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Wonder Years

By N.F. Mendoza

The original pilot introduces Kevin (Fred Savage), his best friend Paul (Josh Saviano), his childhood playmate and budding girlfriend, Winnie (Danica McKellar), and his typical late-1960s, early-'70s family: older brother and nemesis Wayne (Jason Hervey), beautiful liberal sister Karen (Olivia d'Abo), mother (Alley Mills), and father (Dan Lauria). Kevin and his friends are entering Robert F. Kennedy Junior High School, Winnie gets contacts, her brother Brian (Bentley Mitchum) is killed in Vietnam, and Kevin and Winnie share a first kiss. The opener also features some fantastic music (the Byrds' "Turn, Turn, Turn," Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crystal Blue Persuasion," and Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves a Woman")--a trademark of the series. Great music (Buffalo Springfield, Aaron Neville, Judy Collins) also highlights "Swinger," which follows with Brian's funeral and Kevin and his pals' growing obsession with sex, fueled by their curiosity with Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask. Daniel Stern's narration is warm and engaging and the voice-over is never intrusive. This series continues to be enchanting because of its ability to mix comedy and pathos, as well as infuse a sense of dignity and history in a period many consider their most awful years.

 

Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of Wonder Years? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"The Wonder Years was one of the best written T.V. shows. A perfect blend of comedy and drama. Many great episodes. One of my favorites is entitled " Who's Woods Are These? " 13 year old Kevin, Paul and Winnie struggle to save their beloved Harper's Woods from being replaced with a shopping mall. The lost of innocence, the importance of friendship, the bond of memory, the essence of the series shines in this episode. I hope the entire series is soon released on DVD."

--Anonymous

"I love these little stories. And although I watched them when I was 35, I enjoyed them a lot. There is a mixture in them of what I experienced myself as a boy and what I always wanted to see but never did. It's a wonderful collection of very sensitive memories."

--Peter from Czech Republic

"I am a "tail-end Boomer" (born after 1955) who grew-up during the era that The Wonder Years chronicled in the series. They detailed the suburban life of kids back then to a tee. Those of us who were children then were the last generation to have a care-free childhood. The innocence of those times was reflected in the main character, Kevin Arnold, and his pals Paul and Winnie. These were kids who still looked-up to their elders for guidance when trying to navigate the difficult process of growing-up. I loved the narration, the writing, and especially, the pleasant memories that this show served-up every week."

--Anonymous

"The wonder years remains my all time number on favorite tv show. I used to tape all of the episodes, I was exactly the same age as the kids were on that show and it was almost like watching my life only better. I have two favorite episodes and they are the one where kevin joins the chorus and everyones voice changes and the one where winnie is in the school play our town. this show just epitiomized what it is like to be young confused and hoplessly in love."

--Anonymous

"Actually this is one of the best written shows.

Whereas in many other cases nostalgia plays a big role in the appreciation of a show when once grown up, this program is plain good. Nice acting.Strong scenario's.Great setting and soundtrack. It never wears out. It's as if Kevin's childhood is your own.
Class!"

--Rutger

"The Wonder Years (1988-1993) was my favorite tv series when I was ages 8-13. Though I was much younger, I truly appreciated the greatness of this long running tv series that taught me about the late 60's and early Super70s (the setting for the series), the value of enduring friendship, true love, life and loss, and the realistic portrayal of a middle-class family, the Arnolds. Kevin Arnold, the narrator, whose voice-overs thoughts filled us with a window to his memories, is a likeable character despite the fact he could be very selfish at times. Kevin Arnold was played by the cute child star Fred Savage. His mother and father, Jack and Norma, represent a standard 50's family (Jack had served in the Korean War) Norma was strong but very house-wivish, Karen was a liberal feminist hippie, and Wayne was the stereotypical big brother who annoys and pesters the younger brother. The great love story in this series is Kevin and Winnie. Winnie's brother was killed in Vietnam, her parents undergo divorce. Though Kevin and Winnie had their ups and downs, they sadly do not end up together in the end, as they marry other people. So many of the good episodes to my mind were the ones dealing with the late 60's, when Kevin was in junior high. "Glee Club", and the episode in which Kevin helps his teacher deliver a baby, the episode when Kevin learns to play the piano to impress his elderly piano teacher who smokes, the moon landing on tv, the Harpers Woods episode, the relationship between Kevin and Paul, who was Jewish, and the latter episodes in which a teenage Kevin learns to drive, gets a job at a Chinese restaurant and many others. It's a great series."

--Jessica

"The Wonder Years is my favorite TV show of all time-for a number of reasons. First of all, I lived the the references made to his age/years, etc.

I am a middle school music teacher, so my favorite episode is, of course, "The Glee Club". It is so enjoyable showing this episode to my 8th grade Vocal class. They love it!

I also teach an exploratory Reading class where we read the Dave Barry story entitled, "Memories of Dating", followed by a unit of Vietnam era stories. As a segue, I use the episode where Winnie's brother, Brian Cooper, has been killed in Vietnam and then proceeds to Kevin & Paul exploring sex education by obtaining the Super70s popular book, "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex".

I often say that I could teach from "The Wonder Years"-and as you can see-I actually do! What a wonderful and insightful show this was. Wouldn't a reunion episode be wonderful? Thanks."

--Cheryl

"As I was born in 1990, The Wonder Years had been running for 2 years I started watching the show at a young age and grew to love it. My mom dad and brother and I would watch it together and I'd sing the theme song when it would come on. I love this show soo much and now that I am 14 I wish it still came on every night for me to watch. I hope maybe it can come back on air for this generation of children who are without it, Wonder Years is by far my greatest childhood t. v. show!"

--Emilee

""The Wonder Years, " though based on the '60s, was timeless. No matter the decade, each of us will suffer the same embarrassments as Kevin Arnold. How many times have I laughed when remembering the episode where Kevin and Mrs. Arnold are school-clothes shopping: "Attention all shoppers: the crotch of Kevin Arnld's pants are TOO big!""

--Anonymous

""The Wonder Years, " though based on the &'60s, was timeless. No matter the decade, each of us will suffer the same embarrassments as Kevin Arnold. How many times have I laughed when remembering the episode where Kevin and Mrs. Arnold are school-clothes shopping: "Attention all shoppers: the crotch of Kevin Arnld&'s pants are TOO big!""

--Anonymous

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: 1988-1993

Cast: Fred Savage

Network: ABC (later CBS)

Genre: Dramedy

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC


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