‘The Wonder Years’ Was Inspired by ‘A Christmas Story’
The Wonder Years is one of the most beloved TV series of all time. The drama series is set in the 1960s and 1970s and follows Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) as he comes of age during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history.
Narrated by an adult Kevin, The Wonder Years touched on various things, including the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Movement, and the Vietnam War. For years, fans have speculated that the series was based on true events.
Though The Wonder Years certainly had some real-life elements, it was actually inspired by the 1983 cult classic, A Christmas Story.
‘The Wonder Years’ was influenced by the actors’ personal lives
Being a teen in any generation comes with its trials and tribulations. The Wonder Years saw Kevin navigate various obstacles and relationships with his best friend Paul (Josh Saviano) and his love interest Winnie (Danica McKellar).
Since the actors were literally coming of age while filming the show, the writers were often influenced by the true-life events that they experienced off-set.
“Kevin and Winnie’s relationship was, in some ways, defined by my friendship with Fred and some of the things that we would say,” McKellar told Collider. “The writers would actually take lines from things that we were saying to each other, off-camera, and put it into the script. There was this whole episode dedicated to, ‘Do you like him, or do you like him, like him?”
Did Fred Savage and Danica McKellar date in real life?
Though Savage and McKellar had crushes on each other just as their characters Winnie and Kevin did, their adoration for each other never went beyond that.
“In the beginning, we had a mutual crush,” McKellar told Entertainment Tonight Canada 2014. “Then things went into the teasing stuff and then into a more comfortable, brother-sister thing.”
Savage shared the same sentiment. “I was in love with her for the same reasons every other boy fell in love with her,” hr told People. “You won’t meet a sweeter, nicer girl—and she’s gorgeous.” In the end, the pair were destined to be friends.
‘The Wonder Years’ was inspired by ‘A Christmas Story’
Though there were certainly real-life and historical elements in The Wonder Years, the series was actually inspired by A Christmas Story.
Creators Neal Marlens and Carol Black loved the use of narration in the coming-of-the-age genre.
“We just started to think that there was a lot of potential fun in that ‘cause you can really play with the contrast between the narrator’s point of view and what the characters are doing,” Black told New York Magazine in 1989. “And you can go inside their head and expose what they’re really thinking when they’re saying something different.”
The Wonder Years paid homage to A Christmas Story in the series finale when Peter “Ralphie” Billingsley. appeared as one of Kevin’s roommates.