Wonder Years (1988-1993)

“Wonder Years” parallels my childhood adolescence (late 60’s/early 70’s). As such I related to practically everyone and everything in it – a gem of a show.

The name of the show was borrowed from a phrase used in ads for Wonder Bread. This commercial from 1970 truly seems like it’s from another lifetime.

But the message suggested in the ad — about children growing and changing  — is certainly present in the show. Many TV series before and after this one have shown interactions between mom and dad, parents and kids, kids and their friends, and so on. However, Wonder Years was particularly sensitive in the way it portrayed flesh-and-blood, three-dimensional family members experiencing the texture of daily life — hilarity and heartbreak, success and failure, dreams and fears. And it portrayed with great clarity people reacting to — and interacting with each other during — the great turmoil occurring in the country. It is a show that for me tapped a wide range of emotions, from belly laughs to tears.

The show also made very effective use of a narrative device whereby the deep, manly voice of the “adult” Kevin (Daniel Stern) was constantly describing the action and amplifying the thoughts of the “young” Kevin (Fred Savage).

This clip is from the very end of the final episode of the series.