Saturday, June 25, 2016

Side Project and Your Opinion on Something...

Hi guys! So, I've been working on a side project on my YouTube channel, where I review very special episodes. This week, I did one that may be of interest to you guys:

It's not the same style as Small Wonder Reviewed so it's something different from when I get around to reviewing the episode for real. There is a couple of jokes you might see forming, but I wasn't looking at it the same way.

Speaking of updating this blog, I asked this on the Facebook page, but I'm going to ask it here, too: Would you guys be okay if I started using video clips instead of screencaps for the rest of the series?

I ask this because getting screencaps is the biggest bane of my existence. It's hard to capture them without playbars being present, I have to edit every single one of them - it's a whole, frustrating thing. Plus, Small Wonder is so special effects heavy, there are times I know the screencaps aren't doing justice.

The clips would be so short that the thumbnail would probably serve as a good screencap, except with a play button, but... it would ultimately be less frustrating for me.

But, some people may be put off by videos instead of screencaps and I respect that. I may have to work out a medium. But I do want to hear what you guys think about that.

I'll be back as soon as I can. The next episode is, ironically, Smoker's Delight, which I swear will get the full review that it deserves, after I hear your feedback.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Season 2, Episode 14: Victor Vickitoria

Once again, I owe you screencaps. They're coming.

I have an insane soft spot for this episode and “Wham Bam Bodyslam.” Let’s get that piece of information out of the way. When Small Wonder stopped airing on affiliates, they were the only two episodes I had on VHS. I watched the heck out of them. And I’m risking childhood memories for your entertainment. That’s okay. I’ve seen the episodes so many times, that I’ve probably already snarked on them at least a little. Let’s do it. Let’s harden my soft spot.

We start with Vicki and Jamie on the couch, watching a baseball game. Jamie is tossing a ball into his mitt as he watches, and I mean, my brother is a hardcore Atlanta Braves fan and I have never in my life seen him watch a game like that. Sure, he’d make us play catch after or something, but during the game he was focused on the game. The pitcher in the game strikes someone out, and Jamie asks Vicki if she saw that. She’s sitting next to you. Of course she saw that. Vicki responds by saying she can throw a fastball like that, and without hesitation takes Jamie’s ball and throws it through the kitchen door. That wacky robot!

Jamie is sure Ted will kill them when Harriet rings the front door bell and announces herself. I have many questions. How does Harriet always know what room Jamie is in? Why is she announcing herself when she usually doesn’t? Is Harriet actually a robot? Wait, no, Brandon’s not that smart. Anyway, Jamie makes Vicki answer the door while he retrieves the ball. Harriet wants to know if Jamie can come out and play, but he says he’s busy, so Harriet decides to come in and play. Jamie does not seem satisfied with these results. Okay, I didn’t mention Jamie turned off the TV before because I didn’t think it was worth mentioning, but then he turns it back on when he comes back in from the kitchen. Why, Jamie? What was the point?

Jamie’s back to watching the game, and Harriet seems disappointed. Jamie points out he’s the catcher for his team, and since they start practice soon, he needs to watch the games for pointers. I’m sure how that works. I mean, Vicki totally nailed pitching from watching the game. But then again, she’s a robot. Harriet, ever the good future wife, decides she needs to take an interest in her man’s interests. Jamie asks Harriet to sit somwhere else, and she moves to the other side of him. Harriet is adorable. Harriet asks Jamie to teach her about baseball, and he gets an evil look on his face. Why do you resist your love, Jamie Lawson? Jamie turns off the TV again, and the kicks Harriet out of the house. Jamie is an awful future husband.

Ted and Joan come downstairs, and I don’t even want to question why it took them so long to come down. It’s Small Wonder. I know. Ted has bats and a mitt, and once they’re in the living room Ted tells Joan she looks like a pack of bubblegum. Didn’t you see what she was wearing upstairs? How is this the time to point it out? Also, dude, you know Joan hits. Joan tells Ted to chew on it. I love her. Ted asks if Jamie’s ready to practice, and Jamie couldn’t be any more excited. He says Reggie is going to meet them.

Joan notices the door, which actually takes a really long time for her to notice. It’s like she was looking everywhere but the door just long enough for Ted and Jamie to exchange dialog. Ted demands answers. Jamie says Vicki did it, but it’s just as much his fault. How, Jamie? All you did was ask her if she saw the strike out. All the rest was Vicki. Also, what have you done with Jamie Lawson? Joan and Ted forgive it pretty easily, with Ted reminding Jamie to be careful with what he tells Vicki. Oh my gosh, a fair punishment in the Lawson home. I’m in awe. Ted says that Vicki is going to go, too, so she can learn about baseball. Vicki says she knows about baseball and kicks Ted out the way Jamie did with Harriet. I love Vicki so much.

The Lawsons show up to the baseball field and Reggie is already there. Ted says if the boys play really hard, maybe their team will make it to the championships. Ted just pushed the exposition button. Apparently, the team is so bad, they came in last place and their sponsor quit on them - they don’t even have uniforms. Joan suggests Ted ask his company because United Robotronics sponsors lots of youth projects. Ted says that’s a good idea and then gets the boys practicing without even taking a breath. But it took Joan the better part of a minute to notice a hole in the door. Pacing, guys. Pacing.

Oh my gosh, Vicki and Ted have a stare down that Joan has to break up because Vicki called Ted out on doing a bad impersonation. I love these two. Joan decides she wants to play, and Ted conveniently has another glove for her. He tells her to go out into the outfield and she wonders if the glove goes on her hand. Come on, Joan. Nobody is that sport stupid. Ted tells Vicki to stand out of the way. Then he pitches to Reggie and throws his back out. Vicki makes fun of Ted. I love her. Joan takes Ted home and she tells the kids to be back by dinner time. Yep, that’s right, they left Vicki, too. This is going to be good. On the way out, Ted’s head bumps into the chainlink fence, and I actually laughed out loud at that. That was a fun gag.

Reggie asks what he and Jamie will do with no one to pitch to them, and Jamie suggests that Vicki can do it. Reggie doesn’t believe a girl can pitch, but Jamie doesn’t think they have anything to lose. Reggie thinks it’s a waste of time, but Jamie tells Vicki to repeat the pitch she saw on TV that morning. Vicki pitches so fast, Jamie is thrown back when he catches it. Then Jamie tells Vicki to throw a slow ball. It moves impossibly slow. Then Jamie asks for a curveball, and the ball swerves all over the place. Reggie keeps swinging to try to hit it, but the first time it was over his head. Dude, that’s clearly a ball and you have to let it go. Reggie is impressed with Vicki’s pitching skill.

Meanwhile, in the Lawson kitchen, Ted is in a lot of pain. Joan suggests that Ted’s involvement with Jamie’s baseball team should be limited to finding the team a sponsor. Ted agrees and decides to call his company’s president. Joan asks if that’s a good idea to do while he’s at home on a Sunday, but Ted says he’s in close with the guy. Oh, I’m going to say you’re not just because you’re not Brandon’s boss. They really overexaggerate how much pain Ted is in with his every movement and it really annoys me. If he’s in that much pain, go to the doctor. Ted makes the call, but the United Robotronics president makes Ted repeat that he will never, ever call him at home on a Sunday ever again. Joan calls Ted out on it, and Ted just has to accept he overinflated some things.

In the backyard, Jamie, Reggie, and Vicki are returning from the baseball field. Reggie is still impressed with Vicki’s skill. Reggie wishes that they had a pitcher like Vicki, and I can see this episode being set up nicely. Jamie decides Vicki should pitch for them, but Reggie points out Coach Simpson won’t let girls on the team. Jamie then says Coach Simpson doesn’t know Vicki is a girl. Reggie thinks that’s a dumb idea, but after Jamie points out that they don’t have a chance without her, Reggie wants to know how they’ll convince Coach that Vicki is a boy. Then we go to commercial break. They don’t even do that fake whisper plan thing. It’s awkward.

