Hi everyone.

I am Jason Hervey. You might know me as Wayne from THE WONDER YEARS, and my latest project is as creator/executive producer of WGN America’s newest docudrama “Outlaw Country", premiering tonight, February 24 at 10 PM ET / 7 PM Pacific.

The show is an unscripted ride-along on both sides of the law and chronicles the clash between two sets of brothers in Buckner, Missouri: Mike and Steve Cook, the town’s Chief of Police and Buckner Criminal Task Force liaison, respectively, and John and Josh Monk, who maintain their innocence in the face of the Cooks’ allegations that they are behind the community’s recent surge in criminal activity. You can learn more about "Outlaw Country" here.

I'm looking forward to answering your questions today.

Victoria's helping me over the phone, so AMAA!


Update Thanks, appreciate everybody participating and I encourage all of you to give OUTLAW COUNTRY on WGN a look - and thank you for your support over the years, both during The Wonder Years and for BHE's latest project!

Comments: 105 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

EarthboundCory31 karma

Everybody here is talking about The Wonder Years or Back to the Future, but my real question involves The Monster Squad.

After you beat the crap out of that kid and Rudy comes up to you and threatens you, was the candy bar that you ate really the one that was stepped on?

JasonHervey48 karma

No. And my kids recently saw MONSTER SQUAD for the first time, and asked me that exact same question!

And they squished it with a rolling pin, and then put crushed up purple sweet-tarts around the Snickers bar to give it texture and make it look dirty.

There were 2 different Snickers bars. And I ate the clean one.

dreamshoes18 karma

  1. Would you mind calling me a 'scrote?

  2. Did you ever feel you were in danger during the production of your new show, or were you mostly insulated from the filming?

Thanks for the fine work you've done, though I still haven't forgiven you for vacuuming that hamster.

JasonHervey20 karma

Hahahahahah! Um... SCROTE!

(hope that was all you thought it would be)

You know, I felt not necessarily in personal danger? Although in that environment, you always have to be very aware of your surroundings. And there were extremely dangerous, you know, situations in essence that the cast in this documentary was going through. And even though you're standing behind the camera, and not directly involved in the action in front of the camera, but in the huge melee at the bowling alley - that was where you could very easily see it crossing the line.

And getting out of control.

And then Chucky, our advisor, you know... he always kept things safe and really looked out for production. Safety is always a paramount concern for the production company as standard operating procedure, but Chucky always went above & beyond in keeping a watchful eye out for the crew.

And days that were solely focused on law enforcement, those days were a little bit less stressful, because they were investigating the danger, as opposed to always being in the middle of it, although some extremely insane and exciting moments went down with the task force.

Ribelin200015 karma

When you first started out as a child actor, you appeared in a number of hit movies-Back to the Future, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Back to School, Police Academy 2-but one movie I'm surprised you didn't do was The Goonies. I'm wondering, did you audition for a part in that movie?

JasonHervey25 karma

I did.

And I actually had 2 callbacks. And met with the producer and director.

And before it went any further, we realized that there was a scheduling conflict. So who knows what really would've happened if that conflict didn't exist?

Maybe I would've gotten one of the parts, maybe I wouldn't've... but I'm a huge fan of that movie.

suaveitguy14 karma

My favorite Wonder Years, and maybe even TV, moment was the confrontation between Jack Arnold and Louis (John Corbett) about Korea/Vietnam. What was it like to shoot that scene? Does it resonate with you still? What storylines were your favorite?

JasonHervey31 karma

That was an emotional scene, as Dan Lauria (who played our father) was a combat marine who fought in Vietnam. So he shared some personal stories that had an effect on me in that moment. And I think some of the fun for me as Wayne would be the moments where in the right scenario, which seemed like few & far between, Wayne always showed love for Kevin, and ended up doing the right thing.

And then of course, right back to my normal routing of insults and being annoying.

So I guess the moments where Wayne started to show you that he had a heart. It was fun.

But that always took a backseat to what I really loved - which was playing a total ass most of the time!

motown_missile11 karma

I remember you from PeeWee's Big Adventure! What was that like, working with Paul Reubens, Phil Hartman (who co-wrote the movie) and everyone else? Any thoughts on Tim Burton's career since then?

JasonHervey20 karma

That was the second time that I worked with Paul Reubens AND Tim Burton. The first time with Paul was in MEATBALLS 2, and the first time with Tim Burton was in the original FRANKENWEENIE with Sofia Coppola and Daniel Stern.

It was somewhat of a reunion with regard to those guys, who were very welcoming to me, and really let me have fun with the scene! I was the two-faced asshole kid actor. I cracked up during filming, other people cracked up, Paul had made me laugh several times during the take, and it was pretty much a - for the most part - almost an all-day scene. It was just a lot of fun, everybody had a lot of fun on the set.

