The Wonder Years
I loved The Wonder Years. It centered around character Kevin Arnold in the early 70’s. The show aired from 1988 to 1993 but the show’s stories took place twenty years earlier from 1968 through 1973. Just like me, Kevin grew up on a quiet street with a middle class family. He dealt with many problems one would experience in childhood. He had a bratty older brother, an on and off girlfriend, and a nerdy best friend. Kevin Arnold experienced his first kiss, puberty, middle school and high school, driving, death, and many other struggles typical of one growing up.
I loved this show because there were aspects that reminded me of my childhood and things I could definitely relate to. Kevin’s older brother Wayne had a cool 1963 Corvair. My mom had a car just like it and I learned to drive in that car. I wish I had a cool Corvair right now. Unsafe at any speed? Whatever. Bite me, Ralph Nader.
- Inspired by A Christmas Story. Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) is one of Kevin’s roommates in the last episode.
- Brandon Call was originally supposed to play Kevin Arnold but was replaced at the last moment by Fred Savage.
- Winnie Cooper’s name is short for Gwendolyn.
- Kevin and Winnie had a “falling-out” which really meant the characters needed to be apart because Danica McKellar had a growth spurt.
- One time in a bar a guy came up to Jason Hervey and said, “I had a brother just like you” and then punched him in the face. Fans generally didn’t like him and obviously couldn’t separate him in real life from his character on the Wonder Years.
Famous Guest Stars
Guest stars who appeared on the show over the years included Giovanni Ribisi, David Schwimmer, Chad Allen, Andrew Shue, Justin Whalin, Doug Emerson, Dustin Diamond, Seth Green, Jonathan Brandis, Peter Billingsley, Mark Paul Gosselaar, and Bobby Jayne Jacoby.
Most of the main actors went on to great success:
- Fred Savage (Kevin Arnold) – He graduated from Stanford in 1999 with a degree in English.
- Josh Saviano (nerdy friend Paul Pfeiffer) – He graduated from Yale in 1998 with a degree in Political Science, attended law school and was admitted to the bar in New York.
- Danica McKellar (girlfriend Winnie Cooper) – She graduated from UCLA in 1998 with a degree in mathematics. She has gone on to author books to help teens with math. She’s my hero.
- Jason Hervey (bratty older brother Wayne Arnold) – He went on to become Scott Baio‘s friend and latch onto his projects. He married a porn star. Sounds like something Wayne Arnold would do. Life imitating art…..
The Wonder Years was not available on DVD for quite some time. I think the main reason was the cost of securing the music rights. There was a lot of groovy music used in that show, including the show’s theme which was the Beatles‘ song “With a Little Help from My Friends’ sung by spazzy Joe Cocker. The DVDs have been out for a few years now. I need to find me some.
What would you think if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song,
And I’ll try not to sing out of key.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends.