"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose." ~Kevin Arnold
In this present age of so-called reality television, gonzo journalism and the sudden influx of self-indulgent television series that features the lives of characters who basically love themselves a lot of folks have basically come to ignore this great show that has made me shed a tear or two because it spoke deeply about how life was growing up as a part of an average household.
Amid the time when Doogie Howser and Parker Lewis battled for primetime timeslots and Dawson’s Creek wasn’t yet the bomb and The Simpson’s are just setting their foot on Springfield there was The Wonder Years, a gentle, nostalgic look at Baby Boom youth and color TV as seen by the young eyes of Kevin Arnold.
Created by Neal Marlens and Carol Black, is a historical and dramatic sitcom which became an Emmy-winning series, produced from 1988 to 1993, it describes the problems, wishes and dreams of a boy coming of age in the late 1960's and early 70's.
Each episode of the show would always involve Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), the facing some rite of passage on his way to adulthood. Kevin lives with his brother Wayne (Jason Hervey), his sister Karen (Olivia d'Abo), his father Jack (Dan Lauria), and his mother Norma (Alley Mills). Kevin grows up with his on and off girlfriend, Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar), and his best friend, Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano).
During its 6 year I have in some way grew up with Kevin as I myself moved from my youthful dynamism to that of my forgettable phase of pent-up teenage rebellion Kevin Arnold was sort of that anonymous voice that spoke the language of my longing as I look back now and remember the years that have come and gone in our little suburban community along with a myriad of major world events and minor childhood concerns that somehow seemed equally important.
Very much as to how an older Kevin Arnold the off-screen narrator, reminisces about growing up in a typical suburban household and remembering the most intimate detail as to how each event was special and how that day is unique in itself because it points to something special that have in one way or another contributed to the person that he is today.
It is amazing because it speaks of a time when back in the days life wasn’t that complicated and that world events are but resounding names and places that you may have overheard from the transistor radio or may have seen on the television by accident. It is a good refresher that helps one look back into his childhood so as to again get his/her focus on the stuff that really matters.
Remembering the show and remembering its creators Marlen and Black both say that they want The Wonder Years to address the universal experience of childhood, rather than be a statement about an era is also a good thought to ponder since these days a lot of people, songs and movies would always claim to the heralds of an anthem that would spur a generation when in fact it is just a silly catchphrase that has been used well too often by the corporates to cash in on a hype.
Its really amazing how a simple show has come to embody such a universal experience.
Here’s to childhood!