We are getting a lot of snow here in the Northwest. A lot. Like can’t drive down the driveway kind of snow. Like no school and work from home kind of snow. We are about six inches deep and it still keeps coming. And when you’re done with the requisite sledding and snowman building and snowball fights, you watch TV. A lot of TV. (Or if you’re a dog you run round and round and round in circles chasing your sister as Baker and Molly did.)
We aren’t a big TV family, per se. We don’t like the girls watching commercial TV. (Yes, I see the irony in that given my occupation.) We don’t have cable, but we do have Netflix and we like introducing the girls to the shows we used to watch. We’ve gone through the entire series of The Brady Bunch (a necessary introduction as we blended our families), Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and Gilligan’s Island. We occasionally watch contemporary shows like Modern Family but on the whole, we keep an eye (and a fair bit of control) on what they watch. (And of course, I get my fair share of Mad Men, Downton Abbey and Dexter when the kiddies aren’t around.)
Which is why, when flipping through Netflix recently and running across The Wonder Years, I knew this was the next series for our family. It was perfect. Middle school politics, mid-century family dynamics and enough awesome clothing and interiors to make my heart pound.
Not only that, but I got very excited upon seeing the glass grapes on the Wonder Years family TV set. When my grandmother passed last year, the only thing I wanted from her place was the glass (maybe) grapes that had sat on her end tables in the formal sunken living room with white shag carpet. Strange, I know. But I had always loved those things and I knew they would be perfect in my mid-century house.
But even more wonderful about The Wonder Years, is the lovely simplicity and universality of the middle school experience; of that moment when the world tips from sweet into bittersweet; of that time when a child starts to realize what adults are really like and just how damn huge the world and universe really is and little control we have over anything.
However, it’s funny seeing how traumatized my girls are by the realization (courtesy of Kevin Arnold) that all boys think about is girls. And girls. And more girls. (‘Is that really what they are thinking? I don’t know how I will look at any of the boys at my school again!’) Ah….youth.