Episode Notes

Episode 70 - "The Lake" (and Episode 92 - "Back to the Lake")

Top Ten Everything Episode (70). (OK, I really like these :-) These episodes are a great example of all the TWY elements in action - story, music, humor, drama, etc.
Ep 70 - Great quotes, many about Paul's condom :-) Great closing narration combined with the great location, plus the girl-factor bonus points, makes for one of the best endings :-)
There was some debate by the producers as to how far to let Kevin and Cara advance sexually. A line of dialog about the condom (between Kevin and Paul on the steps) was not included in the episode - (PAUL: "No, it's not for your nose. It's for your -" KEVIN: Enough, Paul."), and 1-1/2 seconds of Kevin touching Cara's (clothed) breast was cut at the request of the network.

From The Los Angeles Times (5/12/93)
(Bob) Brush said he ran into a "buzz saw" with the network because Kevin put his hand on a girl's breast, even though it was shot and handled in "a mature and subtle way."
"They said, 'No one in the history of television at 8 p.m. has ever touched a breast,' " recalled Michael Dinner, executive producer and director of many episodes, who had to cut 1-1/2 seconds of offending footage to mollify the network. An ABC spokeswoman explained that the broadcast standards department "felt it was inappropriate to present Kevin's sexual awakening because of the setting in the 1960s, the gentle tone of the series and, most importantly, the 8 p.m. time period" - when many young children were watching.
I think Cara was the most "equal" of all of Kevin's more important girls. ("We were so much alike.") Their friendship seemed to be of the "instant attraction" type (as evidenced in the initial soda-sipping scene), where much of the ice-breaking nervousness of first-meetings seemed to have been bypassed. They seemed very balanced. Even when Kevin kissed her the first time, she took a long time to develop a rather neutral reaction - she didn't recoil, or pursue it. They actually had a relaxed friendship. Personally, I see Cara as a "softy" emotionally, but not necessarily "easy" sexually. Whether she was sexually active doesn't really matter. I have heard her described as "trailer-trash". I don't know what that means exactly ("Easy"?). Well, she did smoke - but so do a lot of other people, and more so back then; and she had an older brother with a pick-up truck, which I suppose is a good "trailer trash" vehicle - but also popular in rural areas; and was possibly a bit too friendly with "the summer crowd" of boys. She did realize the "threat" of boys ("I'm not supposed to trust you, you know") - though whether from experience, or from protective brotherly advice, is open to interpretation. I get the impression her town is pretty small and boring, and she could just be looking for something to do, and maybe get out of her own rut. I don't think she had a particularly happy or satisfying life (the photo in her Christmas card in Ep 92 could have been a mug-shot, almost).
The drive-in location, and references to the "Planet of the Apes" movie/dialog are great. In that first "brief wrinkle in time", Kevin was effectively launched into "that night", but unlike the stranded astronauts, he did not want to return. At the end of Ep 70, Kevin and Cara are in the front of the truck, and he is not sure how, or when, to tell Cara he has to go back ("home"). Cara senses it, and knows that this is their last night together. She pulls away, and is sad. Again, I think she had a pretty depressing life. She doesn't think of Kevin as the "summer crowd", and will really miss him. The fact she put his hand on her heart was evidence of this.
The closing song "Jamaica, Say You Will" uses imagery of sailing ships, and "sailing away together", some of which carries over to Ep 92 ("hauling sheets" - not just Wayne's. "Sheet" is also a nautical term for the part of a sail with a rope attachment, used to make adjustments. This is part of the type of work "slaves" would perform.) The closing narration, "That night, huddled in that cab, we put the whole world behind us" and "I wanted to stay there, in that night. More than anything I wanted before. But I knew I couldn't. I was fifteen. I slept under a roof my father owned, in a bed my father bought. Nothing was mine. Except my heart. And my fears. And my growing knowledge...that not every road was going to lead home, anymore", combined with the ending of the movie (Charlton Heston and Linda Harrison's characters are riding a horse on the beach, just before they see the Statue of Liberty buried in the sand) makes this a particularly powerful ending.
Craig Hoffman's comment:
I think that was my first season on the show...and Mark Levin wrote that one if memory serves...I'm not sure, and Mark Perry can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it was an ABC standards problem with both issues and they gave in on the condom if the sex was cut...Mark, does that sound right?

