1 9 8 8 – 1 9 9 3 (USA)
115 x 30 minute episodes
The Wonder Years was a whimsical view of growing up in suburban America of the 1960s through the eyes of a 12-year-old.
In 1968 Kevin Arnold, a rambunctious kid with an angelic face, was just entering Robert F. Kennedy Junior High School. Vietnam protests, The Beatles and the space programme were the hot topics, but Kevin’s concerns were closer to home.
His older brother, Wayne, existed only to torture and humiliate him, or so it seemed; his older sister Karen was in her own world of love beads and social protest.
Mom (Norma) and Dad (Jack) were a little distant – especially Dad who was an intimidating presence who came home tired from work each day and always seemed to get into an argument with someone.
Fitting in at school was an awesome challenge for Kevin, shared with best friend Paul and hoped-for girlfriend (and object of all his pre-pubescent affection), Winnie (real name Gwendolyn).
A wide variety of teachers, dates, friends, and tormentors were seen from time to time, but perhaps the most memorable were fearsome Coach Cutlip and ‘steady date’ Becky (the best alternative to his beloved Winnie).
The series was narrated by an unseen, adult Kevin providing retrospective insights into his childhood and the sixties. News clips and music from the period also contributed to the nostalgic flavour.
In the show’s final episode, a wrap-up explained what became of the main characters in The Wonder Years.
It was revealed that Jack Arnold (Kevin’s dad) had passed away and brother Wayne stepped in to head the family business.
Kevin’s sister Karen had married Ross from Friends and delivered a baby boy, Paul had graduated from Harvard Law School and Winnie went off to Paris for a degree in art history.
She and Kevin wrote to each other weekly and when she returned, he met her at the airport with his wife and son.
The family dog was called Buster. Kevin’s band was called Electric Shoes.
Kevin (adult voice)