6—Danica McKellar (Wonder Years): It was almost obligatory for every guy my age
to have had a crush on Winnie Cooper. She’s an odd choice. Danica McKellar was hardly
the most gorgeous girl on television at the time. However, as boys similar in age
to Kevin Arnold, we all connected with his plight to win the heart of Winnie Cooper.
It’s simple really: because Kevin had such a huge crush on Winnie, we did, too.
As such, any list naming the biggest crushes a child of the 80’s had simply HAS
to include Winnie Cooper—it’s mandatory. If it’s not already a law, it should be.
I make it sound like this is a throwaway entry; as if I am obliged to have Danica
McKellar on the list. Hardly. I had an enormous crush on her, especially when the
series debuted back in 1988. I remember The Wonder Years debut like it was yesterday.
My mom was fast asleep, after becoming bored by the Redskins’ easy victory over
the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Following the Super Bowl, ABC aired the first episode
of The Wonder Years. I shared the experience of this debut alone with my dad and
we were absolutely mesmerized by the show.
At the end of the episode, Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper share their first kiss
with each other. After this classic scene, I looked over to see my dad’s reaction
to the kick ass new show. His eyes were distant as he stared at some point far
beyond the television. My dad flashed the peculiar grin that he unknowingly wears
when he’s lost away in some treasured memory. He was waxing all nostalgic because
this show reminded him of his own childhood in the 50’s and 60’s. My dad sighed
a breath of longing for simpler times. I, in turn, sighed a breath of newfound love
for the stunning beauty that just graced my television screen: Winnie Cooper. When
my dad came back to good ole 1988, I played the scene off like, “oh great…kissing.”
But, in truth, I was totally into it.
I lived vicariously through Kevin Arnold those first few seasons of The Wonder Years.
When Kevin had a thing for Becky Slater, I kind of dug her, too. When his heart
was broken, so was mine. I even paid attention to the NY Jets, just because of Kevin’s
sweet Jets jacket. If they made a children’s varsity jacket for the Tampa Bay Bucs
at the time, I would have begged my parents for one incessantly. But the Bucs sucked
too much in the 80’s to warrant such cool swag.
Most of all, I was completely infatuated
with Winnie Cooper. This infatuation lasted right until The Wonder Years
weird a few years later. Characters moved to different schools, Kevin was always
angry, Paul became cool and dated Winnie. It was like The Wonder Years
off into a bizarre, alternate universe completely different from the show I came
to love. Like the alternate 1985 in Back to the Future II where Biff is the overlord
of a Mad Max-like Hill Valley. I could accept no more of this madness; I moved on
to other shows and started crushing on chicks like Elaine from
Seinfeld. And no,
that is not a hint at who’s to come.
Kevin and Winnie
I'm sure my grandmother has this same outfit
More Kevin and Winnie
Where is she now?
Open a Maxim or Stuff magazine lately? Danica McKellar can frequently be found gracing
its pages with lingerie spreads and posing as a sexy teacher with
dress buying formulas
written on the chalkboard. She graduated from UCLA with a BS in Mathematics. As
a student, Danica McKellar co-authored a paper in the “Journal of Physics A: Mathematics
& General.” Since graduating, she has published two New York Times bestselling books:
Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math without Losing Your Mind or
Breaking a Nail and Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss. As an adult her
success as a writer has far surpassed her current acting career. Danica McKellar
has been unable to match her early success as Winnie Cooper, but she still makes
appearances on television shows from time-to-time. She has had roles in How I Met
Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory,
NCIS, and is a correspondent on The Science Channel’s
tech show Brink.
Winnie Cooper's all growed up
Danica McKellar at something with a red carpet
Nope, never had a teacher this hot!