In the kitchen, Ted is going through the Yellow Pages, trying to find a sponsor for Jamie’s team. He’s down to Wally’s Delicatessen, who can’t sponsor the team but will donate a chop liver baseball and kosher pickle bat for opening day. I would say not bad, but really - chopped liver? There’s a knock at the backdoor, and it turns out to be Reggie. I seriously want to know how everyone knows which room the Lawsons happen to be in. Joan sends Reggie up to Jamie’s room.

Wow, it takes Reggie less than a second to get up to Jamie’s room. Did he teleport? Anyway, Jamie comes out of the bathroom right when Reggie materializes in Jamie’s room, so the timing is perfect. Reggie wants to know why Jamie called Reggie and told him to hurry over. I want to know how Jamie called Reggie. Ted’s on the phone looking for sponsors in the Yellow Pages and he’s down to the Ws. It’s 1986, so it’s not like Jamie texted Reggie. I need answers. Jamie has dressed Vicki up in his baseball clothes and I mean, she’s still obviously a girl, but okay, let’s go along with the episode. Reggie decides while Vicki is just standing their that they need to work on Vicki’s walk, but in teaching Vicki how to walk like a boy, Jamie and Reggie seem to forget themselves. Reggie then tries to teach Vicki how to talk like a jock, and then Reggie smacks Jamie on the butt. Vicki questions that, but Jamie’s like, “It’s a jock thing.” That has always been weird to me. What is the point of the butt smack? I know that’s not on Small Wonder, but it’s still on my list of important questions. Then they teach Vicki how to pick up girls, because I’m sure that’s going to come up in a game of baseball. Guys, how far are you trying to take this charade?

Harriet pops up in the window, and she somehow thinks Vicki is a cute boy. Then Vicki hits on Harriet, and Harriet tells Jamie that she’s going to leave him for “Victor.” That’s how femslash fiction gets started, guys. What is happening in this episode? Jamie closes the shade on Harriet, but Harriet makes sure to say bye to “Victor.” Jamie is pleased that Harriet is fooled, because they can fool anyone. Jamie makes sure he and Reggie is in this scam together, but as soon as Ted and Joan come up to Jamie’s room, Reggie bolts.

Ted demands to know why Vicki is dressed like a boy. Then Vicki hits on Joan. That’s your mother, Vicki. Jamie owns up to trying to use Vicki to help the team win the championship, but Joan and Ted are quick to point out that’s cheating. This was when, as a kid, I wondered how it was fair to try to raise a robot like a kid knowing that it couldn’t really do anything like a kid. No wonder Vicki’s always getting attitude with Ted. Jamie does not agree with his parents.

Jamie takes Vicki to tryouts anyway. Hey, it’s the same coach that cut Jamie from the football team! So I guess there’s only one coach in this town. Vicki smacks the coach on the butt. She’s a real jock now, I guess. But I guess the baseball team is so bad that coach says a pitcher only has to make the ball to home plate in one bounce or less. It’s good to have standards. Vicki throws a fastball so fast that it smokes. Then she throws another impossible curve ball. Coach decides that “Victor” can be on the team. But then Coach picks up Vicki and her hat falls off, so the jig is up. Coach decides Vicki can still be on the team.

Ted and Joan come down to the baseball field and see that Jamie brought Vicki to tryouts anyway. How did they not notice Vicki leaving a house dressed up like a boy? You know what, it’s Small Wonder - I know. Jamie starts to feel guilty about cheating, so he asks Vicki if she remembers the pitch where Ted threw his back out and then whispers in her ear. I mean, it’s super obvious he told her to throw out her back, right? That’s exactly what Vicki does, and it’s so realistic Joan worries about her. Ted reminds Joan that robots can’t get hurt and theorizes that Jamie’s conscious must have caught up with him. Jamie apologizes to the coach and the Lawsons walk onto the field. Jamie starts to explain, but Ted and Joan say that they saw everything and they’re proud of Jamie. Why? Doing the right thing to fix the wrong thing doesn’t change that he still did the wrong thing after you told him not to. Reggie comes up and asks if Vicki will be okay, and Jamie says she will but the team won’t and they’ll be last place again. Ted reveals that he got the team a sponsor - it’s a mortuary. Vicki says it’s perfect because without her the team will be dead and buried again.

The End. Actually, I was right - I’d seen this episode so many times I’m numb to all the dumbness. But I do wish I could unsee Vicki hitting on Joan. Also, no sex jokes! Because I assume they were doing and not talking in this episode. It’s the only way to explain some things.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Season 2, Episode 13: Here Comes the Judge

The screencaps will be late again this week because of a hectic work schedule. I apologize. I will try to have them up by the end of the weekend.

I only have vague memories of this episode, but I’m pretty sure we get Joan back in the classroom, and I’m a big fan of anything that gets Joan out of the kitchen. Let’s just get right to it.

So of course we start in the kitchen. I was super optimistic for nothing. Vicki is setting the table while Joan is cooking, and based on what she’s wearing, Joan is definitely back to being a teacher. Like they remembered that little detail from 10 episodes ago. The roast Joan was cooking was raw because apparently Joan forgot how to cook and just set the timer. Joan says that Ted is going to growl like a lion, and Vicki is just like, “Then he should like raw meat.” Love that robot. No cares are given. But then Joan has a pretty good idea and has Vicki cook the roast with her finger. Dude, Vicki is faster than a microwave. I would make Vicki cook all my food with her finger - and I’m pro-robot rights. But you know what I’m also in favor of? Food that’s done in 30 seconds.

Ted conveniently comes home just then, through the living room, leaving me confused as to how the Lawsons decide which door to enter. I mean, their garage is in the backyard, right? So I’m starting to understand entering through the kitchen. Stop confusing me, Small Wonder. Ted thinks the roast smells great, and Joan says she slaved all day over it. Vicki kind of scoffs at that, so Joan begrudgingly admits Vicki helped. Ted asks how Joan’s day was, and Joan says she wishes she could substitute for Jamie’s regular teacher more often. Oh my gosh, you guys, Small Wonder actually covered up a continuity gaffe. If only there were Small Wonder related celebration gifs.

Anyway, Joan comments on how well Vicki is doing in class, and Ted says he still gets nervous when she’s out of the house. You were doing so well! Not only was it your idea for Vicki to go to school, Ted, but in the past 10 episodes since this dropped teacher storyline, Vicki has been out of the house a lot. Vicki has been out of the house a lot since season one. Vicki’s had a job, Ted, a job. How are you nervous? Then Ted comments on how Vicki is more human everyday. Then why are you always trying to dismantle her, Ted? I’m already over you and we’re only two minutes in, Ted. Joan says the only real difference is Vicki doesn’t eat at lunch, and Vicki comments on how gross cafeteria food is. No one wants to ask where she learned that from? No? We’re just going to let that line be a cue for Jamie’s entrance? Okay, fine. Come in, Jamie.

Jamie wants furniture polish to clean up a gavel. Three minute mark - and one minute of that was theme song. Congrats, Small Wonder. This is the fastest your nonsense has broken me. Also, this opening is dense. I’m kind of hoping for a light episode after we get this clunkiness out of the way. Ted asks what the gavel’s for, and Jamie says he’s a judge. So Ted makes fun of Jamie’s height. Seriously, Ted, you can go away now. Joan says she’s teaching Jamie’s class about the American Legal system. Since when do substitutes make up the lesson plans? Are you a long term sub or not? Get it together, guys! Joan says that they’re going to try the cases of students who break the rules at school. That is actually inspired. I like that idea. Accept this promise to let one flaw go. Jamie says the other kids voted him for judge because of his judge-like qualities, but Vicki is quick to bust his chops and point out none of the other kids wanted it. Vicki is the best little sister a kid could want.

