The Wonder Years—Season 2

wonder years season 2 dvd episode guide
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Classic TV comedy, innovative for the time

Hasn't always aged well

 
wonder years season 2 episode 14 brightwing kevin hippie fred savage

It is 1969…everyone fall in LOVE

Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) is fighting his way through middle school.  Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) is dating Kirk McCray (Michael Landes), and Kevin and his friend Paul (Josh Saviano) are trying to find their niche.  With his parents (Dan Lauria and Alley Mills) providing a “loving” home with his brother Wayne (Jason Hervey) and his hippie sister Karen (Olivia d’Abo), Kevin finds each year might be harder than the next.

The Wonder Years—Season 2 aired from November 30, 1988 to May 16, 1989 and was the first full season of the series after the short first season.   The season won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series (“Our Miss White”) and Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Costume Design for a Series (“Birthday Boy”), Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series (“How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation”), Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series (“Birthday Boy”), Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series (“How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation”), Outstanding Editing for a Series—Single Camera Production (“Loosiers”), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (“Loosiers” Robert Picardo), Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (“Coda” Maxine Stuart), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Fred Savage), Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special (“Birthday Boy”), Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (“Pottery Will Get You Nowhere”), Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (“Coda”), Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (“Loosiers”), and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (“Our Miss White”).  The season also won the Golden Globe for Best TV Comedy.

wonder years season 2 episode 5 paul pfiefer spock

Paul is logical

The Wonder Years was a fun show for me growing up.  I was the same age as Fred Savage and this builds an even better parallel than the concept that these are all things that kids go through (especially in middle school).  School is relentless as a kid and it has been probably from the beginning of education…The Wonder Years gets it right.

The writing is smart, but the show hasn’t always aged well.  Setting the show in the past gives it a bit of a timeless quality, but the format used by the show has been duplicated many times since its airing.  The show was rather innovative at the time, but now it feels a bit like other shows with similar themes…and probably too quaint for its own good.  There are a lot of stand-out episodes this season and overall the season is rather strong.

wonder years season 2 episode 11 nemesis danica mckellar sister krystal mckellar becky slater

The worst ex ever

The cast also continues to grow.  Fred Savage is a solid lead to bring the show around because you can see him falling into that mid-range popularity in middle school…a little too short, a little too self-aware, and at the same time desperately trying to be popular.  He’s got great back-up from a family that is underused in this season played by Dan Lauria, Alley Mills, Jason Hervey, and Olivia d’Abo, but the lack of family is made up for with his friends played by Josh Saviano and Danica McKellar.  The show has some great guest stars like adults Ben Stein, Robert Picardo, Maxine Stuart, and Wendel Meldrum and classmates Robert Jayne and Lindsay Fisher.  It also introduces one of my favorite “villains” in Danica McKellar’s sister Crystal McKellar who plays the vengeful Becky Slater.

wonder years season 2 episode 14 brighwing parents cops dan lauria alley mills

Parents just don’t understand…or Kevin tapped into his parents’ kinky fantasy

At the time it was made, The Wonder Years looked good, but now many transfers (including the version on Netflix) looks pretty poor.  I don’t know if the master copies are like this but the show has aged worse visually than other shows.  The show also struggled to keep the rights to its classic soundtrack (which hindered it being put on DVD for years) and it couldn’t always obtain rights to the songs…leading to a weird feeling if you watch it on Netflix and don’t hear the classic version of Joe Cocker’s Woodstock cover of “With a Little Help from My Friends”.

The Wonder Years still holds a soft spot for me that might blind me a bit, but it still feels that the show holds up.  It does boil down to being schmaltzy and sappy in the long run, but there is a wholesomeness that feels true to the series…things aren’t always perfect in the show despite resolutions that overall generally feel “good” even when things turn out back (through Daniel Stern’s reflective narration).  The Wonder Years still holds me and has me watching despite remembering almost every twist and turn.

The Wonder Years—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:

wonder years season 2 episode 1 heart of darkness school nightmare naked fred savage

“Heart of Darkness”

2.1       The Heart of Darkness Airdate:  11/30/88

After Winnie (Danica McKellar) dumps him, Kevin (Fred Savage) is suffering nightmares about his failing popularity at school.  Kevin befriends the class bad-boy Gary (Breckin Meyer) despite the objects of Paul (Josh Saviano)…leading to a campfire that has them pushing the limits of Kevin and Paul’s good thinking.

wonder years season 2 episode 2 our miss white wendel meldrum

“Our Miss White”

2.2       Our Miss White Airdate:  12/07/88

Kevin’s got a crush on his teacher Ms. White (Wendel Meldrum).  Kevin joins Ms. White’s progressive play just to get close to her, but unfortunately for Kevin, he’s only twelve.

wonder years season 2 episode 3 christmas raining caroling cast

“Christmas”

2.3       Christmas Airdate:  12/14/88

It is Christmas time, and Kevin and his family are dreaming of a color TV…but his father (Dan Lauria) stands in the way.  When Kevin gets a gift from Winnie, Kevin wonders if Winnie is thinking of him.

wonder years season 2 episode 4 steady as she goes becky slater

“Steady as She Goes”

