‘The Wonder Years’: Where Did Kevin Arnold and His Family Actually Live?

The Wonder Years, the coming of age television series voiced by Daniel Stern, celebrated its 33rd anniversary on Jan. 31. The show, which aired in the 1980s and 1990s but was set in the 1960s, will be returning. A reboot of the iconic show is planned. Details of the plot have emerged, and there is one big difference between the reboot and the original show. The reboot will clue fans into the new family’s location.  The original show never mentioned what city or state Kevin Arnold grew up in, but there is a good reason for that.

The Wonder Years creator, Neil Marlens, wanted to set the series in Long Island, NY

While the Arnold family never revealed what town they lived in, Neil Marlens, the show’s co-creator, didn’t intend it to be that way. Much of the show is based on his upbringing, and he initially hoped to set the series in his hometown. Marlens’ grew up in Huntington, New York, a long island town located about an hour outside of Midtown Manhattan.

The Arnold family from ''The Wonder Years'
The Arnold family from ”The Wonder Years’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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ABC didn’t go for the idea, opting to take the same route shows like Leave It to Beaver took when dealing with location. Still, Marlens did get a chance to inject a bit of his childhood into the show. The names of the characters align with his own childhood pals. According to the Long Island Press, Marlens’ used his childhood pals, Paul Arnold and Kevin Gilwa, to name the main character and his own best friend, Paul Pfeiffer.

ABC pushed for the show to have an anonymous setting

Marlens may have had an ideal setting in his mind, but he had to concede to get the show made. ABC wanted to ensure that a broad television audience could relate to the show. The network reportedly felt like setting the show on the East Coast would alienate a large portion of the audience.

Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold and Danica McKeller as Winnie Cooper
Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold and Danica McKeller as Winnie Cooper | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

To avoid the issue, they requested that Marlens set the show in an unspecified location. Where the Arnold family lives is never officially revealed. Still, fans think they’ve figured out a general area that could have been home to Kevin and his family.

Fans largely believe that the family actually lived in California

Based on a few context clues, it’s safe to assume that the Arnold family was based in California. IMDb points out that Jack Arnold’s job, the license plate on the family car, and the weather point to a pretty specific California location. Fans largely assume the Arnold family called the San Fernando Valley home.

Paul Pfieffer, Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper
Paul Pfieffer, Kevin Arnold, and Winnie Cooper | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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Kevin, Winnie, and Paul spent a lot of time outside during the show’s six-season run. Still, they never once ran into winter weather. That lack of snow points to a sunny and temperate hometown. The license plates seen in the show are all California plates, further making a case for a California neighborhood. Much of California enjoys mild temperatures, so why do so many fans think they live in the Valley? Jack’s job is a clue, claim fans. During the 1960s, the decade that The Wonder Years was set in, the San Fernando Valley had a bustling defense industry. Jack worked as a defense contractor