It is difficult to look back at a show like The Wonder Years and not have fond memories. This coming-of-age story surrounding Kevin Arnold produced feelings of nostalgia for a time many of us didn’t live through. But we would feel like we did after spending so much time in the Arnold family’s home. Kevin Arnold represented all the truths growing up in a middle-class family, struggling with finding your own place and knowing the difference between right and wrong. The show first aired on January 31, 1988, just after the Super Bowl. Creators Neal Marlens and Carol Black wanted to put together a show that would appeal to the baby boomer generation. Although it did, the amount of success the show gained from more recent generations was astounding. Not many shows had as successful a run as The Wonder Years. Whether that was from the cast, writers, or Daniel Stern’s perfect narration, one thing is certain, when most people hear Joe Cocker’s hit “With a Little Help from My Friends,” they think of this show. It is such a fantastic show that it is easy to come up with a truckload of facts to stimulate that nostalgic nerve. Still, we narrowed it down to 10 of the most interesting facts for your pleasure.
10. Kevin and Winnie HAD to Have a Falling Out
Many will remember that Kevin and Winnie had a complicated relationship that
sometimes would result in Winnie not being around for a while. In one case, Winnie was just a background character for many months, and fans could not understand why she wasn’t in the show like she used to be. This actually had to be done because the actress who played Winnie, Danica McKellar, who was already taller than Kevin, hit a growth spurt. Kevin’s actor, Fred Savage, was still the same size.
9. They Were Sisters!
First loves are never easy to forget, but the first woman scorned is even harder to forget! Becky Slater was the first heart that Kevin Arnold ever broke and the first girl who showed how vindictive a broken heart can be! Becky Slater would make many appearances in the show. In fact, the character Beck Slater was created just for actress Crystal McKellar. Does that last name look familiar? It should because it is the same last name as Winnie Cooper actress Danica McKellar. The two are sisters who both tried out for Winnie, but Danica was the one to get the role. The showrunners, however, liked Crystal so much they created a character just for her to be in the show.
8. The Show is Set in Any Town USA
Although the show creators had ideas about where the Arnold’s would live, the studio had another location in mind, all locations. To have the audience feel closer to the show, it was made to represent “any town USA.” You may have noticed that the name of the town is never actually mentioned.
7. The Jacket Stays in the Family
Kevin’s famous NY Jets jacket in every episode of the show is both iconic and stylish. When the show ended, actor Fred Savage’s mother wanted a keepsake from the front, so she took the jacket. It stayed with her for years until 2014 when Fred Savage took the jacket back to donate it to the Smithsonian museum.
6. Her Name was Winnie Cooper…right?
Winnie Cooper is one of those names that spark nostalgic lust in boys who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. But is Winnie really her name? Who names a kid after a bear anyway? Winnie is NOT her actual first name. After all, it is just a nickname. It is short for Gwendoline, which honestly makes her more of a princess anyway.
5. Kevin Arnold Became his own Father
The actor who played Kevin Arnold we all know is Fred Savage. The voice actor who played the narrator, Kevin Arnold, was Daniel Stern, from the wet bandits. In the film Little Monsters (which is a classic in its own right), Stern plays Savage’s on-screen Father. So, we do always become our Father…
4. The First Kiss was a REAL Moment
When Kevin and Winnie have their first kiss, it is a magical moment that many look back on fondly. A sad moment in time when Winnie learns her brother was just killed fighting the war, best friend Kevin is there to comfort her, which results in the two adolescents’ first kiss. But for actors Savage and McKellar, it really was a moment to remember. This was their first REAL kiss as well—what a way to preserve such a memorable moment for thousands to watch.
3. Paul the Law
In the show’s final episode, Kevin says that his best friend Paul became a graduate of Harvard and went on to become a lawyer. Josh Saviano, the actor who played Paul (not Marilyn Manson), really did graduate from Yale and become a lawyer.
2. The Cast of Brothers
In one episode, The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, Fred Savage is joined by his little brother Ben Savage. Interestingly enough, both McKellar sisters are in this episode as well. The Savage brothers would also go on to play on-screen brothers in the film Little Monsters. Ben would later have his own hit show with Boy Meets World. A whole lot of talent in those Savages!
1. The Love was Real
Not only did Savage and McKellar share their first-ever real kiss, but the two had a real-life crush on each other. The on-screen chemistry was natural. McKellar said that when the show first started out, she and Savage both really liked one another. Still, as the show went on and their relationship grew, it turned more into a brother and sister relationship that is still strong to this day. Savage has said that he was in love with her for the same reason every boy who watched the show fell in love with her. He said, “you won’t meet a sweeter, nicer girl—and she’s gorgeous.”
Written exclusively for TheLastPicture.Show by Jacob Ruble
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