MovieChat Forums > The Wonder Years Discussion > What if Wayne didn't have psoriasis...

What if Wayne didn't have psoriasis...


Then, he would've passed his physical at the induction center, and gone into the Army with Wart. Like Wart, there's a good chance that he would have been shipped off to Vietnam, and most likely would've seen action. It definitely would've changed the direction of the show.

So, what would've happened to Wayne? Would he have been dealt the same unfortunate cards as Brian Cooper? Would he have come home, physically in one piece, but psychologically traumatized, like Wart? Or, would he have been embittered, like Jack? Having said that, if Wayne and Wart had both gone to fight in Vietnam, and both had come home, would Wayne have been in a better or worse position to understand what Wart was going through, and help him readjust to civilian life (probably much better, I'm thinking)? If Wayne and Wart had both been sent to Vietnam, would they have killed off Wart, leaving Wayne traumatized? Would Wayne still have followed Jack's civilian career path, after getting discharged (NORCOM, then the furniture factory)? Do you think that if he had been in the military, then he wouldn't have been so dependent on Jack's job for his own employment, because he would have had more self-discipline and motivation?

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Wayne was tough, alpha and negative to begin with. He would've ended up running Jacks business anyway, but maybe with more of a regard for life being short. So maybe he would've been a little nicer.

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You think Wayne was tough and alpha? To me, Jack was tough and alpha, and Wayne wasn't anything like Jack. Sure, he exacted some control over Kevin in the early years, but as a bullying brother, not as a leader. At school and amongst his peers, he was at the bottom of the food chain. While Kevin always had many friends, Wayne never had more than one friend at a time. Also, I think he did become nicer in the later seasons, even without the military experience.

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I believe The Homecoming episode had a lot to do with that.

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Hi, Wizzleteats! How've you been? How are things down South? As you may have noticed, I haven't been on here for a while, but when I saw that I got a reply from you, I knew I just had to respond...you always have great things to say, and I know you're a true fan of an amazing show. Here goes my response....

Remember in "Hiroshima, Mon Frere," where, towards the end, Kevin tells Wayne that the reason Angela never came over is because nobody liked him (Wayne). You can see that that comment really hurt Wayne, because in his heart, he knew it was true.

I wouldn't say that Wayne always had a girlfriend -- not like Kevin always did, and not like Karen always had a "date," as she called it -- but you're right, he went through several girls. Unlike most of Kevin's girlfriends, though, who were pretty and popular, most of Wayne's girlfriends were unattractive and dumb (think Delores...no offense to Juliette Lewis) -- you could even say some were slutty (think Sandy and Bonnie). So, Wayne definitely never got the cream of the crop, like Kevin did...Wayne just kind of went with whoever was willing to go with him. Even if you're unpopular, if you set your standards really low, you can have lots of girls, too!

As for the parties he went to, those weren't invite-only parties...those were keggers -- if you've got cash to pay for your entrance at the door, you're in. No level of popularity required. You've just got to know where it's going to happen (which is easy -- everyone at school would have been talking about it), and have the cash.

I wouldn't say he always had friends to hang out with. In the first season, he had Steve. In seasons five and six, he had Wart. Just one friend -- that was it. In seasons two through four, you'll notice that he was really a loner. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but it was a sharp contrast to Kevin's social life...he always had his own group.

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I'm rewatching the series now on DVD but I have to wait till later this year when seasons 5 and 6 come out but what exactly traumatized Wart?

Brian Cooper died in 1968 when the show started and the Vietnam War was at its height for the US in 1968-69. Starting in 1970 the US was slowly drawing down its ground combat troops until they were all removed by August 1972. If Wayne graduated high school in May/June 1972 it's pretty likely he wouldn't have seen any action. He would've been just coming out of boot camp.

The Vietnam War in 1972 was mostly an Air War for the US. It was South Vietnam's Army doing the ground fighting with US air power backing them up. The US stopped fighting the Air War in Jan 1973 after the Paris Peace Accords and completely pulled out in Mar 1973.

I can't remember the episode but what exactly did they say happen to Wart? He shouldn't have seen any combat if he graduated the same time as Wayne.

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Never even considered the fact that he couldn't have been over there for very long. I guess since Wart left in season 5 and came back in season 6, it seemed longer to the television viewer.

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With that in mind: was it realistic for troops/soldiers to be sent home so soon back then? Also, could you earn medals that fast in such a short time period? I get the feeling that the intention of this episode was merely to give us an idea of what it was like then, instead of being factually accurate. Quảng Trị, for example, was a notable battle around 1968... not 1972.


Yeah I think the show was just trying to show what it was like to see a friend go to Vietnam and survive and come back. They were basically a year or two late.

The "Easter Offensive" was a huge operation by the North Vietnamese against the South in March-June 1972 and battles took place all over South Vietnam including Pleiku and Quang Tri. The only Americans on the ground in combat were advisors embedded with South Vietnam's Army and they helped coordinate the air strikes from US Air Force and Navy aircraft which allowed the South Vietnamese to win the battles and repel the North.

