I loved Welcome Back Kotter in the 70's. Like, really loved it. Tom did, too. When we had pop culture discussions in our early dating life, it almost always came up. What a great, great show, we would say.
Imagine our joy when we learned that Nick at Nite would be showing Welcome Back Kotter reruns. We were dating at the time, and we set the whole weekend aside to crash in front of Tom's TV. We were practically giddy when the theme song came on - taking us back to that same old place that we'd laughed about.
Less than half way through the first episode, we realized that more than the names had all changed since we'd hung around. This show was bad. Really, really bad. Almost unwatchable. Scratch that almost - it was unwatchable. And we were deeply involved in Hercules and Xena at the time, so it's not like we were huge TV snobs or anything. How could that have happened? We made it all the way through the pilot, deciding to cut it some slack because pilots are all about character development and are never all that good. We didn't make it all the way through the next episode.
We both dealt with the sense of delusion this brought on for - well - I'll let you know when it ends.
So Van Halen will be touring this summer. I have never seen Van Halen live. I always refer to them (along with Queen and a few select others) as the ones that got away. But I'll have a chance this summer to make that right. It's exciting. Or is it?
I said to Tom, I said, "What if we get all psyched to see Van Halen and we get there and it's like Welcome Back Kotter only Mr. Kotter has had a hip replacement and Vinnie Barbarino is wearing stupid hipster sideburns?"
Tom laughed and added, "And Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington has been replaced by Gabe and Julie's baby."
He then added, "Sammy Hagar is Beau."
"Who's on drums? Epstein or Horshack?"
"Probably Horshack. Epstein can't tour. He's got a note."
"Does that make Valerie Bertinelli Julie?"
"I guess so! I wonder if Jenny Craig made her modify the recipe for her famous tuna casserole?"
What do you know. Welcome Back Kotter can still make us laugh. As long as we don't have to watch it.