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…

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…

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,…

The Wonder Years S03E16 – Glee Club

I think I literally smiled the entire duration of this episode. This was a funny, kind of heartwarming, kind of dark, utter blast of an episode. Kevin, Paul, and their motley crew of untalented comrades form the black sheep of RFK Junior High’s singing landscape. They’re okay with that, and their teacher is perfectly content…

The Wonder Years S03E15 – The Tree House

After a couple of episodes of The Wonder Years at its worst, the show rebounds with an excellent outing. The Tree House works for a few reasons. One is that it focuses on Dan Lauria (third time this season!), who is maybe the show’s most reliable presence (aww, who am I kidding, Josh Saviano is…

The Wonder Years S03E14 – St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

There are two points of discussion following St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. First is the outcome of the episode and what it means for the show; I’ll get to that at the end of the recap. Second is the quality of the episode itself, to which I say: Meh. Color me disappointed. I’ve described a few…

The Wonder Years S03E13 – She, My Friend, and I

She, My Friend, and I started out pretty excellently, but became steadily less enjoyable as the half hour wore on. It is only the first half of a two-parter (as indicated by the “To be continued”), but, as a standalone, I walked away from She, My Friend, and I feeling… what’s the technical term… icky.…

The Wonder Years S03E12 – The Powers That Be

We lucked out — two Dan Lauria showcases in one season. The Powers That Be gives one of the show’s best actors another chance to show off his impressive chops when his own dad comes to town. Grampa Arnold, played by David Huddleston, throws a wrench in the Arnold family dynamic when he’s around; suddenly,…

The Wonder Years S03E10 – Rock ‘n’ Roll

There are comedy episodes like The Pimple — which strain to milk comedy out of narrow topic — and then episodes like Rock ‘n’ Roll, which take advantage of having such a broad topic to focus on. The writers are firing on all cylinders during Rock ‘n’ Roll, which is aptly named because it takes…