I'm not sure how realistic it was for Wart to be sent back so soon, the US Army had a one year rotation policy for serving in Vietnam but the war was dying down for US troops. There were only about 6000 US combat troops in country by 1972 and the last major operations happened for them in 1971. So unless Wart was an advisor or a special forces soldier, he really wouldn't have been on any active combat missions. As far as receiving medals, I think anything is possible but probably not likely in a short period of time.

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Wow! Thanks for pointing this out. I didn't even consider the fact that Wart's military timeline was historically inaccurate. I guess, since the show was about the late 60s and early 1970s, it was only logical that the Arnolds would know more than one person who went to Vietnam and suffered because of it. They couldn't use one of Karen's friends, because they all would've gone to Canada or received a deferment.

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Did anybody else here watch American Dreams? Another classic cut short. In American Dreams, JJ joins the Marine Corps and is shipped off to fight in Vietnam, as well as some secret missions in Cambodia...except that he was there a few years too early -- the opposite of the problem that we have with Wart's timeline. But the Vietnam episodes were great episodes...the show wouldn't have been the same without them. I think writers have to be given the liberty to play with historical accuracy in order to produce great stories.

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Never heard of American Dreams until now, sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out sometime. Writers of tv shows and films usually do play with historical accuracy and it use to confuse the crap out of me when it came to Vietnam when I was younger.

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You definitely got to check out American Dreams -- I'm surprised you've never heard of it...it was pretty popular when it was on the air. If you're a fan of The Wonder Years, then you'll like American Dreams...guaranteed.

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I thought American Dreams was actually better than wonder years. It was more gritty, told the 1960's more from the side of the women, the African Americans who were experiencing it. Yes it had the white guys but the wonder years is too focused on how Kevin Arnold and people like him see and experience things. I'm sure Norma Karen and Winnie had a different perspective of what was happening and what was fair. American dreams also was more multiethic.

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They should've made Wart's storyline in '71. All ground troops were sent home by August '72, that's why he's back for homecoming.

I also saw American Dreams and they messed up JJ storyline. Ground troops were not sent out until March 1965 and he was back home by January 1966.

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Despite the historical inaccuracies, both were great shows! To their credit, they never claimed to be works of non-fiction.

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It never occurred to me that psoriasis could keep you out of the military. If you had it and wanted to serve it would be fairly easy to pass the physical. A career army veteran told me that if you want to serve you keep your mouth shut during the physical. All you would need to do is get your symptoms temporarily under control. There are over the counter medications to treat psoriasis if you couldn't make it to a dermatologist. If the military doctor doesn't see something then you don't have it. And they want you to pass the physical.

But Wayne probably would not want to serve. He should have not treated his psoriasis so it looked horrible. I think asthma can keep you out of the military. And that is easy to fake.

All I know is that if I was in the army I would not want an a-hole like Wayne in my platoon.

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On the contrary, Wayne did want to serve. He and Wart weren't drafted -- they went down to the induction center by their own accord.

And in Wayne's defense, even though he was an a-hole for most of the series, by the sixth season, when he would have been in the military, he had matured...many folks on this board have commented that by the time Kevin was in high school, Wayne was the more likable Arnold brother...I don't completely agree with that assessment myself -- I think Kevin was just acting like a typical high school boy, but I can see where the people who say that are coming from.

Also, I don't think Wayne knew he had psoriasis until they told him so at the induction center, so there's no way he could have treated it, so the medical examiner wouldn't have noticed. And like Wayne says at the end of "Private Butthead," psoriasis is not a condition you'd want to have if you were running around, carrying heavy equipment, and dodging bullets in the jungles of of Vietnam.

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Sure. All teenagers are gullible, to some degree. They never really fully comprehend what they're getting themselves into, post-high school, whether that be college, the military, the workforce, vagabonding around, whatever...

But Wayne and Wart really had wanted to serve. They had gone down to the recruiter by themselves...no one told them to go. Sure, once they were there, the recruiter had told them a lot of bs about how great the money is, how they could get training to become mechanics, engineers, or topographical specialists (you forgot about that last one), and how they wouldn't get sent to Vietnam (which, in the Spring of 1972, in reality, would have been true for enlistees...the war was winding down by then...I guess Wart got on his hands and knees, and begged to get sent to Vietnam -- the show needed another Vietnam story. Even if he had been there in 1972-73, it's likely he would have seen little to no action, although they imply that he saw a lot, as if he had been there in 1968).

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Norma points to a medal (which we are to assume is a Purple Heart) and asks Wart if he had been wounded. He kind of brushes the question off like he doesn't want to answer. So we are to assume Wart was wounded in combat. As far as the timeline to receive medals, I don't know but it seems like Purple Hearts are given out fairly quickly after a soldier is wounded or killed, as the soldier is entitled to the award, not recommended for it. It's not like a Medal of Honor which can take years or decades to be awarded.

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Sad that he had that disease at a young age only 18 maybe that is why he never had a growth spurt he was only 5'3 or 5'4 in height

https://youtu.be/evzGr5GYJfQ

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Wayne was a goof off and as such, that would have gotten him killed in Vietnam. He wouldn't have stood a chance.

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Would have went to VNam and got his dick shot off

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I think Wayne would have been killed in Vietnam while doing something stupid. He was a complete screw up.

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