And of course, I got to ride Pee-wee's bike.

astoriabeatsbk11 karma

I have to tell you, there was a part in Wonder Years (this may have even been the first episode), where Kevin throws a spoon-full of food in your face.

You stood there, took it, waited patiently, and turned to him and said "Tonight, while you sleep, PAL"

My little brother and died laughing every time this episode was on and we re-enacted this about 50 times and I have to just say, thank you for the laughs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weVpKiJZGLM - Found the video if anyone's interested.

JasonHervey20 karma

Thank you very much. Out of all the lines in the Wonder Years, putting aside "butthead" of course, the one that still is alive to this day that my twins say to each other is "Tonight, while you sleep, PAL!"

And Fred and Dan Lauria had an agreement that one of them would mess up the scene on purpose at least 5 or 6 times. And make it appear like it was an accident. And by the 5th or so time, I caught on what they were doing, and I basically grabbed the whole plate of potatoes and started to chase Fred around the set with it, and everybody started cracking up, and I said "I think between those 5 or 6 takes, you can find one that works! NO MORE POTATOES IN THE FACE!"

ArtDSellers10 karma

When you got bottled in that bar by the crazy dude with big-brother issues... just how badly did your buddies rough him up?

JasonHervey14 karma


No comment. But he probably regrets his choices to this day (if I had to take a guess).

RedTerabyte9 karma

If you could go back and get a role on anything in the past, what would it be?

JasonHervey30 karma

Kevin Arnold, this way I could've worn the New York Jets jacket.

badluckdragon7 karma

What's Eric Bischoff really like? What are some of the craziest wrestling stories he has told you that no one else knows about?

JasonHervey11 karma

Eric Bischoff is an amazing human being and business partner. And has a huge heart, is incredibly loyal, and his instincts are second to none. But at the same time, he doesn't suffer fools. One of the best stories was back in WCW, when he challenged Vince McMahon to a fight on pay-per-view, and he shared with me that Hulk Hogan pulled him aside and said "I hope you know... that if Vince shows up, he most likely can and will kick your ass."

And Eric chuckled, and said "I hope he does, as that would certainly create a lot of buzz"- and in the same breath - "if he doesn't show up, and we gave 'em a 10 count, I guess I could say that I won."

ismellliketuna6 karma

How has television evolved since your days on The Wonder Years and what are your favorite shows these days, also with Fred directing Sunny in Philadelphia episodes, might we see you in a cameo soon ?

JasonHervey23 karma

I would absolutely work with Fred as a director, and I think it would be fun as he's turned out to be quite good. But I wouldn't let him boss me around too much before I gave him a wedgie in front of the whole set, haha!

And I actually have worked for Danny DeVito several times. And I've known him since I was a little kid. In fact, I played a young Danny DeVito in a dream sequence on a lost, never-before-aired episode of TAXI. Like, we filmed it, and literally they scrapped it and re-shot it, so somewhere there's this lost episode of TAXI! And it was a dream sequence where Tony Danza, Kaufman, DeVito, all the people at the Taxi place, they were little kids. But I guess James L. Brooks, the executive producer, had a better idea, so they scrapped the whole episode and started from scratch. But ALWAYS SUNNY is hilarious and I think it's a really really fun show. And if I was asked and schedules permitted - I totally would do a cameo.

Horologist_926 karma

Snog marry avoid. Winnie Cooper, your tv mom Norma Arnold and your tv sister Karen Arnold?

JasonHervey19 karma

If you said "give a warm hug to" I'd say all 3. But they're too much like family.

Minifig815 karma

What do you think about the old urban legend that Josh Saviano grew up to be Marilyn Manson?

JasonHervey12 karma

Urban legend...wait, now I'm confused!

JasonHervey7 karma


suaveitguy4 karma

You must have seen some wonderful child actors crash and burn, what is the difference for those that don't? Or those that do, but pull out of it?

JasonHervey12 karma

For me, and those that I know, it was always about (and is about) having a great mom and dad.

It was all about my parents. And for those that aren't fortunate enough to have a mom and a dad (or in some cases, neither), it's all about the support system around you.

beernerd3 karma

So you have two sets of brothers on either side of the law? How did you find these guys?

JasonHervey6 karma

Somebody that we work with said that they had a mayor and a police chief that they wanted to introduce us to, in a small town, in Middle America, that was experiencing a surge in crime. And the mayor was pulling together a task force to address the issue. And we went down there, myself and our technical advisor Chucky went and got on a plane and went down there and met the mayor and chief of police and various members of the task force. And that's really how it started. Was somebody that we work with, provided an introduction! And I thought the people were amazing, so was the situation, and before we left, the Monk brothers reached out and asked to sit down with us and let us know (word travels fast) that we were down there discussing a reality show with law enforcement. And they said they figured their names would probably come up a few times, and if anyone's gonna tell their story, it'a gonna be them! And so the rest.. is history.

