56. Welcome Back, Kotter

Creator: Gabe Kaplan, Alan Sacks
Years: 1975-1979

A show that was better than it had any right to be. Gabe Kaplan tried to recreate his days as a remedial school student by becoming a teacher who graduated from this remedial school and came back to teach it. I caught this on syndication about ten years ago and found it fairly amusing.

John Travolta might be the weakest of the students, though he did get to say “Up Your Nose With A Rubber Hose!” a lot. My favorite students were Boom Boom Washington and Juan Epstein (the Puerto Rican Jew). Kaplan is the star as the wisecracking teacher who the kids respect, and occasionally there’s some genuine sentiment in the story lines that ring true. Mostly though, the stories are pretty simplistic.

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One thought on “56. Welcome Back, Kotter

  1. I saw Kaplan more down the road in a later series, but I can’t remember what.

    I didn’t watch a lot of ’70s TV as a kid. I remember thinking the production values just looked insanely cheap, even in comparison to much older fare. As a result, I had no knowledge of Kaplan’s great work until years later.

    …hey, I’m caught up again! That’s, like, 14 emails I can delete now!

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