- Network: ABC
- Series Premiere Date: Jan 31, 1988
Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings
User score distribution:
Positive: 1 out of 1
Mixed: 0 out of 1
Negative: 0 out of 1
Mar 4, 2017This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This sixth (and finale) season of "The Wonder Years" starts and ends with a bang. In between, there are ups and downs indicative of most farewell seasons. However, there are enough "ups" to keep it an interesting show to watch, full of family themes and humor.
My personal highlights from this season include:
-The premiere, in which Kevin (Fred Savage) and Wayne (Jason Hervey) discover that the effects of the Vietnam War on buddy "Wart" (Scott Menville) may be more serious than anyone could imagine.
-Kevin's "first job" (a concept most of us can relate to) working at the Chinese restaurant.
-Father Jack (Dan Lauria) making a life-altering decision regarding his workplace.
-The addition of Jeff (Giovanni Ribisi) to the cast. Since Paul (Josh Saviano) was off-again, on-again for much of the season, the addition was much-needed.
-An episode entitled "Poker", in which Kevin and friends realize that the problems of youth are giving way to the problems of adulthood (I wonder if this is about when the show realized there was going to be no seventh season?).
From that premiere up until the final two episodes, the season ranked about three stars for me. The family stories/humor was as good as ever (if not better), but the school- & friend-based episodes were descending into sometimes abysmal territory (e.g. an episode about a girl with a big nose).
But then, the two-part finale ("Summer" & "Independence Day") changes everything. I have watched a lot of television shows to their completion, and to this day I still consider the final Wonder Years montage to be the best wrap of any series, bar none. While finally giving some closure to the relationship between Kevin and Winnie (Danica McKellar), it also touches on what happens to many of the friends/family we've spent the last six years watching. Set to the theme from "The Natural", this closing sequence is almost guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye...but also a smile to your face.
Despite the fact that on-screen Kevin never graduated high school (the show ended after his junior year), this sixth season ended the show about as well as possible. Had it continued for another season, I fear that the stories would have continued to go south. Simply put, the writers knew when to "call it a day". I believe that ABC wanted to keep the show going and maybe even venture into the college years, but the show creators knew that the "wonder years" had already passed for Kevin Arnold and chose to make the creative decision instead of the monetary one.
Though probably the weakest single season of the show, it still produces memorable moments. The closing lines say it all:
"Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house, like a lot of houses. A yard like a lot of other yards. On a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back... with wonder."
So do I.… Full Review »