Friday, October 25, 2013

Season 1, Episode 13: RoboBrat

This one is one of my favorite episodes, and it’s the very first one I can remember watching first run.  It sticks out.

The Lawsons have just finished breakfast and Joan and Ted are going to get ready to go shopping, but not before Ted and Jamie roshambo over who’s going to take the trash cans to the front.  Ted wins because, of course he does.  I’m operating on this theory that Ted, himself, is an advanced robot from the future sent back in time to make Vicki just to insure his own existence.  He’s his own grandpa… or something.  Anyway, while Jamie’s taking out the trash, he asks Vicki to put everything in the sink.  This time it was innocent enough.  He just wanted Vicki to help out.

But Vicki is so over it.  These people have treated her like a slave long enough.  If you asked her to please pass the salt, she’d probably hurl it at your head. 

Just as Vicki acts out her brief moment of defiance, Harriet comes over.  Even though the door is wide open, she does knock first, so she has some manners.  Harriet says that Vicki does the dishes like her mother, and then asks her to come play.  Vicki says that Jamie told her to stay put, but Harriet is like, “Don’t let no man tell you how to live your life, you do what you want.”

Figured out why I like this episode so much yet?  Oh, yeah, it’s the one where Harriet teaches Vicki independence.  To quote Harriet, “There’s no age limit on women’s lib.”

This is only the third time they show a set outside of the Lawson home, and it’s Harriet’s bedroom!  Harriet shows off her stuff, and Vicki admits she doesn’t have stuff.  Harriet decides Vicki is deprived and decides to help Vicki out.  It would be awesome if Harriet wasn’t such a spoiled brat.

Meanwhile, Ted and Joan notice how Vicki’s done the dishes again, and Ted’s like, “I’d spank her, but I don’t want to break my hand.”  Is that not an extreme reaction?  I mean, yes, I know, spanking was all the rage in the 80s – my butt and I were there.  But over her trying to help out and making a mistake?  Ted is a horrible father.  Jamie returns from taking the trash cans out, and everyone can’t help but notice they’re missing one Vicki.  Ted’s logical conclusion is that Brindle has kidnapped Vicki, but Joan notices that Jamie leaves the door wide open when he enters and leaves the house so they come to the more logical conclusion that she’s run away.  Which, yes, she absolutely should because she is not treated very nicely.

Over at Harriet’s house, the girls play with Harriet’s toys.  Vicki decides to play with a Rubik’s cube, but Harriet believes it to be too hard.  Nothing is ever too hard for Vicki though – you know, except for not taking people so literally – and she solves it pretty quickly.  Harriet thinks it’s sneaky that Vicki didn’t admit that she knew the trick, and that’s a quality that Harriet likes in Vicki.  Finally, someone appreciates the girl for being herself.  Bonnie comes up to tell Harriet she has to go to the orthodontist soon, so clean up her room.  A battle ensues that ends up with Harriet getting paid to do what she’s supposed to do in the first place.  Bonnie does call Harriet out on being a spoiled brat, though, so… I don’t know.  At least she’s acknowledging that her daughter is learning negative traits?  Anyway, Harriet passes the lesson on to Vicki.

Now that Harriet is Vicki’s bestie, Vicki admits that she doesn’t even have a bed and sleeps in a cabinet – how did Harriet not learn that one episode ago when she spent days at the Lawson house?  I have got to stop questioning the logic behind this show.  Anyway, Harriet is in shock how mean the Lawsons are to Vicki and brings it to her attention.  Vicki listens, because she has no reason to believe Harriet means her harm.  So Harriet teaches Vicki how to throw a temper tantrum.

Harriet sends Vicki home, but tells her not to tell her parents she was over there and she borrows her mother’s catchphrase.  It’s actually adorable.  She knows they’ll figure out Harriet taught Vicki how to stand up for herself, so she makes her say that she was in the backyard or something.

