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Why Did It Take So Long for Someone to Finally Fire Fred Savage?

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 11, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 11, 2022 |


Fred Savage was fired last Friday as executive producer and director of The Wonder Years reboot because Fred Savage is an asshole, and if that comes as a surprise to you, welcome to the 21st century! It turns out that people who play nice guys on television aren’t always nice guys in real life. Have you ever heard of a guy named Bill Cosby?

Not that I necessarily knew that Fred Savage was an asshole. I wasn’t aware of the lawsuit filed against him (and settled) for his behavior on The Grinder, although I did know about The Wonder Years lawsuit, which was about Savage being an asshole of a different variety (the two varieties, of course, go hand-in-hand) — he and co-star Jason Hervey were accused of being frat-bro jackasses around a woman in the costume department. Hervey allegedly made frequent lewd comments around her while simulating oral sex, while Savage was an entitled 16-year-old who pressured the same woman, twice his age, to go on dates with him and he refused to take no for an answer. The Wonder Years’ dad was a jackass about it, too, allegedly joking that the woman should take Savage’s virginity, while the sitcom mom, Alley Mills, chalked it all up to “boys will be boys,” and has continued to do so ever since. Damn that cancel culture for taking away an actor’s ability to treat crew members like sh*t!

The Grinder lawsuit, however, is more in line with the behavior for which Savage was fired from The Wonder Years. In that case, it was another woman in the costume department with whom Savage lost his temper. He screamed at her and “violently” hit her arm three times for daring to brush dandruff off of the suit of the Fred Savage. The woman who sued Savage also said that he often lost his temper with other women on the set. The lawsuit — like The Wonder Years’ lawsuit — was settled, because people in power have been protecting Savage all his life. The attorney of The Grinder costumer said this week, for the record, that Fred Savage’s firing from The Wonder Years reboot has been “a long time coming.”

You mean, a guy who has been coddled and pampered since he was 10-years-old is an asshole to the staff? No way?! Actually, that sounds right, although you wouldn’t know it from his public appearances. So far as I know, his co-stars have never spoken ill of him, and he’s been directing television for 20 years, including 18 episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I reckon it’s because Savage is nice to his co-stars, and he’s nice to the talent, or anyone else who could get him fired (and I’ll just try and refrain from reading into the fact that, after directing 18 episodes in two years on Sunny, he hasn’t been asked back to direct in the last 13 years.)

The thing is, he probably reserves his outbursts for the crew and support staff, the people he deems beneath him. In fact, two production crew members who have worked with him in the past told Us magazine that Savage often overworked his crew and could be “quick to anger.” Another production crew source said he “can have a temper and occasional outbursts.”

That sounds like bullying to me. And while we don’t know the details surrounding why he was fired from The Wonder Years reboot beyond the fact that it was due to “inappropriate conduct,” I’d like to think that in this case — unlike any of the other workplace situations that Savage has been involved in — the talent actually spoke up for the crew. Did Dulé Hill have anything to do with that? Who knows! But I do know from various podcast interviews that Psych seems to have a no-assholes policy on their sets, save for the occasional brief appearance from Kristy Swanson (who, note, did not appear in the most recent Psych movie). Hill, after all, spent four years working with one asshole early in his career on West Wing, so maybe — and again, this is just speculation — he didn’t want to work with another, particularly someone who might have been an asshole to the crew. You know who else worked on Psych for seven years? Saladin K. Patterson, the creator of The Wonder Years reboot.

I’m just glad that someone — whoever it was — finally spoke up and demanded that Fred Savage keep his entitled, toxic workplace behavior off their set. I also sincerely hope that the series is picked up for a second season, because not only is it a good family sitcom, it has steadily improved throughout its first season.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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