Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Death and Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask


The pilot episode of  The Wonder Years (henceforth TWY) is an introduction to the Arnold family, Kevin's friends and that little lemon-tart Winnie Cooper. As far as a pilot episode goes, this one jumps right in, introducing the characters as though you may have met them before but need to be reminded about who's who.

In Norma's first scene she's in casual light blue short pants and matching blue flowered shirt, and she is advising her kids to "try not to make your father crazy when he gets home". I think this is hysterical because when Jay (my husband) leaves for work he tells our boys to "not drive your mother crazy today". Despite the fact that Karen shows up all dippy-hippied out, Norma's cool is kept and her husband's vodka tonic is mixed. That  cool-calm is something that I struggle with; I get worked up over the small things, which tends to make tense situations a bit worse. I also have probably poured two "you've had a hard day" drinks for my husband in the eight years we've been married.

Norma's next big scene is in the principal's office, where she is wearing a fabulous pink shirtwaist dress and white beaded necklace.  She's there with Jack, to find out why Kevin hurled an apple across the cafeteria. It's pretty basic mom stuff, she's upset that "the good son" has fouled up on his first day of junior high, and it comes across that she is genuinely concerned-although I'm not sure if she's covering up for the fact that her brooding husband is not saying a word. 

The last scene featuring Norma is the one where Karen and Wayne inform Kevin, Jack and Norma of the death of Winnie Cooper's brother Brian.  Norma immediately rushes to the house to make calls to see what she can do.  It seems to me like she maybe could have tried to comfort her family first-that's what I'd do, but it's the pilot episode and who knows, maybe she doesn't dole out affection in that manner. 

*Norma's first appearance/voice is at minute 3:51*

Episode 2: Swingers  
The second episode begins with Brian Cooper's funeral. Norma is wearing proper mid sixties black and grey wool skirt suit with a pillbox hat. I've been dying to don a sweet pillbox for ages, but my hair is so thick I end up looking like a space cadet and not cute whatsoever! In the next scene, Norma is fretting over her lime Jell-o salad not being set on time for the function after the funeral. She puts ice cubes in it in hopes that it will work-they don't show if it works or not, and now I am intrigued. I will make a Jell-o mold this coming Friday to see if it works.  The narrator talks about how mothers deal with grief through food, and I think that this is something that  has transcended the past five decades, but will start to dwindle in the coming years as more and more people (namely; women-there I said it-I'm not afraid of *you*) act like food is the devil and say that they are not hungry at events where food is prevalent and it's obvious they are starving.  Digressing, Norma plays the helpful neighbor, and does exactly what I would do in this situation.

Days go by and Kevin and Paul Pfeiffer, who have been introduced to the female reproductive system via their first sex education class, swipe a copy of "Everything You've Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask". Wayne gets his hands on it and a bedroom brawl ensues. The book lands on the floor  and as the boys are beating each other senselessly, in walks Norma, clad in pink cotton pants and a pink mohair cardigan (the colors go swimmingly with her blonde bob and make me want to hit the bleach bottle like it's nobody's business). The look on Norma's face is that of anger and irritation at the fighting siblings and then instantly changes to what I call the, "Jesus Christ-how do I deal with this" face when she spots "the book".  She thinks it's the copy she's stashed in her dresser drawers and expresses her disappointment in Kevin for going through her things. Looks like Kev isn't the only one with questions!  This mistake, on Norma's part is legendary.  In the next scene the narrator talks about how the sex book issue is dropped on all fronts when Kevin is sure his mother realized that the book was not indeed the one she and Jack were hiding.  That kind of embarrassment would have me fleeing to my room for a day or two... 

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