Mark responded:
I believe that's true. I believe, too, that it was then becoming more acceptable to discuss and show condoms on prime time TV, in light of the AIDS epidemic. But if memory serves, the "fondling" was trimmed to pacify S&P. I was so busy while that episode was in production, I actually don't remember much about it. Always felt it was a bit of a rehash of "Summer Song" -- family vacation; Kevin meets older sexy girl; Kevin kisses/fondles girl. Or maybe I'm just being proprietary. :)

Though there are a few similarities to "Summer Song", Cara was not older, as was Teri, but the same age. And as the adult Kevin notes, she was a knowledgeable "woman" ("The thing is, even though I'd just met this woman...") and not a goofy girl. Also, "The Lake" never actually ended ...they just faded out in a kiss - which provided an opportunity for me to write an ending episode for it... "The Lost World"

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Episode 71 - "Day One"

MR. BOTTNER: Due to an inner ear injury sustained at the...Pusan beach-head, we shall all refrain from making any sudden noises in the 2,000 kilocycle range.

The Pusan beach-head (at Inchon harbor) was the site of a United Nations counter-attack against the North Koreans in 1950, which regained Seoul, South Korea.
MR. BOTTNER: And speaking of the Constitution...this might be a good time to tell you about meeting the thirty-ninth Vice-president of the United states. Spiro T. Agnew.

Spiro Theodore Agnew was the 39th Vice President of the United States, under President Richard M. Nixon, from 1969 to 1973. Agnew came under investigation by the U.S. attorney in Baltimore for allegedly receiving payoffs from engineers seeking contracts when Agnew was a Baltimore county executive and governor of Maryland. Agnew asserted his innocence, but he then resigned on Oct. 10, 1973, and pleaded nolo contendere, or no contest, to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967. He was fined $10,000 and placed on three years' probation.
MR. BOTTNER: And, then! During dessert...which included a generous portion of cherries jubilee...the Vice-president himself...came over to my table. hand. And do you know what he said? Huh?
Of course, we didn't. But still, it seemed some sort of response was called for here.
KEVIN: "I can't believe I ate the whole thing"?

This was the tag-line in a series of Alka-Seltzer commercials.

MR. BOTTNER: Come on, Arnold...don't you think you're funny?
KEVIN: No. Not really...
MR. BOTTNER: Oh, sure you're a regular Jose Jimenez.

"Jose Jimenez" is the name of a character developed by comedian Bill Dana in the '60's. Mr. Dana ceased to use the character after 1970 because some critics saw the cross-ethnic humor as not politically correct. The first words spoken from the ground to an American entering space - from the late Deke Slayton to Al Shepard on May 5, 1961 - were 'OK, Jose, you're on your way.' Some recordings are available of the comedy sketches. The following is from the Steve Allen show:
-STEVE: I understand you own a ranch.
-JOSE: Yes, the name of my ranch is the Bar Nine Circle Z Rocking O Flying W Lazy O Crazy Two Happy Seven Bar Seventeen Parallelogram Four Octagon Nine Trapezoid Six Ranch.
-STEVE: Well, do you have many cattle?
-JOSE: No. Not many survive the branding.
(Mr. Bottner angrily enters the classroom and drops his briefcase onto the desk. He holds his finger up.)
MR. BOTTNER: Alright. Here's the deal - I just had to walk five blocks out of my way because some substitute chorale director parked her Pinto in my spot!

The Ford Pinto was manufactured from 1971 to 1980. Before production,
Ford engineers discovered a major flaw in the car's design.pinto In nearly all rear-end crash
test collisions the Pinto's fuel system would rupture easily. Accident reports reveal
that if a Pinto was hit from behind at over 30 miles per hour,
the rear end of the car would buckle like an accordion, right up to the back seat.
The tube leading to the gas-tank cap would be ripped away from the tank itself,
and gas would immediately begin sloshing onto the road around the car.
The gas tank would be crushed against the differential housing, which contains
four sharp protruding bolts likely to rip holes in the tank.
Any spark could ignite the fuel and engulf both cars. If a Pinto was struck from behind
at higher speeds, it is likely the doors would jam shut, trapping passengers inside.

Ford officials decided to manufacture the car anyway. Part of the car's design specifications were that it was not to weigh over 2,000 pounds and not cost over two-thousand dollars. Fixing the design flaw was estimated to cost eleven dollars and add about a pound to the car's weight, therefore they were not incorporated. Eventually, Ford recalled 1.5 million Pintos.

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Episode 72 - "The Hardware Store"

In a way, this episode and Ep 13 - "Coda" are similar in that Kevin quit something, and seemed to regret it later in life. In this episode, Kevin "traded my tie for a stupid hat and a plastic nametag at the mall. When I left a month later - no one cared." Mr. Harris was sort of the old-world, crotchety type, but he had the right work ethic.
A little geographical glitch is that even though the hardware store was "down the hill from where I lived" implying it was near home, Jack opts to go to the mall for a hardware part because it was closer. In Ep 26 "Wayne On Wheels" the mall was far enough to require being driven there.