Ted says he saved the family $50 by not getting a ticket when he parked in front of a fire hydrant. When Jamie asks how Ted missed seeing it, Ted admits he saw it but then gives a long winded speech about not caring. Then we’re at Jamie’s locker at school, and Vicki is standing next to him. I’m letting that one go. Jamie appoints Vicki to be his court reporter, but she says that word is not in her bubble memory module. Remember the good old days when she’d just say she wasn't programmed to know a word? That was less... painful. Then Reggie and Warren show up. Warren! I haven’t seen you since you were getting lusty with Jessica. Please, please get back together with Vicki.

Warren sneezes on Reggie and blames his allergy. Then Warren asks Jamie for some private time before class, where he reveals he’s Jamie’s first case. Jamie says he’ll take care of it, but Reggie is like, “that’s not how real judges act.” Jamie says he’ll learn through trial and error. Reggie’s face at that comment is worth letting two flaws go. Okay, this review is already pretty bulky six minutes in and I just want to type less. Whatever. Anyway, Reggie says Jamie has to be tough like Judge Wapner on People’s Court. Oh, oh, oh! So, I just discovered Sliders, so I think Jamie should be tough like Judge Wapner on Soviet States of America World! Okay, let’s get back to this show. Jamie agrees, and makes Reggie his baliff.

Then we’re in the classroom and Reggie is at the front of the class as Joan tells the kids to settle down. Letting that transition go. Joan says the kids should learn about the justice system by the end of the week, and then tells Reggie to call the court to order. But... nope, cashing in that other letting it go card. Jamie enters and court gets started. Warren takes the stand and tries to butter up the judge from the stand. For a smart guy, Warren, you are stupid. Warren’s crime is running up the down staircase. Is this Wayside school? What is a down staircase? Also, what kind of crime is that? I had really hoped Warren had stink bombed his science class or something. He is the worst nerd ever. Warren pleads guilty and then winks at the judge. This has to be Jessica’s influence. She makes boys stupid. Jamie says that running up the down staircase is a serious offense. No, it is not. It is not even a real thing. Jamie looks like he might go easy on Warren, so Reggie reminds him to think Wapner so Jamie sentences Warren to washing dishes in the cafeteria for six months. Wow. I’m stupefied. I have no other reactions.

Luckily, Joan can react for me. She tells Jamie that the punishment usually fits the crime, so Jamie sentences Warren to eating the food in the cafeteria, too. Joan then clarifies that she thinks the punishment is too harsh. Jamie asks the class what they think, and when they agree with Joan, he ignores everyone. Power goes to your head that fast, huh? The second case turns out to be Reggie. Wait, what? What? Just... what?! No reactions. Jamie says Reggie didn’t say anything, and Reggie says it doesn’t matter because Jamie will let him off. WHAT?! Guys, I can’t. I’m laughing uncontrollably and it’s because of how completely broken I am. Reggie was caught throwing water balloons and there were a lot of witnesses. Then Reggie bribes Jamie with Madonna tickets. You are a horrible person, Reggie Williams. Jamie throws out the case.

Joan decides at that point she needs to know what Reggie and Jamie were whispering about. Like the whole class couldn’t hear them. Jamie objects, but Joan overrules him and has Vicki repeat the conversation. Joan decides that the first case on the docket the next day is Jamie on the charge of accepting a bribe. Good. At least one thing in this episode makes some sense.

That was only act one you guys. Okay, let’s keep going.

So the Lawsons are at the table eating dinner. Jamie butters up Joan hard. Ted calls him out on it with pantomime. Joan says Jamie still has to go on trial, so Jamie appeals to Ted. Dude, Jamie, this is a school issue. It’s not Ted’s problem. Also, let’s not include him in this. He has no moral compass. Ted is like, “don’t drag me into it” but Jamie apparently thinks that means amp it up so he points out Ted got away with breaking the law. Ted says that’s different, but Joan agrees with Jamie’s point. Guys, act two is a really bad time to make the B-plot a thing. That’s what happens when the episode is too dense. Jamie decides Vicki should be his lawyer, but Vicki points out she isn’t programmed to be one. Vicki, sweetie, you learned to jump start a heart from watching TV. You can be a lawyer. Jamie tells her she will be programmed after reading a book, so she kind of agrees?

We cut to Ted flagging down the meter maid and oh my gosh it’s Harriette Winslow! She is pretty adamant that she’s a parking enforcement officer. Being a police officer runs in the Winslow family. Ted asks the meter maid to give a ticket to the car parked in front of the fire hydrant and guys - this is the first time we actually see the Lawson car. Like, we knew they had one but we have never actually seen it. I think it’s actually Discount Eddie’s car, but I want to believe. Harriette Winslow asks if it’s his ex-wife’s car, and when he admits it’s his, she’s like, “well, then, just move it.” Ted really wants a ticket, though, so Harriette Winslow decides to give him one - until she finds out his name is Ted. That’s her two-year-old son’s name and it’s his birthday. No two year old ever in 1986 was named Ted. You’re lying, Harriette Winslow. So Ted throws a temper tantrum, and Harriette Winslow thinks he’s just like her son and walks away. The parking enforcement officer is the best part of this episode. Also, I just realized Harriet Brindle isn’t in this episode. I digress.

We cut to the classroom, and we learn that Warren Enright is the new judge. Jamie’s going to be hanged. Jamie approaches the bench and asks if he has the right to an attorney. When Joan and Warren say that he does, he calls for Lawyer Vicki. Vicki is an adorable lawyer, but a very mixed up one. She asks the court if Jamie has the face of a man who beats his wife. I’m letting that one go because I just can’t right now. Vicki then asks if Jamie is a monkey or a man, then says he’s mentally incompetent and rests. Okay, that was funny. Warren suspends Jamie’s sentence, but Joan makes Warren actually punish Jamie so Warren sentences Jamie to erase the board. But Joan keeps pushing for more, so Warren adds writing “I will not accept bribes” 100 times, two weeks detention, and death by guillotine. Dang, don’t get tried in the court of Warren Enright. Joan guesses they can suspend the death by guillotine. You’re all heart, Joan Lawson.

Jamie apologizes to the class and accepts his punishment like a man. Joan says he got off easy and they should have thrown the book at him, so Vicki literally throws the book at Jamie and knocks him over. At this point I don’t know if I’m laughing because it was funny or because of the trauma. There’s still three minutes left.

We cut to Joan painting her nails at the kitchen table, when the phone rings. Joan comedically answers the phone with wet nails. Ted is on the phone and he regales Joan with his adventures in trying to get a ticket. It ended with him telling law enforcement how to do their job and Ted needing to get bailed out. Joan says she can’t because her nails are wet. I love her. She quickly says she was kidding, but Ted had already been dragged away from the phone at this point. Episode over.

That was not a good kind of dense, you guys. I like some of the denser episodes because they have a goodness that they’re trying to nurture. This episode was punishment. I just got punished for liking Small Wonder, by Small Wonder.

Firsts: we see the Lawson family car.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Season 2, Episode 12: Crazy Like a Fox

We are half way through season 2! Anyway, lets get to this episode, which I remember having no fondness for, and that’s just not a great way to start.

