Friday, August 30, 2013

Season 1, Episode 5: Runaway Jamie

Runaway Jamie!  This is where it starts to turn around for Vicki, I think.  This is the one where Jamie gets jealous of Vicki getting all the attention.  I am secretly afraid that I’m remembering this with rose colored nostalgia glasses and it’ll turn out Jamie’s just an asshole and Vicki is still training to be a slave.  Well, let’s get to it.

Things are not off to a bad start!  Ted teaches Vicki how to play chess, which is something that dads do with their kids all the time.  This is the most normal interaction between the two of them so far.  I still wish they would spend less time in the kitchen, but they really do have just so many sets.  Anyway, Vicki beats Ted, and when he gets mad because it was only five moves, Vicki tells him if he’d program her properly she could do it in four.  That’s right Vicki, put him in his place!  Ted is a sore loser so decides to program Vicki to be worse at chess.  Just… Ted is the worst, y’all.  Between him and Mosby, I’m just never going to trust characters named Ted anymore.

Jamie comes in and asks his dad to play basketball with him, but Ted’s like, “I’m too busy trying to make Vicki only okay at playing chess.”  Jamie tries to convince him, but he’s like, “Look, I treat Vicki like shit all the time, I have to spend some quality time with her before people catch on.”  Oh, I already caught on.  A car horn honks, alerting the Lawsons that Joan is home and Ted tells Jamie to help her.  When Vicki goes to help to, Ted’s like, “Not you” and sits her back down to play chess.  So, yay, that’s the first time Jamie’s been told to do something around the house and Vicki was exempt.  Of course, Ted is trying to get Vicki to lose to him, so, it’s not exactly the sweetest of victories.  Vicki beats him anyway, in four moves, stating that she’s now programmed correctly.  Oh, Ted.  Only you could try to fuck something up on purpose and have it backfire into being a success.

Joan reveals that when she went shopping, she bought something for Vicki, because Joan is like the only person in this family that can appreciate her.  Jamie gets all snippy and jealous because for once in his life, not everything is all about him.  Already, I’m like, shut up Jamie, your dad entrusts you to keep his prized invention in your toy cabinet, you already are spoiled.  Let Vicki have her five minutes.  But, you know, if he did that there wouldn’t be an episode – or a similar episode in season 2, but I’m ahead of myself.

I just want to show you Jamie’s definition of putting away groceries.  It all makes sense now.  It’s not that their son has a Y-chromosome so they built a robot slave to help around the house; it’s that he’s so completely useless.  Yes, please continue stacking things on the eggs.  And why aren’t the eggs in the fridge?  Or the milk?  Jamie sucks at this.

Then he walked away and left them like that!  I would have put Jamie up for adoption by this point, accepting that I failed to teach him any responsibility as a parent, and maybe a couple of militant hardasses would take him in and make him a more productive member of society.

As many people use the back door all the time, they finally showed the backyard.  It’s not impressive.  Anyway, Jamie sits there looking all pathetic and Harriet comes over, and Jamie’s like, “I’m not desperate enough to play with you.”  At this point, I’m glad Jamie’s going to run away and I’m sad that they’re going to find him and everything’s going to have a sitcom ending.  He is just such a spoiled brat.  Ted comes out and Harriet tells him about how she got a parrot but she wanted a canary.  At least he’s treating her better than that time he slammed the door in her face.  Maybe Ted is warming up to this women’s lib thing that seems to be all the rage and is trying to get the younger generation on his side, since, you know, it’s apparently too late for Joan.  Jamie convinces Harriet to teach the parrot to sing like a canary, and she actually likes that suggestion so she goes home to do just that.  Jamie’s finally over his dad not playing with him because he remembers his dad is taking him to the movies that afternoon, but Ted is like, “Oh, um… I was just kidding?”  Jamie pulls a Jan Brady and is all “Vicki Vicki Vicki!  When is it ever my turn?”  Every other episode, Jamie!  Every other episode.