AGallagher4103 karma

What's your favorite ride in Disney?

JasonHervey8 karma

My favorite ride at Disney used to be Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, because when my brother and I were teenagers, we would take off our seatbelts and as the ride was going, we would switch places several times. Until, of course, we got thrown off the ride once... and now, my favorite ride to go on with my family is Indiana Jones!

Ribelin20003 karma

You played Gary Coleman's friend on the final season of Diff'rent Strokes. What was it like working on that show? And what was Coleman like?

JasonHervey8 karma

Yea, I played the part of Charlie on that show, and got to work with Robin Givens, and Forest Whittaker, and Gary (may he rest in peace) became a friend. And he was very funny. And later on in life, as a matter of fact several years ago, we had actually produced a reality pilot with Gary for TruTV. It was going to be about Gary settling down with his fiancee, and trying to lead "a normal life" and figure out a career path that he likes, that's different than being an actor. As well as through couples counseling and coming to grips with certain issues he has had to deal with as Arnold Jackson and later in life with some of his health issues.

He was always good to me. RIP Gary.

suaveitguy3 karma

What a filmography! So many classic 80s films and tv shows. Was it a relief to leave acting behind? What was that decision/transition like?

JasonHervey7 karma

I think you never truly leave it behind. At least, that's not the way I see it in my mind.

I love it. But I don't miss it. As I enjoy the notion of never say never. I started working on my producing career with the first project I had created and produced at 17 years old, called "Wide World of Kids," whereby we did 26 half-hour episodes primarily on NBC stations through syndication.

moiraroundabout3 karma

Jesus man, it's a testament to how well you played Wayne, even now I wanna punch you, so, erm, well done!

Going back into your distant past, did Thomas F. Wilson give you any tips on your delivery of the insult butthead you used to such effect in The Wonder Years?

JasonHervey9 karma

No coaching from Wilson, LOL!

I guess Fred / Kevin brought out the best "butthead" delivery that I was capable of.

Or was I performing?

LOL just kidding!

suaveitguy2 karma

Hey butthead! When did you start in reality TV? How much has it changed since you started? How much can you talk about the scripting/editing process?

JasonHervey5 karma

The first big reality show that we did at BHE TV was "I wanna be a Hilton" for NBC, with Paris Hilton's mom. And as far as the scripting and editing process, that really depends on the format of the show. If it is, for instance, a host-driven competition / elimination type series, there is potentially lots of scripting (for the host and the setups, etc). But if it's a documentary series, like OUTLAW COUNTRY premiering tonight (hint hint, don't miss it), there was no scripting.

suaveitguy2 karma

What makes for a good reality show vs. a bad one? What is the Citizen Kane (or Wonder Years) of reality tv, in your opinion?

JasonHervey7 karma

I think that it always comes down to 2 things: Who are the characters, and what is the world they are operating within.

Who are they, what do they do, is there conflict, what are the stakes, and if it's not relatable - is it aspirational?

And is there a takeaway?

All of those ingredients go into making a good show. Ones that rest on on a gimmick, or shock without story, don't usually last very long. And sometimes things look better on paper than they do in reality.

Heron782 karma

I went to elementary school in Buckner, Missouri--I actually grew up on a farm nearby. So why set the show in Buckner, of all places?

JasonHervey5 karma

You know, we followed the story. And where these real people are. You have to remember, it's a documentary, so we didn't get to pick a fictitious location like you would in a scripted TV show or a movie. We went to where these people really are.

erikbstone2 karma

what are network executives like? Don't know much about WGN, how are they like working with?

JasonHervey5 karma

WGN has been amazing to work with. Their executives are true fans of television, and are extremely seasoned executives. And they are energetic, supportive, and gave us a lot of freedom to make the show that we are passionate about, and a story that is being told in this documentary. At the same time, they're very supportive and collaborative with a lot of value-added guidance. It has been a first-rate experience on every level.

Frajer2 karma

What was it like voicing a dog on 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd?

JasonHervey4 karma

HAD A BLAST. And Tommy Lynch, the executive producer of that, was the same EP from the show KIDS INCORPORATED that I did a guest spot on where my storyline was with Stacy Ferguson - aka Fergie!

So I've known Tommy for a long time. And Seth Green was the voice of Eddie in season 1, and I was the voice in season 2. I would go into a recording booth for an hour or two, record 3 or 4 episodes at a time, and leave. And it was a lot of fun.

nanyanwu1 karma

What are your favorite TV shows?

JasonHervey7 karma

Oh boy.

I have a lot.

For different reasons.

I love Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, BANSHEE, SALEM, and of course - OUTLAW COUNTRY starting tonight! Don't miss it!