TV Review: The Wonder Years, 1×3, “The Club”

User Rating: 3

The Wonder Years continues to be a middle-of-the-road series. This week focused on Dean discovering porn magazines in his parents’ closet. This led to temporary popularity among the boys at his school. He then went on to get caught with the magazines by the school hall monitor.  His father was brought in to pick him up from school and presumably punish him for taking the magazines to school in the first place. Instead, what he gets from his parents is the talk about how reproduction and other aspects of the body work, which is interesting and informative for him. He then takes the time to inform every kid his age about what he learned the previous day and gets in trouble again. This leads to the reveal that the magazines were his mother’s in the first place. We also learn that there are families that do not talk about intimacy because of how taboo it was at the time.

This is pretty much the worst episode of the entire series. I don’t think it can get any worse than this. For me, the cardinal sin of this episode was that Dean decided to share the information his mom privately shared with him the previous night. He didn’t do it to be informative; he did it to be cool. This showcases just how spineless this character is.   He will do anything to get noticed and appreciated. It’s not like the Caucasian kids in this show are mean to him. They are not. In fact, they basically just tolerate his existence without much pushback. I’m not sure that’s realistic to 1968. Then again, I was alive back then to be able to know whether it was accurate. The decisions Dean made all throughout this episode were absolutely pointless. The only thing he learned is that you can’t really talk about grown folks’ business because it will get you in trouble.

The one redeeming section of this episode has to involve the blue light parties. It was really nice to see all the adults dance and hang out and spend time with their spouses away from their children. The fact that the children could mixed drinks for the adults is something that I remember seeing in episodes of Mad Men. The best performer of the episode had to be Dulé Hill and Seycon Sengbloh. This is the most equal husband and wife partnership that I have seen in quite some time since watching Friday Night Lights in the early 2000s. I love how they both support and contradict each other and that it doesn’t lead to massive conflict. Dean has no idea how to interact with people his age without causing conflict or chaos. It’s frankly a struggle to watch him mature.  Audiences deserve better growth from their main character.

If the party wasn’t the most significant part of this episode that was enjoyable, then I could definitely rate it higher.  Because Dean made so many stupid decisions, I can say that this episode is worth a mess until we get to something much more substantial.

The Wonder Years is airing on ABC.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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