The Wonder Years

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Unknown Jan 31, 1988 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
137 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Kevin and Paul are saying goodbye to their last summer as boys and preparing to attend Robert F Kennedy Junior High for the first time. Kevin and Winnie share their first kiss as Winnie mourns the loss of her brother who is killed in Vietnam.

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  • excellent pilot

    Very well constructed. The ending was amazing, setting up Kevin and Winnie will always be apart of each others lifes!!! Brians death was very sad but made the episode so much better
  • Perfect Pilot Episode

    What i liked- Kevin throwing the apple (I was expecting him to like take a bite out of the apple, but throwing it was a lot better), Kevin and Winnie kissing, the news that Brian died (even though that made the last few minutes of this episode pretty depressing), Kevin's brother repeateadly bugging him about Winnie, amongst other things.

    Great pilot episode. It had some humor, and some good emotion, particularly the last few minutes when we find out that Brian had died. A+ episode, definitelymoreless
  • A very EMO pilot.

    For being a pilot, this episode is fairly well put together. I love how all the main characters of the show are presented to the audience and how they feel to you as if they were your actual friends and family members. We go from a very happy summer time to a very sad moment in this episode which made me feel very uncomfortable. Still, the show feels more like a drama than a comedy which is not so good for me. I prefer the episodes in which there are jokes and there is also drama. Still a very nice start for a great series.moreless
  • One of the most clearly defined pilots ever

    Apart from some alterations with the set dressing and perhaps a change of film stock, this is one of the closest pilot episodes to the rest of a series ever made.

    I was thirteen and living in a small town in England when this show was first shown. What makes the show so incredibly universal is the way that, twenty years on and (arguably) six thousand miles from where the show was set, the themes struck a resonance with me. The place within a family, school life, the first kiss; all these elements struck a chord and it's fair to say that these are the things that attracted viewers the world over.

    The Wonder Years always featured some of the best short story writing in television, and the pilot absolutely laid the groundwork for this. Attention to period detail, character expansion and winsome story-telling are surely what attracted the cast to this script. I remember Fred Savage saying in an interview that there was something special about the pilot's script that attracted him to doing the show, and you have to agree.

    Wouldn't it be great to relive these stories on DVD in their original format, complete with music and picture quality.moreless
  • What a great start to an 'wonder'ful series!

    So, I was only six or seven when this series debuted and I can vaguely remember viewing it from time to time, and that I enjoyed watching it with my parents, but really nothing specific.

    Tonight, (4/2/2007) this episode was shown on a new network (ION) and I flipped over to it when nothing else was on. While watching, I was amazed at how great this series really was and reminded as to why my parents tuned in each week.

    In this, the first episode, so many things were delt with and it really gave you a wonderful preview of the great things to come. There's Kevin's family life, his friends, his first days of Jr High, his love for Winnie, his first disciplinary incident, the death of a beloved friend and his first kiss! So much depth, character development, wonderful dialogue, comedy and drama. I don't think it really gets better than this as far as pilot episodes go.moreless
Sean Faro

Sean Faro


Guest Star

Bentley Mitchum

Bentley Mitchum

Brian Cooper

Guest Star

Don Jeffcoat

Don Jeffcoat


Guest Star

Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo


Recurring Role

Raye Birk

Raye Birk


Recurring Role

Linda Hoy

Linda Hoy

Mrs. Ritvo

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • In the first dinner sequence, the kitchen appliances are set up opposite from how they are throughout the rest of the series. The sink, oven, and counter are set up opposite from the the side with the kitchen door.

    • In gym class, the uniforms contain a different logo than they do in the rest of the series. In the pilot, the school logo is a wildcat standing for the "Kennedy Wildcats". After this episode, the school logo is an Indian.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Narrator: There where moments that made us cry with laughter, and there were moments, like that one, of sorrow and wonder.

    • Narrator: Because we know that inside each one of those identical boxes, with its Dodge parked out front and its white bread on the table and its TV set glowing blue in the falling dusk, there were people with stories, there were families bound together in the pain and the struggle of love.

    • Narrator: It was the first kiss for both of us. We never really talked about it afterward. But I think about the events of that day again and again. And somehow I know that Winnie does too, whenever some blowhard starts talking about the anonymity of the suburbs or the mindlessness of the TV generation.

    • Narrator: A suburban junior high school cafeteria is like a microcosm of the world. The goal is to protect yourself, and safety comes in groups. You have your cool kids, you have your smart kids, you have your greasers, and in those days, of course, you had your hippies. In a fact in junior high school, who you are is defined less by who you are than by who's the person sitting next to you

    • Paul: Well, I guess I'll see you at the bus stop.
      Kevin: Yeah.
      Paul: Last night I had a dream that when I got to school, I realized that I had no clothes on.
      Kevin: If you're naked when you get to the bus stop, I'll tell you.

    • Narrator: 1968, I was twelve years old. A lot happened that year. Dennis McLain won 31 games, The Mod Squad hit the air, and I graduated from Hillcrest Elementary and entered junior high school...but we'll get to that. There's no pretty way to put this: I grew up in the suburbs. I guess most people think of the suburb as a place with all the disadvantages of the city, and none of the advantages of the country, and vice versa. But, in a way, those really were the wonder years for us there in the suburbs. It was kind of a golden age for kids.

    • Mrs. Ritvo: Kevin Arnold...You're Wayne's brother, aren't you?
      Kevin: Well, according to my mother, yes, but my own theory is--
      Mrs. Ritvo: You got a tough road of you, young man. A tough road of you.

    • Narrator: The days were still long and back then kids could still go for walks at dusk without fear of ending up on a milk carton.

  • NOTES (6)

    • The city and state in the series was never mentioned.

    • This episode received an Emmy nomination for Writing.

    • Featured Music:
      "Turn! Turn! Turn!" by The Byrds
      "Both Sides, Now" by Judy Collins
      "Crystal Blue Persuasion" by Tommy James and the Shondells
      "Come Softly To Me" by The Fleetwoods
      "When a Man Loves a Woman" by Percy Sledge

    • Ayre Gross narrated the first episode the first time it was aired. When ABC reaired this episode, they recorded Daniel Stern's voice over Gross's voice so it would match the rest of the episodes.

    • The Wonder Years was inspired by the movie A Christmas Story.

    • This series premiered in the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot on January 31, 1988. When it re-aired on March 15, 1988, as a lead-in to the regular series, the narrator was Daniel Stern insead of the original narrator, Arye Gross.  While the original airing of the pilot began with the same "With A Little Help from My Friends" opening theme, the titles were scrolled over a solid black screen without the traditional 8mm film-style scenes that were seen elsewhere in the pilot.