Gabe Kotter

Gabe Kotter

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Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… back in his hometown – Brooklyn, New York. It’s a hardscrabble, crime-ridden city but Kotter wants to turn things around the only ways he knows how: teaching social studies and telling corny jokes.

Profession… social studies teacher at his alma mater, Buchanan High School. He was in the remedial program when he was there – a group of misfits known as the Sweathogs. Now he’s teaching that very class and showing the rest of the school that even though the Sweathogs are at the bottom of the totem pole, they’ve got more substance to them than people think.  Well, a little more, anyway.

Interests… comedy. His wife knows when he starts a story with, “Have I ever told you about my uncle?” that a groan-worthy punchline is only a few sentences away. But Gabe works at it, and even develops a popular stand-up routine about the Sweathogs. The problem is they don’t like being the butt of his jokes.

Relationship Status… married to Julie. She’s endlessly patient when it comes to his sense of humor and devotion to the Sweathogs, and loving enough to follow him from Nebraska back to Brooklyn. City life is a lot different than the quieter pace she was used to back home, but she’s happy to adjust as long as she’s with Gabe.

Challenge… showing Vice Principal Woodman that his unorthodox teaching methods really do help the Sweathogs. Woodman has nothing but disdain for the remedial class. He thinks they make the rest of the school look bad, and Kotter doing a Groucho Marx impression on his first day doesn’t lead Woodman to believe these kids are in good hands. It’s a never-ending battle with Woodman.

Personality… flip, wisecracking, caring, and smart. Gabe loves nothing more than a good joke, but he’s serious about helping the Sweathogs, even when that dedication gets on his wife’s nerves. Kotter was once in their shoes and knows what it takes to get off the slow track at Buchanan and turn things around.  


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