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The Wonder Years (season 4)

season of television series

Growing Up [4.1]Edit

Narrator: Things were confusing, alright. Sometimes even crazy. Still, I wasn't crazy. Just... in love. Winnie and I had survived the summer of long-distance romance. In fact, her move across town had brought a new depth to our relationship. We shared everything, now that she was wearing my ring. Hopes, dreams... big plans. Yep, these were golden moments - in a golden summer. When every day was perfect, and you knew it would go on forever.

Jack: Don't ever get old, Kev.
Narrator: I wasn't sure whether he meant me, or him. I guess we both knew it didn't really matter. We didn't have a choice. Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what's to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves for growing up.

Ninth Grade Man [4.2]Edit

Narrator: Once upon a time life was simple. Evolutionarily speaking. Then, things began to change. The competition got tougher. There were winners... and losers. The struggle continued. Then in the fall of nineteen-seventy, a new creature appeared... the likes of which had never been seen before. Noble, upright, virtuous. Ninth-grade man. Master of all he surveyed. Which in this case was Woody's Pizza Barn where the elite went to meet. Yep, by the last week of summer I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Narrator: Ninth grade man. Noble, upright, virtuous. I went into my last year of Junior High thinking I knew all the answers. And suddenly all I had was questions. Plus a dislocated thumb. It's funny. I remembered the time when I knew who I was. But that was eight hours ago. Suddenly I felt on the outside, looking in. Looking for... Winnie. I wanted to tell her everything, every bit of it. All the setbacks, all the screw-ups. Heck. I knew she'd understand. After all when you're fourteen, you can't always put words to life. All I knew was... I felt home again.

The Journey [4.3]Edit

Narrator: Adolescence is a battle. A life-or-death mission into hostile territory. You tiptoe through minefields. Dodge bullets. Try to do the right thing... in a crazy time. But war has another side. The noble side. Forging friendships between improbable comrades. Uniting men. Bringing together the good... the bad... the ugly. Along around ninth grade, one thing was clear. In the battle of growing up... junior high school was basic training. Not that any of us had actually enlisted in this army. Still, we'd learned one thing. We'd learned how to survive. It was all a matter of balance. Poise. Keeping your head down. Avoiding the war. Until, that is... the war came to you.

Narrator: By the time we got back together our adventure had become an epic. We were entitled to a little exaggeration. Every soldier does. After all if growing up is war, then those friends who grew up with you deserve a special respect. The ones who stuck by you shoulder to shoulder in a time when nothing is certain when all life lay ahead and every road led home.

The Cost of Living [4.4]Edit

Narrator: Uh-oh! I'd just broken the cardinal rule of child-parent negotiations. Never compare them to their peers.

Narrator: That day... I realized something from this man that I was trying so hard not to be like. He understood the value of money. And the cost of it.
Kevin: Hey - it's too bad about that putt.
Jack: A putt's a putt.
Kevin: Coulda made it, Dad!
Jack: Maybe.
Narrator: I guess Dad knew he could lose a game, and still not lose his manhood. His pride didn't hinge on a stupid shot. Or some shiny new clubs. And I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to use my money for.
Kevin: Dad! Can I buy you lunch?
Jack: Whatever you say, Kev.
Narrator: It was the first time I ever really said thank you to the man for all he'd given me.

It's a Mad, Mad, Madeline World [4.5]Edit

Narrator: You start out life with a clean slate. Then you begin to make your mark. You face decisions, make choices. You keep moving forward. But sooner or later there comes a time where you look back over where you have been... and wonder who you really are.

Narrator: Life is a series of twists and turns. Things don't always turn out the way you expected. Still, that night I knew I'd turned a corner. As for the future,well, I wasn't worried. I had my girl, had my good name back and would keep it locked on...forever.

