The Wonder Years

Joe Cocker starts singing in the distance…

Alright, I’ll try not to ramble in this post, but I have some things to say, and they mostly revolve around a television series called The Wonder Years.

If you were alive in the early 90’s, chances are, you have heard of this show, and probably seen it at least a handful of times. Fred Savage played the protagonist, Kevin Arnold, and it was set during the Vietnam days. Everyone I know has seen this show at some point. I have seen it from beginning to end more than once. It was my favorite series when it originally aired, and then it became available on Netflix (with a stupid knock off version of the theme song), and I revisited the series in its entirety, feeling all of these intense emotions all over again. And so, it became my favorite all over again.

Now, imagine that you are me, and you learn a decade after revisiting the series that Fred Savage is a full grown adult and (wearing baseball caps) directing a new adaptation of the show, also called The Wonder Years. Now imagine that you learn it is set to take place in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1960’s, in a very racially and socially divided population, during the MLK assassination.

Then, you learn the family is Black.

I am sure it will be endearing, heavy, tragic, heartbreaking, hilarious, and all the other rollercoaster emotions. It just aired on ABC, but I have yet to watch it. But I do look forward to whenever I do get around to watching it. I am very excited to see how this project turns out, and how the story develops, and I hope to God that it portrays Montgomery at its worst, but also, perhaps at its best.

During Taking Back Sunday’s set, the singer Adam talked a bit about his upbringing in Florence, Alabama, and how his family also lived in Montgomery. I then heard some guy behind me yell, “Montgomery’s trying!”

I don’t know how or why, but I had zero control over my body when I turned around to him and sarcastically and casually replied, “Are they, though?”

He must get high with a little help from his friends.

Montgomery is trying? I think the only reason this guy felt the need to say this was because the elected recently passed the medical marijuana bill (which was basically only slightly better than not with all the insane stipulations attached to it).

The only reason I caved and joined Twitter earlier this year was to closely monitor and harass the state legislators into using wiser/fairer judgement and remind them how incorrect their stupid, outdated opinions are, and that Alabama education scores rank 46th in the entire nation.

I eventually left Twitter (because it is utter insanity), and it wasn’t long after that, The Wonder Years reboot was being announced and I found myself feeling 12 years old right along with Kevin Arnold and, now, Dean Williams.

Obviously, there are major issues all around the globe, and it still seems especially true for the southeastern United States- namely, Alabama. Why else would Fred Savage bother? Hell, when Black Lives openly Mattered to the entire country, my neighbors felt compelled to break out their rebel flags and fly them within the city limits again. It was only in the past thirty fucking years that a racist sign next to the main interstate exit of my hometown (which read “Don’t let the sun set on your black ass”) was finally removed, just before we moved to this historically slave owning, KKK infested town.

So, okay, maybe a handful of people have been working hard to remove the pit stains, but that doesn’t eliminate sweating profusely in the first place. I still encounter the stupid, ugly confederate flag. I see it on a daily basis. I see Don’t Tread on Me and God, Guns, Trump, and have seen local reports of grown men yelling White power, and whatever the fuck else these very illiterate and nonsensible folks feel the need to vomit in our pothole laden streets. For me, someone who feels the polar opposite about humans and civil rights and just basic decency, it’s incredibly difficult.

There are so many moments in my mind- and sometimes out loud- when I am far away or expressing my desire to be far away. I have always had dreams of leaving this place. And while I have lived elsewhere, for one reason or another (mostly family/friends/income), I always came back.

I have seen many trends come and go here. One that never seems to die off, sadly, is pride. Specifically, the pride of being super white and super into guns and, if you’re a man with a small penis- which is very likely, super misogynistic.

Where does that leave me?

Getting by with a little help from my friends…

in Alabama…

in the year 2021.

So, yes, I am grateful that The Wonder Years has been reboot and the story is being told from the African American perspective in a time and place that still has a reckoning coming.

Wonder what’s next.

Further reading:

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Joe Cocker

https://www.shondaland.com/inspire/books/a35786577/john-archibald-shaking-the-gates-of-hell/

https://medium.com/herbie-js-house/the-wonder-of-the-wonder-years-40e4f05dc0a1

Further entertainment: