Vantage point

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I have had many favourite TV series over the years. But one that will always have a special place in my heart is "The Wonder Years". It was one of the best written, scripted, directed and enacted series ever.

I felt as if Kevin, Winnie, Becky and Paul were characters from my own life, since most of the storylines would be remarkably similar to either something that had happened to me, or to one of my friends. It was not this large than life fantasy series, and I guess that is what makes it so special. Along with the excellent narration by Daniel Stern(more famous as the taller thief in Home Alone) in the background, what made it special was the way Fred Savage could convey so much by just his facial expressions.

There were liberal doses of realism, not just in the romantic angle of the story, but also in the relationships he has with his parents, his siblings, his teachers, and his friends. In fact I often suspected that every episode was in fact a true story from someone's life. It was too good to be fiction. The way every episode ended was also very unique. They wouldn't end on this high "and all's well that..." note. A Wonder Years episode ended just the way mini-episodes in our teen life end. Sometimes bitter, and just once in a while sweet. In fact the way Becky's and Kevin's love story ended!! I still remember the last few dialogues of the final episode when Stern narrates what happened to every character in the series later on. Especially when he describes what happened with Becky (don't worry, nothing tragic). Those were memorable lines.

Wonder Years would be telecast every Wednesday night on Star Plus (ahh, the good ole days when Star Plus had not been taken over by the Bahu Brigade) and me and my friends would literally be counting the hours before Joe Crocker's voice would go "Whaaaaaaaaaaat would you dooooooooooooo..." and another great episode would start. We would immerse ourselves in Kevin's world, try to find parallels between the characters on screen and the people in our life. And we didn't have to try to hard.

I had read somewhere that India in the 90s was just like USA in the 60s and early 70s. That explains why Wonder Years felt so real, while almost all other American TV series feel distinctly "foreign", even if they are enjoyable.

Anyway, this blast from the past was brought to you courtesy a friend in IIML who downloaded 7 episodes of The Wonder Years yesterday. I just copied them from him, and am now going to watch them.

As Harrison wrote and Crocker sang, "I get by with a little help from my friends".