Little Debbie [4.6]Edit

Narrator: Every generation has its idols. Guys who were our heroes. Guys who defined "cool". Guys who drive chicks crazy. My generation produced a ton of these guys. The Beatles... Mick Jagger... and, of course... yours truly. OK, so I didn't have a Top 10 single. I did have the one thing every teen idol needs. A fan. Debbie Pfeiffer, Paul's little sister. Debbie was a seventh-grader now, and, to put it mildly, she thought I put the moon in the sky... and told the stars to shine. It was kinda flattering, I guess. It was also kinda... nauseating. And the worst thing was... no matter how hard I tried to ignore it... it... wouldn't ignore me. Not to seem insensitive, but a man of my years had more important things to think about, than moony little girls.

Narrator: Heck - I was no Superman. Not really, anyway. But if Debbie Pfeiffer needed a hero... so be it. She had plenty of time to grow up, and figure it out on her own. After all, a little stardust in the eyes never hurt anybody. Least of all, me.

The Ties That Bind [4.7]Edit

Narrator: Before my parents were Mom and Dad... they were Norma and Jack. Or, so the story goes. Back then, they didn't have much. So they got by on what they had - each other. Somewhere along the way, though... hearts and flowers gave way to other things. Guess it kinda took 'em by surprise. So, like any couple of their generation... they did what they had to do - they became... parents. Providers.

Narrator: When you're fourteen, you know a lot of things. How to throw a spiral... how to fix a bike. But standing there... I knew I couldn't fix what was wrong.

The Sixth Man [4.8]Edit

Narrator: There are a lot of great records in sports. Rocky Marciano fought to victory in forty-nine straight heavyweight prize-fights. The University of Oklahoma won forty-seven college football games in a row. But in the annals of sports... there was one record that surpassed them all. One destined to go unbroken for time immemorial. I had beaten Paul Pfeiffer at basketball - as near as I can remember - seven hundred eighty eight times in a row. Give or take a hundred. It was a streak that went all the way back to kindergarten - maybe even before. Not that I was some kind of all-American. It's just... I was me. Whereas Paul... Paul was - Paul.

Narrator: That night, Paul Pfeiffer and I played the most important game of our lives. We both played hard. And we both played to win. And no game ever mattered more. To both of us. Maybe change is never easy. You fight to hold on. You fight to let go. But that night... after seven-hundred ninety consecutive loses... Paul finally beat me. Paul made the basketball team that year. And he had some loyal fans. But his biggest fan... was also his best friend. I guess sometimes you have to grow apart... to keep growing together.

A Very Cutlip Christmas [4.9]Edit

Narrator: When you're a kid, it's simple. Christmas is magic. It's a time of miracles, when reindeer can fly, and Frosty never melts. Then you get older. Somehow, things change. The magic begins to fade. Until something happens that reminds you, at Christmas time... miracles still can be found. Sometimes in the most unexpected places.

Narrator: I stood there, helpless, outnumbered. And that's when it happened. Doug Porter looked first, directly into the eyes of the man who had taught him gym for three long years. Then Tommy Kisling looked, too, and Randy Mitchell. Those three skeptics gazed straight at that white beard, dead into the eyes of Coach Cutlip not thirty feet away. But all that they saw... was Santa Claus. It was a miracle. He stood there like some patron saint of all the lonely people holidays sometimes forget. And for that brief moment of Christmas magic, Ed Cutlip got his chance to be what he always wanted. And I never gave him away.

The Candidate [4.10]Edit

Narrator: Everybody know politics is a dirty business. Yet our greatest national heroes have always been politicians. Maybe there's a reason for that. Maybe it takes a certain kind of person to get down in the mud... and come out with the bricks of statecraft. After all, in America, they say any kid can grow up to be president. What they don't say... is how.

Narrator: Which only proved what I'd known all along. Simply stated... politics stinks. I never regretted running for president of the student council... or the three weeks of detention that followed. In fact... in many ways, I was a better man for it. Sees that Donald Duck got more votes than him Even though I lost to a duck. In any event... it was time to leave politics to the politicians. Let the ship of state sail on. At least they wouldn't have Kevin Arnold to kick around anymore.