2.4       Steady as She Goes Airdate:  01/11/89

Rumors of Winnie’s break up with Kirk McCray (Michael Landes) fall through and Kevin ends up going steady with Becky Slater (Crystal McKellar)…in an attempt to get closer to Winnie.

wonder years season 2 episode 5 just between me and you and kirk and paul and carla and becky michael landes fred savage

“Just Between Me and You and Kirk and Paul and Carla and Becky”

2.5       Just Between Me and You and Kirk and Paul and Carla and Becky Airdate:  01/18/89

Kevin and Becky’s relationship moves on, but Kevin learns that Kirk and Winnie are having problems.  Kevin finds himself the middle-man between Kirk and Winnie but needs his own middle-man in Paul.

wonder years season 2 episode 6 dan lauria alley mills

“Pottery Will Get You Nowhere”

2.6       Pottery Will Get You Nowhere Airdate:  02/01/89

Kevin’s mother (Alley Mills) takes a pottery course much to the dismay of his father.  When tensions rise, Kevin witnesses his parents’ first fight in front of him.

wonder years season 2 episode 7 coda mrs carples piano teacher maxine stuart

“Coda”

2.7       Coda Airdate:  02/08/89

Kevin finds his lessons with Mrs. Carples (Maxine Stuart) but finds himself in competition with Ronald Hirschmuller (Joseph Dammann).  With a recital coming up, Kevin tries to master the Canon in D Major.

wonder years season 2 episode 8 hiroshima mon frere wayne hamster jason hervey

“Hiroshima, Mon Frere”

2.8       Hiroshima, Mon Frere Airdate:  02/15/89

Kevin has had about enough of his brother Wayne (Jason Hervey).  When Kevin and Paul are forced to do a science project for Mr. Cantwell (Ben Stein) at home, Wayne is about to see that Kevin has the ability to hurt him.

wonder years season 2 episode 9 loosiers paul picked last josh saviano dustin diamond

“Loosiers”

2.9       Loosiers Airdate:  02/28/89

It’s time for basketball in gym class with Coach Ed Cutlip (Robert Picardo).  It’s Paul’s favorite time, but he also finds himself as the worst player and picked last.  When Kevin get the chance to right things, will he do it?

wonder yeears season 2 episode 10 walkout kevin arnold fred savage

“Walkout”

2.10     Walkout Airdate:  03/07/89

Kevin is selected for his homeroom representative and learns that Mark Hooper (Michael Manasseri) wants to stage a walkout to end the war in Vietnam.  When Kevin and Paul join the committee to hang out with the “cool” teacher Mr. Tyler (Denis Arndt), they learn the plans for the walkout could be quashed before they begin.

wonder years season 2 episode 11 nemesis becky slater crystal mckellar

“Nemesis”

2.11     Nemesis Airdate:  03/14/89

Becky Slater is out for revenge and Kevin worries that she’s influencing Winnie.  When Winnie gets sick, it seems like Kevin’s perfect chance to get on Winnie’s good side, but Becky has a plan.

wonder years season 2 episode 12 fate eddie pinetti robert jayne

“Fate”

2.12     Fate Airdate:  03/28/89

Winnie has decided she hates Kevin, and when Kevin defends Winnie’s locker from Eddie Pinetti (Robert Jayne), he makes a new enemy…worse than Eddie’s bullying is that Winnie likes Eddie.

wonder years season 2 episode 13 birthday boy paul bar mitzvah josh saviano

“Birthday Boy”

2.13     Birthday Boy Airdate:  04/11/89

Kevin is turning thirteen, but Kevin and Paul’s usual joint birthday has been broken by Paul’s bar mitzvah.  Things get worse for Kevin when he learns Paul’s bar mitzvah is the same day as Kevin’s birthday.

wonder years season 2 episode 14 brightwing hippie karen olivia dabo

“Brightwing”

2.14     Brightwing Airdate:  04/11/89

Karen (Olivia d’Abo) and Kevin haven’t spent much time together.  When Karen begins to recruit Kevin to help her skip school, Kevin finds he gets to spend time with her and her hippie friends.

wonder years season 2 episode 15 square dance margaret farquhar lindsay fisher fred savage

“Square Dance”

2.15     Square Dance Airdate:  05/02/89

It is square dancing week in gym and Kevin finds himself teamed to the class weirdo Margaret Farquhar (Lindsay Fisher).

wonder years season 2 episode 16 whos woods are these winnie kevin paul danica mckellar josh saviano fred savage

“Who’s Woods Are These?”

2.16     Whose Woods Are These? Airdate:  05/09/89

Harper Woods is coming down to be replaced by a shopping mall, and Kevin, Winnie, and Paul are trying to save the place they spent their childhood.

wonder years season 2 episode 17 how im spending my summer vacation kevin arnold fred savage

“How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation”

2.17     How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation Airdate:  05/16/89

Summer vacation has come but Kevin’s looking at a summer that isn’t going to be fun.  Paul is going away for the summer, and Winnie is acting strange to him after confessing his love in his yearbook…but Winnie has her reasons.

Related Links:

The Wonder Years—Season 1 Review and Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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