This awesome little experiment was first mixed by comedian Jon Friedman nearly a decade ago… and its source material, of course, is way older still. But for reasons no one can explain, it’s suddenly experienced a viral resurgence.
I’m going to assume you have at least a passing familiarity with THE WONDER YEARS, an incredibly popular late ‘80s-early ‘90s dramedy series narrated by an offscreen adult named Kevin Arnold (voice of famed character actor Daniel Stern), as he recalls the joys, sorrows and challenges of growing up in the late 1960s. His younger self is played by actor Fred Savage, who became the darling of prime-time TV from 1988-93.
A while back, Friedman revisited footage of THE WONDER YEARS from an entirely new perspective… that of a dark, disturbing black comedy about a possible psychopath in the making. All it took was to remove Stern’s comic narration, leaving long silent intervals where Savage stares into the middle distance.
“When I first started doing stand up, I had a joke about THE WONDER YEARS saying that if you remove the narration, the show is 95 percent people staring at each other,” Friedman told The Huffington Post. “From that, I made a video where I removed the narration (as best I could) to prove this point, for fun and laughs: THE SILENT WONDER YEARS.”
Admittedly this earlier experiment is pretty funny, but also suggests young Kevin spent most of his life gripped by fear, self-doubt and perhaps a few delusions we never actually see.
In the same interview, Friedman explained how upgrading his computer and installing new editing software sparked a new idea, once he stumbled across the old WONDER YEARS files from nine years ago.
“As I watched it, in that moment I came up with the idea of adding the ‘80s horror synth,” he explained. Here’s what he came up with…
The new product turned to instant internet gold… especially after the following retweet from actress Danica McKellar, who played Kevin’s sometime-girlfriend Winnie Cooper:
— Danica McKellar (@danicamckellar) August 12, 2017