Friday, August 9, 2013

Season 1, Episode 2: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

One of my friends doesn't think I'll keep up this blog, but I aim to prove him wrong.  I absolutely love Small Wonder.  Talk about all 96 episodes in a way I couldn't with anyone I know in real life?  Yes, please.  Even though I can do without some of the titles.

Anyway, episode 2.  This is the episode that introduces the world to Harriet's parents, Brandon and Bonnie Brindle.  They're the series' first semi-regulars.  Brandon is played by William Bogert, who turns out to have been Molly Ringwold's dad on The Facts of Life, and then he grew up to be on quite a few episodes of Chapelle's Show as Kent Wallace.  That's actually awesome.  Bonnie is Edie McClurg, and if you don't know Edie McClurg, you shut your whore mouth and watch anything and everything of any significance.  Bonnie Brindle will always be my favorite role of hers, but seriously.  From Ferris Bueller to Natural Born Killers to Wreck It Ralph and everything in between, she's amazing.  She was even in an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch with Alice Ghostley, who would later replace her on Small Wonder.  Sorry, I love pop culture, so I rant at times.

Last time I said a lot of things about Vicki and the theme song and her panel and the kitchen and what-not.  You were there.  Anyway, one of the things I mentioned is that Vicki gets a way better panel.  It's so kick ass, it gets shown in the opening credits.

 It even gets its own close-up!

They also further specify that Tiffany Brissette isn't just Vicki, but she's Vicki the Robot.  Because you'll have a hard time figuring out she's a robot otherwise, y'all.  Also, as promised, her credit scenes are in the kitchen, because this is Small Wonder, and that's where women belong.

So Jamie and Ted are working on Vicki together and a lot of things are established here.  First of all, the Lawsons apparently do have a living room, after it didn't show up in the entire first episode.  Secondly, they are really going to show off Vicki's kick ass new panel.  Thirdly, look at that sweet computer set up in the closet.  I'm pretty sure half of those don't do anything, but it sure looks impressive.

Joan enters from somewhere in the house that wasn't the kitchen to see what's going on.  She is inexplicably wearing an apron, as if to say that even when she's not in the kitchen, in her soul, she knows that's where she belongs.  Ted explains some stuff about Vicki's panel being the new star of the show and Joan responds with, "That makes sense."  Seriously, if anyone was brave enough to make a Small Wonder drinking game where you had to take a drink every time Joan says "That makes sense," your liver would fail before the end of the first season.  It's only been 30 seconds of actual episode and she says it.

Of course, once Ted is done tinkering with Vicki, she has a wonky voice that's used to signify that there are bugs in the system, yo.  Ted goes back to working on Vicki, and Joan protectively hugs Jamie.  I have no idea why.  Maybe being a woman that belongs in the kitchen, she believes science to be inherently evil.  Or maybe she's worried that Ted doesn't know what the hell he's doing and he's going to blow up their slave.  Either way it's an odd reaction to a robotics engineer working on a robot.

Ted explains his goals with Vicki once again, because he does this like once an episode, and Joan suggests that one day people will be really into adopting robot slave children.  Ted says, "Well, come on, honey, don't take all the fun out of marriage," because this show has so many sex jokes.  Like, I can't even ever mention them all or else this would be a whole blog of Small Wonder sex jokes.

Joan is amused by the joke and Jamie is appropriately confused.  Because he's 10.  Who thinks it's appropriate to make sex jokes in front of your 10 year old?  One day he's going to get it, and you're going to want to know why, and he's going to have to go all 80s PSA and be like, "From you, okay, I learned it by watching you!"  Because parents who tell sex jokes have kids who understand sex jokes.  Anyway, Jamie asks for clarification and Joan says, "If you don't already know, it's too soon to tell you," cementing the fact that it is totally cool to tell sex jokes in front of your kids because either they get it or they don't.

We immediately fade into the kitchen, because Joan really needs to be in it and screw transitions that make sense.  It may look like Ted is helping out but I wouldn't be fooled.  He's probably thirsty.  Important is that Harriet's already looking in through the window.  Last episode they tried to blame Jamie for Harriet being a snoop and here they are not noticing her face in the window.

Jamie enters the kitchen and alerts everyone to Harriet's presence.  Seriously, if they have a top secret robot and a nosy neighbor, why are the windows always available for her to peek in?  I'd have those blinds drawn. 

Jamie has more sense than his parents and does exactly this.  I mean, I get Joan not having common sense, this show hates women, but Ted is a robotics engineer.  How does... I just... Whatever.  I guess common sense isn't a necessary part of the job.  And, see, Ted got milk out of a glass from the fridge, because apparently that's a convenient way to keep your milk.

It turns out that the boss that Ted didn't tell about his top secret project is Harriet's dad.  Ted has some balls.  He lives next door to the boss he's hiding things from, whose daughter is a snoop, and he builds a robot right in his house.  Could he not have rented work space away from the home to do this?  Anyway, Ted's afraid that Harriet will find out something and tell her dad - again, a good reason just to stop having wide open windows and letting her just look right in.