We start with Vicki and Jamie walking home from what appears to be the store, and I am already calling shenanigans because Jamie’s carrying the bag. He always makes Vicki do it. I’m starting to get the creeped out feeling Jamie’s been replaced with a robot child himself. A creeper is totally watching them from behind a newspaper, and I have to wonder just where in the world this grocery store is. The super shady part of town? Anyway, Jamie and Vicki pause to look at all the cool stuff in Discount Eddie’s car trunk, and that’s when the creeper pounces. His merchandise is even guaranteed for life or 30 days, whichever comes first. Dark. Jamie asks why Eddie sells things out of his car, and Eddie says he likes to keep the merchandise moving. Ha ha. I mean, I would too if - no, jumping ahead. Eddie has a radio to show the kids, but says he can’t plug it in to show them how it works. He hands it to Vicki and it instantly starts playing. That’s not how electricity works! Eddie is really confused, and Jamie says it must be the battery. Eddie says the radio doesn’t work on batteries, but Jamie mumbles that Vicki does. Smooth. Also, original point - that’s not how electricity works! They’ve always had to use Vicki’s armpit plug before - she couldn’t just touch things and make them work. Small Wonder might be getting worse. Eddie catches the comment, but Jamie and Vicki start to hurry off.

However, Eddie is not done trying to make a sale. He shows Jamie a really neat battery powered TV - the “hottest” item Eddie’s got. Jamie says he can’t afford it, but what a coincidence, Eddie is selling it for the $10.18 Jamie has left over from Joan’s grocery money. Jamie buys it, deciding he can pay Joan back with his allowance. Well, at least paying Joan back crosses his mind.

Then we make one of those weird transitions where Jamie and Vicki just walk into the back door. You know, some places that could use filler conversation just never get it. Joan and Ted both walk into the kitchen, and Ted is in his work clothes, so I’m guessing the filler conversation we missed out on was an obligatory sex joke. Ted tests out the TV, but can’t pick up a picture and Vicki helpfully points out Ted always says there’s nothing on TV. Knowing Jamie got ripped off, Ted gets the information to find Discount Eddie and talk to him himself. Also, I just noticed that the TV is a Sony Watchman with the W blacked out on the box. Why even include a box? The guy is selling “hot” items out of his trunk. Jamie apologizes about the money, but Joan decides it was worth the lesson. Wait, he’s still going to pay her back, right? Otherwise, how is he learning the lesson? Joan asks Vicki to help her make lunch and I’m totally confused about everything happening in this episode right now. What day is it? Why is Ted in a suit? What is happening? Joan gives Vicki a can to open, but it says shake well, so Vicki starts shaking. Also, this was super pointless - they could have just had the filler conversation to have a less awkward transition earlier.

In the back yard, Vicki is watching Jamie bounce on a pogo stick, and really, they’re going to have two special effects in a row? Hearing what Dick Christie and Marla Pennington have said about trying to avoid being in the shot so they didn’t have to do the special effects, I am honestly surprised Tiffany Brissette has not penned a tell all explaining how hard her Small Wonder life was. I read somewhere the dress that had the back panel and stuff weighed a lot, too. Sure enough, Jamie has Vicki take a turn and Vicki jumps right out of the backyard and lands in a tree. Then Harriet comes over and wants to know what Jamie is looking at. He says nothing as Vicki returns, covered in foliage, carrying the pogo stick. Jamie asks Vicki out of the side of his mouth if she’s okay, and she responds out of the side of her mouth that she was but she scared a woodpecker. Okay, I don’t know why I find that adorably funny, but I do. I’m being brainwashed by a show I already liked. Harriet catches on to their conversation and asks them what they’re talking about out of the side of her mouth. Side mouth talking is weird. Harriet reveals that the Brindles and the Lawsons are going to a banquet, and Harriet will be staying with Jamie and Vicki. Jamie says he’s going to watch Dracula, and tries to scare Harriet. She offers her neck. Harriet Brindle is a fangbanger. I never knew. Jamie isn’t looking to hook up with no fangbanger and he holds up his fingers in a cross. Yeah, like, seriously, slow your roll, Harriet. It is a little weird that you have a response for “what if Jamie was a vampire?”

Bonnie comes over, and Vicki repeats Jamie’s vampire act with her. Bonnie takes off running into the Lawson house. Harriet, that is a proper reaction for the Lawson kids acting weird. Not baring your neck. Learn from your mother. Also, it’s a transition that makes sense! When Bonnie runs into the kitchen, we see Joan folding towels. Bonnie says she wants to look especially beautiful for the banquet, and Joan says she does, too, and Bonnie implies Joan would need a miracle worker. Bonnie Brindle is an amazing friend.

Then we cut to Ted looking for Discount Eddie. Still? Also, transition that made no sense. Also, still? Does this episode of Small Wonder have absolutely no concept of time? Ted finds Discount Eddie and amazingly gets Jamie’s money back for the TV with very little hassle. They can even keep the broken TV! Which, actually, is a deal because you think someone who built Vicki could fix a mini-TV. But, you know, logically - not a deal. Ted says thank you and starts to leave, but Eddie is not done yet. Eddie is a scary character, when you think about it. Eddie pushes a fox stole on Ted. Ted knows he can’t afford it because it should cost like $1000, but Eddie is willing to sell it for $150. Ted then knows that it’s hot, and I’m not emphasis anymore because they are now being very open about hot meaning stolen merchandise. Ted gives in and buys it. Dude, really? It’s one thing that Jamie didn’t know hot meant stolen, but you were the one who said the stole was hot. You know better.

Joan is preparing some meal - I have no idea what is going on in this episode - when Ted comes home. Joan assumes that Ted couldn’t get the money back for the TV but Ted said he got the money back and got to keep the TV. Joan points out the TV doesn’t work, so she recognizes how that’s not a deal, but seriously - Ted can fix it, right? Then Ted presents Joan with a fur stole. She loves it, until she finds out Ted got it from Discount Eddie’s. She also figures out it’s hot, but Joan has more morals than Ted.

The kids come in, and Vicki reveals Jamie’s been teaching her to jump over the garage. She says she’s the Evil Kneval of the pogo stick. Ted lets Jamie know that Eddie said he could keep the TV, so Jamie thinks he might sell it to get ahead. His parents chide him and say that’s dishonest, but I’m saying Ted just knowingly bought a stolen fur so can we really have that talk right now? Jamie grumbles about having a TV that doesn’t work and seriously, is Ted somehow unqualified to fix TVs? He built a freaking robot child.

We cut to Jamie, Harriet, and Vicki watching Dracula. It must be a scary part because Vicki screams and Harriet cuddles Jamie. Jamie is not amused by this turn of events. Jamie said that he didn’t think vampire movies scared Harriet, and she owns up to just using it as an excuse to get her arms around him. The fact Harriet did not end up on the floor the second that confession ended is a sign of Jamie’s love for the girl. He reaches for the popcorn, which lets Harriet see the broken mini-TV. She thinks it’s adorable. Jamie decides that his parents said he couldn’t sell the TV to anyone, but it’s okay for Vicki to sell it to Harriet. I take back wondering if Jamie’s been replaced because that is definitely the son of Ted Lawson. Vicki sells the TV to Harriet for $3.

Ted comes home frustrated because Discount Eddie has already moved on and he can’t return the stole. I guess it’s the next day? Time in this episode makes no sense at all. Then like five seconds later Bonnie and Harriet barge into the Lawson kitchen and Bonnie is pissed that Vicki sold Harriet a TV that didn’t work. Pacing. Small Wonder doesn’t have it. Joan and Harriet walk off to go get Harriet’s money back, and Bonnie notices the stolen stole. Bonnie wants to buy it, but Ted comes clean about it being stolen, which Bonnie tries to ignore. Then Ted does bad sign language. That is offensive. Offensiveness has to go into the season 2 version of the drinking game. Bonnie just buys it without caring. Joan comes back and is pretty pissed that Ted sold the stole, but Bonnie owns up to the fact that she lives by her own rules. Joan tries to buy it back, but Bonnie now wants $500. Then Joan and Bonnie have a catfight in the kitchen! Small Wonder is getting real, yo! Bonnie gets away, but Joan ripped off a foot. Then Jamie reveals that he fixed the TV by plugging it into Vicki and using her as an antenna. Everyone lived happily ever after, the end.

