Small Wonder


Small Wonder Information

Small Wonder is an American science fiction sitcom that aired in first-run syndication from September 7, 1985 to May 20, 1989. The show chronicles the family of a robotics engineer who, after he secretly creates a robot modeled after a real human girl, tries to pass it off as their daughter. The show was created under Metromedia Productions, as the rights to the show were acquired by 20th Century Fox Television in 1986.

Premise

The storylines revolve around V.I.C.I. (an acronym for "Voice Input Child Identicant", pronounced Vicki), an android in the form of a 10-year-old girl, built by Ted Lawson, an engineer/inventor for United Robotronics, in an effort to assist handicapped children. The robot is taken home by Lawson so that it can mature within a family environment. V.I.C.I.'s features include superhuman strength and speed, an AC outlet under her right arm, a serial port under her left arm, and an access panel in her back. Despite this, the Lawson family tries to pass the robot off as their daughter.

The Lawson family tries to keep the robot's existence a secret, but their disagreeable neighbors, the Brindles, keep on popping up at the most unexpected moments "? especially nosy next-door neighbor Harriet whose dad just happens to be Ted Lawson's co-worker. The show's humor frequently derived from V.I.C.I.'s attempts to learn human behavior, V.I.C.I's literal interpretation of speech and the family's efforts to disguise the robot's true nature.

To explain child actress Tiffany Brissette's aging during the show, Ted gave V.I.C.I. an upgrade in the series' third season. He aged her face, dressed her in modern clothes, and allowed her to eat and drink. The food passed through her naturally and the drink cooled her internal system.

Characters

  • Victoria "Vicki" Ann Smith-Lawson (Tiffany Brissette) - A robot modeled after a real human girl. The robot was a Voice Input Child Identicant (V.I.C.I.), but was nicknamed Vicki. She has real hair and realistic skin. She possesses super human strength and speed and runs on atomic power. Vicki has an access panel in her back, an electric socket in her right armpit, and an RS-232 serial port under her left armpit. Vicki's artificial intelligence is not perfect. She is incapable of emotion, speaks in a monotone voice, and interprets most commands literally. She does manage to blend in to the real world to a point. Vicki attends school, and no one but her family members and a few trusted friends know her secret. Occasionally Vicki had rare abilities that seemed to only appear in one or two episodes, such as elongating her neck to reach a door's peephole, shrinking her size to become as small as a doll or making herself ten feet tall to get noticed by everyone. One recurring theme was that Vicki had a super-powered learning system which enabled her to improve upon something such as a new detergent or to greatly increase the gas mileage of cars, which Ted and Jamie often saw as a chance to get rich quick, only to find her improvements were not perfect. Vicki lives in a large cabinet in Jamie's bedroom, and becomes more human over the course of the show.
  • Jamie Lawson (Jerry Supiran) - The 12 year old son of Ted and Joan.
  • Ted Lawson (Dick Christie) - Jamie's father. Vicki's creator. A robotics engineer who originally created Vicki as a domestic servant whose girl-child appearance was only meant to be a selling point.
  • Joan Lawson (Marla Pennington) - Ted's wife. Joan regards Vicki as a real person more than anyone else on the show does.
  • Harriet Brindle (Emily Schulman) - The nosy neighbors' daughter who has a crush on Jamie.

Recurring

  • Brandon Brindle (William Bogert) - Harriet's father. Becomes Ted Lawson's boss after stealing Ted's ideas.
  • Bonnie Brindle (Edie McClurg) - Harriet's mother. Written out after the second season.
  • Ida Mae Brindle (Alice Ghostley) - Brandon's outspoken, know-it-all sister, who is nearly identical to his wife Bonnie.
  • Reggie Williams (Paul C. Scott) - Jamie's best friend.
  • Jessica (Lihann Jones) - Jamie's sometime girlfriend.
  • Warren Enright (Daryl Bartley) - Jamie's sometime school friend.
  • Vanessa (Tiffany Brissette) - Evil robot who looks identical to Vicki, but does not speak in monotone. (Seen in seasons 3 and 4)

