I loved The Wonder Years as a kid. I got a black and white tv the year it came out for Christmas and I watched that very first episode on my own tv. Fred Savage and I are pretty close in age and it was awesome to find a show that seemed to be right where I was developmentally. I have always remembered this show fondly and was excited to see it on Hulu recently. So I started watching it again.
At first, I felt that same old happiness. But within a couple of episodes, I was done with ole Kevin Arnold. This character is a complete and total asshole. Everything is about him, literally everything. Paul’s bar mitzvah ends up being on Kevin’s birthday and he’s a jackass about it. He refuses to go at first but eventually ends up showing up late.
He’s a misogynistic jerk for so much of the show. He blames Winnie for things that aren’t her fault, forces her into a corner about why she’s ignoring him while she’s trying to deal with her brother’s death in Vietnam and her parents’ impending divorce. But yes, Kevin, it’s totally all about you.
He treats his mother like complete crap too. The whole family takes her for granted and all she does is take care of everything for them. Maybe the parents are just stereotypical 1960s parents, I don’t know. But his father is pretty much a caricature of “uninvolved dad with job he hates.” All he does is whine about how much work sucks and how much everything is going to cost him.
I stopped watching The Wonder Years after season three, I think. Winnie moved away and I think Paul went to a private school. Kevin became extra annoying eventually and I think maybe I got sick of him. I can’t remember actually. I’m at season 3, episode 2 and I do remember these episodes. I’m just not sure how I missed what an asshole this kid was to everyone around him.
The real Fred Savage seems to be an asshole as well, from what I’ve read.
I’ve read other articles that said he was a problem as a teenager as well. He was “the kid” in Hollywood for awhile in the late 80s/early 90s and I think it went to his head. Honestly, he wasn’t all that cute and he’s not the best child actor ever. So I’m not sure why he thinks he’s so great that he can attack staff members on set. That seems to be a problem, although Fred Savage seems a little young to be trapped in that old mindset of Hollywood men getting to treat women however they want.
My conclusion is that adolescent me liked crappy tv.
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