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My Ten Favorite Songs of the Decade So Far

10. Jessi J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang” I would call this my “guilty pleasure” selection, but, as Colton and I have repeatedly noted, there should be no guilt in the pleasure of a finely-crafted pop number. The Max Martin-produced “Bang Bang” is probably my favorite pop radio staple this decade, with a sizzling beat,…

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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…

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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…

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The Wonder Years Episode Recaps

When Netflix and Amazon started offering The Wonder Years to stream, I decided to give the classic series a try. Immediately, I fell in love with the show: At its peak, it’s sentimental, poignant, and hilarious. Since then, I’ve been going through the series, episode by episode, writing a recap/review/analysis of each episode. I’ve posted…

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Why are there no recaps of seasons 4-6 of The Wonder Years?

I wrote full recaps and analyses of the The Wonder Years, seasons 1-3, but I stopped writing them when I started watching the beginning of season 4. Why? There are really two reasons: First, the beginning of the fourth season didn’t really give me much to write about. It was less that there was a…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…