- Winnie Cooper on ‘the Wonder Years’ – Let’s face it, she wasn’t hot. She was weird looking. Yet she had Kevin Arnold, adolescent man-whore, completely whipped. Not to mention every other boy in school including, at one time, Kevin’s best friend Paul. She dated the school bully who emasculated Kevin, the popular stud, an older boy…she had em lining up! And Kevin, even though it seemed like almost every episode was about a different girl, always carried a torch for Winnie. Even when he eventually got her and they dated, she kept him on his toes. Ironically, the opposite of Winnie Cooper, which most girls are, was played by Winnie’s real life sister, in an episode where she dated Kevin but realized he still liked Winnie. This girl, Becky Slater, was aggressive, needy, clingy and jealous. Sound familiar? In the end, Kevin was afraid of Becky and always went back to Winnie. It says a lot about me that I identified more with Kevin then with Winnie. I HATED Winnie Cooper!
2. Rebecca Donaldson on ‘Full House’ – The fact that she was pretty didn’t make her a Rules girl…in fact, she aptly portrayed the opposite in a film ‘Secret Admirer’, where she played a guy’s female best friend who was secretly and hopelessly in love with him. Becky was different. She was attracted to Uncle Jesse right away. I mean, who wasn’t? But she didn’t show it. She acted indifferent, unimpressed, even offended by his overtures. She certainly didn’t hop in to bed with him…EVER. Not even after they got married and had those adorable Sprouse twins! Okay, now I’m being ridiculous. Anyway, the way she played hottie Stamos landed her the role of “Aunt Becky”.
3. Ashley Frasier on ‘Fifteen’ – A lesser-known show on Nickelodeon, this show had me hooked because I was fascinated by this Ashley character who was beautiful, shy, demure, classy, and irresistible. All guys wanted her and all girls wanted to be friends with her. At such a young age I was impressed with this actresses ability to portray such a quintessential rules girl. Ashley got the hottest guys and when she ended up dating the school jerk, she didn’t tolerate him for long. Even when guys had her, they never really had her. Classic love avoidant. So fun to watch!
4. Kelly Kapowski on ‘Saved By the Bell’ – This one is a no-brainer. Kelly had the two most popular guys in school fighting over her constantly. Then she dumped the hotter one for a hotter older man! She broke player Zack Morris’s heart over and over. She was the right mix of indifferent and sweet. Couple interesting things about this rules girl: a) She lost her juju in the later years once she let Zack go…she became kind of a ditz instead of what she was. b) Tiffani Amber Thiessen also played the exact opposite of a rules girl, Valerie Malone, and Kelly (though she was about two cup sizes smaller) was arguably MUCH hotter than Valerie simply because of her Rules girl status. c) Random side note I found interesting: the man who played Kelly Kapowski’s father also played Tiffini Amber’s gynecologist who performed her rape kit in a Lifetime movie. Creepy.
5. Last but certainly not least, Kristin Cavallari on ‘the Hills’ – This one’s for real. Kristin is probably more of a “Bitch” than a Rules Girl, but this girl gets shit done. I’m sure she puts out on the first date, but somehow she manages to always have the upper hand. When her friend Alex on the show asked her what she does to always have guys all over her, she replied correctly, “It’s ’cause I’m a bitch!” She had the hottest guys on Laguna Beach and in Hollywood looking like idiots trying to get her attention. The fact that she was on television for many years before I ever saw her cry over a guy is telling. And that bitch can’t act, so that shit was for real.
Feel free to add other rules girls to this list. For the record, later female characters were the opposite of Rules girls, a la Angela Chase on ‘My So-Called Life’ and ‘Felicity’ on ‘Felicity’. These girls break all the Rules, and that’s why modern girls identified with them.