Ted is actually worried about where Vicki is, but he still refers to her as his invention.  Joan is like, “Um, hello, I’m missing a daughter.”  And Jamie’s like, “I’m missing the coolest little sister in the history of ever.”  Okay, Joan has always thought of Vicki like a little girl, but Jamie is bullshitting.  He’s missing his slave.  Vicki walks in the door right that second, and when they ask where she was she literally says she was in the backyard or something.

Joan says that she’s going to buy Vicki a bow when she goes out shopping, and for some reason, that’s what sets Vicki off.  She wants the things other little girls have!  Dolls, stuffed animals, allowance!  The Lawsons are shocked.  You programmed her to be a little girl – how are they not getting they got what they wanted?

Ted decides it’s Jamie’s fault.  Has Ted ever accepted blame for anything?  Of course not, Ted is flawless in Ted’s own mind.  Vicki also demands toys and a bed and says she can’t believe how mean her parents are to her.  She does have a point there.  Most parents know the fine line between a child doing chores and your child being a slave.  Also, most kids get toys.  She’s not being unreasonable.  Ted manages to say the right thing that gets Vicki to drop a clue that it was Harriet that taught her these things.

Ted is actually happy.  Wait, what?  Vicki went out and made a friend and she wants to be treated like a little girl and – Ted, where were you the past 13 episodes?  This is not new. Can you maybe love her, too?  Ted tells Vicki to go to her room, so she borrows Bonnie’s catchphrase.  “No no no no no no” is really getting around, y’all.  Joan is like, “Um, reprogram her” and now I’m wondering if Vicki crossed over into a bizarro universe.  Ted likes seeing Vicki act like a little girl and Joan is freaked out by it?  That… oh, you know.

Up in their room, Jamie tells Vicki to get in her cabinet, but she wants the bed.  Jamie tells her she’s crazy, mixed up, needs a shrink, and she’s not a girl.  Way to dehumanize your sister, Jamie.  What’s next, you decide to sell her for scrap metal?  That’s your sister.  Anyway, Vicki throws a temper tantrum and it’s awesome.  Ted is the only one who’s supportive of Vicki expressing herself, but Joan and Jamie are like, “get our docile girl back!”

Ted tries to reprogram her but he fries out her circuits and she throws another temper tantrum.  Ted says he has to take her apart and sneak her into his office.  Um, can’t he just be like “Take your daughter to work on a Saturday day?”  Whatever, Joan finally comes to her senses and doesn’t want her daughter taken apart, but Jamie’s like, “don’t think of her as a child, think of her as Harriet” and Joan’s like “chop her up.”  Damn, woman.  And you’re so nice to Harriet to her face.

And Vicki goes back to being body parts in a case.  Ted whispers that it’s okay to the body parts, and I’m really thinking he does have the mind of a sociopath.  It’s disturbing.  Harriet comes over to look for Vicki while Ted is running off with her body parts in a case.  Harriet knows they’re lying about where she is, but they won’t tell her anything.  Harriet tells Jamie that she knows Vicki is being abused, and Harriet makes it clear – she’s going to make trouble.

Bonnie, Harriet, and a policeman come over right after Ted comes home but before he can put her back together.  Jamie says he thought Harriet was kidding when she said she was going to call the cops for doing bad stuff to Vicki – dude, seriously?  One of the admirable qualities about the Brindles is they’re pretty serious about child abuse being fucked up.  The whole reason Vicki got adopted was because Bonnie called social services.  Ted tells them to stall while he gets Vicki put back together.

Well, after waiting around for awhile, everyone sees Vicki is okay.  Bonnie apologizes, but you know, they did the right thing.  It’s really hard to be mad at the Brindles for worrying about Vicki’s welfare, you know?  At the end, though, Ted reveals that there was such a rush, he didn’t get time to put Vicki’s hair back on.  And… the end.

The lesson here is Ted isn’t necessarily against Vicki having some independence, just as long as she isn’t learning it on her own.  And that Joan and Jamie would rather see Vicki as parts in a case than be like Harriet.

