Twenty-five years later, “The Wonder Years’” cancellation still raises questions. The final episode was filmed in such a way that allowed it to serve as either a series or season finale, depending on the voiceover narration that was added to the closing scene; exactly how and why ABC chose to end things has remained a point of contention among viewers. Now Alley Mills, who played matriarch Norma Arnold on the family drama, says the show was canceled due to a “completely ridiculous” sexual-harassment lawsuit filed against stars Fred Savage and Jason Hervey.
“When we shot the series finale … nobody knew whether or not ‘The Wonder Years’ was going to be renewed,” Mills tells Yahoo in a video interview. “And that’s because of a completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit that was going on against Fred Savage — who is, like, the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the Earth.”
Along with Jason Hervey, who played his brother Wayne, Savage (then 16) was accused of physical and verbal harassment by 31-year-old costume designer Monique Long in 1993. Those allegations were denied by both the actors’ representatives and the show’s.
Mills is unequivocal in her support of Savage. “He and his family are like the greatest human beings that ever lived. He still is. He’s an amazing kid, Fred,” she says. As for the lawsuit, “I just thought it was a big joke, and it was going to blow over. It’s a little bit like what’s happening now — some innocent people can get caught up in this stuff; it’s very tricky. It was so not true. It was my dresser, and I don’t care if she’s listening — I probably shouldn’t be telling this, but I don’t care because it was so long ago and it’s gotta be over now.”
Asked whether the lawsuit was the reason why “The Wonder Years” was canceled, Mills responds, “Yeah. I mean, it would have gone as long as the show kept, you know, when you keep up a certain amount of ratings, they keep the show going. But it was because of all that garbage.” Watch her full interview below.