The Wonder Years - Season Five

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday May 20, 2016

The Wonder Years - Season Five

"Some things change your life forever. When I was fifteen, those where the things I went searching for." These are the opening lines of "The Wonder Years: Season Five," and they set the stage for one on the series' most mature and complex seasons to date.

Season Five is a standout for this iconic television show about growing up in the latter half of the 20th Century. Our narrator, Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), leaves the territory of childhood completely, entering high school, and his experiences are marked by learning to drive, playing and watching sports, and deeper romantic and sexual exploration.

Kevin and his darling childhood sweetheart Winnie (Danica McKellar) have decided to see other people, mirroring the cosmopolitan sexual attitudes of the early 1970s. They even go on a double date which leads to the PG-13 version of "Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice." But as movie metaphors go, none is more potent that the episode entitled "Carnal Knowledge." As the teens desperately attempt to sneak into this revolutionary Mike Nichols film, Kevin's best friend Paul (Josh Saviano) actually loses his virginity.

The season is bookend by summer break and Kevin's romance with a cool, alluring siren at the lake where his family vacations. But the school year allows the protagonist to explore some pretty advance relationships beyond that, including a passionate affair with the girlfriend of his deepest rival -- his brother, Wayne (Jason Hervey).

As Nixon rages in the White House and The Vietnam War tears the country apart, the biggest concern for the teens in this series is how well their school basketball star is playing. And Kevin actually plays a school sport of his own. Unfortunately, it's just the esoteric (for the time) game of soccer.

On the fringes, Kevin's parents, Norma (Alley Mills) and Jack (Dan Lauria), carry on as their daughter Karen (Olivia d'Abo) marries her live-in boyfriend, Michael (David Schwimmer). (That's right the star of the super-hit series "Friends.")

Special features in this four DVD collection include interviews with Schwimmer and d'Abo as well as a featurette, "Love Stories," and a farewell set tour.

"The Wonder Years: Season Five"