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