Connect with us
The Wonder Years, “Christmas” – Engagingly Warm And Funny
Image: ABC

TV

The Wonder Years, “Christmas” – Engagingly Warm and Funny

Kevin and Wayne try to convince Jack to buy a color television for Christmas. Meanwhile Kevin tries to find the perfect present for Winnie after she unexpectedly gives him a present.

Join us as we spend the next 25 days writing about some of our favourite Holiday TV specials! Today, we look back at The Wonder Years.

What’s it About?

It was Christmas in 1968, and Kevin and his brother Wayne fell in love… with colour TV. It was more than love, it was lust. They were witnessing it as a modern miracle, and it was the first time the two boys agreed on liking the same thing. As they set out and try to convince their dad Jack to buy a new idiot box for the family on Christmas, Kevin tries to find the perfect present for his dream girl Winnie after she unexpectedly gives him a present at school. In the end, the family doesn’t get the TV, but Kevin does learn the valuable lesson that Christmas is about more than just presents. It is about family and friends, memories, and those very special moments you share.

A Brief History

For the unfamiliar, The Wonder Years is often cited as one of the greatest half-hour American drama series ever produced. Created by husband-and-wife producers Carol Black and Neal Marlens, The Wonder Years ran for six seasons on ABC from 1988 through 1993, and ranked as one of the most-watched shows on television during that time. After only six episodes aired, The Wonder Years won an Emmy for best comedy series, Fred Savage became the youngest actor ever nominated as a lead, and the series also grabbed a Peabody Award for achieving two seemingly contradictory effects: “evoking a traditional family sitcom while pushing boundaries and using new modes of storytelling”.

The Wonder Years, “Christmas” – Engagingly Warm And Funny
Image: ABC

Review

While the Christmas episode titled “Christmas” pales in comparison to some of the series’ best (such as “My Father’s Office”), this episode runs with the charm that made the show a success in the first place: it takes everyday slice-of-life incidents and brings it to the small screen with warmth and sincerity. Everything rings true to reality and nothing is ever exaggerated for a quick, cheap laugh. Not much happens in “Christmas” outside of the family’s desperate attempt to convince their father to buy them a colour TV, but as with most episodes of the Wonder Years, a significant part of the episode’s appeal emanates from Kevin’s infatuation with Winnie Cooper. Seeing him so desperately trying to find her the perfect perfume as a gift and in the end, settling for a snowglobe is utterly adorable.

As great as Kevin is, the standout moments in “Christmas” all come from Jack, a tough-as-nails dad, who every once in a while opens up to reveal his love for his kids. The holidays can be an especially tough time for any parent, particularly those who try their hardest to make their children happy. Not everyone is blessed with the finances to go out and purchase a television priced at $469. In a way, Jack is the complete opposite of Scrooge, as pointed out by Kevin. We see him grumble about and bargain with the cost of just about everything, but it’s not that Jack cares about money, he just can’t afford to be irresponsible with what he does with that money.

David Stern’s narration gave The Wonder Years a unique feel and rhythm and a clearer look at life through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy. His narration usually offers the biggest laugh, but the funniest moment in this episode actually comes from Karen, Kevin’s sister, who tells him: “You’re backing dad in to a corner. He wants to buy a TV, but he wants to surprise us. It’s complicated.”

Christmas episode
Image: ABC

Few series have been able to capture the pain and triumphs of adolescence as The Wonder Years. Their first Christmas special pulls off the neat trick of affirming that money can’t buy happiness while serving up enough tender moments to recommend it highly. It’s expertly directed, emotionally engaging, warm, funny and manages to be sweet without getting sticky. As the family gathers in the final scene to sing Christmas carols, we are teased with a glimpse of the first snowfall. Thankfully for the Arnolds, it started to pour instead, and somehow under the rain, the Arnold family rediscovered the true spirit of Christmas. And as we learn before the credit roll, Jack does buy the family a television set, after all, only it came two years later.

Ricky D

How Christmassy is it?

100 % – The entire episode takes place during the Christmas holiday and features the following songs:

“Silent Night”
Performed by Glenn Campbell & Cher

“Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy”
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

“Twelve Days Of Christmas”
Performed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

“Jingle Bell Rock”
Performed by Bobby Helme

“White Christmas”
Performed by Bing Crosby

“River”
Performed by Joni Mitchell

You May Like It If…

Anyone who likes comedy-dramas and good TV writing.

Other observations:

The final narration of the series beautifully summed up the experience that was The Wonder Years:

“Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you’re in diapers, the next day you’re gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place…a town…a house like a lot of houses…a yard like a lot of other yards…on a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is…after all these years…I still look back…with wonder.”

Written By

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and Tilt Magazine. Host of the Sordid Cinema Podcast and NXpress Nintendo Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sight, and host of several podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead podcasts, as well as Sound On Sight. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Facebook

Trending

Review Bombing Review Bombing

The Rings of Power and Review Bombing: The Online A-Bomb

Culture

HBO MAX/DISCOVERY HBO MAX/DISCOVERY

WTH is Going on with HBO Max/Discovery?

Culture

BEST AEW PPV Matches 2022 BEST AEW PPV Matches 2022

Best AEW PPV Matches of 2022 (So Far)

Wrestling

Project Wolf Hunting Project Wolf Hunting

Project Wolf Hunting is a Bloody and Entertaining Midnight Delight

Film

While We Watched While We Watched

While We Watched Reveals the Destabilization of Democracy in India

Film

Cheers Pilot Review - Give Me A Ring Sometime Cheers Pilot Review - Give Me A Ring Sometime

Cheers: ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ is the Definitive Sitcom Pilot

TV

L.A. Confidential Directed by Curtis Hanson L.A. Confidential Directed by Curtis Hanson

25 Years Later: L.A. Confidential is Hollywood’s last great noir

Friday Film Noir

Marvel D3 2022 Marvel D3 2022

A Breakdown Of Every Marvel Studios Announcement At D23

Culture

Eastern Promises (2007) Eastern Promises (2007)

Eastern Promises at 15: Cronenberg’s Gangster Triumph 

Film

Roger Maris breaks home run record Roger Maris breaks home run record

On This Day in Sports:  Roger Maris Broke the Home Run Record, with 61 in ’61, 61 years ago 

Culture

Corsage movie review Corsage movie review

Corsage is a Lush Portrait of Empress Elizabeth of Austria

Culture

Anvil! The Story of Anvil Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Anvil! The Story of Anvil — The Inspiring Story of the Canadian 80s Metal Band

Film

Orcs! Orcs!

The Rings of Power: “Udûn” Finally Raises Hell

Culture

The Lost King review The Lost King review

The Lost King is an Unlively Attempt at Revisionism

Culture

Emily movie review Emily movie review

Emily is a Rapturous Evocation of Brontë’s Artistic Discoveries

Film

Muru Muru

Muru Surfaces a Century of Discrimination

Film

Connect