HomeFall TV

“The Wonder Years” Stars Saycon Sengbloh And Laura Kariuki Celebrate Portraying Nuanced Blackness In 1968 “We’re Not Trauma Bonding”


This is one reboot we’re definitely onboard for!

The Wonder Years Key Art and Stills

Source: Erica Doss / abc

Global Grind’s Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden spoke with ‘The Wonder Years’ stars Saycon Sengbloh and Laura Kariuki about portraying Lillian and Kim Williams on the new series which is set in 1968. Similar to co-star EJ Williams, Saycon agreed the wardrobe took some adjusting to, “The jeans are really crispy,” she confirmed. “All the stretch that we enjoy… Ceci the wardrobe designer she snuck some stretch in a pair for me. The girdles and undergarments are like Teflon.”

“Everything fits a little tighter, a little snugger, but very cute,” Laura added.

Inspired by the beloved award-winning series of the same name, “The Wonder Years” is also a coming-of-age story, but this time our focus is a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama during the turbulent late 1960’s, through the lens of 12-year old Dean Williams.

“I love the opportunity to show life happening in between the turbulence,” Saycon Sengbloh told Global Grind. ” We’re in a stage, and I can speak as a consumer, not just an actor, where we’re afraid everything is going to be slavery, civil rights, black trauma, we’re all like, ‘I don’t want to watch the trauma!’ This is not a trauma bonding show. This show is about the nuance of life. For me what’s fun is seeing the nuance in between — people were marching for Civil Rights but Black people were also going to the prom in the 60’s. We were living life, enjoying life, starting families. I think people need to prepare their minds to see themselves in this era, happy in this era.”

“I feel it’s a very beautiful thing that we’re able to have such a good balance of not just the pain, but the joy and the laughter that a lot of people have not seen in that era, so being able to do that, we’re very very lucky,” Laura Kariuki added.

The Wonder Years Key Art and Stills

Source: Matt Sayles / abc

Speaking of the original “The Wonder Years,” series, Kariuki acknowledged it was before her time but said she did go back and watch old episodes. Saycon said she watched when the show was on the air, joking, “I feel like Fred (Savage, who executive produces) and I grew up together. I watched it growing up so I was thrilled to be able to audition and I feel so blessed to be continuing the legacy as a new family on the show.”

“I’m so excited for people to see the balance and the joy in the show,” Laura Kariuki said, “The humor that the family experiences in this time period, you’re going to leave this show feeling happy.”

“Growing up watching TV and films there were always people that I would watch that I considered my chocolate heroes,” Saycon told Global Grind. “Shout out to Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lauryn Hill. I’m really excited that we, as a family, can be a chocolate hero, or be able to give people another flavor on the palette of the Bllack pop culture display. Right now I feel like pop culture everything is party, party, debaucherous, don’t nobody have no clothes on — so I feel that it’s great that you can have fun, deal with social issues, growth, coming of age, hairstyles, I think y’all just need this new dinner item on your plates and we’re here to serve it.”

“I’m so excited for people in the media to see a dark-skinned family and see people who look like them because we haven’t always had that,” Laura Kariuki added.

“Shout out to one of the executive producers Lee Daniels, he’s constantly raving about how chocolatey we are. He’s like, ‘oh oh, they’re so Black! I love it. ‘ Prepare your hearts and minds to feast on the melanin,” Sengbloh declared.

The Wonder Years Key Art and Stills

Source: Courtesy ABC / abc

Watch the full interview below:

“The Wonder Years” premieres on ABC at 8:30 PM EST tonight Wednesday, September 22