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Episode 73 - "Frank and Denise"

As the title indicates, this episode was more about them than Kevin, who was sort of a go-between in their romance - which is straining under the pressure of Denise possibly being pregnant (unknown by Kevin till the end, and ultimately, it is a "false alarm"). I must admit this was pretty low on my list, for a long time. I guess I just didn't like Denise from the git-go, so it was all sort of ho-hum from there. But, after finishing the transcript of the ep, I like it a lot better, though still down there. The director had the benefit of also being the writer for it, which helps him convey his "vision", possibly better than if a separate director had "interpreted" the story. This episode did have a different "look" to it. I still am not fond of Denise - she was a borderline mouth-breather, but Frank is funny in an intense way:-) I love the scene where the camera zooms in on Frank as he steam cleans his car - "But they lived in a special world, where vows were made, and hearts were never broken." Frank was certainly in his own world :-)
Weird Mr. Lemkur. Couture by Salvation Army - Quasimodo.

The following is taken from The Salvation Army webpage.
"The Salvation Army is an integral part of the Christian Church, although distinctive in government and practice. The Army's doctrine follows the mainstream of Christian belief and its articles of faith emphasise God's saving purposes. Its objects are 'the advancement of the Christian religion ...of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.' The movement, founded in 1865 by William Booth, has spread from London, England, to many parts of the world. The rapid deployment of the first Salvationists was aided by the adoption of a quasi-military command structure in 1878 when the title, 'The Salvation Army' was brought into use. A similarly practical organisation today enables resources to be equally flexible. Responding to a recurrent theme in Christianity which sees the Church engaged in spiritual warfare, the Army has used to advantage certain soldierly features such as uniforms, flags and ranks to identify, inspire and regulate its endeavours.'"

"Quasimodo" was the deformed hunchbacked character in the classic 1831 novel (and several movies), "Notre Dame de Paris", (known as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame") by Victor Marie Vicompte Hugo. Set in 15th century Paris, it is story of a gypsy girl Esmeralda and the deformed bell ringer, Quasimodo, who loves her. Claude Frollo, a Chief Justice, becomes jealous when he learns Esmeralda favors Captain Phoebus. Frollo stabs the captain and Esmeralda is accused of the crime. Quasimodo attempts to shelter Esmeralda in the cathedral. Frollo finds her and when Frollo is rejected by Esmeralda, he leaves her to the executioners. In his despair Quasimodo catches the priest, throws him from the cathedral tower, and disappears. Later two skeletons are found in Esmeralda's tomb - that of a hunchback embracing that of a woman.

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Episode 74 - "Full Moon Rising"

The best thing to do was amscray...

"Pig Latin" is a type of wordplay in which English words are altered, in most cases, by moving the leading phonetic of a word to the end and appending -ay. "Amscray" is the Pig Latin version of "scram".

RICKY: I know...Hey! But have you guys seen "Willard"? I don't know how they get those rats to do those things!

"Willard" was the main character in the 1971 movie of the same name. He was a social outcast who lost his job at his deceased father's business. Having only his pet rats for friends, he uses them to terrorize those he believes are against him.

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Episode 75 - "Triangle"

"The Scarlet Letter" was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850. Hester Prynne commits adultery in her small town with a respected clergyman, Reverand Arthur Dimmesdale. She is forced to wear the letter "A" on her shirt.

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Episode 76 - "Soccer"

KEVIN: What's this? (Frowns.)
NICK: It's a soccer ball. Why?
KEVIN: Well, nothing. I just...haven't seen that many around.
Keep in mind this was nineteen-seventy-one. Soccer hadn't yet become the national past-time it is today.

I don't know if soccer has actually become the national past-time, but I still remember Enrique Porras, the kid from Guatemala, teaching us fifth-graders how to play it...around 1969-70.
We completely fell apart. It was like "Lord of the Flies".

"Lord of the Flies" is the classic novel written by William Golding, and published in 1954 (and 2 movies were made). I found the following review on the web...

In the midst of a raging war, a plane evacuating a group of English boys from Britain is shot down over a deserted tropical island. Marooned, the boys set about electing a leader and finding a way to be rescued. They choose Ralph as their leader; Ralph appoints Jack as the leader of the hunters. Ralph declares that they must light a signal fire that passing ships might see. The boys begin to do so, using the lens from the glasses of the fat boy "Piggy" as a means of igniting dead wood. But they are more interested in playing, and the fire quickly ignites the forest. One of the youngest boys disappears, presumably having burned to death.

At first, the boys enjoy their life without grownups. They splash in the lagoon and play games, though Ralph complains that they should be maintaining the signal fire and building huts for shelter. The hunters have trouble catching a pig, but Jack becomes increasingly preoccupied with the act of hunting. One day, a ship passes by on the horizon, and Ralph and Piggy notice to their horror that the signal fire has burned out; it was the hunters' responsibility to maintain it. Furious, Ralph accosts Jack, but the hunter has just returned with his first kill, and all the boys seem gripped with a strange frenzy, dancing about and reenacting the chase in a kind of wild dance. When Piggy criticizes him, Jack hits him across the face.