Anyway, Harriet yells through the door that she needs Jamie and she needs him now, which he tries to ignore until Joan makes him answer the door.  Joan is like the only person who's ever nice to Harriet.  She should just adopt her, steal Vicki, and the three of them run off to the actual 80s where they can have a better life.

Crap, y'all, the robots are multiplying.

It turns out, it's just Harriet's remote controlled robot toy, because once in awhile it does need to be acknowledged that the people behind the show are aware it's the 80s.  Harriet's actually really excited about her robot, but Jamie's like, "It's stupid."  Probably because he has the real thing. But Joan is really sweet about it and let's Harriet show off her toy.

Even after it does this bullshit where it knocks the milk off the table.  Joan just cleans it up and keeps asking Harriet questions about her toy.  I wish Joan Lawson were my mom sometimes.  Except I'd get her out of that kitchen.

Anyway, Harriet says she bets Jamie wishes he had a robot like that, and of course he can't keep his mouth shut and claims to have a much better robot. Joan catches him, but, a little too late.  Jamie changes his story on his own and says that he's seen a robot that can do anything a kid can do, except poop.  Because, yay potty humor.

Joan rushes Jamie out of the kitchen, because it's no place for men, and when he's gone Harriet confesses to her crush on Jamie for the first time.  Joan lets Harriet down gently because she's not a horrible person but knows there's no way her son is ever going to hit that.  Harriet then tells Joan about how the electricity went out in their house and they're apparently freezing to death in September in California, and they also can't eat.

The second Harriet shuts her trap, her mother Bonnie comes over to use the Lawson's fridge to store their food.  As you can see, she didn't even wait to ask.  And you know, the timing was so perfect, I wouldn't be surprised to find out Harriet's wearing a wire.  Joan is a nice person, but she does think it's total crap that Bonnie didn't even ask, but just lets it go. Bonnie plays the sympathy card real hard about how even though she's clearly from Wisconsin or somewhere else Midwestern and cold in the winter, the September California weather is just too cold, and they're all starving to death, and there's not even any hot water.  Joan's like, "Dude, that sucks," and tries to leave it at that because you can tell that she's been down this road with her neighbors before.

Bonnie brings up that Harriet mentioned that there was a little girl staying with the Lawsons, and Joan is like, "Oh, Jamie's cousin."  And Bonnie is like, "Harriet says she's a sociopath," and even I had to roll my eyes and be like, "Harriet's one to talk!"  Joan's like, "What, no?  She's just a shy farm girl, bitch, don't judge my niece."

Just then Brandon, Harriet's father and Ted's boss, comes over with an entire box of food to store in the Lawson fridge, which he immediately unloads onto Joan because having a Y-chromosome on Small Wonder means that you don't have to do crap.  If there aren't enough women to do the work, we'll just build more.

Look at Joan struggling while Bonnie and Brandon decide having a conversation in the Lawson kitchen and not giving a crap about Joan is their top priority.  Brandon also manages to throw in that it's pretty stupid that Joan didn't invite them over to breakfast.

Bonnie and Brandon finally decide to help out with putting their stuff in the fridge and they do it by taking out everything of the Lawsons.  They're such good neighbors.

Ted busts into the kitchen yelling about fixing Vicki's robot flaws, and then notices the Brindles and is like, "I didn't know we had company."  And you know what, I'm going to have to finally fault Jamie on this one.  He should have warned his dad that Harriet had come around, so Ted might have actually looked in the kitchen before blindly talking about the kick ass work he's performed on the slave child.  Ted covers and is like, "Yeah, I fixed her voice because she has... laryngitis, that's the ticket, hey Jamie, I'm going to try to make this lie good so I'm kicking you out to find some crap that doesn't exist to heal a voice that isn't broken."

The Brindles lose their shit over Vicki, like they've never seen a little girl before and demand an introduction.  You know what, I'm just going to say it - for as nice as Joan is to Harriet, Brandon ends up being fond of Vicki.  If he wasn't such a heel to Joan, I'd be like he can join her, Vicki, and Harriet on their journey to the real 80s.  I just feel like even if he knew Vicki was a robot, he would never treat her any differently than the sweet little girl he's always acted like she is.

The Brindles ask appropriate questions about Vicki, like where she's from and how she's related, and the Lawsons are horrible liars and can’t keep their stories straight, so they decide out of sight out of mind, and tell Jamie to take Vicki back up to the room.  Vicki, probably because she likes the positive attention, shows off a little and tells the Brindles what a googol is.  The Brindles are like, "What the crap," and considering that Brandon is also a robotics engineer, you think he would know that, but apparently intelligence is not requisite to being successful in Small Wonder - you just need a Y-chromosome.  Ted laughs it off and says Vicki's precocious and Jamie hurries off with Vicki, chiding her for being a show off. You can't blame her.  It's only been two episodes and she's been called it, told she's not human, they make her sleep in a cabinet, and the Brindles are like the first people to be nice to her.  I'd show off, too.  That's what kids do.

