The Wonder Years: An Examination on how to market a show to two generations
Television’s Most Rebellious Comedy
Many shows struggle to capture the feeling of nostalgia and wonder that the The Wonder Years expertly tackled throughout nearly its entire run. The show follows it’s main character Kevin Arnold and to a lesser extent his friends Winnie and Paul as they go through Junior High and High School. The show starts in the year 1968 where the pilot introduces the audience to the Arnold family, a 1960s Nuclear family reminiscent of familiar sitcom families like the Cleavers (of Leave it to Beaver fame.) Like those shows, The Wonder Years focuses on its youngest cast members but unlike those shows, The Wonder Years does not only focus on comedy with a moral value at the end but instead it blends the common obstacles of growing into adolescence with a 1960s setting that gives a youthful perspective of the various major events that occurred during this rebellious era. This style lets the show appeal to a dual audience due to present day youth being able to relate to the obstacles faced by the young characters while the adult audience can feel a sense of nostalgia but also deeper reflection on the familiar events that they experienced the aftermath of in their childhood.
In addition to it’s main cast, The Wonder Years has an extradiagetic narration by an older Kevin Arnold who we can assume is either writing a book or telling the story to somebody. The older Kevin’s narration both expands on the situation that we are watching and reflects on it through knowledge that he’s gained in the years since. It helps to offer a deeper level of depth than would be expected from a show with such a young cast. Kevin’s best friend Paul is the poster boy for the stereotypical nerd: a Jewish-American lanky young man with low self-confidence and what he claims to be an allergy to just about everything as revealed in the Pilot where he has to eat plain
Cited: 1.The Wonder Years. “Pilot.” 31 January 1988, ABC 2.The Wonder Years. “The Journey.” 3 October 1990, ABC 3.The Wonder Years. “Heart of Darkness.” 30 November 1988, ABC 4.The Wonder Years. “Back to the Lake.” 6 May 1992, ABC 5.The Wonder Years. “Growing Up.” 19 September 1990, ABC 6.The wonder years-imdb. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094582/?ref_=ttep_ep_tt