YMMV / The Wonder Years

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Miss Shaw. An idealistic teacher with bold new ideas that was driven away by the conservative school board? Or an irresponsible teacher with terrible ideas that walked out on the students that needed her when she was forced to compromise? Lampshaded at the end when Adult Kevin notes that he didn't know if he should be angry at her or the school board.
  • Confirmation Bias: A rather nasty case with Kevin's civics teacher. He does a number of prickish things, but Kevin only decides that he's irredeemably evil when it becomes apparent that he's a Republican.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In "Steady as She Goes", narrator Kevin says that Carla Healy was the only woman in Paul's life who wasn't a blood relative. In later seasons, she is no longer seen or mentioned, and Paul is rarely shown to be involved with other women (though he did lose his virginity in one episode).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the episode "Heart of Darkness", Paul says that he's allergic to contact lenses, but in the last two seasons he switches to contacts. In the episode before he starts wearing contacts, when Winnie informs Kevin that there's something he doesn't yet know about Paul, one of Kevin's guesses is that he's wearing contacts.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Becky Slater. Disproportionate Retribution aside, Kevin was the one that hurt her first. He's the one that asked her to go steady when he really still liked Winnie note , stringing her along and using her to make Winnie jealous until she got wise to it and broke up with him. Then he got her to take him back by lying to her about not liking Winnie anymore and only finally came clean with her and ended it when it became clear that Winnie's current relationship was over and that Winnie might still like him. It's understandable that she would hold a grudge against him after all that; even if she did go too far with it at times.
    • Though it didn't seem like he was lying about not liking Winnie anymore when he got back with her. By then, he seemed to be over her, or at the very least, when Becky broke up with him, he seemed to genuinely like her at that point.
  • Tear Jerker: Built on a metric ton of these. Special stand-outs include:
    • The first episode's final revelation
    • Kevin's "I love you" to Winnie while she's sick at home.
    • Kevin failing his piano recital utterly and admitting (in narration) that he doesn't even remember how to play anymore.
    • The episode Summer Song where Kevin meets a girl he really likes while on vacation and she promises to write back to him. He gets one letter but then he never hears from her again
    • The time a teacher Kevin was starting to bond with passed away.
    • The episode "Private Butthead", where Wayne intends to join the army instead of going to college, causing a fight between him and Jack. He's rejected after his physical reveals he suffers psoriasis, and he ends up crying on Jack's shoulder when he realizes he's not sure what he's going to do with the rest of his life.
    • Wayne comforting his friend Wart, who's come back from the war to much scorn and feels unwelcome in their home town, by literally giving him the shirt off his back. Really, any moment that shows Wayne's human side due to his being the Big Brother Bully 90% of the time.
    • The Series Finale's ending commentary. The entire finale has to be one of the saddest, yet most enlightening in TV history.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: While it would have been hard to really focus on it since the shows entire focus was on Kevin and the last episode ended during the summer, it's a shame that they couldn't have shown Chuck and Jeff's summer road trip in the last episode, or even have the narrator reveal anything that happened to them on that trip.

For the band The Wonder Years: