Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Wonder Years of My Generation

There will never be another television series comparable to The Wonder Years. It is far too poignant, the music too perfect, and characters too iconic to be duplicated. It was the voice of the generation for my parents and a wrinkle in time for Joe Cocker and his classic song. I will be forever grateful for my 11th grade English teacher, Mr. Klevos, and his clever lessons having us "complete the episode," where he showed us 18 minutes of a show and we wrote the lesson at the end for Kevin Arnold. Sadly, mine never won, but it was a great writing exercise and an even better period spent witnessing the show.

My generation grew up with a much different model. This show, iconic in its own way, ran 1989-1993 and I am fairly sure has been in syndication ever since. I tuned in Saturday mornings in elementary school, after school in junior high, and now before I go to work, as a young professional. This show began when I was four years old. And now I am 25. Now THAT is a show for the ages. If you haven't figured it out, I am talking about the cult classic:

Saved the Bell


Let's be honest. The show was campy, I am pretty sure they repeated their sophomore year three times, and how much loitering can you really do in a locker area right outside the principal's office? The high school years were most solid-junior high was a silly and the college years were almost too much of a good thing without the entire cast. I am confident in thinking that overall, my peers still ate it up. In fact, on the good ol' FB, I have seen three statuses this week relating to watching various episodes before work each morning.

People have their opinions about the Malibu Sands Beach Club period, as well as when Kelly departed to model in France and Jessie just disappeared, replaced by motorcycle-loving bad ass Tori. However, at its core, it's what my generation thought high school would be while we were still running around a playground at recess. Even after entering high school we watched, and today, knowing all of the episodes almost better than the folds of a beloved blanket, we continue to tune in to TBS mornings. I suppose there is a bit of comfort in the affable characters, the innocence of the episodes (well, with the exception of Jessie's caffeine pill addiction and Lisa totaling Mrs. Turtle's car while driving drunk) and the kinship of the tight-knit group of friends. It certainly is beloved by a good portion of my generation.

And on a silly note, I have always made these observations:
-Did anyone else notice that Mr. Morris also changed, but Mrs. Morris was always the same woman?
-How did they all have the same classes together, and always in the same room across from Belding's office?
-Didn't Lisa ever feel left out that she wasn't Homecoming Queen (except for the time with the drunk driving accident but that was while Kelly was off the show-so it's seems as if it just defaults to her)
-Anyone else remember that Tori was a triplet in the Parent Trap sequels? Oh those were some great early 90s after-school movies!
-Kelly came from a family of something like seven kids and there was always a note of tight money with her family (like "Zach and Kelly's prom) but how does she have that rich grandfather who owns the hotel in Hawaii and then they all vacation there?

Of course this post begs the question: favorite episode? I am going to have to go with the Buddy Bands. Anyone that has a class project and makes a music video that sophisticated is a buddy of mine!


Daniel said...

Brings me back. It's one of those shows that everyone's probably seen every episode more times than they can count. Great review.

Best episode has to be the one where the class is trying to go on a school trip, but for some reason their teacher had to leave so Mr. Belding's cooler, long-haired brother steps in to save the day. He proceeds to screw up as a teacher, and then backs out of taking them on their class trip (how dare he!) because he has a hot date. ( He's a sub anyways, why's he taking 20 kids on a multi-day trip??) That's when the rejected Mr. Belding steps in, takes the kids on their trip and is the hero.

I's a deep episode.

Erin said...

Hah Daniel I love it! That episode has the classic Screech line "Two Beldings, one of whom is balding." Mr. Belding saves the day again and kids can go rafting-happy endings all around.

LeeElle said...

First, a shout out to Mr. Klevos. He was my favorite teacher at Loara, possibly of all time. And please allow me a moment to gloat; my diddy was chosen for the Wonder Years assignment once. It was the crowning moment of my 11th grade year. And there's just too much to say about SBTB. Another personal favorite is the one were jessie takes NoDoz pills while studying for the SAT. "No time, there's no time".

Traci said...

Is Lisa throwing up an aborted gang sign?