There are finally toys in Jamie’s cabinet, so it’s kind of messed up he started storing them in there after it became Vicki’s space.  Jamie comes in and bitches at her about all the attention she’s getting, and you have to give Vicki credit for not pointing out how starved for attention that she usually is that she shows off for the neighbors and tries to run away with the first nerd who says he likes her.  Jamie’s like, “I used to like you, you were fun, but you super suck now and I never want to see you again.”  We are still quite a few episodes before she finally breaks down and cry.  The fact she puts up with this abuse and just doesn’t kill them all in their sleep is impressive.  Jamie decides to run away and uses Vicki as a tape recorder to record his note, because despite the fact he hates Vicki now, Jamie’s still really lazy.

Joan comes up later looking for Jamie, and she looks really apologetic, like maybe she should spend some time with her stupid ass brat of a child.  But Vicki’s like, “Jamie went out.  He used the window,” like that’s normal every day conversation.  You almost expect her to follow it up with a comment about the weather.  I think in the back of her head she doesn’t care because if Jamie doesn’t come back, she gets a bed.  Joan is obviously concerned because she’s a good mother and asks why he went out the window, and that’s when Vicki’s like, “Oh, yeah, he left a message on me!” and then plays it.

Ted comes up and doesn’t know what’s going on, and Joan is obviously hysterical because Jamie might be an ass, but he’s her ass.  Vicki’s just like, “Oh, someone said the word time.  I know what time it is!”  Seriously, I just don’t think Vicki can give a crap about these people who so clearly mistreat her.  Vicki replays the note and Ted asks if Jamie told Vicki where he was going.  Ted is a moron, but whatever, he is trying to look for his son.  Vicki says no, because, duh, and Ted wants to know why because Jamie tells Vicki everything, and even Vicki’s like, “Because I would tell you, dumbass.”  I guess you have to give Jamie credit for following that train of logic all the way back to the station.  Joan rushes to look out the window like Jamie’s still going to be hanging out there, and I can’t really blame her, but he’s clearly gone, so they’re just wasting time.

Ted might be a sociopath.  Joan’s all hysterical and worried about her only son, and Ted’s like, “Dude, whatever, all little boys run away.”  Then he looks for Jamie in the bathroom.  Dude, the robot who I’m pretty sure is not programmed to lie said he went out the window.  Is the bathroom outside the window?  No?  How the hell did you make something as cool as Vicki?  When Jamie’s not in the bathroom, Ted’s like, “Okay, yeah, we should probably think about Jamie.  Vicki, get in the cabinet, I’m starting to regret being nice to you.”  I can never hate Small Wonder, but I am starting to hate that I’m no longer blissfully ignorant.

Guys, never underestimate Jamie’s laziness.  Not only did he run away to the backyard, he just can’t be bothered to even hide really well.  Harriet comes over with her baby doll and just starts chatting with Jamie like it’s nothing – and really, it is – and Jamie’s like, “You stupid girl, I’ve run away, stop talking to me.”  Dude, you always tell her to stop talking to you; you’re just making up excuses now.  And it’s not Harriet’s fault you’re lazy!  Jamie does manage to convince Harriet to go home pretty quickly.

Ted and Joan come out into the backyard to start looking for Jamie, and Ted notices Jamie’s shoe in the clubhouse thing because darn Jamie’s lazy.  Ted and Joan talk about all the stuff they’d do just to get Jamie back, but they forget they raised an asshole, so Jamie decides that he shouldn’t come back right away so that maybe he’ll get a motorbike.  When Joan and Ted go back into the house, Ted tries to boast about how he knew Jamie was okay, and Joan says the reason she just couldn’t take his word for it is because when she thought she was pregnant with Jamie, Ted thought she just had gas.  Is Ted like some kind of idiot savant or what?

Jamie really doesn’t come back right away and instead climbs into the window and tells Vicki to bring him some food to the clubhouse.  You know, I have always loved to hate Jamie.  He’s just such a slimeball, which is weird given how prominent a role he has.  He’s not Wally’s best friend Eddie Haskell; he’s Wally as Eddie Haskell.  There’s this great continuity error where we saw Jamie crawl up into the window, but he just walks away like he can walk on air now.  Small Wonder: continuity is second to special effects.

Joan and Ted see Vicki grab a bag to fill for food with Jamie, and they joke that she’s going to run away, too.  After a quick laugh, they actually become concerned.  You know what, Vicki is the one that you should have been concerned about running away this whole time!  You spent one entire episode calling her “it!”

