The series depicts the social and family life of a boy in a typical American suburban middle-class family from 1968 to 1973, covering the ages of 12 through 17. Each year in the series takes place exactly 20 years before airing (1988 to 1993). The show's plot centers on Kevin Arnold, son of Jack and Norma Arnold. Kevin's father holds a management job at NORCOM, a defense contractor, while his mother is a housewife. Kevin also has an older brother, Wayne, and an older sister, Karen. Two of Kevin's friends and neighbors are prominently featured throughout the series: his best friend, Paul Pfeiffer, and his crush-turned-girlfriend Gwendolyn "Winnie" Cooper. Storylines are told through Kevin's reflections as an adult in his mid-30s..
Fred Savage came to the attention of the show's casting directors through his roles in Vice Versa and The Princess Bride. Not hearing of either movie, Producers obtained a rough cut of Vice Versa, and cast Savage largely as a result of his performance in the film. See more »
In the Christmas episode in season 2, Kevin and Wayne try to convince Jack to buy a color television for Christmas. In an episode in season one (Angel #1.4), Kevin is seen watching a color TV in his living room. See more »
[Wayne's friend Wart has returned shell-shocked from Vietnam and is sitting on a bench in just boxers and dog tags]
What's wrong, buddy?
Nothing seems to fit any more.
[Wayne takes his shirt off and offers it to his friend]
Here you go. Wear mine.
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In some cable TV reruns outside North America, the original Joe Cocker rendition of the theme song ('With A Little Help From My Friends') has been replaced by a cover version. In the end credits, the instrumental version of this song that was originally broadcast has been replaced by the instrumental 'Winnie Cooper Theme' which is heard sometimes throughout the show. The Netflix/Amazon streaming versions use this replaced opening theme and other music replacements, but include the original closing instrumental. See more »
One of the most memorable television programs of recent years
When I think about the programs that my family enjoyed when my brother and I were younger, this one always comes off as the most memorable, mainly because my family spent quality time together watching this show. Now, at 20 years old, this show is still as memorable and holds up against the test of time.
"The Wonder Years" is a period dramedy told from the point-of-view of adult Kevin Arnold (narration of Daniel Stern), and recalls Kevin's adolescence during the turbulent times of the late 1960s and 1970s. Kevin (played brilliantly by Fred Savage) comes of age in suburbia in a neighborhood that many of our parents (including my mom) grew up in. Kevin lives in a ranch house with his parents, Jack (Dan Lauria), an accountant, Norma (Alley Mills) a housewife, and his older siblings, hippie Karen (Olivia D'Abo) and smart-alecky Wayne (Jason Hervey). He has a childhood sweetheart in Gwendolyne "Winnie" Cooper (Danica McKellar), and a best friend in lovable geek Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano). Kevin deals with normal situations that is territorial with adolesence--first loves, heartbreak, middle school, high school, puberty, and growing up. Kevin grows up in uncertain times, much like children are today. Each episode is a chapter in Kevin's life, and follows him between the ages of 13 and 18--the most crucial years of growing up.
When this show was made, they definitely looked at the lives of teenagers. The characters were realistic, and no matter when you grew up, you could relate. Everyone could relate to Kevin, and many felt his adolescent pain. You knew your parents were overburdening, but realized later that they were only trying to help you. Everyone had a sibling like Wayne, and possibly like Karen.
I'm a product of the 1980s, and being born in 1982 put me out of the loop in regard to what the 1960s and 1970s were really like. My parents came of age in this decade, so they easily related to Kevin. The situations were comical, and this show was always good, clean fun. The humor wasn't overburdening, but it was evident, and we always laughed, but it also impacted you and made you think after it was all over. This show premired when my brother and I were only 5, and we watched it with our parents every week until it went off the air. I don't think this show ever was capable of cancellation, but it went out the way it was intended, and it left an indellible impression on this generation. When the reruns returned to television on Nick-at-Nite in 1998, my classmates and I, already in ninth grade, began to watch again. Now, I'm a sophomore in college, and if I can catch the reruns on ABC Family during the week, I'm thrilled. I truly miss this show, and watching reruns brings back great memories.
I don't have a favorite episode or memory--I have many favorite episodes and memories. Two of the moments that I can still remember vividly are when Winnie's older brother died in Vietnam and Kevin and Winnie shared their first kiss, and when Kevin's math teacher died. My mom, brother, and I always used to laugh (and still do) at my dad, who resembles Jack Arnold. We could be talking about something funny during dinner, and my father will sit there, stone-faced, much like Jack always did. I used to love when they'd ask him a question, and he would utter a low growl. While my dad has NEVER done that, he has always resembled Jack. Only now, several years later, he finds it funny that we thought that of him.
This was a wonderful show that never wore out its welcome, and continues to entertain those who catch the reruns. If you have the chance in your hectic day, as I sometimes do, catch a rerun or set your VCR to tape an episode for you. Relive a classic television program that continues to entertain and inspire years later. You certainly won't regret it.
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