2009 reunion

On January 14, 2009, on Fox's The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, Tiffany Brissette appeared in-studio as a guest for a "Where Are They Now?" segment; unbeknownst to her until the segment began, Dick Christie, Marla Pennington, and Edie McClurg were all present for the interview via satellite. Fond remarks and memories were shared about Brissette in the very brief segment. On the show, Brissette had stated that she was living in Boulder, Colorado and attending nursing school.

International airings

In the United Kingdom, the show was screened regionally on the ITV Network and in the early 1990s on Sky One. In Italy, the show appeared in the mid-1980s on Italia 1 network and was titled "Super Vicky". In France, the series was shown as "Petite merveille" on [[Canal+]], starting in November 1985. In Spain, the show was broadcast on Antena 3 Televisión as Un robot en casa in December 1995. In India, China, Pakistan and other Asian countries, Small Wonder was syndicated on local TV stations and the Star TV Network in the mid-1990s. In Latin America, the show appeared on Rede Globo and, later, TV Record in Brazil and was called "Super Vicky", VTV (Venezolana de Television) in Venezuela between 1987 and 1990, Canal 13 in Argentina, and Frecuencia Latina in Peru, where it was called La pequeña maravilla. In the Philippines, it aired on GMA Network in the mid-1980s, and on ABC in 1992. In Saudi Arabia, it was aired during the '80s as a daily family show during the month of Ramadhan on Saudi TV (Channel 2). India on Star Plus first in English then in Hindi most of the time.

Awards and critical reception

Year Award Category Recipient
1986 Young Artist Award Best Young Supporting Actress in a New Television Series Emily Schulman
1987 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Long-Running Series, Comedy or Drama
In 2002, Robert Bianco, TV critic for USA Today, listed it as a contender for one of the worst TV shows of all time. This was repeated in 2003 by Mark Lewisohn of the BBC who referred to the program as, "widely considered one of the worst low-budget sitcoms of all time."

Episodes

First Season

Episode # Prod # Episode Name/Summary Original Air Date
1-01 101 Vicki's Homecoming Vicki is brought from Ted's lab in a briefcase, to help VICI learn human behaviour.

September 7, 1985
1-02 102 The Neighbors Nosy neighbors, the Brindles, invite themselves over for dinner due to a power outage at their house. Naturally, Vicki tickles their curiosity, leading them to ask several questions that the Lawsons have no answers for. Can the Lawsons keep Vicki from blowing the evening - and her cover?

September 14, 1985
1-03 103 The Sitter In need of a sitter for son Jamie, Ted and Joan decide to give Vicki the job for the evening. But can Jamie be trusted to not take advantage of a useful robot? And is Vicki ready to be a sitter?

September 21, 1985
1-04 104 The Suitor When Jamie's classmate Warren stops by the house, he becomes smitten with Vicki. But when Jamie tries to interfere in the relationship by programming Vicki with insults, Warren's feelings are hurt.

September 28, 1985
1-05 105 Sibling Rivalry Feeling neglected due to his parents' preoccupation with Vicki, Jamie decides to run away. But when he uses Vicki to avoid contact with his parents, the family gets a scare.

October 5, 1985
1-06 106 Spielberg, Jr. Jamie turns into a dictator when he puts himself in charge of his school project. But best friend Reggie and Jamie's parents won't let him continue without being taught a lesson in etiquette.

October 12, 1985
1-07 107 The Lie Jamie's parents don't believe him when he says that Harriet's cousin was the one who broke a teapot. Leave it to the robot and her tape recorder to save the day.