After Vicki delivers the food to Jamie, he tells her to go around the house and climb back in through his window fast.  Well, he missed a step somewhere and Vicki jumped out of the clubhouse.  You know, secretly, I think she was just trying to end it all so she could escape these assholes.

The fall somehow knocked Vicki unconscious.  I’m not even going to question it.  Robots can lose consciousness.  

Vicki’s attempted suicide does get the family to rush out to her aid.  Ted listens for a heartbeat, because we have established he’s stupid, and Jamie gets upset that he drove Vicki to suicide.  Well, in all fairness, Jamie, it wasn’t just you.  Ted finally has reality catch up to him and realizes Vicki is immortal so her suicide attempts are just melodramatic and nothing to really worry about.  An unconscious Vicki starts speaking tongues in her wonky voice, and Ted’s like, “Yeah, no problem, I can fix her.”  Seriously, every other time Jamie breaks her, you lose your shit, but this time it’s no problem?  I just don’t even…

Well, after Ted fixes Vicki, he says calm as can be to Jamie, “We almost lost Vicki because you’re a jealous twit.”  Um, you can’t have it both ways.  You can’t be like Vicki’s immortal and you almost lost her.  Pick a side!  But, I mean, calling Jamie out on his crap without losing it is actually good parenting, so… Ted gets half a point.  After the parents reasonably explain to Jamie that he doesn’t have to run away because they show Vicki attention once every fifth episode, he asks if he’s going to be punished, and Ted decides that the scare over Vicki trying to kill herself is punishment enough.  Joan makes chili dogs for breakfast because she’s so happy Jamie and Vicki are safe, and Vicki once again is forced to watch them eat.  And they all lived happily ever after, the end.

Firsts: the backyard, Vicki is rendered unconscious, Ted does semi-decent parenting, Vicki doesn't do housework

Friday, August 23, 2013

Season 1, Episode 4: Nerd Crush

So, here we are on the fourth episode.  Is there anything amazing about it?  Um, it exists.  I think it introduces a character that shows up a few times.  You know who I just realized we haven’t seen yet?  Reggie.  Yes, I’m pretty sure we get introduced to a minor character they only use to give the appearance that Jamie has friends before we are actually introduced to Jamie’s only friend.

The episode starts with Vicki hooked up to the computers and Jamie behind the controls.  I can’t imagine that anything good is going to come from this.  It turns out that Jamie is just feeding his homework questions into Vicki and she’s answering them.  Like, didn’t they tell him just one episode ago to stop using Vicki to do his homework?  Then Ted comes down and catches him, Jamie admits Vicki is helping him do his homework, and Ted’s like, “Where’s your mother?”  Apparently disobeying a direct order from one episode ago is less important than making sure Joan is back in the kitchen.

Of course, that’s exactly where Joan is.  After getting one episode off, they immediately shove her into the kitchen where she’s making dinner.  Ted walks in to see what she’s making and tries to steal a taste of the food.  Joan gets offended he didn’t try to steal a taste of her, and more sex jokes are made.  Parents of 1985 were obviously more chill about this kind of thing than parents today, because I can’t remember ever hearing about scandals where parents were writing angry letters about the sex jokes on Small Wonder.  But back then, they had to actually write the letter and buy a stamp and address an envelope and mail it, so maybe what I’m perceiving as not being uptight is laziness, and if they had email available to them they would have complained, too.

Since there were no children present for the sex joke, they decided they needed to fix that and Harriet knocks on the door.  She wants to know if Vicki can come out and play, and of course Ted’s like, “No, bitch, we say this every week.”  Harriet starts to wonder if there’s something wrong with Vicki, because Harriet is too smart for this show.  If a kid can never come out to play, I start to assume they have a terminal disease or something.  They try very badly to convince Harriet that’s not the case, and she calls the Lawsons out on having secrets, and Ted slams the door in Harriet’s face.  Well, damn, that’s where Jamie gets it from.  It’s even worse when Ted does it because he’s a full grown man and Harriet is a little girl.

Ted laments that Brandon bugs him at work, and he’s like, “Why the fuck the Brindles always got be up in my biz?” and I’m thinking, “Maybe if you let your ‘typical’ 10 year old girl act like a 10 year old girl, people wouldn’t think you’re secretly torturing her.”  This does come back to bite them in the ass in a few episodes, but we’re not there yet.

