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The Wonder Years

Season 3 Episode 21

Cocoa and Sympathy

Aired Unknown May 01, 1990 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
52 votes

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Episode Summary

Cocoa and Sympathy
When Paul is voted "brainiest" in Lisa Berlini's latest poll, he goes through a crisis but is helped through it by Mrs. Arnold - who he also develops a crush on.

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    Joshua Waggoner

    Joshua Waggoner


    Guest Star

    Sean Baca

    Sean Baca

    Craig Hobson

    Recurring Role

    Brandon Crane

    Brandon Crane

    Doug Porter

    Recurring Role

    Michael Tricario

    Michael Tricario

    Randy Mitchell

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (3)

      • Narrator: The night Paul Pfeiffer gave my mom a rose... he gave me something, too. He gave me a new way of seeing her. Paul made my mother feel good. Because he didn't look at her the way we always did. We saw "Mom". And he saw "Norma Arnold". And I think she liked that, for a change. That night I found out my mother once got sent to the principal's office for smoking in the bathroom. And that she almost married someone else, until she met my dad. I learned a lot about her - about who she was... about who she'd been... about who she wanted to be. And the next morning, she was "Mom" again. Our straight-man. Only, this time - I knew better.

      • Narrator: And I guess there was something in the way she said it that made me understand... Mom wasn't breaking my heart... she was breaking Paul's. Without breaking it. And in that moment, I began to realize a lot of things. Maybe my mother didn't go to the concert with Paul because she thought he was special... but because he thought she was special. Special enough to ask more than..."where's my jersey", "what's for dinner", or...

      • Narrator: Every great act has its own routine. Delivery... timing... They take years to perfect. It takes hard work and practice. But once you've got it down... it becomes second-nature. Routine.
        Kevin: Butthead!
        Wayne: Dorkface!
        Karen: Grow up!
        Narrator: Take my family. Please. ("Brrrp-pish!" of drums.) Talk about routines... we had a million of 'em. Yep - we had 'em all. Timing, delivery... and of course, the best straight-man in the business. Good old mom. Uh-huh. You could always count on Norma Arnold to set up the punchlines. You had to hand it to her. Mom was perfect at the part. Like any great comedian.

    • NOTES (1)

    • ALLUSIONS (2)

      • Hobson: Hey, Alfalfa! Nice "'do". (Smiles.)

        "Alfalfa" was one of the main characters in the series of Our Gang/Little Racals movies of the late '30's-early '40's. Alfalfa's hair featured a characteristic cow-lick.

      • The episode title is a pun of the 1953 play, Tea and Sympathy, by Robert Anderson.