Ralph blows the conch shell used to summon the boys and gives the group a furious speech in an attempt to restore order. But beyond the more immediate problems of the signal fire and the difficulties of hunting creeps a larger, more insidious problem: a growing fear among the boys. The littlest boys (known as "littluns") have been troubled by nightmares from the beginning, and more and more boys are coming to accept that there is some sort of beast or monster lurking on the island. At the meeting, the older boys try to convince them to think rationally: if there were a monster, where would it hide during the daytime? One of the littluns suggests that it hides in the sea, a proposition that terrifies the whole group.

Not long after the meeting, an aircraft battle takes place high above the island. The boys are sleeping, so they do not notice the flashing lights and explosions in the clouds. A parachutist drifts to earth on the signal fire mountain. He is dead. Sam and Eric, the twins responsible for watching the fire at night, have fallen asleep, and so they do not see him land. But when they wake up, they see the enormous silhouette of his parachute and hear the strange flapping noises it makes. Thinking the beast is at hand, they rush back to the camp in terror and report that the beast has attacked them.

The boys organize a hunting expedition to search for monsters. Jack and Ralph, who are increasingly at odds, travel up the mountain. They see the silhouette of the parachute from a distance; they think that it looks like a huge, deformed ape. The group holds a meeting, at which Jack and Ralph tell the others of the sighting. Jack says that Ralph is a coward and that he should be removed from office, but the other boys refuse to vote him out of power. Jack angrily runs away down the beach, inviting all the hunters to join him. Ralph rallies the remaining boys to build a new signal fire, on the beach this time instead of on the "monster's" mountain. They obey, but before they have finished the task, most of them have slipped away to join Jack.

Jack declares himself the leader of this new tribe, and they hunt and very violently kill a sow to solemnize the occasion. They then decapitate the sow and place its head on a sharpened stake in the jungle as an offering to the beast. Encountering the bloody fly-covered head, Simon has a terrible vision, during which it seems to him that the head is speaking. The voice, which he imagines to belong to the Lord of the Flies, says that Simon will never escape him, for he exists within all men. Simon faints; when he wakes up, he travels to the mountain, where he sees the dead parachutist. Understanding then that the monster does not exist externally, but rather within each individual boy, Simon travels to the beach to tell the others what he has seen. But they are in the midst of a chaotic revelry--even Ralph and Piggy have joined Jack's feast--and when they see Simon's shadowy figure emerge from the jungle, they fall upon him and kill him.

The following morning, Ralph and Piggy discuss what they have done; Jack's hunters come to attack them and their few followers, and steal Piggy's glasses in order to make a new fire. Ralph's group travels to Castle Rock in an attempt to make Jack see reason. But Jack has Sam and Eric tied up and fights with Ralph. In the ensuing battle, one boy, Roger, rolls a boulder down from the mountain, crushing Piggy and shattering the conch shell. Ralph barely manages to escape a torrent of spears.

All night and throughout the following day, Ralph hides and is hunted like an animal. Jack has the other boys ignite the forest in order to smoke him out of his hiding place. Ralph discovers and destroys the sow's head in the forest; eventually, however, he is forced out onto the beach, where the other boys will kill him. Ralph collapses in exhaustion, but when he looks up, he sees a naval officer standing over him, his ship summoned by the blazing fire now raging in the jungle. The boys are saved; but thinking about what has happened on the island, Ralph begins to weep.
KEVIN: Come on, guys. Let's lose one for Pops.

This is a spin on the famous line "let's win one for the Gipper", used by the famous Notre Dame football coach, Knute Rockney. "The Gipper" was George Gipp, the Notre Dame fullback who died on December 14, 1920 from a throat infection 2 weeks before he made All-American. He rushed for 2,341 yards, scored 156 points and averaged 38 yards a punt in 4 years (1917-20).

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Episode 77 - "Dinner Out"

After all, we were crossing the Rubicon, here.

The idiom "Crossing the Rubicon" means to pass a point of no return, and refers to Julius Caesar's army crossing the river in 49 BC, which was considered an act of insurrection.

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Episode 78 - "Christmas Party"

(Norma sets a TV dinner in front of Jack.)
NORMA: Voila!
JACK: What's this?
NORMA: Salisbury steak.
(Norma holds up the box and smiles.)
JACK: Oh...
By December of family was afloat in the conveniences of modern life.

Here is a snip from an article about TV dinners:

"It's been a neglected brand for a number of years," said Murray Kessler, president of the Swanson frozen foods division.

