I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"The Wonder Years" (1988-1993)

This great slice of nostalgia centered on Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), who as the series began, was 12 years old. The adult Kevin (Daniel Stern) narrated his memories of growing up and family life in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Kevin's parents were Jack (Dan Lauria) and Norma (Alley Mills). Jack was a hard working blue collar guy, and Norma was the understanding stay-at-home mom. Wayne (Jason Hervey) was Kevin's oldest brother, who seldom missed a chance to bully his younger brother. Karen (Olivia d'Abo) was his older sister, who spent her time rebelling against their parents.

Kevin attended junior high and later high school with friends Paul (Josh Saviano) and Winnie (Danica McKellar). Kevin was crazy about the pretty Winnie, but often found himself in competition with other guys for her attention. Also seen regularly were macho gym teacher Coach Cutlip (Robert Picardo) and science teacher Mr. Cantwell (Ben Stein), who spoke in a droning monotone.

This show was very charming, and filled with recognizable situation people to which people could relate. Summer romances, rivalries with siblings, growing pains, misunderstandings with parents and understanding them. One of my favorite episodes had Kevin being forced into taking an unpopular, plain girl to a dance. All evening long, Kevin kept trying to duck the fact that he was her date, and generally ignoring her. The girl dropped something into a swimming pool on the property--I think it was a ring. Kevin showed disinterest in this, and the girl said, "You don't want to be with me!" She cried horribly, and I felt very sympathetic towards her. I was the same type of unpopular girl at one time. Realizing that his attitude had been wrong, Kevin dived into the pool to get the ring. Then he danced with her.

Unfortunately, the series didn't end with the same class it had up to that point. It felt like the writers rushed to end the story as quickly as they could. Kevin and Winnie ended up losing their innocence to each other, then there was a rundown of what happened to the characters later in their lives.


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