Looking back, adolescence is the defining era in our lives. It the stage that starts us on the path, for better or for worse, to adulthood.
The Wonder Years, premiered 30 years ago today. In the late 1960’s, Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) is on the verge of his teenage years. Layered into the narrative is the memories of Kevin as adult (Daniel Stern) told via voice over. As Kevin grows up and the late 1960’s turns into early 1970’s, he experiences the joys and heartaches of young adulthood with his best friends Paul (Josh Saviano) and Winnie (Danica McKellar), who is his first crush/first kiss/first romantic everything.
What makes The Wonder Years stand out and still holds a place in the hearts of the television audience thirty years later is that Kevin’s experience is incredibly universal. Everything he went through, we all have gone through or will through. That is why we are still talking about this show 30 years later.
History, especially the personal history of our politicians, at least to me, is an interesting topic. What were these future politicians like when they were young and what events put them on the path to politics?
In the short-lived television series, Jack and Bobby (2004-2005), it is the year 2049, President Bobby McCallister had just completed his second term in office as President Of The United States. Commemorating his time as President, a documentary is released about President McCallister. Included in the documentary is footage of the President when he was a young man living with his older brother and single mother. Playing the McCallister family in past tense is Grace (Christine Lahti), Jack (Matt Long) and Bobby (Logan Lerman).
Jack and Bobby was a hybrid of The West Wing and The Wonder Years. While the concept of the was interesting, unfortunately, the concept did not meet reality.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
For many, the 1950’s are seen through the view of rose-colored glasses. It was a simpler time, free of the complications and grey areas that we deal with today.
Between 1991 and 1993, television audiences saw the world through the eyes of Alan Silver (Danny Gerard) in Brooklyn Bridge. A young man growing in a Jewish family in early 1950’s Brooklyn,NY, it was the story of not just this young man and his life, but it is also a world that has retreated into memory. With Marion Ross of Happy Days fame playing Alan’s grandmother and Art Garfunkel singing the show’s theme song, it was a trip back in the time for those who lived in that world and for those who didn’t, it added to the warm and fuzzy nostalgia that is associated with the period.
What I find very interesting about Brooklyn Bridge is that it used the same nostalgia factor that made The Wonder Years a hit. Unfortunately, while The Wonder Years lasted five years, Brooklyn Bridge only stayed on the air for two years.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Outside of our families, our friends are often closest to our hearts. When we are young, our friends will shape our world and our world view as much as our families
In the short-lived television series State Of Grace (2001-2002), two young women have become friends in the mid 1960’s.
Emma Grace McKee (Mae Whitman) and Hannah Rayburn (Alia Shawkat) are best friends. Emma is Catholic and Hannah is Jewish. Against the changes that the world is experiencing in the mid 1960’s and the individual changes that we all go through during our preteen years, Emma and Hannah will face the world together.
This show, like many, did not last. While the idea of the show was interesting and used The Wonder Years as a model for storytelling, it was simply ok.
Do I recommend it? I would like to say yes, but I am more inclined toward maybe.
There is something universal about being 12 years old. It is an age where we start to grow up, but we are still very much children.
The Wonder Years (1988-1993) is the story of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), a boy growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s. Narrated by the adult Kevin (Daniel Stern) remembering his preteen and teen years, The Wonder Years stands out in the landscape of television.
Kevin’s family consists of his parents, Jack and Norma ( Dan Laura and Alley Mills), his hippie older sister Karen (Olivia d’Abo) and his tormentor/older brother, Wayne (Jason Hervey). His best friend Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano) and his on and off girlfriend, Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) were regulars in Kevin’s life during those very interesting and life altering years.
With the release of the series on DVD and the cast reunion, this show harkens back to a simpler time when the biggest dilemma was if the boy or girl next door knew you had a crush on them or the thrill of victory when you earned the A on the very difficult math quiz.
I recommend this show.