Ted asks Joan if she’d like help making dinner, and Joan is like, “No, you need to work tomorrow.”  Oh, Joan, Ted is too alpha to do housework, you should know that by now.  He says that he meant that Vicki needs more slave training because that’s what he built her for.  Joan does her once an episode, “Dude, she’s a little girl” and Ted’s like, “She’s a computerized woman, what else is she going to do, grow up to work on rockets?”  Harriet’s forgotten toy Rodney and the robotic arm that opens car doors mentioned in the last episode have it better than Vicki.

Warren Enright, the biggest nerd from school, comes over to Jamie’s house and uses the front door.  It’s good to know some people know what that thing is for.  Jamie is ruder to him than he is Harriet.  First he tries to not let Warren in at all by faking that the house is a sushi bar.  Ted stares him down like, “Come on, this kid has a Y-chromosome, so how bad can he be?  Also, your accent was really shitty, work on that.”  But Ted realizes Vicki is still standing right there so he makes her go into the kitchen because that’s where she belongs when she’s not in her cabinet.  I never realized I hated Ted before, I really didn’t.  I think he gets better in later seasons, but he is really horrible this first season.  Ted also tells Jamie to not let Warren in the kitchen because he doesn’t want him to see Vicki.  Like, did Ted forget he didn’t live in a cave when he made her?

Jamie reluctantly lets Warren in, and tells him to never mention it to anyone.  Ted is very polite to Warren, because Warren isn’t a woman, and tries to force Jamie to be friends with him.

Joan asks Vicki to put some flowers on the living room table, and she does what she’s told.  But Jamie freaks out when he sees her and is like, “Why aren’t you in the kitchen where you belong?”  Vicki’s like, “I was told to do something, I’m doing it, fuck off.”  Jamie gets like really forceful in trying to force Vicki back into the kitchen, but Vicki’s like, “Fuck off, bitch, I can take you, I’m going to do what I was told.”  At least Vicki asserts herself around these men.  It will get her far, one day, after they completely break her soul.

Warren immediately falls in love with Vicki and asks if she’s Jamie’s sister, and he’s like, “My cousin, leave now.”  Warren predicted Vicki’s future upgrade!  Warren comments that Vicki likes him, and Jamie gets too distracted to properly kick him out of the house and tries to explain why that’s ridiculous.

After Jamie gets Warren out of the house, he explains to Vicki how Warren likes her.  I already know this will backfire because Vicki loves positive attention.  I mean, seriously, how did they not see how much Vicki wanted to be loved in the early episodes?  Jamie then tells Vicki how boys and girls act when they’re in love and tells her it’s disgusting.  I don’t think this is going to be a deterrent, and I think Jamie is actually teaching Vicki how to get some.

I know that Vicki can’t eat, but it seems really cruel that they make her stand around and watch.  In stark contrast to the last episode where Joan never spent a single second in the kitchen, she hasn’t left yet.  Poor Joan.  Jamie explains that Warren thought Vicki was a real girl, and Ted’s like, “Awesome sauce!”  But then Joan starts to clear the table, and he’s like, “I thought we discussed that we’re training our slave girl?”  Poor Vicki.

Anyway, Warren comes back with a wilted flower because he’s just so pathetic, and he’s like, “I need to make Vicki my woman!”  Jamie takes the flower for Vicki, but refuses to let Warren in the house.  Ted is like, “Come on son, I told you, anything with a Y-chromosome you let in.”  Like, he’s really preachy about being polite for a grown man that slammed a door in a little girl’s face earlier.

Jamie lets Warren in and Ted’s like, “I’m going to leave you kids alone now” and takes off.  For a guy who didn’t want anyone to see Vicki, he’s singing a different tune now that she has an admirer.  Ted and Joan spy on the kids from the kitchen, and Warren admits that he really likes Vicki.  Vicki, who's attention starved and treated like shit by her family, says she likes him and flutters her eyes at him, even though that’s specifically one of the things Jamie told her was gross to do.  I knew that would backfire.  Warren upgrades to saying he likes Vicki very much, and she calls him Honey Buns.  I think Vicki’s got an escape plan that involves marrying Warren and leaving these harmful losers behind.