October 19, 1985
1-08 108 The Bully When a bully extorts Jamie's Fearless Five Club for a daily dollar, Jamie ends up with a black eye. Lucky for him and the club, Vicki is tougher than any bully

October 26, 1985
1-09 109 Slightly Dishonorable Jamie uses Vicki's new speed-scan reading ability to complete 55 chapters of his homework overnight, which earns him the school honor roll"?along with snowballing guilt.

November 2, 1985
1-10 110 The Adoption When nosy Mrs. Brindle reports the Lawsons to child services for not having Vicky enrolled in school, the Lawsons rush to forge adoption papers. But their plan gets complicated when a doctor's exam is required - on their robot.

November 9, 1985
1-11 111 Child Genius Ms. Fernwald of Child Services forces the Lawsons to hire a tutor for Vicki. But when the tutor gets too excited about Vicki's super memory, Ted gets worried and comes up with an idea for a replacement teacher.

November 16, 1985
1-12 112 Ted's New Boss Brandon gets a promotion, and becomes Ted's boss.The Brindles house catches fire, and the Brindles come to the Lawson's home, in fear of her husband getting fired Joan allows them to stay, but they do not leave the Lawson's home after the smoke has cleared, the fire was faked by the Brindles to get insurance money.

November 23, 1985
1-13 113 Brainwashed Harriet teaches Vicki how she should throw tantrums and get money and toys from parents. When the Lawsons find this out, Vicki is taken to Ted's lab to get her fixed, meanwhile Harriet calls the Police and files a missing complaint.

November 30, 1985
1-14 114 The Burrito Story When Vicki creates too many Burritos, Jamie and Reggie decide to sell them for money.

January 4, 1986
1-15 115 The Camping Trip The Lawson family go to a camping trip with Reggie and Harriet, Ted tells Joan that they are lost and not to tell it to the kids, when looking for wood, Vicki smells chili dogs, Jamie and Reggie see they are near a zoo with a food stand. The three of them Got to the zoo to eat the chilly dogs, at night the family is woken at the sound of a lion, Jamie finally tells the truth and all of them go to check if the food stand is still open.

January 11, 1986
1-16 116 Love Story Jamie falls in love for the first time, with a new girl at school named Jessica.Jamie tries to impress her numerous times but fails, finally he invites her to a party at his house, but she brings her boyfriend with her, Jamie gets angered and begins to like his tomboy friend, who now looks beautiful.

January 18, 1986
1-17 117 Substitute Father Brandon agrees to be Jamie's substitute father for a school family picnic because Ted was busy with his golf game.

January 25, 1986
1-18 118 The Robot Nappers People from Tentrix electronics send executives to Ted's office, impressed by him they decide to talk to him for a proposition, he invites them for dinner. Ted wants to expand Vicki's capability by selling her design to the electronics company. The executives are surprised after seeing Vicki and suspect she is a robot and plan to kidnap her and not credit Ted, when spying on Jamie's room, he notices Harriet doing R2D2 impressions, and think she's the robot. The executives ask Brandon for a meeting and leave the Lawson's house.

February 8, 1986
1-19 120 The Company Takeover United Robotronics cutbacks have the Lawsons scrambling for odd jobs.

February 15, 1986
1-20 123 Good Ol' Lou Ted becomes obsessed about being thin and fit when his fat friend turns into a fit man, he programs Vicki to train the family, resulting in a very strict exercise routine.Ted also makes the family eat some fibrous but not so tasty cereal.

February 22, 1986
1-21 121 Like Father, Like Son Ted becomes excited that his son is playing football on his school's Peewee League, but Jamie is cut out, Jamie tries to tell his father the truth but seeing him all excited he can't say it.

March 1, 1986
1-22 122 Vaudeville Vicki When a vaudeville actor thinks Vicki is his long-lost daughter, he drafts her into a show and threatens her adoption.

