I’ve discussed this serial too many times with my friends. So I think there’s no point talking about how excellent the narration is, how great an actor the guy who plays Jack Arnold is, how good Norma Arnold looks as a mother, the detail in every episode and the good choice of music that they’ve made etc etc. Watching a few of the left over episodes and re-watching others over the past few days has made me think about the lead character, Kevin Arnold. Well more than think, agree to something that I read on an IMDB discussion a lot of time ago.
The contention was that Kevin Arnold would perhaps not be really nice as a person. In fact he might be quite an asshole. With every passing episode this impression seems to gain more strength :-(. The way he behaves with his friends, his family at times and his classmates makes one feel so. He looks like too crookedly conceited at times. I was wondering why this always tends to disappoint me. I mean after all he’s just a character and that’s how he’s been made for the story. Anyway, the serial is in every other way quite real life kind of stuff posing real situations that you ar easliy able to connect to, so Kevin again might be a real character. One thing that troubles me is that I very often tend to relate to him inspite of my bad opinion of him.
But then perhaps there’s more to the discomfort than me relating to Kevin at times. One always tends to think that Kevin is portrayed as some kind of a representational character for life at his age. And so he must be an average nice guy. Sadly enough, he often turns out to be just a not-really-nice average guy. Perhaps this goes beyond Wonder Years. People normally keep whining about having more real characters portrayed as heroes in any story form especially movies. But when the lead character is given some shades of grey you inevitable tend to subconsciously hope that he’s good. You actually keep on trying to fit him into the model of a hero. Then perhaps pure romanticism with black and white character does make sense! So is the effort to analyze people and make characters more real not worth it? I do have a feeling that I am exaggerating and generalizing out of proportion but still – just a thought :-).