Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Danica McKellar ("Winnie" in "The Wonder Years")

I like to find a tv series that I enjoy.  It is even better if the episodes are 30 minutes, which often means that after the series has aged, the episodes are about 24 minutes without the ads.  So, streaming "The Wonder Years" from Amazon just fits the bill.  If a man over 70 can enjoy a show about the trials of being a 7th grade boy, it has to be well-written.  It is well-written.

Kevin is in the 7th grade in 1968.  I remember my own 7th grade in fits and starts.  But I certainly remember feeling as Kevin does about girls.  My thoughts were more carnal that Kevin's are depicted but when we come in the story to the subject of Winnie, I am quite in tune with the show, made in the 1988-1993 period.

The other day, I came across a tv interview of the actress who plays Winnie on the show.  She is Danica McKellar, now married with two children of her own.

Winnie reminds me of a real 7th grader that I knew from the 6th grade, which in the US, is quite different.  Grade 6 was the highest grade in a school that ran from kindergarten and grade 1 through the 6th.  After 6th grade, the trip to school was longer and the school was much grander.  In the 6th grade, you are the oldest kids in the school, the top of the heap.  In the 7th grade, you were the youngest, the newbies.

McKellar, (a.k.a. Mrs. Mike Verta), is an interesting example of the world today.  When I see her playing the quiet girl on The Wonder Years, I would not expect that girl to grow up to be something of a pin-up queen.  But take a look.  Then, when I realize she is a vibrant beauty, I wouldn't expect her to be one of three mathematicians after whom a mathematical theorem is named.  It is shocking to my stereotypes that such a quiet 7th grade sort of beauty grew up to be a sex kitten, a vibrant young mother and a high-level mathematician.  But then, I find that she is the author of three New York Times Bestsellers urging girls to shine in math!

How can that be?  How can one woman be all those things and more?  Time, talent and new thinking in my little mind.  There are always twists and surprises in life.  One that gives me a kick is that Danica's professor, the one with whom she and another woman developed the Chayes-McKellar-Winn theorem, owned no tv and was not a viewer.  So, he had no idea who "Winnie" was and probably didn't care.  

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