The Wonder Years S02E05 – Just Between Me and You and Kirk and Paul and Carla and Becky and John and Susan and Winnie and Eddie and Mary

Just Between Me And You… was at moments as tiring as its absurd title (cited in its entirety above). The whole Kirk-Winnie drama was overplayed going into this episode, so I was completely bored of it by the end of the episode. I honestly would have preferred a few episodes of Kevin and Becky going steady while the show tackled a few non-romance episodes with Becky on the fringes.

Yet the closing scene brought me around a little bit, and suggests what we just witnessed was not a farcical satire, but a profoundly sad meditation on the miserable game-playing of adolescent drama. Winnie’s lament that she wishes people would just leave her alone for awhile made me feel genuinely sorry for her — and that’s even with Danica McKellar’s rocky acting. She’s the character who has, at least twice now, strove actively for innocence and simplicity.

Steady as She Goes and Just Between You and Me… play essentially as a two-parter, the latter picking up the plot right where the former ends. While I ultimately enjoyed both halves, I found the first half a lot funnier and more satisfying than the second half. I wonder if a 2011 version of this show would have spaced the two out a bit more. It’s the syndrome of not being able to trust TV viewers to remember more than a week in the past, I suppose.

(Then again, a 2011 version of the show most certainly wouldn’t have such an incredible soundtrack, so I’m not going to complain too hard.)

Some of the stuff on the fringes, though, was fantastic. Scenes like the opening one in the basement, when characters we like are just hanging out and joking around, are always a blast to watch. It’s great to just spend some time with characters we know well — and I’d even count Becky, who left a strong impression in her first appearance in Steady as She Goes.

I also dug a bunch of the meta-jokes, like when Kevin talked back to his future self and the placement of the narration right before present-day Kevin says the same thing.

Oh, and: Paul as Spock. So good I had to include a picture of it:

That is all.

A few more thoughts:

  • Let’s be honest, Winnie has been acting a little bit like a tease these past couple episodes.
  • Every time I see it, I become more fond of Kevin’s ubiquitous Jets jacket.
  • This week’s edition of Wow, Awesome Editing: The overlap of future-Kevin and present-day-Kevin saying “Kev-bo”
  • Do friends honestly make out at the same time on the same couch? Is that not weird?
  • Wayne was perfectly, wonderfully obnoxious at calling out Kevin’s hickey.
  • Equally enjoyable were Norma and Jack’s knowing looks — Norma in the basement, Jack when Kevin says that talking to Winnie “can’t wait.”
  • The whole “dumped” issue that I brought up in my S02E01 recap came up again. But this time, Kevin said something along the lines of “she didn’t really dump me” makes me think it’s just a complex.
  • God, how well-written was that final scene? Pulled back jokes from throughout the episode and made them meaningful again — “maybe not laughing-laughing, but I’m laughing.” Final narrated lines: “Okay, some enchanted evening. We’ll see.” Fade to “Someday We’ll be Together” by The Supremes. That’s The Wonder Years being The Wonder Years right there, folks.
  • I’m starting to think a few too many episodes open with shots of television screens.

Dan and Brian from Earn This now have a film review site and podcast:

The Goods: Film Reviews

The Goods: A Film Podcast

Available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and more.

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