After Vicki leaves, the Brindles keep going on about how the harsh bitter California September is going to make them lose some toes and ask to borrow candles.  While Joan updates Ted on the situation, and Bonnie utters half of her catchphrase for the first time, "Oh, no, no-no-no" because she's not actually saying no about something, but she's setting it up to invite herself to the Lawson's hospitality.  Which she does.  We go to commercial break just as the Brindles have invited themselves over to dinner.

Vicki hasn't done enough slave labor this episode, so they start her off small and make her set the table.  She's still training, especially while she takes everything way too literally.  Being blessed with a Y-chromosome, Jamie supervises.

Jamie tells Vicki to speed it up, so she finishes super fast, and Jamie says "Love that robot."  Vicki repeats the phrase, and man, you can feel how much she wants to believe it.

Ted and Joan come in and tell Jamie he has to set the table over because of the Brindles coming over, but Vicki picks up the silverware and Joan gets all pissy that Jamie used Vicki like that.  Joan is still a good mom.  However, Ted defends Jamie and is like, "Stop calling Vicki a little girl.  She's our slave-bot.  It's all good."  When the robots turn on humans, I hope Ted Lawson is the first person they get.

The Brindles, including Harriet's robot Rodney, come in through the front door, proving that it works just fine.  It's the first time it's ever been used.  Harriet wants to show Rodney off to Vicki, because Harriet is the only normal person on this show, even if she is a snoop, and showing off toys to other children is normal.  Ted's like, "Oh, no, that laryngitis story I set up earlier is still a perfect excuse so we sent her to bed."  Laryngitis - it'll leave you bedridden.  Not even once.

Harriet, being a curious child that gets ignored for five seconds, snoops around and finds Ted's computers.  Her immediate reaction is to call attention to them.  Like, I don't get why Ted has a need to hide computers in the first place, but here we are.  Brandon is actually impressed, and Ted says he likes to tinker with them.  See, this is reasonable.  Why can't there be more reasonableness on this show?  Oh, because then it wouldn't be wacky.

Harriet goes back to showing off Rodney and he opens a jar of olives that was clearly already open.  Harriet then announces that she has to go to the bathroom and asks where it is, like she hasn't spent every day of her life at the Lawson's.  Harriet then decides to sneak into Jamie's room instead of the bathroom and demands to know where Vicki is.  Since we've already established that Harriet's not above opening closed doors, she quickly finds her.

Harriet rightfully demands to know why Vicki is hiding out in the cabinet, because that's a good question.  Why is an allegedly sick child just hanging out in a cabinet?  Jamie's like, "We were playing hide and seek" and gets Vicki to play along.  Then he sends her to bed.  At this point I would question where is Jamie sleeping, but again, that would require having common sense on Small Wonder – or at least being less self absorbed.  Harriet mentions her robot and Vicki decides to follow Harriet and Jamie.

When Harriet and Jamie get to the living room, Harriet runs her mouth about Vicki being in the cabinet, and Ted and Joan are like, "She was playing!" and can't come up with the rest of that lie.  You think Jamie would jump in, but apparently he likes to see his parents flounder because he's no help.  Then Vicki comes down to see the robot.  Ted tries to get rid of her, but Harriet's like, "Dude, she's right here, let her see the robot."

Rodney introduces himself to Vicki, Vicki introduces herself to Rodney, they shake hands, then Vicki loses her crap.

Yeah, Vicki doesn't do well with the magnet in Rodney's hand.  I wonder if she stored this information for the inevitable emo phase she's going to go through because the Lawsons treat her like crap.

Brandon and Bonnie are noticeably concerned while the show's sole award winner is corpsing.  Seriously, Harriet looks like this is the funniest crap she's ever seen.  Jamie's like, "No, dude, it's a dance!" and he tries to emulate the moves, which is also concerning.  Like, seriously, she's having the robot equivalent of a seizure, someone help her!

Ted finally helps, but not before explaining to Joan that the magnet in Rodney's hand turns Vicki on.  Oh, gosh, that can't be a set up for some kind of double entendre because Vicki is supposed to be a 10 year old girl and that would be creepy.  Joan and Ted play like they're going to call the doctor because they're concerned about Vicki, but she calls them out on badmouthing the Brindles, clearly because she can recognize that they're the only ones who truly care about her.

The Brindles are so insulted, they decide to go home.  In all fairness, the Lawsons were pretty nice to them, considering that they invited themselves over and everything.

So, after the Brindles leave, the Lawsons are glad that they left, and Jamie tells Vicki that she's way better than Rodney.  Maybe there's hope for the 10 year old boy treating Vicki well after all.  Vicki doesn't like the insult to Rodney though and says he's cute - he turns her on.

The 10 year old girl made a sex joke.  That is creepy, guys.  Super creepy.

But not as creepy as Jamie then excitedly looking at Vicki's ass as the episode ends.  Seriously... what the hell?

So ends episode two.  It was... something.

Firsts: Brandon Brindle, Bonnie Brindle, Vicki meets another robot, Vicki shows off her intelligence, Bonnie Brindle's catchphrase, "Oh, no, no-no-no no-no-no-no-no" (well, half of it), Brindles swindle their way into something, Lawson’s living room, someone enters through the front door


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