Saturday, May 21, 2011

"What would you do if I sang outta tune..."

There is nothing I really care to watch on television. Well... almost nothing. Recently the kids found out we are getting a new channel on cable called The Hub, and that it shows old episodes of "The Wonder Years." Okay, that I care to watch.

It was reported in the Denver Post that "The Wonder Years" will not likely be released on dvd due to the music that was included in the episodes. It turns out that all those songs from the 60s that were such a central part of the storylines would each require royalty agreements before the episodes could be sold on dvd. Yes, all of them. The alternative would be to remove the songs or replace them. Yeah, not likely to happen.

So, the kids set the cable box to record "The Wonder Years" whenever it's on and we watch when it's convenient. And surprisingly enough, the whole family will actually sit down to watch. Not many shows can make you laugh and cry like that one can. There were a few episodes that were especially memorable for me, but we've seen some others I'd forgotten (or perhaps never saw in the first place) and I just thought I'd make a short list of some of my favorites:
  • The first "Pilot" episode, of course, where Kevin, Paul, and Winnie start junior high school. That moment when they learn that Winnie's brother, Brian, was killed in Viet Nam is almost like a punch in the stomach. 
  • "My Father's Office" when Kevin's dad takes him to work with him. His dad is always such a stern and grumpy guy that it was nice to see him in a sympathetic way. And in "The Family Car" his dad has a hard time letting go of the old car after they buy a new one because of all the work he had put into it over the years. 
  • "The Phone Call" where Kevin tries to get up the nerve to call Lisa Berlini. I love how it shows the phone very large in the foreground while Kevin looks so small behind it in the background - that's exactly how it feels when you're trying to summon the courage to call a girl! 
  • Kevin quits piano lessons in "Coda" because he's intimidated by Ronald Hirschmuller - and later regrets it. I also liked "On the Spot" where Winnie gets the lead in "Our Town" when her parents are having marital troubles. 
  • Episodes with his best friend, Paul, like "Loosiers" when basketball becomes fun again with the "brief ping of rubber against metal," and "Birthday Boy" when Kevin shares Paul's bar mitzvah. Also "Cocoa and Sympathy" where Paul develops a sort of crush on Kevin's mom, and Kevin sees her in a different light. 
  • In "Square Dance" Kevin has to dance with the school wierdo Margaret Farquhar, "friend to bats." It's so uncomfortable seeing how mean he treats her. 
  • "Math Class," "Math Class Squared," and "Good-bye" about Kevin's math teach, Mr. Collins. "I'm not your friend, Mr. Arnold. I'm your teacher."
Okay, so I guess it wasn't such a short list after all. I preferred the earlier episodes when he was younger to those when he got older, but it's one of the best shows on television and one of the few I'd care to sit and watch.

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