You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Want to binge on a show that’s a perfect fusion of Malcolm in the Middle and Boy Meets World? Let me make a huge recommendation with The Wonder Years.
# of episodes: 46
Hours to completion: 17.5 hours (roughly)
# of days used to complete: 3
If you have never had an opportunity to watch this show, I need you to stop reading, jump on Netflix, and put this in your binge rotation, immediately.
If you need more of an incentive, allow me to paint the picture of a brilliant plot that explores what it was like to be a kid, in a snapshot of time when things were still, for the most part, wholesome, innocent and hopeful; when you were able to just be a kid and learn about life, growing up, and the inevitable lesson about destiny, be it fleeting or unavoidable.
This is the story of Kevin Arnold, told through the eyes (and more importantly voice) of said character, as an adult looking back at his life and every event that shaped him to be the person he is (or rather, was, at that moment of narration). Kevin, along with his family, his best friend Paul Pfeiffer and his on and off crush, Winney Cooper will take you on a ride, episode by episode, telling you stories about parent/children relationships, sibling interaction, friendship & brotherhood, and dealing with the opposite sex at the most basic level.
Yes, the premise is simple, but the way things unfold is what hooks you in, and grips you tight.
What’s really funny about this show, is that I profoundly remember watching much of the beginning through reruns and much of the end in it’s first run, but everything in between is a bit of a blur for me, to the point where some of the episodes I saw in the first three seasons I binged were a surprise to me. Of course, this did not affect my enjoyment of the show, as every episode was a constant crescendo of an extremely well written plot line that examines the life of kids, from the eyes of a person who lived the events. What’s more important, is the life lessons that stem from our examination of how kids approached situations, knowing full well that there are rewards in every calculated risk, even if the risk leads to your demise, be it hurting your mother’s feelings in your attempt to gain a certain level of independence, or simply trying to tell your crush about your feelings.
And that’s the beauty of The Wonder Years.
There’s a ton to love about this show. After so many years of not seeing it, it’s easy to say I can appreciate it today more than I did in my youth; not just for the nostalgia factor, but because in actuality, the show’s premise delivers feelings on multiple levels that connect to everyone viewing, no matter your age. There’s simply something there for everyone to watch and learn from. If you think I’m just talking crazy, go watch Season 3, Episode 12, and you’ll soon realize why The Wonder Years was not simply a slapstick comedy show about a kid getting into stupid situations. There’s depth here, to the point where once you start your binge, you will continue to watch, sometimes silently, sometimes laughing hysterically, and sometimes, just realizing how complicated, yet how simple childhood could have been, and more important than that, how you wish your kids’ childhood would at the very least, afford the same common simplicity to them that is found on the show.
I hate to repeat myself, but I just have to restate how well the plot was written for the entire show (again, I remember exactly how the entire show ends, and now that I’m watching it all over, I can’t get over how well the concept of destiny and irony came together when you assemble the entire package ). The best example I have is the end of Season 3: episode 11. My God. Amazing writing, perfect execution of what destiny looks like, be it fleeting, or unavoidable (notice how I just repeated myself?).
If you think that things slow down from here, I got some news for you: the show continues to give you great stories and lessons from an era of innocence. From obtaining an explanation of what it meant to buy a new car in those times, to the nerve wrecking act it was to break up with a girl, every little situation summons your attention, and you simply comply. That, to me, is total mastery in television production, which is why this is one of those shows you need to binge, without hesitation.