Question: Since I don't approve of you encouraging people to sin, please settle an argument and not a bet. My question: When the The Wonder Years ended, did Kevin and Winnie end up together? My friend says yes but I thought they each went their own way. Just out of curiosity, too, what was the name of Kevin's band? (This isn't part of the argument.) Thanks. Beth K.
Televisionary: Oh, c'mon, Beth. My bet is your argument and vice versa. You think you're not wagering, but pride is on the line and that's often more precious than, say, an all-you-can-eat shrimp dinner. As my neighbor's Girl Scout daughter said when delivering Animal Treasures, even though we'd ordered Thin Mints: "Same difference."
Anyway, if your moral compass indicates your conscience is clear, then it's my pleasure to say you may hold your head high as well. At the end of the series's run on ABC from March 1988 to September 1993 the adorable Gwendolyn "Winnie" Cooper (Danica McKellar) and the fresh-faced Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) were defined by a term that's the scourge of adolescent boys everywhere: Just friends.
In the show's final episode, a wrap-up explaining what became of the main characters, it was revealed that Jack Arnold (Dan Lauria), Kevin's dad, had passed away. Nemesis brother Wayne (Jason Hervey) stepped in to head the family business; sister Karen (Olivia d'Abo) delivered a baby boy; lovable geek Paul (Josh Saviano) graduated from Harvard Law School and Winnie, the object of Kevin's affection, went off to Paris for a degree in art history. She and Kevin wrote each other weekly and when she returned, he met her at the airport with his wife and son.
I always admire a show that resists going out with a fairytale ending.
Truth is that for the most part The Wonder Years played the tugging-at-the-heartstrings card perfectly, putting together stories of the first experiences with love, death and the inevitable cruelty and humiliation of adolescence without going over the top. Some nitpickers complained that the writers and producers periodically took liberties with a few historical details and time overall (playing songs that hadn't been released when certain events occurred, etc.), but that never spoiled it for me. As curmudgeonly as I can be, I'm often a cornball at heart and I really liked that show.
Oh, and Kevin's band was called Electric Shoes, not to be confused with Howard Stern's childhood band, Electric Comic Book. Come to think of it, I like Stern's name better.