got my own idea of what God is like: I know he's a sharp dresser, and he's good-looking, and of course he's Italian.
Freddie: Yeah? Well, if you ask me, all that stuff about harps is a lot of jive. God is backed up by a jazz rhythm section. He got a piano, a bass guitar, and a drummer with a good right foot.

Kotter: Hello, Arnold. Haven't you noticed you're wearing a green plastic bag?
Horshack: I'm disguised as a green bean.
Kotter: [in deep voice] Ho, ho, ho...and how are things in the valley, Little Sprout?
Horshack: [in high-pitched voice] Fine and dandy, Jolly Green Giant! How's your niblets?

Follow The Leader (1) [1.16]

Julie: [to Kotter about the Sweathogs] They're not students, they're inmates! And you are the head cuckoo!

Freddie: You're the leader of the Sweathogs, right?
Vinnie: Am I the leader of the Sweathogs? Is a bear Catholic? Does the Pope live in the woods?

Follow The Leader (2) [1.17]

Kotter: Epstein, what are the advantages of the two-party system?
Epstein: Oh, that's an easy one. In the two-party system, you get to go to two kinds of parties... two kinds of dancin', two kinds of chip dip, and two kinds of hopin' you'll, uh, make out.

Horshack: A woman is a sometime thing.
Epstein: She'll take your heart and give it a fling.
Horshack: But when true love runs off its course...
Epstein: Then she'll sue you for divorce.

Dr. Epstein, I Presume [1.18]

Kotter: All right, Epstein, come on. Let's have it so we can get to work.
Epstein: What?
Kotter: One of your famous notes that'll read something like, 'Please excuse Juan for being late. He was kidnapped by the jet set and left tied up on a lawn in Hyannis Port.' Signed...
Sweathogs: Epstein's mother!

Ms. Helms: Mr. Epstein just doesn't have the numbers! I have no other answer for him!
Kotter: Yeah? Well, I have an answer for you, lady—up your nose with your computer hose! And twice as far with a chocolate bar!

One Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest [1.19]

Kotter: What would have happened if George Washington quit, huh? If Abraham Lincoln quit? What would have happened if Murray Cornfeld quit?
Freddie: I ain't never heard of no Murray Cornfeld!
Kotter: You know why you never heard of him? 'Cause he quit!

Woodman: [about Kotter and the Sweathogs] They do a lot of pretending in that class. They pretend to be students; he pretends to be a teacher.

The Telethon [1.20]

Epstein: Hey, I got an idea, listen to this. ISB.
Kotter: ISB?
Epstein: In-School Betting. Yeah. It's about time we get bettin' off the streets, into the school here, where it belongs! [Sweathogs cheer]
Kotter: Are you kiddin'? I'll lay you 5-2 that'll never happen.
Freddie: I'll take that bet.

Kotter: Julie, baby, did I ever tell you about my uncle Ben?
Julie: No. Did he make rice?

Kotter Makes Good [1.21]

Horshack: An integer is a counting number. If the sequence is 1,2; 2,3; 3,4; etc., the integer is apparent.
Kotter: It's apparent to who?
Horshack: So find the value of 'X'?
Kotter: 'X'? I don't know.
Horshack: Right! 'X' is unknown! So what's 'Y'?
Kotter: 'Y'?
Vinnie: Where?

[Epstein and Freddie bring the blackboard from the class into the Kotters' apartment]
Kotter: You guys can't do things like this. It's against the law. It's robbery! It's five to ten!
Epstein: [holding an alarm clock] Nah, its ten to ten.
Freddie: Hey, besides, we tend to think of it as... creative borrowing.

Father Vinnie [1.22]

Vinnie: You know, Mr. Kotter, prayer is good for you.
Kotter': Oh, I know that, Vinnie, I know. I prayed all morning, the whole time I was on the subway comin' to work. I prayed that we'd get to my stop before the two guys who were kickin' the conductor noticed me.

Freddie: [to Vinnie] You got as much chance being a priest as I do gettin' the lead in the school production of Snow White.
Epstein: Yeah, and Freddie was the best one who read for the part. But, me and Horshack, see, we're still up for dwarfs.
Horshack: Yeah. Guess who's gonna play Dopey?
Kotter: If I was casting, I'd have a rough time choosing.