Of her own volition, Vicki then hugs and kisses Warren.  The family is shocked, because imagine someone showing affection without making a sex joke?  Unheard of.

Jamie then kicks Warren out of the house because things have gone too far.  It’s not like they were doing it on the couch right in front of the family, but Jamie can’t handle that his robot is getting her romance on with a nerd.  Jamie chastises Vicki for her behavior, but she says it’s fun.  I really feel bad for Vicki because they disregard any time she expresses a feeling or shows an emotion.

The next day after school, Warren comes back over again because he and Vicki were just meant to be, y’all.  Vicki and Warren forever.  Jamie’s like, “I told you bitch, stop coming over here, you can’t have her.”  I really was hoping for the first robot/human Romeo and Juliet type romance, but that’s not wacky.  Jamie tries to send Warren away and says Vicki doesn’t like him, but Warren calls out for her, and Vicki’s like, “My love, rescue me from these horrible people!”  Jamie slams the door in Warren’s face, because nobody’s about to hook up with Vicki.  Jamie decides the only solution is to teach Vicki to hate Warren.  That’s like really fucked up.  Let the girl have her boyfriend.  She doesn’t have anything else – not even a bed.

After Jamie programs Vicki, he lets Warren in the house.  Warren should know better – Jamie has yet to let him in the house without being ordered to.  He’s being set up.  Anyway, Warren confesses his love for Vicki, and Vicki’s like, “Love is gross, dude.  This was just a casual thing.”  It goes downhill from there, with Vicki being downright cruel.  Jamie is evil.  Warren cries, and Jamie is like, “Come on, dude, Vicki ain’t nothing.”  Ted walks in and catches on and decides to talk to Jamie and Vicki.  Joan, in her only scene outside of the kitchen, comforts a suicidal Warren with the offer milk and chocolate chip cookies.  Nothing talks someone off the edge like milk and chocolate chip cookies.  But then she goes into the kitchen, never to return.  Jamie’s the one who brings out the milk and cookies.

Jamie apologizes to Warren, because Vicki was all bitchy and he knows he hasn’t been nice to Warren, either.  Well, it was his fault Vicki was a bitch, but, yeah, I guess he can’t admit that.  Jamie asks for forgiveness, and Warren accepts it because it means he finally has a friend.  That poor kid has it worse than Vicki.  I can’t believe they broke them up.

Warren admits that Vicki was too good for him, and Jamie’s like, “I told you, Vicki ain’t nothing, you need self-confidence dude,” and opens the door to find Harriet.  Harriet does know they have a front door!  Awesome.  She asks if Vicki can come out to play, but is immediately smitten with Warren.  Jamie plays matchmaker and hooks Warren and Harriet up, so everyone gets a happy ending.  Except for Vicki.  She’s lonely and stuck with a family that refuses to love her.

Firsts: Warren Enright, Vicki has a boyfriend, Vicki hugs someone, Vicki kisses someone, Harriet looks for Vicki using the front door

Friday, August 16, 2013

Season 1, Episode 3: Robositter

Here we are.  Third episode of Small Wonder.  I hope we're having fun.  I don't really have anything to say, you know, pre-episode, so let's just get into it.

So the episode starts with Ted and Joan dressed up and getting ready to go out for the night.  Ted's doing that thing where he hides his computers, which, seriously, nobody cares, dude.  You work for a robotics company; everyone knows you're a nerd.  Poor Joan is cleaning.  Even when she's about to go out, she can't catch a break.  At least she doesn't abuse the fact Ted built them a slave child, but they do have a 10 year old son that could be pitching in.

Small Wonder isn't the highest budgeted show, and I'm almost convinced they decided to not have a script supervisor because of all the blue or green screen they had to have - I don't remember what the standard was in 1985, to be honest - so when Ted walks away, you can totally see the closet door open again.

Jamie comes downstairs with Vicki and says he fixed the weird sound her head makes when it turns, and she does her Exorcist impression again, only her head turns a complete 360 degrees this time.  Yep, showing off unimportant special effects - way more important than continuity.

Joan admits she hates Vicki's head going all spinny because it might hurt her, which leads Ted into his requisite, "Dude, she's a robot.  Stop giving a crap" speech.  Every episode.  I just remembered there's an episode where she runs away, and I'm thinking, "What took her so long?!"

