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Remember The Wonder Years?

Remember The Wonder Years? | ecogreenlove

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 🙂
–Ale

ecogreenlove | circular love

One thought on “Remember The Wonder Years?

  1. This is one of my personal favorites, episode wise, of the entire shows’ series. The acting is so believable between Kevin and Mr Harris, especially in the last 5 minutes when Kevin tells Mr Harris he’s quitting and going to work at the mall. The emotion that comes through not only in the voice, but in the body mannerisms and the facial expressions (especially the eyes) it feels like an actual conversation that we are eavesdropping in on.

    The look in Mr Harris eyes when he realizes Kevin is really quitting this time, when he gives him one last offer to stay just breaks my heart. Out of all the tv shows I’ve ever watched, The Wonder Years made me cry the most in quite a few different episodes (Goodbye is another one, where Kevin’s math teacher dies), and this episode makes me cry at the end. The sadness in Mr Harris’ eyes, because Kevin doesn’t realize that Mr Harris doesn’t need to keep him hired due to slow business, but he does because he likes Kevin, and wants to teach him like an apprentice. Maybe his sons ( the hardware store is called Harris and Sons) didn’t want to stay in the business and work elsewhere, and dad took it personally, and maybe sees something of one of his sons in Kevin, before they got jaded of the business and quit.

    Also, right after that scene. When Kevin helps the returning housewife with the plumbing washer (and even yells for the customer to come again) quickly and accurately, Mr Harris has a look of pride come over his face and eyes, and I think Kevin realizes it at that very point also. He realizes that all the harshness that Mr Harris displayed wasn’t because he was being mean, he was trying to teach Kevin about the product so he would know how to help customers correctly. It worked. He shelled the lady in seconds, and Mr Harris p, for a ever so brief moment, looks at Kevin like a proud father does his child when they do something similar. Then the realization that Kevin is leaving sets back in, and he can’t take it so Mr Harris retreats back to his office with his wife.

    The ending is so sad. It displays and represents the death of an era. When people in retail got to know their customers like friends, and help them thoroughly, instead of nowadays where the customer is told where the product is they need and pointed to it. There’s no actual customer service anymore. There’s no humanity in it, it’s very robotic and wasteful on top of that. At the very end when the lights go out in the hardware store, I believe it represents two things——1) That not too long afterwards the hardware store closed down, due to Mr Harris staying in his old-fashioned ways, and competition from the mall…..and 2) The end of the era of that type of shopping experience and store in existence. The old days are gone and dead, but there are a few places that are a time capsule of sorts, that still operate the old-fashioned way.

    One of the 10 best of the series easily I’d say. Absolutely excellent.

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