The Wonder Years: The Arnold Family Says Farewell

 The Wonder Years After six seasons, audiences said goodbye to the Arnold family as ABC aired the series finale of The Wonder Years. It’s a two-part episode that was aired together on May 12, 1993. Episode 114 is entitled “Summer” and the last episode (#115) is appropriately called “Independence Day.” Here’s what happened.

Winnie (Danica McKellar) takes a summer job as a lifeguard at a Cascades resort. Upset that they’ll be apart, Kevin (Fred Savage) plans to take a cross-country trip with his friends. Unfortunately, his father (Dan Lauria) won’t let him go and tells him, “You wouldn’t survive for two seconds on your own.” Disappointed, Kevin returns to his unfulfilling job at the family furniture factory. When he phones Winnie at the resort, she is enjoying herself and seems distant.

During a fight with his father, Kevin tells his old man off and announces that he needs to “find himself.” He drives to the resort. He hopes to land a job so that he and Winnie can spend the summer together. Unfortunately, she’s not thrilled to see him and he can only get a busboy position.

Kevin trys to distract himself by playing poker with members of the resort’s band. After bluffing his way to a $100 win, he goes to tell Winnie the good news and sees her in a passionate embrace with hunky lifeguard Eric (guest Brad Naso).

The next morning, Jack arrives to give his despondent son some spare underwear and cookies, because Norma (Alley Mills) is worried about him. Kevin expects an apology but it doesn’t come and he tells his father that he doesn’t need his help or his cookies. Jack doesn’t lose his temper and leaves.

When Kevin confronts Winnie, they get into a big fight. She’s angry that he was spying on her and pushes him into the pool. That night, a frustrated Kevin plays another round of poker with the band. He thinks he has the perfect hand but loses everything, including his car.

The next morning, he packs to leave and goes to tell Winnie goodbye. He ends up punching Eric and leaves the resort on foot. After awhile, Kevin flags down a car driven by an elderly couple and gets a ride. He’s surprised to find Winnie in the backseat. She’s been fired over Kevin’s behavior. The two begin to argue about who should get out of the car and the elderly couple dump them both. They continue to fight and even throw each other’s luggage into the street where it’s run over by a hay truck.

Soonafter, the two find themselves caught in a torrential downpour and must take refuge in a barn. Drenched, the two calm down and talk about how much the other has changed. They sadly agree that they’re probably not going to end up together. Scared, Winnie tells Kevin that she doesn’t want it to end. They share passionate kisses and the camera pulls back and fades to the next scene. In voiceover, we’re told that the two promised to always be together, no matter what.

 Kevin & Winnie, so long ago We next see them arriving back home, holding hands, in time to watch the local 4th of July parade on a clear day. We’re told that Kevin and Winnie both knew that the town held their past but not their future. Adult Kevin (Daniel Stern) says, “It was the last July I ever spent in that town. The next year, after graduation, I was on my way.” As the two spot Paul (Josh Saviano), the voiceover says, “So was Paul. He went to Harvard, of course. Studied law.” As Paul sneezes, adult Kevin notes, “He’s still allergic to everything.”

Kevin spots his Dad who is being given some small flags to wave. He tells his two friends that he’ll be right back and goes to his father. As the two awkwardly say hello, the voiceover tells us that the two patched things up. Jack calls to his wife and we see Norma, Wayne (Jason Hervey) and a pregnant Karen (Olivia d’Abo). As the Arnold family reunites, the voiceover continues, “Hey, what can I say? We were family, for better or for worse. One for all and all for one.”

As the family and friends watch the parade, the camera pans to each of them and adult Kevin says, “Karen’s son was born that September. I gotta say, I think he looks like me. Poor kid. Mom? She did well — businesswoman, board chairman, grandmother, cooker of mashed potatoes. The “Wayner” stayed on in furniture. Wood seemed to suit him. In fact, he took over the factory two years later, when Dad passed away. Winnie left the next summer to study art history in Paris. Still, we never forgot our promise. We wrote to each other once a week for the next eight years. I was there to meet her when she came home, with my wife and my first son — eight months old. Like I said, things never turn out exactly the way you planned.”

The parade fades into a scene of Jack and Kevin sitting at the kitchen table. They pleasantly talk about the day and that Jack will soon be a grandpa, with gray hair and everything. Jack is pleased. As the camera pulls back, adult Kevin tells us, “Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you’re in diapers, the next day you’re gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul.”

The camera draws back further to show the Arnold house and street in twilight. He continues, “I remember a place, a town. A house like a lot of houses. A yard like a lot of other yards. On a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back, with wonder.”

We see fireworks in the distance as the scene fades to black. A young boy’s voice says, “Hey Dad, wanna play catch?” Adult Kevin’s voice deepens a little and says, “I’ll be right there.” End of series. TV Series Finale home page

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12 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Danielle says

    Wonder Years has been one of my most favorite television shows. it sort of reminds me of when I was growing up in late 60s and early 70s.. though I was only small child, it reminded me of simpler times we lived in…no cable,no computers, no cell phone, no microwaves either.. it was a time that families did spend some quality time together. Life was a carefree era even at 4 years old living in a trailer park I had the run of the park.. rode my bicycle almost every where in that park and also had a hill where we kids had climbed and explored. when the finale episode played ,, I cried mostly through it and at the end it was sad to hear that Dad, Jack Arnold passed away. Wayne grew up in hurry and took over ,,and Kevin and Winnie,, made their pact but in the end nothing stays the same. she moved on, Kevin got married and had kid himself. Karen grew on with her husband and family .. like so many of us have grown out of childhood into adulthood.. life goes on even when there are changes. I still watch that show over the years.

  2. Caspion says

    One of the best…, but…, I can’t … How I hate the way it ended! I has a ***** up end with Winnie coming back and Kevin welcoming her?? with his family????…., oohh… it really aches in sorrow… :(

  3. Paul says

    I still remember quite a bit of this show and the sad was never meant to be forever with Winnie and Kevin but it was allworth the ride! The whole series was:) Still today 21 years ago since the series finale and the Wonder Years is easily still one of the all-time greates shows!:)

  4. Jwill6891 says

    I remember this show coming on when I was young (about 5 or 6), but wasn’t old enough to get into it. I just finished watching the whole series on netflix…. and Wow… It was amazing. I feel sad, but glad that I experienced it overall.

  5. marty says

    Although this era was before my time I love watching it. It reminds me of an exciting time.

    A pity this show had to end.

  6. DC1236 says

    I just rewatched to whole series also. Made me sad, only because I fit into Kevin’s shoes…..older brother that was a jerk to me, older sister that was rebellious, and a tough dad who taught me more than I actually realized until he passed away. I hope I’m half of what I had to my daughters.

  7. Juan says

    I just Rewatched the series in a week. It made me miss my childhood, the show and my father. It is and will forever be my favorite tv show.

  8. vv says



  9. Coronaboy says

    I’ll never forget this series, I remember watching the pilot right after the Super Bowl as well. :)

    I remember the final episode(s) as well, I was pissed when I heard the series was cancelled, however it had an amazing run! Too bad they can’t work out a deal with the music issues and release the series on DVD.

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