May 3, 1986
1-23 119 The Real Facts of Life Vicki tells Harriet about birds and bees when Harriet inquires how babies are made, Brandon is furious at Ted on what Vicki told his daughter, and now he has to tell her the truth in ways an eight-year-old could understand.Jamie also inquires about babies with Ted but he could not tell. Ted wants to buy a book to explain the Facts of Life to Jamie.

May 10, 1986
1-24 124 The Grandparents Ted's parents come for a week long visit, the family introduce Vicki to Ted's parents, Ted's father quickly bonds with Vicki, until he is told that she's a robot, and he hates robots because they took away his job, but when Vicki saves grandpa from a heart attack, he likes her again.

May 17, 1986

Second Season

Episode # Prod # Episode Name Original Air Date
2-01 215 Chewed Out September 13, 1986
2-02 201 Money, Money, Money September 20, 1986
2-03 203 My Mother the Teacher When Jamie's teacher is ill, Mrs. Lawson gets hired as a substitute.

September 27, 1986
2-04 213 Here Comes the Judge October 4, 1986
2-05 209 Home Sweet Homeless October 11, 1986
2-06 212 Crazy Like a Fox October 18, 1986
2-07 210 The Older Woman October 25, 1986
2-08 204 Who's the Boss? November 1, 1986
2-09 207 P-P-P Paula Jamie is assigned to help a stuttering girl gain confidence to give an oral report. Vicki decides to get to the root of the stuttering through aversion therapy.

November 8, 1986
2-10 211 You Gotta Have Heart November 15, 1986
2-11 202 The Shoplifter November 22, 1986
2-12 208 Thanksgiving Story November 29, 1986
2-13 206 Neighborhood Watch December 6, 1986
2-14 205 Movin' Up January 10, 1987
2-15 221 Top Secret January 17, 1987
2-16 218 The Personality Kid January 24, 1987
2-17 216 Matchmaker, Matchmaker January 31, 1987
2-18 223 Little Miss Shopping Mall February 7, 1987
2-19 214 Victor/Vicki-toria Jamie disguises Vicki as a boy named Victor to aid his struggling baseball team, but Ted is unsure about having a robot play against a bunch of little boys.

February 14, 1987
2-20 222 Look Into My Eyes February 21, 1987
2-21 217 Wally the Wimp February 28, 1987
2-22 219 The Cat's Meow May 9, 1987
2-23 220 Vicki Goodwrench May 16, 1987
2-24 224 Double Wedding May 23, 1987

Third Season

Episode # Prod # Episode Name Original Air Date
3-01 303 Woodward and Bernstein September 12, 1987
3-02 312 Everyone Into the Pool September 19, 1987
3-03 314 Whodunit? September 26, 1987
3-04 306 Bride and Groom October 3, 1987
3-05 302 It's Okay to Say No October 10, 1987
3-06 307 Read My Lips October 17, 1987
3-07 316 The Promotion October 24, 1987
3-08 320 The Lawsonville Horror October 31, 1987
3-09 308 The Bad Seed November 7, 1987
3-10 318 Breakfast of Criminals November 14, 1987
3-11 317 The Fats of Life November 21, 1987
3-12 309 The Bank Job November 28, 1987
3-13 305 Oooga Mooga December 5, 1987
3-14 301 Here Today, Gone Tomorrow January 16, 1988
3-15 304 Bye Bye Brindles January 23, 1988
3-16 319 For Sale by Robot January 30, 1988
3-17 411 Ronald McDonald House February 6, 1988
3-18 325 The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming February 13, 1988
3-19 311 I'll Drink to That February 20, 1988
3-20 313 Big J, the D.J. (Special guest star NFL star Lyle Alzado) February 27, 1988
3-21 324 The Rock Band April 30, 1988
3-22 415 Book-It May 7, 1988
3-23 310 Safety First May 14, 1988
3-24 320 When You Hear the Beep May 21, 1988

