On This Day: ‘The Wonder Years’ Premieres on ABC in 1988

by Katie Maloney

Thirty three years ago today, ABC released their coming-of-age comedy-drama series, The Wonder Years.

The show takes place in the turbulent late 1960s and early 70s. Viewers see the world through the eyes of 12-year-old Kevin Arnold. The show is narrated by an adult Kevin and follows him as he navigates first loves, school, and other obstacles with his family and friends.

The show ran for six seasons between 1988 and 1993. During its first four seasons, the show earned a spot in the Nielsen Top 30. TV Guide named the show one of the 20 best shows of the 1980s. Additionally, after only six episodes, The Wonder Years won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. And actor Fred Savage, who played Kevin, became the youngest actor ever nominated as Outstanding Lead Actor for a Comedy Series. He was 13 years old.

Three Little Known Facts About The Wonder Years

In celebration of the show’s 33rd anniversary, we’re sharing a few interesting facts about The Wonder Years. Now, you’ll be fully prepared for your next trivia night featuring hit television shows from the 80s and 90s.

The Show Was Inspired By A Christmas Story

From the coming-of-age storyline to the use of narration, the show had a lot of similarities to A Christmas Story. The lead actor from the film, Peter Billingsley who played Ralphie, even appeared in the final two episodes of The Wonder Years as one of Kevin’s roommates.

The show premiered after Superbowl XXII

80 million viewers tuned in to watch the Washington Redskins vs. Denver Broncos game (Redskins won 42 to 10) on January 31, 1988. After the game highlights, ABC premiered The Wonder Years. The show creator taglined the moment as “a bit of Americana after the quintessential example of Americana.”

Winnie’s Growth Spurt Caused Winnie and Kevin’s Breakup

Kevin and his long-time love-interest, Winnie, had an on-again-off-again romance throughout the show. However, their break-up between seasons three and four was the result of a growth spurt. The actress who played Winnie, Danica McKellar, grew almost a foot taller in her teenage years. This made her significantly taller than her sub-five foot co-star, Fred Savage. The show wrote them apart long enough for Savage to catch up to his McKellar’s height.

Kevin and Winnie dance together in an episode of The Wonder Years