Season 2

Career Day [2.01]

Inherit The Halibut [2.02]

Freddie: We're gonna take all this money, we're gonna put it in the bank. We're gonna all be typhoons.
Kotter: That's, uh, tycoons.
Freddie: No, typhoons. 'Cause at the end of the year, we gonna all blow it!

Kotter: Epstein, take the stand.
Epstein: Do I gotta?
Kptter: That's right. This court does not recognize notes from your mother.

Sweatside Story [2.03]

Carvelli: [about Kotter] Teacher? This is a tough school.
...
Carvelli: That's the oldest punk I ever saw.
Woodman: I'm not a punk; I'm the vice principal.
Carvelli: Vice principal? This is a tough school.

The Fight [2.04]

Kotter: [about the Sweathogs] You guys look like a delinquent Mount Rushmore.

The Museum [2.05]

Vinnie: I ain't gonna hurt any old relics. Not even Mr. Woodman.
Woodman: Get bent, Barbarino!

Vinnie: I went to a wax museum once. I saw Raquel Welch. You know that that wax comes right off in your hands?
Kotter: Next time wear gloves.

Gabe Under Pressure [2.06]

Sweathog, Nebraska Style [2.07]

[Epstein gives Kotter a note from the principal saying that he was in conference with him]
Kotter: What are you trying to do to me, Epstein? I know the man's handwriting. This note is legitimate!
Epstein: Well, in baseball, it's called a change-up, you know? Keeps the hitter guessin'!

Woodman: A fine young lady like you doesn't belong with Sweathogs.
Jenny: Oh, yeah? In your horn with an ear of corn!
Woodman: She's a Sweathog!

Sadie Hawkins Day [2.08]

Hello, Ms. Chips [2.09]

Horshack vs. Carvelli [2.10]

Sweathog Clinic for the Cure of Smoking [2.11]

Kotter: I had to decide whether or not I was gonna let junk food rule my life.
Epstein: Well, what'd you do?
Kotter: I went cold turkey.
Epstein: Cold turkey?
Kotter: That's right. For five days, instead of junk food, I ate nothin' but cold turkey!

Epstein: [about spending so long in the bathroom] I'm just enjoying a few moments of privacy, you know? I mean, when you got nine brothers and sisters like I got, the only time you get to use the bathroom by yourself is on your birthday!

Hark, the Sweatkings [2.12]

A Love Story [2.13]

Caruso's Way [2.14]

Sweatgate Scandal [2.15]

Woodman: Now, now, now, Juan, you hot-blooded young turk!
Epstein: I'm a Puerto Rican Jew!
Woodman: Same thing. Your blood is hot.

Kotter: Newspapers mold people's minds.
Horshack: Who wants to make a moldy mind?

Kotter and Son [2.16]

Chicken a la Kotter [2.17]

Has Anyone Seen Arnold? (1) [2.18]

There Goes Number 5 (2) [2.19]

The Littlest Sweathog [2.20]

Vinnie: I figure you only go 'round once in your life, right? So why go 'round the 11th grade twice?

Epstein: When my mother was pregnant, she used to want hot peppers, you know? Every day, hot peppers, hot peppers, hot peppers. When we was born, the first thing we asked for was a glass of water!

Radio Free Freddie [2.21]

I'm Having Their Baby [2.22]

I Wonder Who's Kissing Gabe Now? [2.23]

Epstein: Miss Holzgang said we could draw our favorite thing, so I drew this bea-utiful girl! Oh!
Horshack: I drew a picture of a cheese Whopper.
Freddie: Yeah, and I drew a picture of Arnold getting heartburn.
Vinnie: And I drew a picture of me.

Woodman: [about Epstein's drawing] At last I've got something to nail one of you Sweathogs!
Horshack: Oh, but Mr. Woodman, Rembrandt painted plenty of nudes.
Woodman: Well, I wanna see Rembrandt in my office, too!

Season 3

Sweathogs Back-to-School Special [3.01]

And Baby Makes Four (1) [3.02]

Kotter: If your contractions start, you time them.
Julie: Uh-huh.
Kotter: When they're four minutes apart, you call me.
Julie: Uh-huh.
Kotter: If your water breaks, don't touch the toaster.