Indeed, Swanson's menus have changed little over the decades. The company still features main courses like fried chicken, Salisbury steak and roast turkey. A brownie or cobbler desert still comes in its individual compartment and the turkey - complemented by potatoes, corn and green beans - still has a gooey cranberry concoction at its side.

"It's part of American culture," Kessler said at the company's headquarters just outside Philadelphia. "We're proud of who we are."

TV dinners - the label has stuck long after company officials dropped the term - have become an American icon since they were unveiled in 1954, perfectly in synch with the quickening pace of life. Swanson wasn't the first company to try its hand at frozen meals, but earlier attempts were met with limited success. The dinners became a hit as more and more families began eating in front of their new televisions. Gerry Thomas was the Swanson executive who came up with the idea of frozen dinners to get rid of 520,000 pounds of excess turkey. He sketched a drawing of a three-compartment aluminum tray, presented it to his bosses and then came up with the name "TV dinner."
Excellent ending - the camera shoots the crack of light under Kevin's door - "My parents never did throw another Christmas bash. And that was OK - I guess. But I still think about those parties. What they stood for. The time before TV dinners and two-car families. And grass was green and we were young...and those nights when I'd lie awake in my bed...watching the light dance under my door." Sounds of a happy party can be heard and shadows change under the door. "And listening for my father's laugh." The camera pans back to a younger Wayne and Kevie, asleep.
The opening sequence - a series of "slides" of previous Christmas parties - is similar the the ending of Ep 19 - "Birthday Boy", as the narrator speaks over a series of still images.
Nicked-at-Nite never shows this episode because of Mr. Ermin's pot-smoking scene, although the general tone was anti-drugs. Grow up!

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Episode 79 - "Pfeiffer's Fortune"

KEVIN: I have a three page report on "Evangeline" due by tomorrow.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet, wrote the poem "Evangeline", published in 1847, depicting the expulsion of the French Acadians out of their homelands of present-day Nova Scotia. After Britain took over the area in 1713, a growing resentment engulfed the lives of the Acadians. Eventually, in 1755, they were deported by the British to various areas throughout the East Coast of America. Many migrated toward Louisiana, the French islands of Miquelon and St. Pierre off of Newfoundland, France and Quebec. Longfellow's poem vividly describes the lands of Acadia, the people, and the harsh reality of an unjust separation from loved ones.

Look at him - Mr. Moneybags. John D. Rockapfeiffer.

John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. (July 8, 1839 May 23, 1937) was an American business magnate and philanthropist. He was a co-founder of the Standard Oil Company. As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller's wealth soared and he became the world's richest man and the first American worth more than a billion dollars, controlling 90% of all oil in the United States at his peak. Adjusting for inflation, his fortune upon his death in 1937 stood at $336 billion, accounting for more than 1.5% of the national economy, making him the richest person in history.

Lessons. Tips. Tennis. Who'd this guy think he was, anyway? The great Gatsby?

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession for the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald's magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

For such an expensive John Deere riding-mower, you'd think the Pfeiffers would have kept it in the garage and not out on the lawn as in the last scene. :-)

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Episode 80 - "Road Test"

A subtle blooper in this the driver's license office, a woman holds a pair of license plates numbered "DBS 755". These are from the driver's-ed car Kevin was driving.
COACH MEECHAM: And look at that hand-position, a perfect ten-and-two. The motor-vehicle people are gonna be looking for that.

Although the "motor-vehicle people" may believe that is the optimum hand position, professional race drivers will disagree - the nine-and-three position is actually the most functional.

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Episode 81 - "Grampa's Car"

This is a great "historical" episode for some of the family history and tradition, as well as how Kevin got his first car.
David Huddleston perfectly plays "Grampa".
I would like to believe that the cafe Grampa and Kevin go to is the same one as in Episode 62 "Road Trip." The layout seems familiar (but maybe they all are), and it was "about 5 miles off the highway", just as where Jack and Kevin are when they got lost. Also, Grampa stops for a particular (remembered) pie, and at the end of Ep 62, Jack and Kevin drive off to (an unseen) cafe for "some pie".:-)

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Episode 82 - "Kodachrome"

This episode is about bucking a system - and losing. Miss Shaw's "radical" methods and style, such as "pass/no pass" grades, and outdoor classes, were at opposition to the established school sytem. When forced to choose between conforming to an old system or trying to make a difference in that system, Miss Shaw chooses to leave, and find a place where new methods might be adopted. More power to her! Although Dr. Valenti was well within his rights to have Miss Shaw conform, (without explanation to us), Miss Shaw explained that his arguments were well thought out and reasonable. Some of his arguments were undoubtedly much like Jack's - people want an "actual" grade, to use as a measuring-stick of performance - whether it is to earn a dollar for an "A", or determining who qualifies to enter a college or university.
MISS SHAW: Why do you think Holden ended up in a mental hospital?