I’m seriously so confused by this episode I don’t think I’m processing it. You think a family that just had their house robbed wouldn’t be so keen on buying hot merchandise, but whatever. In sitcomland, you do whatever situation is wackiest.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Season 2, Episode 11: You Gotta Have Heart

Finally, another episode this season I actually remember! And one I remember first run, even. Because Vicki and Harriet are adorable besties. Anyway, let’s just get right to it.

So, we start with the Lawson family watching The Wizard of Oz together. Oh, that reminds me so much of childhood. My family used to watch The Wizard of Oz together every year. Ted and Joan go on about how amazing the movie is, but that’s just filler conversation because everyone knows how amazing that movie is. Then they have that Vicki fake cry effect when she mimics Joan where she literally has tears coming out of her eyebrows. I hate that effect. We already know Vicki can cry real tears, so why not just do that? It would look better.

Jamie’s hair is weird. Anyway, Jamie says that he likes the Wicked Witch best, and I’m not really surprised. Vicki mimics the Wicked Witch and dang I’m just noticing she has a bracelet. I have never seen that before and I’m pretty sure we will never see it again. Joan says her favorite is Tin Man and mentions he got a heart, and Vicki asks what a heart is. Wizard of Oz is a three hour movie, how is this the first time Vicki is questioning this? During the “If I Only Had a Heart” sequence seems like the optimal time for that question, but any other time they brought it up in the following two hours is also reasonable. This is just lame set up. Joan says it’s where people store their love, and Vicki asks if she has one. D’aww. Ted says no, but thinks the premise is interesting, because if he could give a robot a heart, he’d win the Nobel Prize. Aww, guys, we’re witnessing the conception of LES! Season 3, please don’t be late.

Vicki says she’s not programmed to know about people storing love in their heart, and asks what love is. Oh my gosh, this episode of Small Wonder is the one that made me start asking the big questions about robots. You guys can’t know how big that is, but it’s big. Apparently humans don’t know what love is, either, because Joan starts quoting movies and Jamie relates some story I’m 91% sure is about Jessica. Then Jamie says love is stupid. For some reason, that reminds Joan that people show affection by giving gifts, and one of the gifts is Ted gave Joan a heart shaped necklace I’ve never seen before and given what this whole episode is about so far, it’s a set up. Then they tell Vicki they gave her her bracelet because they love her. Vicki says Jamie didn’t give her anything, so he doesn’t love her, and she says it as sad as monotone gets. Also, great lesson, guys. Jamie gives Vicki gum, but she’s not impressed.

We cut to Jamie doing pull ups in the backyard, and guys, this is consistency. Jamie is into fitness. Well, actually, he only does one but it’s an improvement. Good for you, Jamie! But Vicki is a little show off and does countless pull ups because no muscle strain. Jamie goes back on the bars to try again, but then Harriet comes over. Jamie decides he’s done and goes inside, leaving Vicki and Harriet alone. Fun!

Vicki gives Harriet her bracelet. Harriet wants to know how much, and man, nobody loves Harriet. Vicki says she’s giving it to her because she loves her. Aww! They are going to be the best sister-in-laws one day. Harriet still doesn’t believe, but then Vicki gives Harriet her shoes. Harriet and Vicki officially become best friends. Harriet is glad because when they’re old they’ll buy a condo in Miami like the Golden Girls and treat men like playthings - a life goal I myself hold to this day. Vicki and Harriet go to the Brindle's to play.

Small Wonder doesn’t just use badly timed transitions, but they use transitions like they just discovered editing. They flip cut to Joan in the kitchen and Bonnie Brindle comes over. Oh my gosh, Bonnie Brindle! She hasn’t been in an episode all season, just mentioned. I’m so happy to see her! Bonnie baked cookies, but she uses lima beans and lard so Joan isn’t impressed. Bonnie is thrilled Vicki and Harriet are BFFs, and Bonnie decides Joan should be her BFF and they’ll be like Kate and Allie. Pop culture overload.

Vicki and Harriet come in through the kitchen and they’re wearing each other’s clothes - right down to the hairstyles! Vicki gives Bonnie a potholder. Aww, Vicki is so loving! Ted comes into the kitchen and is amused by Vicki and Harriet’s friendship. Yay, it’s a Ted is a good dad episode! Sure, he’s a fun serial killer abusive inventor, but when he’s a good dad, my heart feels warm and cozy like hot chocolate by the fireplace on Christmas. Vicki and Harriet leave, and Joan explains Vicki and Harriet are BFFs, and Bonnie reveals she and Joan are BFFs, too. Joan is giving a look like “I never agreed to that,” but Joan, you don’t have friends. Take the offer. Then Bonnie declares Ted is also her close friend and then drops a “I’m in crisis” bomb on them. I love you, Bonnie Brindle. You Brindle Swindled yourself two friends and made it all about you in record time.

Bonnie acts like she doesn’t want to talk about it, but then in less than ten seconds says she wants to talk about killing her husband. Um, wow, Ted has rubbed off on you. He wants to kill Brandon all the time. You guys should start a club. Brandon is apparently jealous and thinks men are after Bonnie. I feel like something is slightly off, but I can see Brandon being jealous, yeah. That part adds up. Ted offers to help out, so Bonnie Brindle Swindled her and Harriet staying with the Lawsons. Bonnie Brindle, please adopt me. My mom might say “no-nono-no-nono-no-no-no,” but I’m 32 and I make those decisions.

We come back from a commercial break and Bonnie is unpacking. Ted wants to know how long she’s staying, and Bonnie says until she gets a good divorce lawyer. Ted and Joan try to talk her out of it, but Bonnie’s mind is made up. Ted asks Bonnie if she loves Brandon, and she says she shows it by tying his pants in knots in the middle of the night. Bonnie, seriously, I’ll make Harriet a great little sister. The Lawsons manage to reverse Brindle Swindle Bonnie and convince her to go back to Brandon.

We cut to Jamie’s room. Vicki is packing up a duffel bag and Harriet wants to play a game called Secrets because BFFs always share secrets. Jamie is right there on the bed watching, so Harriet really doesn’t know what a secret is. Jamie then admits he’s insanely in love with Harriet. Then he covers it up by saying he’s insane. Jamie-Jamie-Jame, never be ashamed of your feelings. It’s okay. Everyone knows you love Harriet. Jamie suggests playing hide and seek, but Harriet said last time they played that she didn’t see him for three days. Dang, Jamie, that’s cold. Jamie reverse Brindle Swindles Harriet by saying he’ll kiss her on the cheek when he finds her - Harriet, he’s not even going to look. Harriet agrees anyway, and tells him she’ll be in the hall closet.

Jamie tells Vicki that if she keeps giving Harriet things they’ll never get rid of her, and that Harriet is taking advantage of Vicki. Jamie, why are you trying to separate Vicki and her best friend? So Jamie decides he’ll program Vicki to be like Harriet. Jamie, that’s happened before, remember? Your dad ended up disassembling Vicki because you and Joan got peeved.

