What a Country!

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What a Country!
Genre Sitcom
Developed by Martin Rips
Joseph Staretski
Written by Frank Mula
Martin Rips
Leonard Ripps
Mike Scully
Joseph Staretski
Directed by Peter Baldwin
Robert Claver
Linda Day
Dolores Ferraro
Russ Petranto
Starring Garrett M. Brown
Yakov Smirnoff
George Murdock
Vijay Amritraj
Harry Waters, Jr.
Ada Maris
Julian Reyes
Leila Hee Olsen
Gail Strickland
Gregory Sierra
Theme music composer Richard DeBenedictis
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 26
Executive producer(s) Martin Rips
Joseph Staretski
Producer(s) Wendy Blair
Eric Cohen
Leonard Ripps
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Ripstar Productions
Primetime Entertainment
Tribune Entertainment
Viacom Productions
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original network Syndicated
Original release September 27, 1986 (1986-09-27) – May 23, 1987 (1987-05-23)
Related shows Mind Your Language

What a Country! is an American sitcom that aired in syndication from September 27, 1986 to May 23, 1987. It was based on the 1977-1979 British sitcom Mind Your Language. The series was intended as somewhat of a showcase for Yakov Smirnoff, whose catchphrase provided the show's title.


What a Country! is set in a class of recent immigrants to the United States who are trying to pass the citizenship test. Their teacher, Taylor Brown (played by Garrett M. Brown) is an American English language teacher, while the students include Nikolai (a Russian taxi driver), Laszlo (a retired Hungarian doctor), Ali (a Pakistani), Robert (the son of a deposed African king), Maria (a housekeeper working for a rich Beverly Hills family), Victor (a Hispanic in love with Maria), Yung Hi (a shy Japanese woman) and Sheikh El Hamid (an Arabian sheikh). Gail Strickland initially played the character of Principal Joan Courtney, though she was replaced by Don Knotts during the series' run.[1]

The series aired a total of 26 episodes before being canceled.



Episode # Episode title Original airdate
1-1 "The First Class" September 27, 1986
1-2 "The Soul Man" October 4, 1986
1-3 "A Busboy Named Desire" October 11, 1986
1-4 "Don't Leave Home Without It" October 18, 1986
1-5 "My Fair Yung Hi" October 25, 1986
1-6 "Holiday on Ice" November 1, 1986
1-7 "The Best Laid Plans" November 8, 1986
1-8 "Chicken a la Prince" November 15, 1986
1-9 "A Birthday With Class" November 22, 1986
1-10 "Ali's Arrangement" December 20, 1986
1-11 "Taylor Loses His Cool" January 10, 1987
1-12 "The Road From Morocco" January 17, 1987
1-13 "Nikolai Speaks" January 24, 1987
1-14 "California Dreamin'" February 7, 1987
1-15 "Moonlighting" February 14, 1987
1-16 "Play it Again, F" February 21, 1987
1-17 "Citizen Pain" February 28, 1987
1-18 "Educating Inga" March 7, 1987
1-19 "Victor at an Exhibition" March 14, 1987
1-20 "What a Tangled Web We Weave" March 28, 1987
1-21 "Love Finds Nikolai" April 4, 1987
1-22 "We're in the Muboto's" April 11, 1987
1-23 "What Are Friends For?" May 2, 1987
1-24 "The Candidate" May 9, 1987
1-25 "The Apartment" May 16, 1987
1-26 "Old World Charmer" May 23, 1987


  1. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 1502–1503. ISBN 0-345-49773-2. 

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