In "Kodachrome", the second book they read is Jerome David ("JD") Salinger's "Catcher In the Rye". The main character, Holden Caulfield, is a teenage prep-school drop-out, and the story is a flashback of the previous couple of days he spends in New York in rebellion against the values of the adult world. He suffers a mental breakdown and ends up in a mental hospital, from which he narrates his story, starting...

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told you anything pretty personal about them. Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole damn autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy."

The title is taken from the "job" he would like to have...

"I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going. I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."

This book, JD Salinger's only published novel - he wrote shorter stuff - has undergone much actual or attempted censorship in the schools and libraries across the country since its publication in 1950, for several reasons:

1. Holden Caulfield was a heavy smoker and drank alcohol.
2. He admits that he lies at any opportunity and can "go on for hours".
3. He talks and thinks a lot about sex.
4. There is strong language and profanity - 785 uses by one attempted censor's count. (I only counted a few instances of 4-letter words, and in fact, the language was quite refrained for the angry punk he was.)

The novel was the most frequently banned book in schools between 1966 and 1975. In 1960, a teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was fired (later re-hired after a lawsuit) for assigning the book to an eleventh-grade English class.

Here's some of the ending...

"...I thought about all this stuff I just finished telling you about. If you want to know the truth, I don't know what I think about it. I'm sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told you about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It's funny. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."

Not exactly a typical Wonder Years story...and Kevin reads it again in "Nose".

Instead of lectures, we actually had discussions. And not just about books - about...ideas. It was sorta like riding shotgun with Che Gueverra.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara was born in Argentina but moved to Cuba and joined the Cuban revolutionaries. In the following years, he decided to organize the peoples of other Latin American countries. He was killed in Bolivia in 1967.

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Episode 83 - "Private Butthead"

WAYNE: I failed my physical. (Nods.) I've got psoriasis. They're afraid my back will really peel in the jungle. (Frowns.)

Psoriasis is a common, chronic, relapsing/remitting, immune-mediated systemic disease characterized by skin lesions including red, scaly patches, papules, and plaques, which usually itch. It varies in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage. The disease affects 24% of the general population.

For me, this is one of the most moving endings of the series. Although Jack is at his frowning-and-shouting best, he also shows his softer, caring side. Although it's only buttheads Wayne and Wart, I can feel some sympathy for them, because, to paraphrase Jack, they were just dumb young kids, and didn't really know what they were getting into. Plus, I enlisted, though it was in peace-time, and got out after my three years were up. I would never have considered it if I thought I would see combat. Credit to TWY for showing both sides of the Army issue. It is true, the pay is good considering that your food, shelter, medical expenses, and 30-day vacation are paid for. And, you can retire after 20 years, with benefits - providing, of course, you live.

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Episode 85 - "Double Double Date"

A major Kevie/Winnie episode, well-done. The song played throughout ("You Are Everything") is many people's favorite from the series - quite likely due to this episode, another Kevin-Winnie crisis. I must admit that I have a problem with the K&W thing after Ep 66 - "The Accident", in which they exchanged "I love you's" in a very sentimental ending - then ignored each other after that pretty much...So, the fact that Winnie wanted to "think about it" (again), was sort of a let down. The nice thing is that Danica showed a wider range of acting in this episode than any other, I think.

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Episode 86 - "Hero"

Forget Cousy. Forget Maravich.

Bob Cousy played for the Boston Celtics in the '50's and '60's, playing in 13 straight NBA All-Star Games and earning six NBA championship rings. He led the league in assists eight consecutive seasons and consistently ranked near the top in scoring and free-throw percentage. He later coached the team, then became a broadcaster, and in 1989 was named president of the Hall of Fame, becoming the first member to hold that position.

"Pistol" Pete Maravich, with floppy hair and droopy socks, was another NBA Hall of Famer, and played 10 seasons in the NBA, earning five trips to the NBA All-Star Game, and one league scoring title in 1977. In college, he played at Louisiana State University (LSU), leading the nation in scoring each year. During his senior season he scored 50 or more points in 10 of 31 games, setting an NCAA record for most points (1,381) and highest scoring average in a single season. In 1970 he was College Player of the Year. Maravich holds nearly every major NCAA scoring record, including most career points (3,667), highest career scoring average (44.2 ppg), most field goals made (1,387) and attempted (3,166), and most career 50-point games (28) - and he did it all without the benefit of the three-point basket.