We jump down to the kitchen and Ted and Joan are real glad they got Bonnie to go back to Brandon. I know! Reverse Brindle Swindles are not that easy to pull off. Then Brandon barges in with a suitcase. Damn, that is some advanced Brindle Swindling - skip the schmoozing, go to the doing. Brandon thinks Bonnie is jealous - and yeah, I can see that. But Brandon is way more upset than Bonnie was. Maybe a divorce is what they need. Harriet could have two Christmases. Plus, it’s Bonnie’s last season anyway, so what’s the point, you know? Brandon then admits that he shows Bonnie love by rearranging the furniture so that when she sits, she misses the chair. Harriet has not got a chance. Ted and Joan manage another reverse Brindle Swindle and get Brandon to go home. Oh my gosh, the Lawsons are on top of their game tonight. But I guess it’s easier when it’s two Lawsons against one Brindle. Brandon hugs Joan in gratitude. This is sweet.

Oh, wait, no it’s not because Bonnie comes over and assumes there’s something going on between her husband and best friend. Really? In front of your best friend’s husband? What do you think the Lawsons are into? Bonnie takes off, but Brandon goes after her. I think these two kids are going to be okay.

We jump back up to Jamie’s room and he’s just finished programming Vicki. This is hurting my heart, Jamie. Don’t take your sister’s love. Harriet comes back into the room, wondering where those guys went. Then Harriet decides she doesn’t want to play anymore, and takes the duffel Vicki packed. Vicki stops her and she wants everything back. Harriet ends the friendship and leaves. Then when Jamie decides to celebrate Vicki’s loss, she decides she wants what she gave Jamie, back, too. Yeah, at least with Jamie, he’ll still be her brother. Jamie says later, but then Vicki attacks him.

Ted and Joan run up to the room and they demand an explanation, especially because Harriet left upset. Yeah, I can imagine they don’t want the Brindles coming back over. Ted tells Vicki that Jamie steered her wrong because you can’t be selfish and have love in your heart. Vicki becomes confused and upset because now she has no friends and no heart. Jamie admits that he was wrong, so Vicki asks if she can have a heart like the Tin Man. Ted apologetically says no, and Vicki borderline cries because she wants a heart. Vix, you’ve had one all along. When Ted says he doesn’t know what to do, Joan gives Vicki her heart necklace. Vicki likes her heart and it makes her happy. The End.

That episode was sweet. I don’t know what else to say. It wasn’t Emmy-award winning or anything, but it was cute.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Season 2, Episode 10: The Older Woman

So, Jamie apparently has an unrequited crush on Harriet’s cousin. Sadly, this cousin is not Bippy because at least that would be interesting. I don’t remember this episode at all and I’m starting to wonder if I didn’t only watch select episodes on my season 2 DVD because this is like the ninth time I’ve said it in 10 episodes. Anyway, let’s get to it.

Okay, there’s a lot going on in this opening scene. Ted’s computer stuff is out, which only happens when he’s using it, but he’s over there playing Monopoly with his family like an attentive husband and father. Vicki is watching them play Monopoly, which is just creepy. Is there a legit reason a robot can’t play a game of luck and negotiation skills? Because Vicki would probably be really bad at it. Then there’s lightning in the background, so I guess it’s a rainy night, and the lightning knocks out the power. That’s just five seconds in. Man, if this episode is not dense, they wasted early potential.

Joan groans about the lights being out, but Ted says he has a solution and walks over to his computer set up. Wow, his one instance of being too lazy to put that stuff away is turning out to be super convenient. Ted says he wired the house into the computer and he just has to plug in the computer to a power source. He did have the house wired to the computer in Neighborhood Watch, but that did not go well, so I feel like this is going to be a Vicki sacrifice. Ted plugs the computer into Vicki, and it actually works for like 10 seconds. During that time, Ted compares himself to God, so I’m adding that to the list of reasons I know why Ted is a serial killer in his spare time. Then Vicki very clearly starts overheating, but Joan has to point it out. No wonder all your inventions have glitches, Ted. You can’t pay attention to the details. He has to unplug Vicki.

There’s a knock at the backdoor. Joan figures it’s probably the Brindles. Yeah, I would probably figure that, too. There’s no power. They’ll want something. Jamie goes to answer the door as Ted opens up Vicki’s panel to see why she overheated. That’s a lot of faith that a Brindle isn’t about to just waltz into your house.

Jamie opens the door, and Harriet was sent over by her parents to borrow some candles. I knew they’d want something. Jamie doesn’t see this as an unreasonable request and gives her some. He does ask why the Brindles always borrow stuff and if they ever go to the store, and Harriet says they do go to the store sometimes but Bonnie says the lines are shorter at the Lawson house. Harriet is just a product of her upbringing, y’all.

The lights come back on, and Harriet asks Jamie if he wants to meet her sixteen year old cousin Mary who’s staying with the Brindles. That wasn’t clunky at all. Then Mary conveniently comes over to retrieve Harriet right when they were speaking about her. I thought Jamie’s insta-puberty with Jessica was dramatic, but there is no explaining what is happening here. Little Jamie Lawson is in lust. Aww.

Ted finishes fixing up Vicki and Joan was like, “we were worried, Vicki, but at least we can play Monopoly again.” Joan Lawson: Mother of the Year. Vicki repeats what Joan says, but all the words are out of order. Vicki’s having a stroke. Ted looks into it, says that made up mumbo jumbo I really hoped hadn’t carried over from season 1, invoking Joan’s first “That makes sense” of the season. It’s good to remember your roots. Ted needs a part he has to pick up from the plant the next day, and I’m pretty sure he means steal, so he sends Vicki up to her cabinet and she walks up the stairs backwards. Except, you know, it’s a special effect. Could they not just have her walk up the stairs backwards?

So we have one of those nonsensical transitions where Jamie is in his backyard and Reggie is hanging upside down off of his monkey bars, and Jamie is telling Reggie how perfect Mary is. Reggie wants to know what Jamie is going to do about it. Good, Reggie. Don’t put up with Jamie Lawson’s whining anymore. Make him man up. Jamie admits to not having a plan because it’s hard for 12 year olds to date 16 year olds, and Reggie tells him to smoke a pipe and say smoking stunted his growth. Reggie is  a good friend.

Jamie realizes smoking a pipe is not a good plan. So he decides he needs to act like the classy gentleman from old movies. Reggie decides he can’t deal with this nonsense anymore and leaves, telling Jamie to call when he gets back from Fantasy Island. Reggie actually dropped the Fantasy Island reference. I wouldn’t. It’s not in my pop culture reference bank. I know it existed, I just never think of it because I was 3 when this episode came out.

Ted comes out to ask Jamie if he wants to go to the plant with him to pick up parts to fix Vicki - wait, it went from one part to multiple? And also, this isn’t like picking up office supplies from work. Robotics parts are expensive. Jamie says no and asks for advice. Ted starts to tell Jamie how to impress a woman, and Joan walks out. Oh, this is going to be awesome. So, in giving his advice to Jamie, Ted reveals that he was totally head over heels in lust with Joan’s roommate Barbara. Based on that look Joan is giving, this is the last we will see of Ted. Ted asked Joan out on dates and told her to bring Barbara along. Joan storms off just in time to miss Ted saying the more he took Joan out, the more he realized he loved her and not Barbara. It’s still going to be amazing when Joan murders him.

Ted goes to leave, but Harriet comes over. She asks if Vicki can come out and play, and Ted says no because she’s not herself. At least the excuses come up less often, so they seem less flimsy. Harriet asks Jamie to play, because she has nothing to do until Mary comes home, so Jamie uses Ted’s advice on Harriet. It’s happening! He’s going to realize he loves Harriet and they’ll get married! Jamie invites Harriet to the movies, and says it would be rude to leave Mary behind so they’ll take her, too. Harriet kisses Jamie on the cheek, but at least he waits until she leaves to wipe it off. That’s commitment.