Firsts: Harriet’s room, borrowed catchphrase

Friday, October 18, 2013

Season 1, Episode 12: Brindles Move In

We are half way through the first season!  Yay!  It's pretty much a downhill battle from here, because as we near the end of the first season, things become slightly less painful and the later seasons are the better ones.

The episode starts with Vicki in the kitchen making dinner and Joan coming in to check on her.  Oh, now that Joan is an accredited teacher she’s going to start embracing this Vicki slave thing.  Lovely.  Anyway, Vicki is making square potatoes, and when Joan questions her on it, she says they’re geometrically perfect and they won’t roll of the plate.  You know Joan, if you don’t like it, you can make dinner yourself.  Vicki is supposed to be 10 and you’re trusting her with sharp objects.  If you don’t want to cook, why can’t you order a pizza like most normal Americans?

Ted comes in and Vicki’s actually nice to him, but Ted blows up.  This is why you guys had that epic stare down just one episode ago, jeez.  Well, Ted just apparently had a bad day at work and needed to vent.  Ted doesn’t get a promotion, which Vicki rubs in.  That’s what you get for not recognizing the one time she’s trying to be nice to you.  Brandon Brindle got the promotion over him and now he’s Ted’s boss.  And now I’m thinking, continuity error?  Because didn’t they already say that Brandon was his boss way back in episode two?  Whatever.  This show has bigger issues.

Jamie comes home and announces there’s smoke coming out of the Brindles house, and given the timing and Ted’s reaction, I’m pretty sure he set it on fire himself.  The Lawsons start to check it out, but Brandon comes in the back door, hacking up a lung, announcing the house fire.  Joan complains of the smell, and Brandon says that’s Bonnie’s cooking.  Oh, those dysfunctional Brindles.  How are they somehow lesser than the dysfunctional Lawsons?  Oh, because Joan can actually cook, I guess.  Women, kitchen, all that noise.  

Bonnie and Harriet rush over soon after, and Harriet brings her parrot which was actually mentioned in another episode.  In less than five minutes they completely disregard and remember continuity.  I just… I don’t even know with this show.  I need more Ted and Vicki moments.  Anyway, Joan stupidly offers to help out, and Bonnie manipulates her way into getting the family to spend the night with the Lawsons.  Brandon already lords being Ted’s boss over his head.

At this moment, Ted notices Vicki’s square potatoes and Joan defends them cheerfully.  This episode flip flops.  Anyway, Ted wants to know why Joan agreed to the Brindles spending the night so quickly when they might find out about Vicki, and Joan’s like, “Look, they’re not going to find out about Vicki, so stop using that as an excuse.  Plus, he’s mean enough to actually fire you if we say no.”  Joan is smart.  Ted realizes that, too, and gives in.

The Brindles are, well, the Brindles, and they swindle their way into a dinner, and you can tell they’re trying to get into an actual bed instead of the couch.  Ted then admits to Joan once they’re alone that he’s going to murder the Brindles.

A couple days later, the Brindles live and Jamie complains about how much time Harriet spends in the bathroom, and Vicki reveals that Harriet makes faces at herself in the mirror.  Then she mimics them.  It’s pretty adorable.  Harriet says she’s trying to look her best.  Jamie makes fun of Harriet, but Harriet says she has everything every other woman ever had when they were Harriet’s age – they just don’t know how it’s going to turn out yet.  Well, that’s one thing the Brindles seem to have done right, little Harriet understands her body.   Harriet’s parrot repeats her, and Jamie decides that the first compliment he’s going to give the girl is that she has a smart parrot.  Those two are getting married one day.  That’s how it starts.  You realize she can raise a good parrot, then you’re raising good kids.  Well, it’s Jamie and Harriet – they’re either raising supervillains or future CIA agents.  Maybe it’s a good thing the world will never know.  Then Vicki gets jealous of the parrot and shows off.  Oh, Vicki.  How did Harriet not find out Vicki sleeps in a cabinet yet?  I’m confused.

