Seasons: 1 2 3 4 5 6 | MainThe Wonder Years (1988–93) was American television series that was aired on ABC. The series depicts the social and family life of an adolescent boy growing up in a suburban middle-class family, and takes place from 1968–1973.
=== Summer Song [3.1] ===
Narrator: I knew at that moment, that life was not fair. Sure... I'd write to [Teri], and maybe she'd write me - then what? Could we really wait for each other for the next ten or twelve years? It was hopeless. I'd never felt pain like this before in my entire life. It felt...wonderful.Narrator: When you're thirteen, it's a long way to Albuquerque. Teri told me about getting her learner's permit, and taking her first drive with a stick-shift. She wrote of our night at the beach. She told me she missed me so much that she cried herself to sleep at night. And she promised to write to me, until we saw each other again. I keep that letter in an old shoebox. It was the only letter she ever wrote me.
=== Math Class [3.2] ===
Narrator: The transition from summer to fall is a tricky one. Like astronauts returning from space. We had to re-enter the atmosphere of school carefully, so the sudden change in pressure wouldn't kill us.Narrator: There are times in life when you think you’re lost. When every turn you take seems wrong. Then just for a moment, you see a light. And so I began that long climb into the light. Only this time I wasn’t alone.
=== Wayne on Wheels [3.3] ===
Narrator: Once upon a time, I lived in a great big house. With a great big yard, and a great big bedroom. And a great big older brother. But by the middle of nineteen-sixty-nine, the house and the yard and the bedroom were are all getting... smaller. Or maybe Wayne and I were getting larger. One thing was certain. We were running out of room. The pressure was building. Then, just when things seemed near the point of no return... something happened. Something unexpected. Something... terrifying.Narrator: As we drove home in silence... we began to realize the absurdity of our situation. We were two people, with almost nothing in common... thrown together by circumstance. The harder we struggled against that fact, the more tightly we were bound together. That night, the gap between thirteen and sixteen... got a little smaller. I didn't make it back to the mall for several weeks. Somehow I just didn't feel like gettin' in a car. As for Wayne and me... we'd reached a new understanding. We didn't have to be friends or anything. But we'd always be brothers.
=== Mom Wars [3.4] ===
Narrator: When you're a little boy, you don't have to go very far to find the center of your universe. Mom. She's always there. It's a pretty good arrangement - when you're five. But around age thirteen, there starts to be... a problem. The problem is...she's always there. And I mean always. Now a mom has to be a mom, but a guy's gotta be a guy. And when an irresistible force meets an immovable object... Sooner or later - something's gotta give.Narrator: Every war has its casualties and every victory its price. But life goes on. Nothing really changed that night. Nothing big anyway. Just a very little piece of something that was never going to be the same. Not ever. The thing is it's hard to tie a bandage with just one hand...sooner or later though you learn.
=== On the Spot [3.5] ===
Narrator: It was humiliating. I wanted to just walk away. But then, then I realized I couldn't walk away. She looked beautiful. And terrified. And I knew she needed me. Those next few minutes seemed to last a thousand years. Every moment was potential disaster. We were both struggling. And then, a weird thing happened. I was holding the light on Winnie, when everything got very quiet. And I felt something. I don't know what it was. I felt like I was holding her up with that light. That we were connected by the light. And I wouldn't let her fall. No matter what - I wouldn't let her fall. That night I learned something. About courage… And maybe about love.Narrator: I couldn't exactly say we made theater history that autumn evening… maybe we weren't even very good. The thing is, it didn't matter. We made it though. And the critics were kind. And a week later… Mr. Cooper moved back in with his family.
=== Odd Man Out [3.6] ===
Narrator: The best part of having a best friend is knowing someone really understands you. Paul Pfeiffer and I shared more than just the laughs and the Oreos. We shared confidences. In a lot of ways, Paul knew me better than I knew myself. And he wouldn't hesitate to remind me if I ever forgot. It was a tried-and-true relationship. But like all relationships... sometimes it got a little... stale.Narrator: As I stood outside that window, I watched the easy give-and-take of two new friends. And I realized something. Doug Porter was no longer the odd man out. It was me. But I guess in a way we're all odd men out. Until we find a match that makes us even. Someone who challenges us to be our best. Someone who understands us. Even at our worst. I was beginning to appreciate how rare a thing that was. I wanted to tell him I was a better person for knowing him. That I hoped our friendship would endure the trials of a lifetime. But... I knew he understood.
=== The Family Car [3.7] ===
Narrator: Where I grew up, there was one time-honored event that united families. And brought neighbor together with neighbor. The arrival of a new car. There was something magical about it. Kinda like a one-float parade. For one shining moment, the proud owner became king... of the block. Yep, no doubt about it... in our neighborhood, ownership had its privileges. Except, of course... at the Arnold household. At the Arnold household, ownership meant... repairs.[Jack drives up to Arnold residence in a green sedan]
Narrator: And so, we finally got our new car. It wasn't red, it wasn't a convertible... heck, it wasn't even a Mustang. But it was brand-new. And it was pretty cool.
[Neighbors crowd around the Arnold's new car admiring its features. Kevin sees that Jack has hired a tow truck to transport the old white station wagon]
Kevin: What will happen to the old car?
Jack: Not sure. Too old for resale. I will probably have it disassembled and sell it for parts.
Narrator: Of course... Dad got his shot at king-for-a-day... and we were happy for him. But that afternoon, I began to understand what Dad had being going through.
[Flashbacks are shown of a younger Arnold family using the white station wagon for various activities]
Narrator: There was more to that old car than fuel pumps and crankshafts. There was part of all of us in that car. The places we'd gone, the things we'd done... the family we had been. The family that was moving on. And for the first time... I understood the value of what my father had put into it. And why it was so hard to let it go.
=== The Pimple [3.8] ===
Narrator: Growing up in the suburbs, in the '60's, you were pretty much sheltered from the forces of change unleashed by the outside world. But what about the forces of change unleashed from within? Change. Not always a pretty sight. In fact, it could get pretty ugly. But that was the stuff that movies were made of. That wasn't the real world. Or was it?Narrator: I guess what I was finding out was that when things change it doesn't mean the end of the world. AS a matter of fact sometimes it can work for the best. The Pruit's left town a few days later and so did the pimple. And I began to come to grips with the fact the through the uncertain road through adolescence there were bound to be a bumps along the way.
=== Math Class Squared [3.9] ===
Narrator: Well, I'd learned one thing in advanced math class. I'd learned I was going to fail. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow - but soon, and for the rest of my life.Narrator: Every kid needs a hero - everybody knows that. They teach us about courage, about ideals… about life. Sometimes heroes are easy to spot. But sometimes… they turn up in unlikely places.
=== Rock 'n Roll [3.10] ===
Narrator: What we felt in those years, the hope, the joy, the possibilities, the sense that anything might happen no matter who we were, will always be a part of us. After all, people said the Beatles would never last, and they were right... except of course they did.
=== Don't You Know Anything About Women? [3.11] ===
Narrator: In the game of life, there are few certainties. In fact, most things are left to chance. There's someone for everyone, we're told. But the search for that one person to ride through life beside is serious business. Especially when you're thirteen. It's a matter of trial, error... and pure dumb luck.Narrator: All our young lives we search for someone to love. Someone who makes us complete. We choose partners and change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak and hope. All the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there's someone perfect, who might be searching for us.
=== The Powers That Be [3.12] ===
Narrator: I wanted them to tell me why they were fighting. Why they kept hurting each other like this. Why it was that the two men who meant the whole world to me...had to act like - children. But most of all, I just wanted them to stop.Narrator: And for some reason, maybe the way he said it, I began to understand. He wasn't giving me an order. My dad, was asking me for help. That morning, as I stood with the man who was my father... The son of my grandfather, the man who would one day be the grandfather of my sons...I realized something. That not all gifts are simple. That some battles are fought out of love.
=== She, My Friend and I [3.13] ===
Narrator: Around the end of 1969 a funny thing happened: 1970. Not that anyone was paying much attention. Still, with a new decade on the books, maybe it was time to heal old wounds, get over old hurts. It was possible. After all. I'd gotten over Winnie Cooper. Yep, Winnie and I were friends now. That incredible smile, the way she tossed her hair, the heart-stopping lilt of her perfume... I was over that.Narrator: I'd never felt so lost in my life. I tried to make sense of what had happened. I wanted to believe Paul had lied to me. Winnie, too. But somehow, I knew better. I'd been lying to myself. The funny thing is, now that I was sure about my feelings for Winnie... There they were: my best friend and my best girl. I'd brought them together. And now I had no right to interfere.
