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The Wonder Years (2021 TV series)

This reboot of The Wonder Years is told from the lens of a Black man.

The Wonder Years (2021 TV series) is a coming-of-age TV series on Disney+. It stars Elisha “EJ” Williams as Dean Williams, a Black boy, growing up in Montgomery, Alabama during the late 1960s. This article will discuss the representation of people of colour in the series.

For one, Dean Williams is the main character played by a Black actor. His family and neighbors are supporting characters played by Black actors. This emphasizes the lives and daily activities of Black people during the late 1960s. In fact, The Wonder Years is a reboot series that is based on the 1988 series of the same title, but with a different lens. The 1988 series of the same title shows viewers life from the lens of a White boy while the reboot series shows viewers life from the lens of a Black boy. Dean’s voiceovers indicate to the viewers about his coming-of-age story as a 12-year-old Black boy growing up in the South during an era of racial discrimination. The late 1960s symbolize Dean’s childhood.

Dean and his family

The main conflict of The Wonder Years is racism. This conflict is accurate for the series because of the setting and time period. The setting takes place in Alabama during the late 1960s, a time when Black and White people were kept apart by segregation. Viewers who are unfamiliar with life in the 1960s show interest in this time period. There’s a dialogue that fits perfectly with the time period of this series.

The pilot episode gives viewers a quick glance at life in the 1960s, as told by a Black boy. Dean’s voiceovers symbolize his inner thoughts and feelings about racism and how it has affected his lifestyle. In addition, Dean is experiencing puberty because he is only 12 years old, which fits the topic of coming of age. He experiences his first crush, his struggle of saying “No”, and getting along with the White kids. The scene where the Black kids and the White kids sit together in a classroom represents two different races being together. The episode ends with a camera angle of Dean’s house at night.

The catalyst of The Wonder Years is the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Everyone is affected by this news, both the Black kids and the White kids. The following episodes depict scenes of Black people honoring Dr. King’s death. Dean becomes distracted by the girl he has a crush on during the memorial service.

Therefore, The Wonder Years reboot is great for people who support Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement as well as Black representation. The topic of racism is heavily emphasized in this TV series.