Ted doesn’t smell smoke, and so gets ready to kick the Brindles out, but Joan is like, “Come on, let them decide to leave on their own.”  She also makes Jamie go play with Harriet, because Joan has always been trying to hook those two up.  Ted and Joan check on the Brindles, and Bonnie spoils Joan’s book for her.  Why do you loan a book you haven’t even read yet to someone?  Joan deserved that one.  Sorry, Joan.

For some reason, Brandon decides to confess to insurance fraud and Bonnie doesn’t approve.  Good!  Until Brandon believes he won’t be caught, then she wants to add something to the list.  Then the Brindles decide to stay another couple of days.  That’s just how they work.  I know that’s a horrible explanation, but there’s like no natural transitions in this episode.

Vicki and Harriet are playing checkers, and Harriet is bored because Vicki keeps winning.  She wants to know if Vicki’s that smart or she’s that dumb, and Harriet’s own parrot insults her.  Poor kid.  The parrot repeat stuff the Brindles said about the fire, including Harriet saying that Daddy started the fire with a cigar, even though Brandon had already told the Lawsons it was faulty wiring.  Harriet realizes she’s got a big mouth.

Ted’s finally had enough and is going to kick Brandon out.  He doesn’t want Joan to talk him out of it, but Joan is getting some sick pleasure out of suggesting Ted put on his spiked golf shoes and actually kick Brandon.  Damn, the Brindles broke Joan.  That is something special.  Ted is proud of Joan’s sadistic side and rewards her with the most genuine hug I have ever seen.  You know, if Dexter had come out in the 80s, Dick Christie would have made a pretty good Dexter.

Ted and Joan double team the Brindles and ask them to leave.  Ted kind of suggests he wants them to die.  The Brindles take a super long time to actually fulfill the request and try to make the Lawsons feel bad, but Joan admits that the situation has made her mentally unsound.  Bonnie decides that is a pretty good reason to leave, though she believes that Harriet and Brandon have been insulted.  Because that’s Bonnie.  Brandon tries to make Ted feel shitty and says “you better hope that faulty wiring doesn’t flare up again and kill us all,” which wouldn’t work even if Brandon wasn’t a liar because Ted has no human emotions.  However, Jamie calls Brandon out on his bullshit and Harriet admits her parrot confessed everything.

Ted realizes he has Brandon in a bind, so Brandon offers him a promotion as a bribe.  Ted agrees to not tell if Brandon doesn’t turn in the list of fake items lost in the fire and he leaves the house right now.  You have never seen the Brindles leave a place so quickly!  And that’s kind of it.  I feel like the Brindles and their swindle are underutilized because that’s two episodes now where the plot of the episode was “how do we get our neighbors out of the house,” but nothing really happens.

Firsts: we actually see Harriet’s parrot

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this announcement...

This has almost nothing to do with Small Wonder, but I promise to mention it in retrospect, but today is my birthday. I'm the big 3-0, and it's crazy.

Small Wonder was my first favorite show when I was only 21 months old and 28+ years later, I still love it.  I want to thank you guys for reading the blog so far and I hope you stick around as it only gets bigger and better.  There's a drinking game on the horizon.

Here's hoping in another 3 decades, there are much better robot sitcoms I can claim to love with non-ironic pride.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Season 1, Episode 11: Child Prodigy

Here we are, eleventh episode and I’ve been at this for more than two months now.  Special shout out to my friend who said I wouldn’t keep it up.  In the immortal words of Shawn and Gus from Psych: Suck it!  Wait, did he say two months or three months?  Either way, my celebratory suck it stands.

Anyway, remember how last episode Mrs. Fernwald was called over because Vicki didn’t attend school, and that idea was kind of completely dropped?  Don’t worry, it wasn’t completely forgotten, and it is the entire plot of this episode.  That’s something magical for any sitcom, let alone a wacky 80s one.