Ted sends Vicki to her cabinet because they're waiting for Jamie's babysitter, which is why Ted went through the act of trying to hide his computers and Joan is last minute cleaning - but I seriously have to wonder, why would they hire an outsider if they don't want them to see Vicki?  I mean, it's only the third episode, but you think they'd pick up on Vicki's attention whoring ways by now.  Anyway, Joan protests because it's dark in the cabinet, and Ted gives her a "what did I just say" look and Joan's like, "Fine, I'll try harder to not give a shit and have a hardened heart like you.

The phone rings and Joan goes to answer it, and even though she's closer to the phone on the other side of the kitchen door, she walks across the living room.  Good for her rebelling against being in the kitchen!  Before she does, though, she passes the trash to Ted, who immediately passes it on to Jamie because he's too alpha male to do anything that resembles housework.

Ted reveals to Jamie that he and Joan are going to a reception for his company where they're revealing a robot arm that opens car doors, like that's revolutionary.  You have a robot child in your son's bedroom cabinet.  But, yeah, the robot arm - coolest thing ever.

Joan gets off the phone to announce that the babysitter can't make it and Ted's like, "Great, I really don't care about the robot arm anyway" and starts to take off his tie.  Joan re-ties his tie and is like, "I want to go out, bitch, I'm in that kitchen all day.  This is the longest I've been out of it!"

Jamie offers to babysit himself for $0.75 an hour, and I would have been really pissed if that had have worked.  When I was 11, I could stay home by myself for short periods of time, but I certainly didn't get paid to babysit myself!  Jamie's like, this is bull, tell me why I can't stay by myself, especially since Vicki's here.  His parents blow him off and he believes they don't trust him.  To spare Jamie's feelings, Ted comes up with the brilliant idea to program Vicki to babysit Jamie.  There's no way this can backfire!

Ted lays down some ground rules for Jamie and reminds him Vicki is not perfected yet, which Vicki repeats because Vicki is trying to understand why her family hates her.  As Joan walks out the door, she remembers she didn't kiss Vicki goodnight, and Ted is like, "Woman, for god's sake, I will send you back into the kitchen" but Vicki is like, "She didn't kiss Vicki goodnight" because robot or no, she likes being loved.  Ted gives in this once, probably because he realizes he will be the first to go when the robots turn, and then the parents leave.

Once they're gone, Jamie brags that he's going to watch TV all night, but Vicki points out that Joan told Jamie to do his homework first.  Jamie's like, "Not a problem" and then he makes Vicki do it.

You know, I'm pretty sure that desk used to be on the other side of the room, but I'm not going to worry about that right now.  Anyway, Vicki finishes his homework and tells Jamie he's going to get a C+, and Jamie's like, "Bull, you're a robot, you don't make mistakes", and Vicki's like, "I'm supposed to be an average 10 year old, and you assholes never remember that.  Kids make mistakes, dammit."  And Jamie's like, "You don't on my homework" and makes her do it again.  Jamie is a jerk.

Meanwhile, Ted wants to check in on Jamie but the line is busy.  It turns out Jamie is starting a business where he's going to have Vicki do everyone's homework, because apparently Vicki's only goal in life is to Jamie's bidding.

Vicki comes down and tells Jamie his homework is done and he'll get an A, and he's happy he finally gets to turn on the TV.  However, when he does, Vicki glitches out.  Jamie becomes concerned, because he has to pretend he actually likes Vicki once in awhile, and decides the responsible thing to do is to call his dad.  However, he turns off the TV and Vicki returns to normal.  It turns out that using the remote affects Vicki, so if Jamie wants to watch TV he has to go all old school.

Ted calls again and gets through but Vicki answers like she's an answering machine and it flusters him and he hangs up.  Ladies and gentleman, the man who invented a humanoid robot.  Then Ted realized he should have thought of making Vicki an answering machine.  Real nice.  Vicki, just burn the house down and walk away.

Anyway, Jamie gets excited about a movie he wants to see on TV, but it comes on after his bedtime.  Vicki calls him out on it, and he's like, "Besides being a robot, you're a woman, so you do what I say and not the other way around."  So Vicki gets all physical on Jamie's ass.

He totally deserved it.

