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The Wonder Years

The cast of The Wonder Years in an early promo shot. (L to R) Wayne Arnold, Karen Arnold, Kevin Arnold, Jack Arnold, Norma Arnold, Paul Pfeiffer, Winnie Cooper
The cast of The Wonder Years in an early promo shot. (L to R) Wayne Arnold, Karen Arnold, Kevin Arnold, Jack Arnold, Norma Arnold, Paul Pfeiffer, Winnie Cooper

The Wonder Years was a television show created by Carol Black and Neal Marlens. It ran for six seasons on ABC, from 1988 to 1993.

The Wonder Years tackled the social issues and historic events of the 1960s and early 1970s through the eyes of main character Kevin Arnold, who also deals with teenage social issues (mainly with his best friend Paul, and his top love interest, Winnie Cooper), family trouble and other issues. While the stories unfold, the story is narrated by an older, wiser Kevin describing what is happening and what he has learned from his experiences. This popular technique was later reproduced in the short-lived sitcom State of Grace.

The show's theme tune was Joe Cocker's cover of "With a Little Help from My Friends". This song was featured among others on the soundtrack for the program.

    * 1 Major Characters
    * 2 Other Characters
    * 3 Final episode
    * 4 External link


Major Characters

    * Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) - An average junior high (and later high school) student growing up in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

    * Gwendolyne "Winnie" Cooper (Danica McKellar) - Kevin's main love interest. Their first kiss and her older brother's death play an important part of the pilot episode.

    * Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano) - Kevin's lifelong best friend. He is allergic to everything.

    * Jack Arnold (Dan Lauria) - Kevin's father, a Korean War veteran. Originally, he worked at NORCOM, a generic large corporation, in a middle management position he hated. Later, he started his own business building and selling handcrafted furniture.

    * Karen Arnold(Olivia d'Abo) - Kevin's older hippie sister. She eventually gets married and moves to Alaska. Her only appearance in the last season is in the last episode.

    * Norma Arnold (Alley Mills) - Kevin's stay-at-home mother. She met Jack as a college freshmen. When he graduated, she moved across the country with him and didn't finish college.

    * Wayne Arnold (Jason Hervey) - Kevin's older brother who enjoys physically tormenting Kevin and Paul.


Other Characters

    * Coach Cutlip (Robert Picardo)
    * Miss White, later Mrs. Heimer (Wendel Meldrum)
    * Mr. Cantwell (Ben Stein)
    * Becky Slater (Crystal McKellar)
    * Chuck Coleman (Andy Berman)
    * Delores (Juliette Lewis)
    * Bonnie Douglas (Paula Marshall)
    * Jeff Billings (Giovanni Ribisi)
    * Alice Pedermeir (Lindsay Sloane)
    * Joey (Dustin Diamond)
    * Eric Antonio (Don Jeffcoat)
    * Young Kevin (Eric Lloyd)
    * Voice of Adult Kevin (Daniel Stern)


Final episode
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Reflecting on how everyone eventually grows up and how childhood comes to an end, Kevin and Winnie have one last passionate day together before going their separate ways once and for all. Winnie goes to Europe to study art, while Kevin stays in the States, gets married, and has a son. The two write to each other for eight years. Kevin's father dies of a heart attack, and his brother takes over the family business. The fates of many supporting characters are resolved, and the narrator (adult Kevin) tells us: "Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house like a lot of other houses, a yard like a lot of other yards, on a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back, with wonder."


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