The Atlanta Hawks drafted Maravich third overall in the 1970 NBA draft. In his first season, he scored 23.2 points per game - ninth in the league, and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. After a injury-riddled year, he remained healthy in 1972-73 and helped the Hawks to a 46-36 record, the only winning season he would experience in his NBA prime. Maravich earned his first All-Star appearance and landed a spot on the All-NBA Second Team by averaging 26.1 points. Maravich's final year with Atlanta was his highest-scoring NBA season yet, averaging 27.7 ppg in 1973-74. The Hawks, however, faded to 35-47 and missed the playoffs. Maravich played in his second NBA All-Star Game during the season and scored 15 points in 22 minutes.

The expansion New Orleans Jazz shipped out Dean Meminger, Bob Kauffman, two first-round and two second-round draft choices in order to get Maravich. In his first year, he scored only 21.5 ppg and shot a career-worst .419 from the field but recorded career highs in rebounds (422) and steals (120) and averaging 6.2 assists per game. In 1975-76, Maravich was occasionally sidelined with minor injuries. He played only 62 games but shot a career-high .459 from the floor and raised his average to 25.9 points per game, third highest in the league, and was selected for the All-NBA First Team. The following season, Maravich led the NBA in scoring with a career-best 31.1 ppg. He scored 40 or more points 13 times, the most in the NBA, and he led the league in total points (2,273), field goals attempted (2,047) and free throws made (501). On Feb. 25, 1977, he scored 68 points against the New York Knicks, ranking as the 11th-best single-game total in NBA history. He returned to the NBA All-Star Game in 1977 and earned his second straight berth on the All-NBA First Team.

Maravich missed 32 games in 1977-78 because of injuries and disciplinary suspensions, and would be on the sidelines often throughout the rest of his career. In his 50 appearances that season, Maravich threw in 27.0 ppg to lead the Jazz. Although he didn't play enough games to qualify for the league scoring crown, Maravich earned another All-Star selection in 1978 as well as a berth on the All-NBA Second Team.

In 1978-79, Maravich's numbers declined in nearly every category, playing in only 49 games. He still managed to score 22.6 ppg and play in the NBA All-Star Game, but injuries slowed him down. The Jazz moved to Utah for the 1979-80 season, and was the beginning of the end for Maravich. He played in 17 early-season games before he was waived, and picked up by the Boston Celtics. Serving as a part-time contributor, he averaged 11.5 points in 26 outings for Boston, and in one March game he scored the final 10 points in a come-from-behind win over the Washington Bullets. He managed a modest 6.0 ppg as the Celtics reached the Eastern Conference Finals. Ironically, after Maravich quit basketball, disturbed at never earning a championship, his Celtic teammates were champions the very next year.

Maravich was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987, and was named to the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.

On Jan. 5, 1988, Pete Maravich shot his final basket. While playing in a three-on-three pick-up game in a California gym, he died of a heart attack. An autopsy determined that, from birth, he had a undersized heart which was missing an artery. He was 40 years old.

I edited this biographical data found on
this NBA bios page.

OK, so we weren't exactly Butch and Sundance. So what?

Butch ("Butch Cassidy", born 1866 as Robert LeRoy Parker) and Sundance ("The Sundance Kid", born Harry Alonzo Longbaugh) were a pair of affable outlaws who commited a string of bank and train robberies, then fled to Bolivia, where they were killed in 1908 by the Bolivian army in a shoot-out.

Read more about them here.

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Episode 87 - "Lunch Stories"

In Paris, peace talks were getting under way. While in Washington...five campaign workers were breaking in to Democratic headquarters.

The Watergate break-in and resulting scandal was a huge influence on subsequent politics and the political process. I feel it is probably unknown to most young Americans, so I am providing a link to a good page about it
Jimmy Donnelly, Joey Spinoza and Neal Pemish. Their school motto was..."we came, we left."

This is a take-off on the famous quote attributed to Alexander the Great - "Veni, vidi, vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered).

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Episode 88 - "Carnal Knowledge"

In this episode, Paul loses his virginity to a family friend. Later, he tells Kevin he feels confused about it all. I thought the part where Paul wondered "if he was any good" was a bit forced. I don't think anyone really gives it that much thought, at least the first time. The airport scene provides much location trivia :-)

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Episode 90 - "Stormy Weather"

Still, I couldn't help feeling like Attila the Hun.

Attila the Hun (c. 406 - 453) was the leader of Hunnish tribes, and created a large Hunnish empire from the Black Sea to Germany, posing a grave threat to the Roman empire and the Germanic tribes alike. After the elimination of his brother Bleda, Attila became sole ruler and advanced into the East Roman empire. Attila continued west through Gaul, sacking cities and plundering as he went. Roman forces led by Flavius Aetius and Visigothic soldiers commanded by Theodoric I defeated Attila at the battle of the Catalaunian Fields in Gaul in 451. Historians consider this one of the most important battles in the history of the world. But Attila was still strong enough to invade Italy the next year. He then retreated to the center of his Empire in Hungary and died unexpectedly on the night of a great banquet.
And with that, we crossed the Rubicon.