We start with Jamie trying to lift weights.  This actually will make it into the opening credits some day, so I don’t know… Jamie’s secretly buff, y’all.  Vicki comes in while he’s trying to do curls and says his dad needs him, so he skips a few numbers (like, six of them) so he can finish up.  Vicki of course calls him out on this, and when Jamie’s like “whatever,” Vicki tells him to learn how to count.  Oh, man, you have no idea how much I love her.  I legitimately am going to name my first born daughter after her.  Anyway, Jamie is an asshole and tells Vicki that even though she’s his sister now, it doesn’t change their master/slave relationship.  Jamie’s actual words.  At least he admits it, but that is seriously messed up.

Of course, when Jamie goes on and on about how weightlifting is making him strong, she gets him back.  That’s my girl!

Meanwhile, downstairs, Mrs. Fernwald shows up to follow up, because of all the people on this show that actually does their job, it’s Mrs. Fernwald.  The very first question she asks is about how Vicki is doing in school.  Yay, picked up storylines!  This may be a first for all wacky sitcoms out there.  They admit she hasn’t been to school yet, and when Mrs. Fernwald wants to know why, they do that thing where they lie at the same time and come up with different answers.  Vicki apparently had the measles and the chicken pox!  Did kids really still get the measles in the 80s?  I wouldn’t know; I was vaccinated in 1984 with a follow up in 1994.  I have also never gotten mumps or rubella.  Anyway, when they can’t get their stories immediately straight, they play it off like she’s always sick with something.  If this doesn’t make Mrs. Fernwald question the questionable physical from Vicki’s adoption process, nothing will.

Of course, it doesn’t help that Jamie and Vicki immediately come downstairs to show off how strong she is.  Mrs. Fernwald is all like, “Sickly child my ass,” and what she should have done was take Vicki away.  Instead, the Lawsons tried to play it off like it’s Styrofoam weights, but when Ted can’t lift them Joan tries to play it off like Ted’s a comedian.  The Lawsons try way too hard.  Ted tells Jamie to take Vicki to her room so she can lie down and rest, but Vicki understands this is her chance to escape from these horrible people so she tells the social worker that she stands in a cabinet all night with her eyes open.  They play it off like Vicki’s just a funny kid.  Seriously, would it have been too much trouble to ever give this kid a bed?

Mrs. Fernwald says they have to either send Vicki to school or get her a tutor.  Ted asks what their other options are, and Mrs. Fernwald says she can take Vicki away and put Ted’s ass in jail.  For some reason, the tutor option sounds really appealing to Ted.  Of course, Mrs. Fernwald knows a guy.  He’s good with kids and famous.  She said similar things about that shitty doctor.  I would just never trust any of the guys Mrs. Fernwald knows.

Ted and Joan have this plan that one of the parents must be with Vicki and the tutor at all times.  Not to sound like Joan, but actually – that makes sense.  Anyway, for some reason, Joan had to come out of the kitchen to be reminded of this plan.  Even if we haven’t seen the kitchen yet this episode, Joan was in it, and that should satisfy us.

The tutor comes over and he is a real no-nonsense guy.  It’s really obvious he hates kids, too.  Ted forgets that Vicki can speed read and she almost gives herself away in like one minute.  Vicki starts reciting what she read, and I’m amazed that the tutor has a textbook from 1983.  That’s the year my textbooks from like third grade were published, and that was in 1991.  Man, this tutor is way better than public school.  The tutor is impressed that not only can Vicki speed read, she can remember everything.  How do you forget to dumb down the robot when that was your only task?  Ted is just lazy, is what it is. 

