Fred Savage made the announcement this week when he Tweeted "#WonderYearsDVD coming soon" with an accompanying image of the whole cast back together, and as if I didn't damn right nearly pee myself in a state of nostalgic heaven!
The Wonder Years is the greatest coming-of-age story ever told, and if you grew up in the late 80s and early 90s then you will in no doubt be in agreement that this TV show is up there with the best of them! It was a huge influence on me, including my writing and there are influences in The Drought for sure which will hopefully be recognizable to anyone who has read the book.
You can keep up to date with details about the DVD release at wonderyearsdvds.com but before you do please check out my very own mini celebration with a trip down memory lane with my Top 10 favourite facts about The Wonder Years that you might not know. Ah, the memories. Enjoy!
In a word, no! It was never really mentioned in the show where the Arnold family actually lived. According to Wikipedia, the show’s husband and wife co-creators Neal Marlens and Carol, Black based a lot of the stories on their own childhood memories from growing up in Huntington, Long Island (New York) and White Oak, Silver Spring (Maryland) respectively. But TV network ABC wanted the location to be the non-specific suburb of Anywhere, USA, to appeal to a wider audience. Some fans have pointed to the fact that the family car had a Californian licence plate number in one episode, while others say New York because of the New York Jets jacket Kevin religiously wore in the first couple of seasons.The actual house used for exterior shots was at 516 University Ave., Burbank, California.
9. The Wonder Years won an Emmy after only six episodes
Today our favorite shows seem to churn out an endless number of episodes per series (I mean seriously, does anyone care anymore how he met his mother?!). But The Wonder Years needed only six episodes to pick up the Emmy award for Best Comedy Series in 1988 and Fred Savage became the youngest actor at 13 to be nominated for the Best Leading Actor for a Comedy Series. In all, the show received a total of 70 nominations for various awards and won 24 of those including gongs for the outstanding series soundtrack, which incidentally is one of the main reasons why it has taken so long for the show to be released on DVD due to the sensitive issue rights of all the tracks used in the show.
That's right, Kevin Arnold's nemesis and significant other (fans of Season 2, Episode 11 will get that nerdy reference I have just made...) are sisters! Not in the show obviously, but in real life. In fact, Danica McKellar who played Winnie Cooper actually had some competition from her younger sibling, Crystal, to land the main role of Kevin's young love. Even casting director Mary Buck admitted that "it was practically a tossup" as to who got the role, but in the end Danica got the nod and would even go up against her real-life sister for Kevin affections as Crystal McKellar played part of Becky Slater in 11 episodes. Perhaps one of the reasons that influenced the whole Becky Slater story had to do with the fact during the filming of the show, Danica McKellar had a growth spurt which resulted in her looking ridiculous standing next to the 4-foot-10 Fred Savage and forced the writers to write Winnie in as a background character for a short period to allow Kevin's height to catch up with her!
Fred Savage has built out a decent career for himself as a director and producer (he has directed shows such as 2 Broke Girls and Modern Family), but back when he was a fresh-faced actor it was another TV great in the making who nearly had the chance to shape and mould the direction of one Kevin Arnold. In an attempt to make the show more edgier, ABC asked David Chase (who would go on to create The Sopranos) to write them a script. Chase proposed an episode where Kevin ends up acting like Holden Caulfield after reading Catcher in the Rye and starts drinking coffee and smoking, but it was rejected in favour of keeping with the wholesome image of the show intact.
For a period of time a rumour spread like wildfire that actor Josh Saviano was indeed shock rocker Marilyn Manson. Of course this was ridiculous as Paul and Winnie getting together (nerds please see episode "She, My Friend and I"). In fact, Saviano, who played Kevin's geeky sidekick Paul, turned his back on acting and the entertainment world all together after the show and studied at Yale before becoming a successful New York lawyer (which was almost on the money to what happened to Paul as it was revealed in the final episode that he went to Harvard and became a lawyer). And for the record, Marilyn Manson's real name is Brain Warner. Yeah, doesn't really have the right ring to it huh?
Despite the fact that Paul Pfeiffer did not go on to become an Antichrist Superstar and don red lipstick and eye liner, there were plenty of other actors who appeared in The Wonder Years and went on to become familiar faces in their own right. Here is a few names you might recognise who all had roles alongside Kevin Arnold and co: John Corbett (Sex and the City, My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell), Breckin Meyer (Road Trip, Garfield), Dustin Diamond (Saved by the Bell), Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers), David Schwimmer (Friends), Alicia Silverstone (Clueless), Jim Caviezel (The Passion of Christ), Giovanni Ribisi (Friends, Saving Private Ryan), Seth Green (Family Guy, Austin Powers) and Robin Thicke (plonker who cheated on Paula Patton - what were you thinking man?!).
That's right, believe it or not, Daniel Stern - who played the hapless crook alongside Joe Pesci trying to outwit Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone - was indeed the inner voice and thoughts of Kevin Arnold. Stern also directed a number of episodes of The Wonder Years and appeared alongside Fred Savage in the movie Little Monsters before he went on to encounter another little monster in Kevin McCallister. And here is another little nugget for ya - Daniel Stern was not originally penned in as the narrator. Actor Arye Gross was used in the pilot episode, before the producers had a last-minute change of heart and re-recorded with Stern. And if that isn't enough Stern trivia for you, it was actually the voice of Stern's real-life son in the final narration of the final episode!
Like many a young teenage boy, I had a crush on Winnie Cooper (including Fred Savage who said he was "in love with her for the same reasons every other boy fell in love with her" before their relationship became one more of a sibling type bond and all he wanted to do was "irritate her.") But I digress... So it is nice to know that had my completely unrealistic fantasy as a 13-year-old boy that I would one day and meet and marry Winnie had come true, I would have been a very lucky man! And just in case you find this section of the top 10 isn't lowbrow and perhaps a tad sexist, another Danica McKellar fact is that she has a degree in mathematics and is a best-selling author. Hot and smart, the perfect combination!
2. Was Jason a bad an influence on Fred as Wayne was on Kevin?
Jason Hervey's character Wayne Arnold was notorious for terrorizing and generally setting a bad example for Kevin (so much so that the 'Wayne Arnold' character was ranked #7 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 10 Biggest Brats" in 2005), and during the filming of the sixth and final series, it was alleged that some of that bad behaviour had spilled over into real life when a costume designer on the show named Monique Long filed a sexual harassment charge against the stars. The case was eventually settled out of court but it brought a lot of unwanted publicity, and according to uproxx.com created a number of rumours that were completely false. Savage called the whole incident "a terrible experience." As for Jason Hervey, it wasn't always easy playing the bad older brother especially when some fans couldn't separate the fiction from reality, which resulted in someone once punching him in the face in a bar and telling him "I used to have a brother like you!"
Throughout the six seasons of The Wonder Years Kevin had his fair share of TV romances. Despite the fact Winnie was the main object of his desires pretty much throughout the whole series, he still managed to keep himself fairly busy with the opposite sex. Who could forget Denise the Grease, or Inga the Swedish exchange student, or the new girl Madeline Adams, or even Miss White (especially Miss White!). But the most infamous of all Kevin's ex-flames has to be his holiday romance Terri from season 3. And it wasn't necessarily that a 13-year-old Kevin lies to a 15-year-old Terri about his age that was controversial, more to do with the fact that the actress who played her, Holly Sampson, went on became a porn star as in such movie greats as Cheating Housewives 6. And if that wasn't enough, the actress was also linked to Tiger Woods during his cheating scandal! You can find out more about Kevin's love interests here.