Where This Meets That
In November, Netflix began streaming the TV series The Wonder Years. I was a pretty big fan of the show for most of its six seasons and was thrilled to be able to watch it again after all these years.
What a great show!
I think I appreciate it all the more as an adult with a better understanding of the time period and a more parental perspective on the family dynamic. It really tackles some meaty issues and does so in a way that is heartfelt as it is awkward.
About the time The Wonder Years started airing, shows like Married with Children started turning the family unit upside down, in a bad way. The parents all became hedonistic if not outright incompetent, and the kids were either hopeless failures or unrealistically street smart and independent.
The Wonder Years, on the other hand, does a wonderful job of depicting the Arnolds, a traditional middle class family in 1960’s suburbia: the white-collar father who’s shelved his dreams to “bring home the bacon”, the even-keeled stay-at-home mom, the rebellious hippie big sister, the half-witted bully of a big brother, and the narrating little brother, Kevin Arnold.
Kevin’s discovery of the world and development into his own person is laden with moments of proud achievement and balanced with realistic and human failure. There’s a good balance there and usually a positive moral – or at least an idea worth marinating with thought.
My kids have also gotten hooked on it, which adds a measure of appeal across generations. I’ve really enjoyed sitting down to watch episodes with them and laugh with them over situations unspoken that they would never believe I’ve been through and that I’m sure they’re going through in their own lives.
It’s a real treat. If you have Netflix, be sure to check it out!