Woodman: I'm breaking up the Sweathogs. It's like breaking up the old Yankees. You thought you had me, didn't you? Two outs, bottom of the ninth, but old Woodman hit a home run, and I win! I win, Kotter!
Kotter: How long have you been without your medication, Mr. Woodman?

And Baby Makes Four (2) [3.03]

Horshack: We are all here to witness a miracle, the miracle of birth. And Mr. Kotter, miracles cannot be rushed.
Kotter: Look, Arnold, I am... Arnold, what you just said, that was beautiful. It made a lot of sense.
Horshack: Of course! Births cannot be rushed. For example, first, the stork has to be notified.

Kotter: Where's my wife?
Nurse: Well, she's in the labor room.
Horshack: Labor room? They're making her work at a time like this?

The Visit [3.04]

Julie: What are we going to name the babies?
Kotter: Well, what's wrong with 'this one' and 'that one?'
Julie: Too common.

Woodman: Teaching this class is about as much fun as root canal work.
Epstein: I thought all the routes to your canal dried up a long time ago!

Buddy, Can You Spare a Million? [3.05]

[Epstein brings a satchel to watch the lottery drawing]
Kotter: Epstein, what's that satchel for?
Epstein: It's for the money. What am I gonna do, stuff 250 G's in my pocket?
Freddie: Hey, Juan, um, they gonna give us a check.
Epstein: Oh, no, I don't take checks. Checks bounce.
Kotter: Well, this one's gonna be from New York State.
Epstein: Especially those!

[Kotter and Julie are changing the babies]
Kotter: How come I always get the wet one?
Julie: Oh, she's just showing off for Daddy.
Kotter: We gotta break her of this habit before she starts dating.

Just Testing [3.06]

Julie: [as the babies cry] Okay, girls, now here's the deal. You can either go to sleep, or you can wash the dishes! [babies stop crying] I knew you'd take the easy way out.

Vinnie: Mr. Woodman, why don't you take a couple days off and go hang gliding? It's good weather for it: no wind.

The Deprogramming of Arnold Horshack [3.07]

Kotter: [about Horshack] He has joined the cult of Baba Bebe.
Woodman: Baba Bebe? You mean the one who brainwashes young people?
[Kotter nods]
Woodman: My kind of guy! [laughs]

Horshack: My name is Abu Kareem Hassan. What is, is. What was, will be. What will be, was, but will be again.
Vinnie: We better hurry up, I'm startin' to understand him.

What a Move [3.08]

A Novel Idea [3.09]

Barbarino in Love (1) [3.10]

Barbarino in Love (2) [3.11]

Kotter for Vice Principal [3.12]

Swine and Punishment [3.13]

Epstein's Madonna [3.14]

Sweathog Christmas Special [3.15]

Sweatwork [3.16]

Meet Your New Teacher [3.17]

Angie [3.18]

Epstein's Term Paper [3.19]

Epstein: How'd you figure it was Cavelli, pop?
Kotter: Ah, good question, number one son. Old Chinese proverb: Man who try to pull wool over eyes wind up with sheep on face.

There's No Business Like Show Business (1) [3.20]

There's No Business Like Show Business (2) [3.21]

What Goes Up [3.22]

Good-Bye, Mr. Kripps [3.23]

Horshack and the Madame X [3.24]

The Kiss [3.25]

The Return of Hotsy Totsy [3.26]

Class Encounter of the Carvelli Kind [3.27]

Season 4

The Drop-Ins (1) [4.01]

The Drop-Ins (2) [4.02]

Beau's Jest [4.03]

Don't Come Up and See Me Sometime [4.04]

Once Upon a Ledge [4.05]

The Sweatmobile [4.06]

Barbarino's Boo-Boo [4.07]

X-Rated Education [4.08]

The Barbarino Blues [4.09]

Washington's Clone [4.10]

Frog Day Afternoon [4.11]

A Little Fright Music [4.12]

A Winter's Coat Tale [4.13]

Bride and Gloom [4.14]

Barbarino's Baby [4.15]

The Goodbye Guy [4.16]

Come Back, Little Arnold [4.17]

The Sweat Smell of Success [4.18]

The Gang Show [4.19]

Oo, Oo, I Do (1) [4.20]

Oo, Oo, I Do (2) [4.21]

I'm Okay, But You're Not [4.22]

The Breadwinners [4.23]

Cast

External links

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