The tutor claims Vicki isn’t a normal child, and Joan is like, “Well, damn, shit, we’ve been found out!”  But then he says she’s a child prodigy and Ted’s like, “She’s just an average idiot!”  Way to be a supportive dad, Ted.  The tutor agrees to take on Vicki as a student, to Ted and Joan’s horror.  Ted is afraid the tutor will find out Vicki is a robot, to which she tells Ted, “I am a child genius.  You don’t understand what we have here.”  I love when Vicki displays bouts of self-confidence against her horrible, horrible adoptive father.  Ted tries to correct Vicki, but she’s like “no no no!” and walks off.  Ted is in shock that his robot daughter has talked back to him, but seriously?  He didn’t see that coming?  She rats him out for being a jerkass to everyone who will listen; the rebellion was building.

A whole day later than he was supposed to, Ted gets around to dumbing down Vicki.  Because that’s not going to raise red flags.  Just stop being lazy, Ted, and maybe you wouldn’t find yourself in these situations!  The tutor reviews stuff with Vicki, but of course she has everything mixed up.  The tutor decides to not work with Vicki, but when thinking about the kind of tutor Vicki needs his ego is large enough to decide he can do it, after all.

Oh my gosh, Ted and Vicki are so seriously over each other’s bullshit.  I can’t even tell you why they were giving each other these looks because it was seriously out of nowhere.  It was pretty funny, though.  Ted blames Vicki for all of the problems that rose out of him deciding to build her, like a good emotionally abusive father, and sends her to her cabinet.  I’m kind of sad that they never got to the teen angst years, because this was them at Vicki age 10.  Ted, actually has a good idea that isn’t that sexist – he remembers that Joan actually went to college to be a teacher, and all she has to do is get accredited and then she can officially be Vicki’s tutor.  This actually works out well for Joan in the future, but I'm way ahead of myself.

Joan studies for the accreditation test, but she’s having a hard time.  Vicki corrects Joan, and when Joan desperately asks if Vicki’s sure, Vicki gets snippy and says child geniuses don’t make mistakes.  Joan has never done anything mean to you, Vicki!  That was uncalled for.  But luckily, Joan reacts very maturely.

Ted checks on Joan and tells her to not worry about it too much because she’ll get it.  He even volunteers to make dinner, which sounds like Joan made a robot Ted.  Stepford Husbands is a thing, right?  Jamie’s like, “Shit no, I’m not eating anything Dad cooks, I’ve been down that road before.”  When, Jamie?  Your dad doesn’t do housework for shit.  Maybe you’re a robot, too, and you’re just programmed to think that way.  Then Ted gives Joan the most horrifying hug that’s supposed to be comforting.

Also, I knew to be suspicious of Ted.  He puts on this whole show about trying to make spaghetti, which a six year old couldn’t screw up, but comes off as such a moron that Joan breaks down.  I don’t mean to cook dinner.  I mean, she has an emotional breakdown right there at the table.  Family member of the year there, Ted.

Another great Vicki and Ted moment!  Vicki decides to change the water, and Ted, probably because he’s having a human moment, decides he’ll just do it and asks Vicki to put the water down.  So she drops it on his foot.  Ted’s like “I didn’t say on my foot!” and Vicki replies, “You didn’t say not on your foot.”  This is Vicki and Ted now.  I love it.  It only took her 11 episodes to find herself, and she’ll only get more kick ass.  I think Vicki has put together that now there’s a legal record of her existence, there’s repercussions to just dismantling her now, and she can get away with more.  She is a child genius.

Anyway, it was filler because everyone’s waiting to find out how Joan did on her accreditation test!  Mrs. Fernwald comes by again to check on Vicki’s schooling, and Ted reveals they’re not going with her tutor.  Joan comes home just in time to announce she’s Vicki’s new, fully accredited tutor.  Everyone cheers Joan on, and Ted says that they’re a very supportive family to Mrs. Fernwald.  She buys that crap.  She also believes they’re a perfect family.  Oh my gosh, if only she could have seen all those Vicki and Ted moments this episode!  Anyway, she does promise to come back to check on Vicki’s progress.  Then the episode ends with a sex joke because they haven’t told enough of those lately.  The End!

