Fred Savage: Horrible romantic advice from Wonder Years to Ladies Night
Last Friday, the news broke that one-time tween-dream Fred Savage will direct Charlize Theron in the upcoming female buddy-pic Ladies Night. The film is being described as Bridesmaids-esque, which means it will most likely be another mildly funny, wholly predictable rom-com attempt at proving that women can be just as marginalized and scatologically juvenile as their male opposites. This is nothing new for Savage, who spent six seasons on The Wonder Years misleading pubescent audiences into thinking that awkward, insecure, pint-sized whiners who get picked-on will always win over the taller, prettier girls they've been obsessing over.
Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years
And probably creating a few stalkers along the way.
For skinny, unpopular outcasts like myself, The Wonder Years's Kevin Arnold was a transcendent hero. He proved that you didn't need muscles or decent clothes or even the absence of regular public beatings in order to land a girl as siren-like as Winnie Cooper. This was years before any of us discovered Morrissey or Hot Topic, which taught us to identify ourselves through our rejection, back when kissing a girl ten thousand times out of your league was not only a possibility, but an ultimate goal. And Kevin Arnold gave us the battle plan for that goal.
In season 4's "The Accident," Winnie Cooper spends the first twenty minutes repeatedly explaining to Kevin that she wants nothing to do with him. They were once an item, but that was a long time ago -- and now Winnie is into guys "with driver's licenses." This challenge motivates Kevin to step up his game, butting into her fun with older kids at the roller skating rink and showing up randomly at her house, only to be rejected with increasing vitriol each time. Winnie was once annoyed with Kevin, and now she downright hates him. But when he learns that these newly-minted drivers crashed a car while cruising with Winnie, he rides his bike to her house and waits for hours on her doorstep for her to return from the hospital.
"Winnie doesn't want to see you right now," her mother explains to him, while the lady of the hour waits in the car, not wanting to even speak to Kevin.
"The only thing left to do was go home," narrator Daniel Stern explains. "Only I didn't. I couldn't." So ol' Kev pretends to ride his bike home, only to return moments later, climb a tree and sneak onto the roof of Winnie's house to peak in through her bedroom window, where she lays half asleep.
I'm not sure this even needs to be said, but: THIS IS WHAT A STALKER DOES. The first twenty minutes of this episode read as a Dateline warning against predators. But it doesn't end there. While Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight" slaps a thick layer of sentimentality across the screen, Winnie slowly opens her eyes to notice a voyeur peaking in through her bedroom window. Kevin makes eye contact and whispers, "I love you."
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