Welcome Back, Kotter

Season 4 Episode 4

Once Upon a Ledge

1
Aired Unknown Oct 02, 1978 on ABC

Episode Recap

Epilogue: Juan comes to the school store. He tells Freddie and Arnold he wants to return a defective pencil. Arnold takes out a jeweler's loupe, examines the pencil and asks what is wrong with it. Juan says that when he uses it, it gets duller, and when he sharpens it, it gets shorter. He calls it a vicious cycle. As Woodman approaches, Freddie says that when anything gets duller and shorter at the school, they make it the principal. Woodman calls them all hyenas. Beau comes up and says he appreciates a man who knows his zoology. After Woodman leaves, a girl named Mary Johnson comes up and starts talking to them, but then the bell rings and everybody leaves for class. Mary tries to go into the Sweathogs' classroom but the door slams in her face.
Part One: Mary goes into the office and tells Julie that she has an appointment to see Gabe, Julie says he is away at a teachers' conference and Woodman is taking all his appointments. Mary says she was there yesterday. Julie says she doesn't see her name but there is a blank space on her appointment book; Mary says that's her. Woodman comes out of his office to say that he's going to lunch; that if he has to do his and Gabe's job that he needs a decent meal but will settle for one from the cafeteria. Julie says that he has another appointment. Woodman says he doesn't care, that he has low blood sugar and if he doesn't eat on time, he gets grumpy. He says to cancel it and tell them to come back later. As he turns around, Julie says that he's looking at her. He quickly smiles and tells Mary to come into his office. She says she can come back but he insists. He then asks if she has a Twinkie. He then tells Julie to get Mary's file. In the office, he asks if she's a new student. She says she's the kind of person that is hard to notice. Julie comes in and says there were three Mary Johnsons in school so she brought all three files. She then says she's going to go have her lunch. Woodman asks if she can really eat while he is on the verge of malnutrition. She says yes; that if she doesn't eat on time, she gets grumpy. Woodman goes through the files, one Mary Johnson is a cheerleader, another is a jock. He gets to her file, but it's just one page, which says she has an impressive dental record; she says 'That's me: Mary Johnson, the regular brusher.' She tells Woodman she wants to transfer to the Sweathogs' class. She starts to explain why but Freddie barges in complaining that the gym is decorated for a pep rally and he can't practice for the game that night. Woodman tells him he's in conference with Mary. Freddie thinks it's the cheerleader but she says she's the one with the good teeth. Woodman tells Freddie to call off practice until after the pep rally. He says not to blame him 'if my ol' slam dunk ain't got no funk!' When he leaves, Woodman calls Freddie a typical Sweathog and that his idea of nature study is watching Meadowlark Lemon. Juan then comes in yelling that 'Herbert Hoover melted!' He says that he was showing a film on Hoover when the projector jammed up on him causing the film to melt and he doesn't know what to do. Woodman says to report it to maintenance. He then goes back to Mary and says her academic record is not low enough to warrant a transfer, that she has a strong C average. She says that being average is her problem. He says that most teenagers feel the same and she says 'I can't even have a life crisis that isn't average!' He says she would stick out like a sore thumb, but she says that's what she wants, to be special. She then offers to fail some tests if her grades aren't bad enough. Beau then comes in and says that he needs Woodman's help; that he still doesn't know his way around school and took a wrong turn into the girls' locker room. He says he tried to leave but couldn't find the door. He wants Woodman to smooth the ruffled feathers of the gym teacher. Woodman says he will and Beau butters him up before he leaves. Then Julie comes in and says a food fight has started in the cafeteria. He says to have the coach stop it but she says the coach started it. Then she says they need a man of his stature. He asks if they need a strong authority figure, and she says they need a low target. She leaves and he says there's no justice; that he's starving and half the school is wearing his lunch. He leaves but turns back to Mary and says he'll be back, but calls her Ruth. She gets to the door but it closes in her face. She says 'It's Mary. Mary Johnson. Mary Johnson of the one page file. Mary Johnson the nobody!' She grabs the file and slumps down in a chair crying. In the schoolyard, Arnold is eating his lunch and singing about it. He takes out a jelly sandwich and opens it, then takes out a celery stalk, dips it in the jelly and eats it. Freddie comes up and tells him about the food fight. Arnold says he doesn't like the soup they are throwing. Juan comes up asking which one of them did it. Arnold goes on about how he didn't do it until Freddie asks 'Didn't do what?' Arnold then asks what he did not do. Juan says that someone put bubble gum in the sprockets. Freddie starts blowing a bubble and Arnold points it out to Juan. Freddie denies it and says if he did, he should be struck dead. Something then falls from the top of the building. Juan asks what that was and Arnold says it either came from the building 'or they've started throwing the meatloaf.' Juan then notices Mary on one of the window ledges. Arnold says someone could get killed falling from there and Freddie says that may be what she wants. All three then run off to get help.
