Before there was Harry, Ron, and Hermione, there was Kevin, Paul, and Winnie. For whatever reason, and I have my theories, I adored The Wonder Years as a kid. Let’s face it: I wanted to be Winnie Cooper. I wanted to look exactly like her; however, I hoped that I would not be quite so critical and whiny (cue any time she said Kevin’s name). There is just something about the entire series that always stuck with me. Maybe it had something to do with this: Quotes from The Wonder Years. If nothing else, the writing is fantastic. Not that long ago, someone brought up how artificial and inauthentic the late 1960s and 1970s could be. That statement did not sit well with me, and I finally figured out why. One of what I consider to be the most authentic TV shows happened to be set in that exact time period. I understood where he was going with that statement, but it didn’t tell the whole story. Did the late 1960s and 1970s have kitschy moments? Of course it did, loads of them (the clothes alone …), but that wasn’t the everyday experience of most people who lived during that time period. I refuse to believe people are that shallow.
The irony is that if a “modern” version of The Wonder Years was made today, it would be set in the 1990s. From what I remember, most of the story lines wouldn’t have to change much. It would still be possible to deal with middle school/high school crushes, friendship, politics, learning how to drive, and first jobs. Only the historical backdrop, clothes, and music would have to change. As much as I would love to see that happen, it would not be the same. Such a series could only be viewed in the shadow of The Wonder Years.
All of this left me wondering why we love what we love. Why do we love the people we love? Do we really have a choice? I’m not sure. I’m even less certain as to why we fall in love with certain things. Why do we connect with certain music, books, TV shows, and movies, while not caring for others? I have no idea. I do know that I love the movie Casablanca and the ending scene of Bridget Jones’ Diary. I love the characters of Mr. Darcy: Both Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pride and Prejudice and Mark Darcy of Bridget Jones’ Diary. The ending of Six Feet Under is one of the best endings of a TV series I’ve ever come across. Francine Prose’s Reading Like A Writer continues to influence me as a writer and inspired me to read her other works. It completely changed how I read. I refuse to watch anything after the last episode of the third season of Call the Midwife because of how nicely it summed up the series to that point. The adoption scene with Dr. Turner and Shelagh gets to me every time. I could go on. All of these things influence what I read, what I watch, and eventually, what I write. Maybe we don’t find the right material, maybe the right material finds us. As for people, well … one can hope.