Ted seems to be finishing repairs on Vicki, so let’s see how he screwed up this time. Oh! Vicki is in slo-mo! Joan comes downstairs with bedding and smiling evilly. She’s going to use the bedding to wrap Ted’s corpse in when she dumps it! She reveals that she heard the conversation, drops the bedding over Ted’s head, and then hits him with a pillow. That last part doesn’t sound as vicious as it was. The pillow was the closest thing. I think if a lamp had been right there, she would have hit him with a lamp. Joan has anger issues.

At the movies, Jamie sits between Mary and Harriet, which is the smart way to work this stupid plan. Then he compliments Mary, but makes Harriet fish. Come on, Jamie. Where was that commitment you showed two scenes ago? Jamie sends Harriet to buy popcorn - at least he gave her the money for it - but says it would be rude to leave the girls alone. Harriet buys this, and Jamie takes the opportunity to hit on Mary some more. This guy that apparently knows Mary shows up, so she ditches Jamie without even an explanation. I mean, come on, dude. I get what’s going on, but you should at least give your alibi an explanation. They’re your alibi. Harriet returns and is excited that she gets Jamie to herself.

Joan is in the kitchen - man, this episode really reverted to season one. Jamie comes home and when Joan asks how his date was, Jamie said, “Abe Lincoln had more fun in the theatre than I did.” Dark. Jamie admits to taking Ted’s advice, and Joan’s like, “well, if you want advice about a woman, don’t ask a man - ask a woman.” After Joan needs to clarify for her C-average son that she is, in fact, a woman, Joan tells Jamie to be direct and honest. Good advice. It’s going to backfire.

Ted is working on Vicki and is hunched over because the sofa is apparently bad for his back. I’m fun sized, so I’ve never had that issue, so I can’t even empathize. Let’s see how Ted messed up Vicki now. She’s a Chipette! Then he fixes her voice but she copies everything Ted says. So Ted turns her voice off because that’ll fix the repetition thing. Vicki fixes Ted’s back but still copies everything he does, voiceless.

We cut to Jamie in the kitchen and, can we not have one transition that makes sense? Harriet comes over and says she wrote Jamie a poem about her feelings for him and Jamie slams the door in her face. Oh, I thought we were over this, Jamie. Harriet lets herself in and reads it, and Jamie somehow finds a way to use that as momentum to see Mary.

We go back to the living room and Ted is trying to deal with the bedding but he’s useless. Joan comes down and asks how he slept. Where is Vicki? Whatever, nevermind. Ted begs forgiveness, and Joan gives it. Then Ted pulls Joan onto the couch and pulls the cover over them. Remember, if you go that long into an episode of Small Wonder without a sex joke, you can be blatant.

Jamie’s pacing around the backyard, wondering where Mary is. I’m guessing waiting in the kitchen is out because Joan and Ted don’t seem like the quiet type. Vicki comes out and tells Jamie to wash up for lunch and now I’m just confused about the timeline. Also, Jamie realizes Vicki is fixed. No, she can’t be. They showed us like 37 failed attempts. They are not allowed to just fix her off-screen. Jamie says he’ll be in later and starts rehearsing what he wants to say to Mary.

Mary finally comes over and Jamie confesses to being madly in love with her. Mary thinks that’s crazy, so Small Wonder has one character that makes sense. Shame we’ll never see her again. Vicki keeps piping in with unhelpful comments and I can’t tell if she’s really fixed or not. If she is, she reverted to season 1 Vicki. Harriet shows up and listens in, and Jamie should have realized that was a risk having this conversation anywhere but the bathroom. Jamie confesses he used Harriet to get to Mary, which Harriet of course heard. Mary thinks Jamie is a horrible person and she never wants to see him again, and Jamie is like, “too bad, because I’m going to stalk you.” That is the honest summation of Jamie’s response. Reggie comes over and talks some sense into Jamie. And by that, I mean, Reggie says he has a better chance with Mary. I love this show.

Mary’s boyfriend comes over and is totally ready to beat up a 12 year old. Yeah, that’s a characteristic all 16 year old girls should look for in a boyfriend. Jamie asks Reggie to help, but Reggie takes off running. Harriet and Mary come over and Mary tells her boyfriend to put Jamie down. Mary and her boyfriend leave. Jamie actually gives Harriet a heartfelt apology and offers to take her out on a real date, so all is forgiven and this ship is sailing again. Then Vicki drags Jamie into the house. The End.

Really? He fixed Vicki off-screen?! Yeah, that’s my complaint. I mean, I guess that's it for this week. Oh, wait, no I do want to mention one more thing. Mary is played by Leslie Bega, who was Maria on Head of the Class and grew up to be Valentina on The Sopranos. See, Small Wonder doesn't curse careers. Okay, I will see you next week.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Season 2, Episode 9: Home Sweet Homeless

I had to take some screenshots without pausing this week for reasons. As such, some pictures have a certain derpiness to them, and some scenes don't have the actual photo I wanted to use to represent them. On to the review.

I don’t have a pre-episode thing that wouldn’t be depressing, and my goal is not to depress you. It’s to make you see that just because a show is objectively bad doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. And I fail that task sometimes, but you know, overall. That said, let’s just get right into it.

Vicki and Ted are in the kitchen and I don’t know what’s happening because Ted’s pants are distracting. Jamie comes into the kitchen and shields his face from the glare coming from Ted’s pants while he says they’re awesome. Ted takes the compliment. No, Ted, Jamie did not mean awesome like good. He meant those pants inspired awe because it’s impossible to comprehend them. Jamie makes his point clearer by saying he hopes there are no bulls on the golf course, and Ted threatens “to the moon.” Oh, cool, let’s bring back the euphemism for abuse. Ted finally says Vicki was making him a protein shake and I just realized everyone except for Joan is in the kitchen. Small Wonder is making excellent strides in feminism, especially since I don’t know if Joan is actually employed this week or not. Ted tries to use the blender, but it doesn’t work, so he uses the handy-dandy Vicki.

Joan finally enters the kitchen and says they can congratulate her. Joan, please don’t be the Ted this week. Apparently, her women’s auxillary club called and Joan is the chairperson of the committee to help the homeless. Shenanigans. Joan doesn’t have a cell phone, so everyone would have known she was on the phone and thus she could have had a less awkward entrance. “Oh, hey, honey, who was on the phone?” Entire women’s auxillary line goes here. Vicki doesn’t know what homeless means and 2015 me is like that’s privilege rearing it’s ugly head. Of course the robotics engineer who gets job offers out the wazoo doesn’t think to teach his robot child who was designed to help people about a group of people who need help. Check your robotics engineer privilege, Ted. Joan explains it to Vicki, and Ted agrees that they should help the homeless, but Vicki just walks away. I’m not making this up. It looks like they were explaining it to Jamie and Vicki happened to be in the room to overhear. Program your robot child some manners.

Joan says that it’s hard to make people aware of the issue, which is obvious since you couldn’t even hold the attention of a robot, and Ted suggests trying to go on TV and raise awareness that way. Jamie suggests telling Harriet. These are both valid suggestions. Joan sides with Ted. Ted agrees to drop her off and pick her up because he’s going to the golf course, and I knew it! One car family! Only bit of continuity that sticks. Wait, so how has Joan been getting to work as a teacher? Darn it... Joan asks Jamie to go to the store for her, but the length of that list is ridiculous. He brings Vicki along.

On the way home from the store, Vicki and Jamie see a homeless person. Vicki points out Joan said it was their duty to help the homeless. No, Vicki, Ted said that. See, that’s what happens when you walk away mid-conversation. Jamie notices the alley the homeless person was in was a mess and it should be cleaned up, so Vicki blows everything away with her super robot breath. Seriously. This show has a problem remembering robot is not Superman. Robots can’t breathe and while it would make sense for her to have an exhaust fan in her mouth area so it would mimic breath, it would never be that strong. I pay attention to real world stuff sometimes! Jamie and Vicki approach the homeless guy and wake him up. Rude! Just come back later. You wouldn’t like it if someone woke you up when you were sleeping.