Part Two: The Sweathogs and Woodman go into their class and see Mary on the ledge. Woodman says she was just in his office. He tells Mary to stay calm, but when Mary yells at him to get away from the window, he yells back and hits his head on the window. He then asks if she is pulling a stunt to become a Sweathog. She says she just want to jump. She says everyone ignored her and she's tired of talking, especially to him. Woodman realizes she is serious. Julie comes in and says the police are on their way and to keep her talking until they arrive. Arnold says they can't because she won't let them near the window and Freddie says she won't listen to them. Julie tries to talk to her but she won't let her. Woodman tells Julie to go find Mary's parents.  Freddie then talks smooth to her but she says he thinks it's a big joke. Freddie admits that he doesn't know what to say to her and he's scared. He says that she won't solve her problems this way but she says it's easy for him to say, that everyone knows 'Boom-Boom.' She says that no one knows her. She then says that she needs the nickname, not him. He then says that if she comes back in, he'll give her one of his 'Boom's. She yells at him to leave; when he gets back in Arnold tells him, 'Nice try, Boom.' Juan then tries a technique he saw on an old Baretta rerun. He does a bad Baretta impression and offers to jump with her. She says to go ahead, but he says he has a book report due sixth period. Arnold says that he was moved but it lost something without the cockatoo. Beau comes in and says he knows Mary. Without looking at her, he starts to apologize for a misunderstanding, but when he looks at her, he realizes she's not the cheerleader. She says that she's the kind of girl he wouldn't take the time to notice because he's afraid to date a girl that isn't as pretty as him. He says that she's tough to say that on the ledge and he dares her to come inside and say it to his face. She starts to, but then realizes what he did and says she'll stay out there. The boys say he did the best he could. Julie comes back and Woodman asks where the police are. He says that he she was double parked they'd be there quick. Arnold then climbs out on the ledge saying she needs a friend, not the police. With the boys encouraging him, Arnold walks out next to her. He says that he read that when someone tries to take their own life, it's really a cry for help, so he came out in answer to her cry. She asks why he should care about her. He says that before anyone can care about her, she has to care about herself first and that jumping off a ledge is not the act of someone who cares about themselves. She says he can't talk to her like that, but he says it's a free ledge. She says she has enough problems and he says that the thing about problems is that the next day they don't seem half as important. He says that he would not like to think about if there would be no next morning. She says she wouldn't have any problems if she were popular. He says that that won't solve her problems and that even he does not feel very popular, but he doesn't go out on a ledge ordinarily. She says no one likes her, not even her. He asks if she likes him. She says she does. Arnold says not to jump and asks if she likes Coney Island and the roller coaster. Mary says she's afraid of heights and she likes the bumper cars. He says not to jump because then she'll lose everything she cares about. He then says that if she jumps, he'll think that she didn't mean that she liked him. She says she does like him then realizes that she doesn't want to jump. Suddenly she screams and he falls off, but grabs on to the ledge. She tells him to give her his hand and he says 'Right now you can have my entire body!' Julie tells him to pull himself up by his arms and he says 'No arms!' Beau says he can't stay out there forever but he says to throw him a coat in the winter and he'll be okay. Mary tells him to follow her feet. He manages to move to a gutter that is attached to the building at an angle and gets his feet on it. She pulls him up and he manages to get back on the ledge. Then they walk back on the ledge and into the classroom. Mary sits in a chair and cries, with Julie comforting her. The boys pull Arnold in and grab him. Mary cries that it would have been her fault if he died. She says they all saved her life and she doesn't know how to thank them, especially Arnold. He sits next to her and says, 'I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I don't wanna ever hang out with you again!' She smiles and they hug,
Epilogue: Back in his office, Woodman says his body won't take many more days like this. Julie asks if he means students on ledges, but he says he means missing lunch. Julie says she's just glad that they got Mary and Arnold in safely, and he says 'Well, Mary, anyway.' She says that despite her problems, Mary is a bright girl and with the right professional help, she'll be just fine. He then says that he will make it his business to make sure she's not ignored; that every student deserve his full attention. Julie says that was well said but he says 'I'm very eloquent on an empty stomach.'

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