What a Sweathog Is, And Who The Boss Was

August 19, 2014

These have been troubling us for years, so we decided to do some research and get some answers once and for all.

On the classic ’70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, why were the tough kids called “sweathogs”?

Sweathogs Welcome Back Kotter“Sweathogs” was appropriated by Vinnie Barbarino, Horshack, Epstein, and Freddie as the de facto name of their harmless inner-city gang at James Buchanan High School in Brooklyn. The name had long been used in the school by teachers and staff for the juvenile delinquents who were enrolled in remedial classes. Those were taught on the school’s top floor, mainly to keep the perceived “bad influence” kids away from the school’s general population. The school had no air conditioning, and the top floor was unbearably hot for the remedial students (which at one point had included Mr. Kotter himself). They sweat like hogs, thus…sweathogs.

On the classic ’80s sitcom Who’s the Boss?, who was the boss: Tony or Angela?

Who's the Boss on Who's the BossThe name of the show, and its question, harken back to a slightly more sexist time, in which women working outside the home, let alone holding positions as executives, was a novelty that made some people uncomfortable for some reason. Judith Light portrayed Angela Bower, a powerful advertising executive, who hires Tony Micelli, a former baseball star, to be her live-in housekeeper and positive male influence for her son, Jonathan. A new sort of family is created with familiar, if untraditional, mother and father figures. But the answer to the question “who’s the boss?” is fairly obvious. Tony may be the “man,” but Angela is definitely the boss. She hired Tony. She signs his checks. Bonus: In 2011, the NBC comedy Community devoted an entire episode to this show, featuring characters developing an elaborate mathematical theorem to answer the question. Their findings? Angela was the boss.

Do you have a silly but legitimate pop culture question that you’re dying to have answered? Hit us up in the comments.