I’m currently re-watching “The Wonder Years” during my crafty moments and I’ve come across many lessons and also memories. Somehow is one of those undervalued series that could, among some of those from the 90s, make a come-back. Now, it makes more sense wince I’m watching the series as an adult, back then it was just the cute guy Kevin and wondering if he would end up with Winnie, but now it has a deeper meaning. It triggers my own family memories and invites to me reflect on how things used to be before internet, smartphones and being aware of consumerism and plastic pollution.
Now that I have managed to bring those topics, here is what I watched on the season 5 episode 3 of these good-old series:
In case you don’t know what The Wonder Years: it was a series about a family in the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s taking place in the USA. Kevin, the youngest of the family, is the main character and narrator as an adult who describes and remembers his moments as a teenager. (Long story very, very short).
In this particular episode called “The Hardware Store”, there are two quotes I would like to rescue and have absolutely everything to do with ecogreenlove. Kevin is working at this hardware store owned by a grumpy and old-fashioned old man (Mr. Harris), but his dad (who got him the job in the first place) tells him to keep the job because he will learn some valuable things. On the other hand, Kevin thinks is very boring (back then, the concept of working was that you don’t have fun at work, why would you? then, it wouldn’t be a job) and his friends mock him and the old man.
One day, they go to the mall and they see some pretty girls going to buy fast food and Kevin is amazed that there is this guy from school who works there to serve the food. Kevin as an adult narrates: “Girls nine deep around some kid in a stupid hat and a plastic nametag.” So Kevin tries to work there (for the girls) but also because he finds that this kid earns 15 cents more an hour.
So, the next day Kevin goes to the hardware store to talk to the old man, but he witness a conversation between the old man and a customer who asks for a washer, the owner starts making conversation with the lady to which the lady is not very interested in (there’s no more slow things, you go, you buy, you leave, no small talks and getting to know the people anymore) but the old man in his monologue says: “Oh…rubber – see, one crack and you lose the seal. They use plastic now, you see, is good. Now… brass, copper are very good…they last! Absolutely indestructible.” The customer ends up leaving. Adult Kevin narrates: “Let’s face it…the old man’s idea of salemanship…Was a little outmoded.”
When Kevin is showed telling Mr. Harris that he will be not working there because in the mall he would earn 15c more, Mr. Harris responds: “That’s where you want to go to work? Selling crap that doesn’t work to people that don’t need it in the first place?“. In the end the old man offers to pay him 20c more so that he stays, to which Kevin agrees.
Back then plastic was booming, we were realising it was the perfect cheapest way to wrap, conserve and make things. But now we are living the consequences of all that boom. And this specific episode just summarised it perfectly. There was a booming economy which helped the country recover but with that came consumerism as well… buying things that break and that ultimately, we didn’t need in the first place. And also, how big companies are smashing the small local businesses.
Just wanted to highlight that from these series, if you have the opportunity to watch it, do it. As a 34 yr old I’m actually enjoying it, brings me many personal memories but also lessons like these. In the end, environmentalism is absolutely nothing new, but the consequences are worse and the awareness has to grow as well as our support for our local businesses and communities.
Please let me know what you think 🙂