Heartbreak [4.11]Edit

Narrator: Young love is really pretty simple. It's about sharing little inside jokes when the teacher isn't looking. It's about passing notes in the hallway between classes. It's about all the really stupid things you share. It's about going through it, together. Winnie Cooper and I had been through it all. The good times, bad times, the ups and downs. And we were still together. We'd known each other since we were kids. And to me she was still the girl next door - even though she didn't live next door anymore.

Narrator: Back there on our seat... the ride home in the dark seat... there it was- the ring I gave to Winnie; the one she was giving back to me. I looked for her on the other bus but I couldn't find her, she was already lost in the crowd. I knew then that the girl next door was gone. And my life would never be the same again.

Denial [4.12]Edit

Narrator: Winnie Cooper was my first real love. She grew up in the house across the street. She was the first girl I had ever kissed. And now she had broken up with me. But it wasn't until the next day that I understood what it meant...
Kevin: It's just a big misunderstanding right?

Narrator: Love makes you do funny things. It makes you proud. It makes you sorry. That night we talked. About life. About our times together. Maybe we weren't the same two kids we had once been. But some things never change. Some things last. And even though I didn't know what was going to happen to us, or where we were going. I just knew I couldn't let her out of my life.

Who's Aunt Rose? [4.13]Edit

Narrator: I grew up in a neighborhood that was a lot like other neighborhoods. Where the boxes we lived in were distinguished only by the names on the mailboxes, and the cars in the driveways. It was a place where hard-working Americans circled their wagons to protect themselves from the outside world. Our lives were made up of little moments, all delicately intertwined.

Albert: I guess, uh... I guess my cousin, Rose, liked family gatherings more than anyone I've ever known. Even after she had trouble gettin' around, she always loved to have a chance to see the folks. As she liked to call us. Course, lately it seems like the only time we get together is, uh... when there's a wedding, or... or when somebody leaves us.
Narrator: As I stood there, listening to Grandpa's words, a lot of things began to become real for me. Aunt Rose. The loss Gramps was feeling. And why coming here was so important, for all of us.
Albert: But, I can tell you one thing, Rose is not gone from us. She never will be. She will always be a part of us, as long as we remain a family. Part of... the folks. Part of who we are. Even for those who really didn't know her very well.
Narrator: I guess that's when I understood what my grandfather had been trying to explain to me. That my life was bigger than the little neighborhood I lived in. And that these strangers who surrounded me, weren't just relatives, they were my family. And the death of one affected each of us in some way.

Courage [4.14]Edit

Narrator: Over the course of the average lifetime you meet a lot of people. Some of them stick with you through thick and thin. Some weave their way through your life and disappear forever. But once in a while someone comes along who earns a permanent place in your heart.

Narrator: [At] fourteen true heroism has less to do with actual logic and more to do with pure stupidity.

Buster [4.15]Edit

Narrator: Every American family has its own unique blend of personalities, my family was no exception. Within our four suburban walls we ranged the full spectrum of types. From the flamboyant, to the demure. From the repellant, to the ideal. Somehow, we managed to fit together in a kind of fragile alliance. One for all, and all for one. With one exception: Buster - the family dog.

Narrator: And over the years, through good times and bad... through seasons of hope and change, he stood by us all. A silent partner. The first one to greet me at the door when I came home from my senior prom. The one who stared out our front window, on the day I left for college. And my mom said he stayed there for hours.

Road Trip [4.16]Edit

Narrator: The biggest thing in a young boy's world is his dad. You do what he says. You do what he does. He's your guide through the mysteries of manhood - your confidant. Your pal. Until the day comes when, for some reason, things change. Your confidant becomes... that guy on the other end of the couch.

Narrator: We didn't talk any more on the way home than we did on the way out. But, maybe we listened a little bit more... To what was being said inside us.

When Worlds Collide [4.17]Edit

Narrator: There were no two ways about it. When I was fourteen… I was a pretty cool kid. Not in the ninety-ninth-percentile of coolness, maybe, but definitely top third of my class. I knew the walk. I knew the talk. I had my own kinda... style. But, like a lot of cool kids my age, I did have one tragic flaw. One terrible secret that threatened the very fabric of my fragile image. I, Kevin Arnold, had a mom.

Narrator: She poured my milk, she sewed my buttons... Face it. The woman loved me. She knew me better than anyone in the world. Which, of course, was the problem. She knew...too much.

Separate Rooms [4.18]Edit

Narrator: I guess you could say I had a pretty uncomplicated childhood - with one exception. My brother, Wayne. From the moment we first laid eyes on each other, we had an instinctive, natural, bond. It was kind of touching, really. So to insure that bond would flourish and grow, my parents provided us with something. Something to keep us together, through thick and thin. A room. Our room. The thing is, we actually had some pretty good times there. But looking back now, when I think of that room... what I remember is how big it seemed when we were little.

Narrator: Childhood is a struggle. In struggling to separate ourselves from one another... Wayne and I had also struggled to stay together. In order to break apart, we had to hurt each other. And now... we'd done what we had to do. And the thing is, even today... on nights when I lie in bed, listening to my children in their rooms, breathing next to one another... I wish for them what my parents had wished for my brother and me. I wish for them... what we had.

The Yearbook [4.19]Edit

Narrator: Any kid who's ever been to junior high school knows one great universal truth. Image is everything. Who you are is pretty much who you appear to be. And who you appear to be is pretty much a matter of hard work and careful planning. For most kids, anyway.

Narrator: In junior high school image is everything. A dance with masks. A fight to fit in. Maybe it's a struggle that lasts a lifetime. For most of us, anyway.

The Accident [4.20]Edit

Narrator: There are things about your childhood you hold onto... because they were so much a part of you. The places you went, the people you knew. Somewhere, in every memory I had, was Winnie Cooper. I knew everything about her. What I didn't know was that she was falling apart.

Narrator: And I guess that's when I finally understood. I'd been part of Winnie's past, a past she wanted to forget. And now... there was nothing to do... but go. Only I didn't. I couldn't. There are things in a life that matter, things in a past which can't be denied. Winnie Cooper was part of me, and I was part of her. And no matter what, for as long as we lived, I knew I could never let her go.

The House That Jack Built [4.21]Edit

Narrator: Men came home from a just, and noble war. It was a place where peace-of-mind came by the square foot. Where the space between every linoleum floor, and shingled roof... was to be filled with children. And dreams. And where, into every inch of concrete, hard working men poured their values. My father was one of those men. His values were simple. As solid as the walls of the house he took care of. And he trusted the preservation of those four walls to nothing less than his own two hands. With maybe a little help from my two hands.

Graduation [4.22]Edit

Narrator: Ninteen-seventy-one was a big year. Hot-pants were invented. Dennie McLaine lost twenty two games for the Washington Senators. And I graduated from junior high school. But... we'll get to that. In the three years since I'd entered seventh-grade... a lot of things had changed. Still, in the suburbs where I lived, the currency of life remained about the same. The whir of lawn-mowers. The cries of hide-and-seek. The dreams of parents. The struggles of children.

Narrator: I couldn't really say what I did that summer. It passed in kind of a blur. What I remember... are green lawns and sprinklers... and the smell of backyard grills. And the nearness of friends.

The Wonder Years [4.23]Edit

Narrator: The fact was... the teachers I had at RFK ranged from the ridiculous... to the sublime. From the exasperating... to the intimidating. From the ineffectual... to the indecipherable. It's just that, as with most adolescents... my real education began at home. From my family. My mother instilled in me a deep appreciation for the importance of family. And knowing your roots. Then, of course... there was my father. The man who'd taught me the intricacies of progressive parenting. My sister taught me the concept of independence. And, by accident of birth... ladies and gentlemen, my brother, Wayne. A pillar of support in times of crisis. All-in-all, I guess you could say my family was kind of a proving ground for the lessons of life.

Narrator: Those years were like a long journey for me. Looking back, it was a time when we were still very small. And the world seemed very big. And I think about those days again and again... whenever some blowhard starts talking about the anonymity of the suburbs... or the mindlessness of the TV generation. Because I know I'll never forget those times... those years of wonder.
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