Julius Caesar embarked on a spectacular war of conquest, adding a considerable amount of territory to the Roman Empire. When he had finished his conquests, however, the Triumvirate of Julius, Crassus and Pompey had dissolved. Crassus had died in war, and Pompey had turned the Senate against Julius, declaring him an enemy of the state, and demanding that he hand over his generalship and province. Julius, however, decided on a different course of action. In 49 BC, Caesar ordered his troops to cross the Rubicon River, which separated his province from Italy, thus committing a grave crime against the state, starting a civil war. In 48 BC, Caesar defeated Pompey at Pharsalus in Greece. Caesar then turned his forces towards Asia Minor in a conquest that was so swift that Caesar described it in three words - "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came, I saw, I conquered").
Looked kinda like Heartbreak Hotel.

"Heartbreak Hotel" is the title of a song, written by Mae B. Axton, and sung by Elvis Presley. The first stanza is :

Well, since my baby left me
I found a new place to dwell
It's down at the end of Lonely Street
At Heartbreak Hotel
And so, we sat down to sup. The traditional Arnold nuclear family unit. Plus...the man who came to dinner.

"The Man Who Came to Dinner" was a 1941 comedy in which a pompous writer and critic is forced to stay with a midwestern family during the winter, thoroughly disrupting their well-ordered lives. Original play (1939) by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.
It was kinda like watching the Marines land at Omaha beach.

"Omaha" was the code name for the largest of the five landing areas of the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944, part of the invasion area assigned to the U.S. 1st Army, under Lieutenant General Omar Bradley. From the beginning everything went wrong at Omaha. Special amphibious "DD" tanks sank in the choppy waters of the Channel. Only 2 of the 29 launched made it to the beach. Strong winds and tidal currents carried the landing craft from right to left, and only one unit landed where planned. Throughout the landing, German gunners poured deadly fire into the ranks of the invading Americans from the top of 100-foot high cliffs. Two-and-a half hours later, all landing ceased at Omaha. The troops on the beach were left on their own. Slowly, and in small groups, they scaled the cliffs. Meanwhile, navy destroyers steamed in and, scraping their bottoms in the shallow water, blasted the German fortifications at point-blank range. By 1200 hours German fire was noticeably decreased as the defensive positions were taken from the rear. One-by-one the exits were opened. By nightfall the 1st and 29th divisions held positions around Vierville, Saint-Laurent, and Colleville - nowhere near the planned objectives, but they had a toe-hold. The Americans suffered 2,400 casualties at Omaha on June 6, but by the end of the day they had landed 34,000 troops. The German 352nd Division lost 20 percent of its strength, with 1,200 casualties, and had no reserves coming.

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Episode 91 - "The Wedding"

Wayne seems to have gotten lost at the church - he doesn't leave with the others.
We were kinda like strangers in a strange land.

"Stranger in a Strange Land" is the name of a classic sci-fi novel by Robert Heinlein. The following is part of a review I took from "Stranger in a Strange Land, winner of the 1962 Hugo Award, is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, born during, and the only survivor of, the first manned mission to Mars. Michael is raised by Martians, and he arrives on Earth as a true innocent: he has never seen a woman and has no knowledge of Earth's cultures or religions. But he brings turmoil with him, as he is the legal heir to an enormous financial empire, not to mention de facto owner of the planet Mars. With the irascible popular author Jubal Harshaw to protect him, Michael explores human morality and the meanings of love. He founds his own church, preaching free love and disseminating the psychic talents taught him by the Martians. Ultimately, he confronts the fate reserved for all messiahs."

I would put this in the Top Ten list of sci-fi stories. It is a bit disturbing and very thought-provoking. It introduced at least one word into the English sub-culture - "grok", which means to completely understand:-)
Jack's geography is a little off. At the end, he is facing more toward Hawaii than Alaska. Alaska would be about ninety degrees to his right (but we would have seen the hills behind the neighborhood, and not the lights...)

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Episode 92 - "Back to the Lake"

The final scene with Cara makes me sad (sniff). She was such a sweetie - smoker or not. It was obvious they would like to be together, yet it was the wrong timing - "time had moved on...for both of us" - and they both knew it. I liked the fact that Kevin says "hey" and Cara says "hi", a reversal of their usual greeting. I liked the final song "Home" by Karla Bonoff - a warm, cuddly song :-).

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Season 6 (Episodes 94-115)
Episode Info
Wonder Years Menu

05/25/02 22:00