The guy is a little confused when he wakes up, but he is very well mannered around the children. Says how do you do, removes his hat for Vicki - real charming. His name is Roland Cardwell. Jamie asks Roland if he lives in the alley, and he says for the moment. Then he lists the “conveniences” it has - solar heating, air conditioning. He’s a real positive guy. I like that.

We cut back to the Lawson kitchen, and Jamie is making a sandwich. It looks like the beginnings of that ridiculous sandwich he makes in the theme song. There’s a knock at the door and I’m sure it’s Harriet, but the shade is down so we can’t see - let’s find out. It’s Harriet! Jamie says he’s busy and tells Harriet to come back later, so she opens the door and says it’s later. I love Jamie Lawson’s future wife. Harriet wants Jamie’s sandwich, and he tells her to go home and make one for herself. Harriet says she’s not allowed to eat between meals and then makes a joke about Bonnie’s bad cooking. Jamie finishes the sandwich and it is a clone of the ridiculous one! It would make Shaggy and Scooby Doo proud. Jamie kicks Harriet out and then he goes into the living room just in time for Ted and Joan to come home.

Joan says that the reporter agreed to do a story on the homeless, and Jamie casually brings up bringing a homeless person home. Well, no, he says “guess what I did today” and Roland walks out in Joan’s robe. But it is all pretty casual. Roland says hello to Joan and Ted and politely asks Jamie for bubble bath. Ted needs some answers, like “who are you? What are you doing in my house? Why are you wearing my wife’s robe?” Roland, of course, answers the last one.

Vicki comes in wearing Roland’s hat and she is super adorable! She gives Roland some slippers which also look like Joan’s. Jamie introduces Roland to his parents, and Roland lays on the charm. He is so lovely, I want to adopt him. Jamie made the sandwich for Roland. I like how Jamie isn’t a little shit in this episode. I mean, he wasn’t even rude to Harriet earlier. Ted is really upset that Jamie brought the guy home, but Jamie points out Ted and Joan said they had to help the homeless find a home. Wrong. They never said that. But Joan agrees, so free pass, Jamie. Ted agrees to let Roland bathe and that they’ll feed him, but he worries Roland has a criminal record. Privilege check, Ted. No, I’m kidding, I have a roommate who locks her bedroom door when she takes a shower, so I get having trust issues.

We cut to the kitchen because transitions that make sense are for other shows, and Roland has apparently found Ted’s robe because he’s wearing that. He makes himself a cup of coffee as he tells Jamie some fantastic story involving a King Cobra. Jamie asks how Roland got the money to have such adventures, and he says he does things for free. Jamie asks if Roland ever works and he seems allergic to the word. Way to go, Small Wonder. Raise awareness for an issue by perpetuating the stereotypes. Ted and Joan come into the kitchen, and Jamie is enthralled by Roland. I see this going over well. Joan is washing Roland’s clothes, and Ted says that after the clothes are done and Roland eats, he can leave. I can’t even be mad at Ted’s bad attitude. He really could have kicked Roland out a long time ago, but he’s helping as much as he feels comfortable with his own home. Jamie is super offended, and wants Roland to sleep in his room. What, with Vicki in the cabinet? You think that through, Jamie? Roland turns Jamie down, and Ted and Joan use this momentum to make it seem like literally opening up your home to a homeless person isn’t enough, but then Roland drops the bomb and says he’ll be staying in the backyard. That’s when you call the police, but then this episode would only be 11 minutes long.

We cut to the backyard. Roland is sleeping in a lawn chair with that blanket I love so much, when Harriet enters through the gate. Harriet approaches him, but then quickly goes to report it to Jamie. That was responsible. Harriet can be responsible. Jamie pulls Harriet inside and says that Roland is the Lawson’s houseguest. Liberal use of the term houseguest there, Jamie. Jamie explains Roland’s situation to Harriet, and she thinks he’s a bum. You know, in this situation, you’re probably right, Harriet, but that’s not the fair assumption to make usually. Jamie defends Roland by repeating his fantastic stories and Harriet now likes him and wants an introduction. Also, Harriet manages to successfully hit on Jamie while asking him to make the introduction. Knew it. Harriet’s going to be a Lawson some day.

Ted is still upset Roland is around and says if Roland calls him Dad one more time, he’ll wrap him in a blanket and leave him on someone’s doorstep. Ted, you have a real serial killer edge that you may want to work on. Ted wants to kick Roland out badly, but Joan says she doesn’t want to look bad in front of her committee and maybe Ted should just find Roland a job. That is a great suggestion.

We cut to the living room later, I guess, since the people in the room have changed, and Roland is wearing Ted’s awesome red pants. Roland is telling Jamie and Vicki how he gets money when he needs it by saying hello and telling a hard luck story. Ted comes home, and Vicki calls him a sucker. I love those two so much. Ted threatens to bury Roland up to his neck in a sand trap for wearing his pants. See, Ted is totally a serial killer. Ted asks Vicki to take his briefcase up to his room, and she agrees and calls him sucker again. This show got canceled right when it was going to get good. Teen Vicki and Ted, guys! Would have been great.

Joan enters from the kitchen, and Ted says he has good news for Roland. Roland assumes they’re going to Disneyland. I love this guy. Ted got Roland a job, and Roland starts acting all allergic again. Jamie defends Roland, and I’m surprised Roland hasn’t started a cult. Like, that would be the perfect job for him. Roland then says he isn’t homeless because he chose his lifestyle, and he feels bad for the actual homeless. Okay, Small Wonder. I’ll give you points there. Roland is an early Freegan. Then Ted and Roland get into a fight over Roland’s lifestyle choices. Look, if Roland is happy - you know, kick him out and move on with your lives. Then Jamie says he wants Roland’s lifestyle. Shut up, brain. We’re trying to not be depressing.

Then we cut to the next morning in the kitchen and I really don’t think this episode of Small Wonder knew what it was doing, timeline wise. Vicki has made Ted eggs. Ted complains about how Vicki made the eggs, so she dumps them on the table. Love them so much. Joan comes into the kitchen, excited that the homelessness story is going to be on the news that night. Then Jamie enters from the backyard asking where Roland is, and Vicki reveals he’s gone. Jamie is really upset and wants to get Roland back. Joan and Ted decide that Jamie needs a taste of Roland’s lifestyle to get it out of his system.

So the Lawsons all go out after dark and go back to Roland’s alley. Vicki says no one else is in the alley, but she detects smaller life forms - the ones that go crunch when you step on them. Ew. But at least it isn’t rodents. Ted uses the opportunity to teach Jamie some of Roland’s life skills and dumpster dives for pizza when a rodent finally does show up (ew) and Ted says if they catch it, it could be dinner (triple ew). Right when Jamie starts to get it, the news crew shows up. This going to be hilarious. And are there no other alleys in town? The reporter mistakes the Lawsons for a homeless family, and I wonder why with all that dumpster diving. Joan asks the reporter if he remembers her, and when he does he assumes Joan moved the entire family out to the alley to prove her point. Well, technically, that is kind of what happened. Joan starts to tell the truth, but Ted steps in and says that’s exactly what happened. Jamie says that that’s no way for a person to live and they should help the homeless and then Vicki asks for money. Love that robot.

I did it. I got through an episode I knew would be hard. And now I’m done with it. I want to give Small Wonder credit for wanting to raise awareness about such an important issue, I just think there could have been better ways to do it. The End. See you next week.