Wonder(ful) Years

When I hear the term “reboot”, I think of turning my computer off and turning it back on again. It is basically my go-to move for all tech support related issues. My computer is frozen. Reboot. My phone is glitching. Reboot. Can’t open a website. Turn it off for a few minutes. It should be fine.

So usually the the term reboot has a negative connotation for me. It usually means something has gone wrong. That’s how I think about these television shows, too. I had no desire to watch any of them. Yes, I watched Will and Grace and Roseanne when I was younger, but I grew up. I would assume the characters on those shows should have grown up, too. But then, I saw a trailer on Facebook for “The Wonder Years” and I was intrigued. I was hooked after one episode.

Have you seen the melanated marvel that is the newest version of “The Wonder Years”? Set in 1968 in Montgomery, Alabama, we get to watch the coming of age story of Dean Williams. He’s a 12-year old boy in an ever-changing world. They cover first love, first heartbreak, and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, all in the first episode. In episode two, they sing the Negro National Anthem.

As a kid, I watched the original show with Fred Savage. I always dreamed that some boy would look at me like Kevin Arnold looked at Winnie Cooper. Of course, Winnie spent all her time on a bike, and I spent my time reading books. We weren’t really that similar. And I was hoping to grow out of that middle school angst, but that never really happened. I think I finally outgrew my awkward teenage stage at about age 32. Somehow, I did get one of the boys from the neighborhood to marry me, though. Neither one of us is too sure how that happened. But that’s enough about my extended period of weirdness. One of the benefits of watching this show is getting ideas about how to shepherd my kiddos through their own awkward stages.

The cast is stunning. I have loved Dule Hill since the West Wing (the only other reboot I’d consider watching.) I can’t believe he’s old enough to be playing a dad on TV, even though I’m sitting here playing a parent in real life. Tony-nominated Saycon Sengblah shines every time on the screen. But the real stars on this show are the kids. EJ Williams, Amari O’Neal, and Milan Ray all look like they could be my son’s friends. I just want to feed them and let them hang out on my sofa. Then, there’s the voice of Don Cheadle narrating their adventures. This show is my new favorite thing.

I need y’all to watch this show and tell me if you love it as much as I do.

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