There is nothing that brings back memories and a wave of nostalgia like watching a television series from years gone by. The Wonder Years is just the series that brings back fond memories for many people, although many people born after the series ended in 1993 may not be as familiar with the premise and cast. Learn more about “The Wonder Years,” some main characters, and an endearing reason why two characters were briefly separated during the series.
So what is ‘The Wonder Years’?
‘The Wonder Years’: 1 detail the reboot has in common with the original (and 3 big differences)
An American comedy and drama, The Wonder Years is a compelling coming-of-age story. The series aired on ABC from 1988 to 1993 and starred Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold, a teenager from a middle-class suburb. The series had excellent ratings during its run and many credit the series with revolutionizing the way American television was done, thanks to the lack of a laugh track and single-camera shots.
It wasn’t long before critics and fans alike recognized the brilliance of the series. According to IMDb, the series won a total of 25 awards during its run and received 70 nominations, including a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Comedy Series after only six episodes. Savage was also the youngest actor to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 1989 at the age of 13.
Every good coming-of-age story involves tales of the difficulties of being a teenager, including navigating the murky waters of dealing with parents, friendships and romantic relationships. The Wonder Years did this better than any other series at the time, and in many people’s eyes, it’s still the best coming-of-age story ever to air on television.
Who are Kevin and Winnie?
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The main character in “The Wonder Years,” Kevin Arnold is the youngest of three children in the Arnold family. His older brother Wayne, portrayed by Jason Hervey, regularly bullies him, and his older sister Karen, played by Olivia d’Abo, is a free-spirited hippie. Kevin also has a best friend, Paul Pfeiffer, played by Josh Saviano, who is smart and takes school seriously.
One of the main storylines of the series follows the on-and-off relationship of Kevin and Winnie Cooper, his next-door neighbor. Winnie is played by Danica McKellar, and her character begins the series by learning of her brother’s death in the Vietnam War and her parents later separating. The series and its characters offer a compelling mix of serious emotion and relatable comedy, which is probably why many remember them so fondly.
Kevin and Winnie’s breakup in season four.
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According to “Mental Floss,” Kevin and Winnie’s breakup in season four was mostly due to the size difference between Savage and McKellar. By that time, McKellar was well over six feet tall, but Savage was still waiting for his own growth spurt. The series had factored in a split between the two characters long enough to allow Savage to catch up in the height department.
Savage went on to become an actor, director and producer of other series, while McKellar now focuses on writing math and doing educational work for young women. Mental Floss also reports that the two actors had crushes on each other when they were young, but eventually developed a brother-sister relationship that lasted throughout the series. In 2020, it was announced that a reboot of “The Wonder Years” was in the works, this time focusing on a middle-class black family in Montgomery, Alabama.