comm

Community Recap: Geothermal Escapism (S05E05)

Today, I provided some guest-coverage of Community for our friends at Character Grades. You can read my recap of last night’s excellent episode, including the story of how I discovered Donald Glover and Community, here. What a fantastic, incredible way to send off Donald Glover from the series. Seriously, that may be one of the five best episodes of Community.…

wonderyearss04e02

The Wonder Years S04E02 – Ninth Grade Man

Ninth Grade Man serves as a nice complement to Growing Up. In fact, this feels almost like the second half of an opener than a separate episode. The two are structurally similar: Both are a series of loosely connected threads rather than an overrarching narrative, though Ninth Grade Man at least has the first day…

wonderyearss04e01

The Wonder Years S04E01 – Growing Up

About a year ago, I wrote recaps for the first three seasons of The Wonder Years as I watched the episodes for the first time. I got bored with the recaps, but not with the show, and finished the series. But I’ve been meaning to pick up where I left off and write recaps for…

wonderyearss03e23

The Wonder Years S03E23 – Moving

There are, in essence, two goals for season finales: One is to conclude the season that just finished, and one is to focus on setting up the next season. The best season finales do both well. Cliffhangers can be fun, but the most satisfying finales are the ones that organically and methodically set up future…

wonderyearss03e22

The Wonder Years S02E22 – Daddy’s Little Girl

Clearly the MVP of the the third season of The Wonder Years is Dan Lauria as Jack. He’s already had some great showcases: The Family Car, Faith, The Powers That Be, and The Tree House come to mind. Daddy’s Little Girl is one of his best showcase episodes yet. It also echoes the most resonant…

wonderyearss03e21

The Wonder Years S03E21 – Cocoa and Sympathy

In character-based, episodic shows like The Wonder Years, one of the oldest tricks in the book is to select two characters who don’t often interact and center a plot around them. Figure out the ways they’re similar, the ways they’re different, and construct a situation in which the two play off of each other. Cocoa…

wonderyearss03e20

The Wonder Years S03E20 – Good-Bye

Fred Savage was nominated for an Emmy after only the six-episode first season of The Wonder Years aired. But his work here in Good-Bye is the most award-worthy yet. Those heartbreaking forty seconds, an extended shot of Kevin’s expression as he learns that Mr. Collins passed away, show Savage working with an emotional articulation and…

wonderyearss03e19

The Wonder Years S03E19 – The Unnatural

After the set-up of the episode — Paul struggles athletically; Kevin is marginally better; Paul has some jealousy — I was worried that The Unnatural would turn into a thematic clone of Loosiers: that competitiveness can divide friendships, that Paul’s ego is easily bruised when it comes to his athletic struggles, that Kevin is a…

wonderyearss03e18

The Wonder Years S03E18 – Faith

In this world, nothing can said to be certain, except death and taxes. -Benjamin Franklin Faith isn’t an episode about anything important, except marriage, and uncertainty, and family, and faith (its title topic), and death, and the meaning of life. But nothing really important. It’s one of those episodes like Whose Woods Are These? that…

wonderyearss03e17

The Wonder Years S03E17 – Night Out

I guess that’s when I realized that love was going to be a lot more complicated — and a lot more simple — than I’d ever dreamed. Kevin This is exactly the type of Kevin-Winnie story the show should be telling now: slow-paced, depicting the early stages of the relationship, letting the two build chemistry,…