=== St. Valentine's Day Massacre [3.14] ===
Narrator: Oh, yeah...Love. Once upon a time, it was...simple. If you liked somebody, you let 'em know. And if you didn't, you let 'em know. One way or another, you knew where you stood. But as you get older, communication gets more...complicated.Narrator: There was only one thing more to say. The simple thing, the brave thing, the thing that was in both our hearts.
Kevin: Wanna…study for our history test?
Narrator: Face it. We were a long way from kindergarten. And maybe we were learning that speaking from the heart isn't always easy. That afternoon, Winnie and I chose to leave those words hanging warm and unspoken in the winter air between us. But I think we both knew they were there… And we would get to them someday. The thing is, we just didn't have to hurry anymore.
=== The Tree House [3.15] ===
Doug: I actually had to hear my dad say genitals.Narrator: My father and I never had "the talk", and we never finished the tree house. I guess some things between fathers and sons are left unspoken, and unfinished.
=== Glee Club [3.16] ===
Narrator: The halls of RFK junior high often echoed with the sounds of music. The Kennedy Chorale. The Kennedy Madrigals. And of course, the Kennedy Now-Tones. They were all part of a long-standing family of song. But, as with every family, there was a skeleton in the closet. The boys' eighth-grade glee club. The singing group from hell. Twice a week, we transformed Mr. Frace's choir-room into kind of a chamber of musical horrors. Randy Mitchell - baritone. Doug Porter - monotone. Paul Pfeiffer - no tone at all. And of course... me. Not that we didn't have heart. It's just that the thirteen-year-old-male voice isn't exactly designed for... well... for singing. We weren't the stuff tabernacle choirs are made of.Narrator: ...to change. It was... cruel. Before our very eyes, Warren had transformed from lyric tenor... to... Well... a bullfrog. So the rest of us did the only thing we could. We panicked. But the die was cast. Paul sneezed, which was too much for Doug. Somebody laughed. And I dropped my music. It was kind of a chain reaction. I'd like to say we rallied, but... we didn't. It was no one's fault, really. I guess we'd just been pushed beyond our limits. We we're a bunch of eighth-grade boys. Not an ensemble of stout-hearted men.
=== Night Out [3.17] ===
Narrator: Everyone knows what happens when you fall in love. You hold each other close, you kiss, and then... you live happily ever after. For Winnie Cooper and me, "happily ever after" had arrived. After years of waiting... we were ready to face the future, together. Passing notes in class... sharing Tater-tots at lunch... being a couple. It was all kinda... wonderful. Course, in eighth-grade, part of being a couple is doing what other couples do, even if it was, well, kinda stupid. And so long as we had each other, we were ready for anything. Well, almost anything.Winnie: I did want to kiss you. Just not then.
Kevin: Well then when?!
Narrator: I guess maybe that's when I first realized...that love was gonna be much more complicated. And much... more simple...[as they kiss] than I'd ever dreamed.
=== Faith [3.18] ===
Narrator: Once upon a time, our country was founded upon... faith. Faith in all its forms. But during the late nineteen-sixties, people began looking heavenward for new answers to old questions. The bravest among us journeyed into the unknown. While the rest of us stood by with our support. Our goodwill. And of course... Our taxes.Narrator: As I looked at that blank page, I knew that whatever I wrote would be a lie - or at best, a wild guess. It didn't matter. Whatever life lay ahead of me - a life of hope, of possibility, of uncertainty - I felt sure I knew what it would take to survive. I guess what I'm saying is... for the first time, I understood that some things are bigger than death and taxes. Like family. Like faith. I could only hope Miss Stebbins would understand, too.
=== The Unnatural [3.19] ===
Narrator: There's a dream that's as old as natural grass, and nickel hot dogs... and being young. It's a dream every kid shares. The one big moment. Hero time. Of course, when you're five... that dream doesn't seem out of reach. Everyone plays the game about the same. Bad. Still, for all your short-comings... you've got the one thing that matters most. Potential. Then... as springtime rolls into fall, and Little League gives way to summer jobs... somehow the dream gets left behind.Narrator: As I stepped back up to the plate... all the cares, all the worries, all the burdens I'd carried around for the past few days just disappeared. Suddenly, the outside world fell away. It was just me. And baseball. My moment had arrived. And I knew what I had to do. I'm not sure how I did it. My memory begins with the crack of the bat, and the sight of the ball rising. Maybe that's not exactly the way it happened. But that's the way it should have happened, and that's the way I like to remember it. And if dreams and memories sometimes get confused well... that's as it should be. Because every kid deserves to be a hero... every kid already is.