Fourth Season

Episode # Prod # Episode Name Original Air Date
4-01 409 Divided We Stand September 17, 1988
4-02 413 Double Dates September 24, 1988
4-03 315 The Gang's All Here October 1, 1988
4-04 422 Rashomon October 15, 1988
4-05 410 Come Fly With Me October 22, 1988
4-06 322 Love at First Byte October 29, 1988
4-07 405 The Sheik November 5, 1988
4-08 403 Togetherness November 12, 1988
4-09 416 My Favorite Martian November 19, 1988
4-10 406 Mommie Dearest November 26, 1988
4-11 407 No Laughing Matter December 4, 1988
4-12 401 Tag, You're It December 11, 1988
4-13 404 The Jailbirds January 7, 1989
4-14 408 Riches to Rags January 14, 1989
4-15 418 Radio Days January 21, 1989
4-16 421 Kid-O-Grams January 28, 1989
4-17 402 More About L.E.S. February 4, 1989
4-18 420 Hooray for Hollyweird! February 11, 1989
4-19 419 Minnesota Vicki February 18, 1989
4-20 417 Vicki Doolittle February 25, 1989
4-21 414 The Tattletale April 29, 1989
4-22 323 The Strike May 6, 1989
4-23 412 See No Evil May 13, 1989
4-24 326 Thy Neighbor's Wife May 20, 1989

DVD releases

Shout! Factory has released the first two seasons of Small Wonder on DVD in Region 1. Season 2 was released as a Shout! Factory select title, available exclusively through their online store.

DVD Name Ep# Region 1
The Complete First Season 24 February 16, 2010
The Complete Second Season? 24 June 22, 2010
? - Shout! Factory select title

References in popular culture

  • American Dad!: In the episode "Haylias", Hayley's secret agent code name is "Small Wonder". And, in "Brains, Brains and Automobiles", a flashback in Roger's mind shows him auditioning for the part of V.I.C.I. in the 1980s.
  • Family Guy: In the episode "Brian Goes Back to College", Tiffany Brissette is seen at the Small Wonder booth at a convention of fans of 1980s TV series.
  • I'm With Busey: In the episode "Technology: Rise of the Robots", Gary Busey is (in real life) fooled into temporarily believing that a young girl, dressed and acting like V.I.C.I., is actually a robot (series regular Adam de la Pena includes an explanation describing Small Wonder and Brissette).
  • MADtv: In episode #707 (November 24, 2001), V.I.C.I. (played by Stephnie Weir) was parodied in a spoof of the TV game show The Weakest Link, where all the contestants were classic American TV stars.
  • The Small Wonder Experience: A musical group from Joshua Tree, California named after the television program (and also in honor of the famous guitarist Jimi Hendrix). The band's songwriter and guitarist, Leslie Mariah Andrews, cites the show as a memorable influence on some of her early work.
  • TV Junkies: In the episode "I, Wonder: It's Small Wonder meets I, Robot" (Episode #16) of this YouTube-based web comedy, Small Wonder is spoofed simultaneously with the movie I, Robot.
  • Two Broke Girls: In the episode 'And the 90s horse party' they met a bunch of ?80s dance party-attending hipsters at a Laundromat who claim that Tiffany Brissette from the Small Wonder TV show would be attending the party.
  • In (500) Days of Summer the protagonist describes the titular character as being "either an evil, emotionless, miserable human being or she's a robot. Small Wonder. You know, Vicki?"
  • On the audio commentary for the South Park episode "The Simpsons Already Did It", co-creator Matt Stone laments "we only get compared to The Simpsons which is unfortunate that we get compared to one of the best shows on television, ever and one of the most popular shows on television, ever and the show with 350 episodes. So we never get compared to Sister, Sister or Small Wonder, we always get compared to The Simpsons, which I guess is a good thing."

See also

  • Not Quite Human, a series of novels in which a scientist creates an android, passing him off as his son, telling only his daughter the truth. The series was made into several TV movies for the Disney Channel.



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Small_Wonder_%28TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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