The Wonder Years: Season Three

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday May 29, 2015

The Wonder Years: Season Three

"The Wonder Years" really hits its stride in Season Three, the second full season of the iconic family TV show that remembers one of the most radical periods in American cultural history through the eyes of a suburban teenager.

It's 1969, and the nation is in the thick of the Vietnam War, Woodstock has become a household word and Charles Manson and his followers have committed a series of bizarre murders that will terrify the country and demonize the word "hippie." But in the Junior High School of Anywhere, USA, Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) is concerned with his own issues -- which mostly revolve around girls.

He gets his first pimple just before his reunion with a hottie he hasn't seen since he was four years old, but according to his siblings, at that time their relationship was pretty steamy. Also, he has a vacation romance, his first French kiss and he goes to a make-out party.

It's most often the case that just when Kevin thinks he can really hit it off with girl, some member of his family steps in to screw it up. At the mall, Kevin meets a vision, but he can't get to her unless his Neanderthal older brother Wayne (Jason Hervey) gives him a ride. Believe it or not, they've given Wayne a license to drive, which may never have happened if he hadn't also got himself a new girlfriend Delores (Juliette Lewis).

Most every episode revolves around a situation that gives Kevin insight into one of his close relationships -- with his father (Dan Lauria), his mother (Alley Mills), his big sister Karen (Olivia d'Abo), his best friend Paul (Josh Saviano) and the on-again off-again love of his life Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar).

The ephemeral nature of love and relationships is one of the major themes in Season Three.

Writer Mark B. Perry sent his first spec script to the show's producers, which ended up become the season opener and led to a staff position on the series. "Summer Song" is one of the most funny and heartfelt episodes of the season, a look at the ephemeral nature of love and relationships that sets the stage for the major themes of Season Three.

On the final disc of this 4-DVD set is a featurette "A Family Affair: At Home with the Arnolds;" a roundtable discussion between Josh Saviano, Danica McKellar and Fred Savage; also, interviews with Olivia d'Abo, Jason Hervey, Danica McKellar and Crystal McKellar (who plays Becky Slater on the show, Winnie's nemesis). The problem with most of these special features is the cast is often talking about episodes from seasons other than this one, and in the end it leaves you wanting more.

"The Wonder Years: Season Three"

DVD

Not Rated / 520 minutes

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