=== Goodbye [3.20] ===
[Prior to Mr. Collins' death, Kevin had failed to take his midterm seriously, drawing funny faces on it as a form of protest]
Mr. DiPerna: Kevin, may I speak to you?
Kevin: Yes sir?
Mr. DiPerna has a stack of papers on his desk
Mr. DiPerna: These are the midterms. All except yours. It apparently seems yours was misplaced. Not sure what to do; you need a grade. hands Kevin blank test You have 50 minutes, good luck!
Narrator: As I took that test, I thought about a lot of things: about how I knew him, and yet I didn’t. About how he treated me like a man, and how I’d acted like a child. About how I’d let him down, and now I wouldn’t. The thing is, even though I could almost feel him in the room, I knew I didn’t need him for the answers, or the praise. I was on my own now.
Kevin writes serious answers. As time passes, Mr. Diperna approaches Kevin
Mr. DiPerna: Kevin, your time is up.
Kevin surrenders test
Kevin: No need to grade it...It's an A.
Kevin departs classroom but then looks back. He sees the ghost of Mr. Collins sitting at the teacher's desk, same as when he was a living man
Mr. Collins: Mr. Arnold.
Kevin: Good job Mr. Collins.
Narrator: Teachers never die. They live in your memory forever. They were there when you arrived, they were there when you left. Like fixtures. Once in a while they taught you something. But not that often. And, you never really knew them, any more than they knew you. Still, for awhile, you believed in them. And, if you were lucky, maybe there was one who believed in you.
[Cut to Kevin's yearbook]
Yearbook: In Memoriam, Stephen Collins 1919-1970
=== Cocoa and Sympathy [3.21] ===
Narrator: And I guess there was something in the way she said it that made me understand... Mom wasn't breaking my heart... she was breaking Paul's. Without breaking it. And in that moment, I began to realize a lot of things. Maybe my mother didn't go to the concert with Paul because she thought he was special... but because he thought she was special.Narrator: The night Paul Pfeiffer gave my mom a rose... he gave me something, too. He gave me a new way of seeing her. Paul made my mother feel good. Because he didn't look at her the way we always did. We saw "Mom". And he saw "Norma Arnold". And I think she liked that, for a change. That night I found out my mother once got sent to the principal's office for smoking in the bathroom. And that she almost married someone else, until she met my dad. I learned a lot about her - about who she was... about who she'd been... about who she wanted to be. And the next morning, she was "Mom" again. Our straight-man. Only, this time - I knew better.
=== Daddy's Little Girl [3.22] ===
Narrator: From the moment a father first lays eyes on his daughter... she's forever daddy's little girl. And he's forever her hero. A giver of gifts. A granter of wishes. A knight in shining armor. And in return... she gives to him that love and respect which is special between dads and their girls. Of course, for my sister and my father... that special love and respect took the form of... guerrilla warfare. But the week of my sister's birthday... they brought out the heavy artillery. During that week, Mom was sort of like the UN... trying to mediate the warring factions. And failing miserably. Me? I was kinda like... Switzerland.Narrator: That night of my sister's 18th birthday, a lot of things happened. Maybe more than she knew. Because that night, when my father let Karen go out, he let Karen go. Maybe that's how it had to be. Children leave. And parents stay behind. Still, some things are deeper than time and distance, and your father will always be your father. And he will always leave a light on for you.
=== Moving [3.23] ===
Narrator: Thirteen is a crazy age. You're too young to vote, and too old not to be in love. You live in a house someone else owns...But your dreams are already somewhere else. You face the future armed with nothing but the money you've earned from mowing lawns, and a nine-dollar ring with a purple stone. And you hope against hope...that'll be enough.Narrator: There was a time when the world was enormous...Spanning the vast, almost infinite boundaries of your neighborhood. The place where you grew up. Where you didn't think twice about playing on someone else's lawn. And the street was your territory .that occasionally got invaded by a passing car. It was where you didn't get called home until after it was dark. And all the people, and all the houses that surrounded you were as familiar as the things in your own room. And you knew they would never change.Narrator: As for me? Well, I had my own distances to cover: four miles - New York to Paris. The thing is, until Winnie left, everything in the world was outside my front door. But now, maybe the world would have to get a little bigger.