Jamie decides that after the stress of Vicki trying to murder him, he deserves a chocolate milk shake.  He's kind enough to each Vicki how to make one, even though in all fairness, he's probably just telling her so he never has to make another one again.  He goes to plug in the blender, but the cord doesn't reach.  Moving it, that's for dumbasses, so Jamie comes up with a better idea.

He'll just use Vicki.  Why not?  That's the only thing he's done since she stopped being body parts in a case.

Jamie is the only kid in the history of sitcoms to remember to put the lid on the blender.  I'd be more impressed if he didn't treat Vicki like crap, but, you know... bravo.

In a moment of genuine kindness, Jamie does share some of the milkshake with Vicki.  However, this makes Jamie take a level in dumbass because it's like feeding a milkshake to your VCR if your VCR thought it was a 10 year old girl.  Her voice goes all wonky to signify that Jamie broke her again.  Her circuits got wet when she drank the shake.  Her voice alternates between wonky and normal as her circuits dry, so there's a chance that he might actually get away with this one.  All honesty, I don't remember.

Since Harriet hasn't been in the whole episode, she comes to the door, and Jamie's first instinct is for him and Vicki to hit the floor.  Dude, it's Harriet and the shade isn't completely drawn.  That's pretty pointless.  Harriet has magical hearing, too, because she announces that she can hear them breathing.  Dude, does Vicki even breathe?  How loud is Jamie breathing?

Jamie tells Harriet to go away, and she's like, "Dude, my parents are at the same thing your parents are at. Let me in!"  Jamie's like, "No," and I have to give him credit - that's the right answer this time.  Of course, it wouldn't be an interaction between Jamie and Harriet if he didn't slam the door in her face.  There are nicer ways to say no, dude.  Harriet doesn't take the hint and pounds on the door again, so Vicki is like, "I will take care of this bitch" and she tells Harriet to take off and shuts the door nicely in her face.  Vicki was a little rude, but at least she didn't slam the door.

Jamie and Vicki watch music videos in the living room, and Vicki gets up and starts dancing.  Jamie's like, "Oh my god, how many times can I break you in one night?" and Vicki's like, "I just like Michael Jackson, you ass."  Then Jamie's like "Let me show you how it's done!" and shows off while Vicki gives him this look like, "I bet I do a better robot than you."

Joan and Ted come home and hear the music and Ted's like, "Why is this music so loud I'm old and yet have Harriet levels of hearing".  Well, for some reason, the key doesn't work in the door and I'm not unconvinced that Vicki didn't change all the locks because she's real tired of putting up with the Lawson's shit.  They ring the doorbell and ask to be let in, but Vicki stops Jamie because they were told to not open the door for anybody and Vicki takes things literally, especially when it might be funny.

Jamie keeps trying to let his parents in, but Vicki beats the crap out of Jamie.  Ted tells Jamie how to program Vicki through the door, which was just a way to show off her back panel again.  Of course, Jamie can't do what he's told because it's 9:00, and Vicki drags him to his room.

Ted finds that the window is open, which makes him happy, but also makes him yell at Joan because she spent an entire episode outside of the kitchen, and Joan is like, "Get your ass in the window and don't worry about the fact it was unlocked, 'kay?"  Ted crawls in through the window, and what can only be considered revenge, Joan pushes him through and he crashes to the floor.  Awesome.

Ted goes to let Joan in through the door, but Joan just climbs in through the window.  Somehow the door locks behind Ted, but because he just yelled at Joan, she double makes sure to lock the window.  Ted totally deserved it.

Ted enters Jamie's room to yell at him, somehow completely missing that Vicki is physically restraining him.  Jamie calls his parents out on not trusting him.  Ted gets Vicki off of Jamie and then apologizes for the lack of trust, but when he sends Vicki to her cabinet, her voice goes all wonky.  Oh, good, sitcom tropes are not ignored and Jamie does get caught.  Apparently, Ted decides to take back his apology because Jamie acted like a 10 year old.  They also find out Vicki did Jamie's homework, and they're like, "Dude, really?"  So they tell Jamie to do his own damn homework, and that's pretty much it.  Episode over.

Firsts: Vicki has food or liquid and malfunctions, Vicki gets physical with Jamie, Vicki and Jamie stay home alone, Joan stays out of the kitchen, someone plugs an appliance into Vicki

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