Firsts: Joan’s educational background is mentioned, Joan becomes Vicki’s tutor, a dropped storyline gets picked up, Vicki and Ted openly battle each other

Friday, October 4, 2013

Season 1, Episode 10: Vicki's Adoption

This episode is actually a highlight for me.  Let’s get to it.

Jamie’s eating breakfast and Vicki’s, I don’t know, supervising when Harriet comes over to ask if she can hide her mother’s birthday present at the Lawson house so that she won’t find it.  Harriet promises to do Jamie a favor if he helps her out, so he agrees and hides it in a cupboard.  That is the fastest Jamie’s been convinced to do anything.  I think he knows what he wants from Harriet already.  While he’s doing that, Harriet asks about Vicki’s parents, and of course the robot who can’t lie admits to not having them.

As soon as Jamie’s butt hits the seat after hiding Bonnie’s present, Bonnie Brindle comes over.  Again, I’m sure Harriet is wired.  She tells Harriet it’s time for school.  Joan enters the kitchen, and really I’m surprised she wasn’t there this whole time, and tells Jamie to walk Harriet.  That is sweet.  Harriet needs to adopt Joan.  Jamie offers to carry Harriet’s books so he can cover his face and no one will recognize him.  What an asshole.  Joan is apologetic and tries to say that Jamie adores Harriet, and Bonnie’s like, “Bitch, don’t front, I barely like her.”  Ouch.

Bonnie sticks around to look for her birthday present, which I’m surprised she doesn’t find in three seconds on account of Harriet being wired and everything, and notices that Vicki doesn’t go to school.  Bonnie interrogates Vicki, but Joan and Ted step in and are like, “We take care of her education here and blah blah blah, GTFO Bonnie.”  Bonnie takes the hint and leaves, leaving the Lawsons wondering where they should dump the body when they murder her so she’ll stop asking questions.  They decide that they already have too many secrets, so they postpone the murdering and just program Vicki to have a past.

Also, apparently to grow and shrink.  This is trippier than Alice in Wonderland.  Anyway, they seem to program her just in time, because Mrs. Fernwald, a soon to be recurring character from social services, shows up to evaluate the claim that Vicki doesn’t go to school.

Facts we learn about Vicki.  Full name: Victoria Ann Smith (soon to be Lawson).  Birth date: September 9, 1975 (meaning the first episode premiered 2 days before her 10th birthday!).  She’s a Virgo with Taurus rising.  Her parents were killed in a tragic yet vague accident involving a plane and a train.  Vicki’s fake crying when the Lawsons said that it’s very sad what happened to her imaginary parents made her appear like a sociopath, and already I can’t wait until Vanessa shows up – all the way in season three.

After Vicki’s performance, the Lawsons ask if they can continue the interview in private, and Mrs. Fernwald agrees.  So clearly, smooth sailing lies ahead.  Oh, wait, no, the very next thing out of Joan’s mouth is “Vicki, why don’t you go to your cabinet?”  Way to go, Joan.  And this whole time I’ve been praising you for being smarter than everyone.

Ted goes on to tell this fantastic story about how Vicki’s parents were their best friends and they wrote a letter saying Vicki should live with the Lawsons should anything happen to the Smiths, and she lived in a convent and the nuns showed them the letter and blah blah blah.  I wasn’t saying fantastic as in “that’s great,” by the way.  I mean there is just no way in hell Ted could have laid it on any thicker.  Anyway, Mrs. Fernwald, simply by doing her job, excitedly assumes the Lawsons will be adopting Vicki, and they just end up going along for the ride.  Mrs. Fernwald mentions that she needs the documentation that Ted said existed because, well, the whole they’re not kidnapping a child and holding her in a dungeon and refusing to let her see light thing revolves around it.  The Lawsons realize they may be screwed.

Jamie comes home from school and Mrs. Fernwald drops the “you’re going to have a sister!” bomb on him, and Jamie excitedly believes his mother is pregnant.  When they correct him and say they’re adopting Vicki, he’s less than pleased.  I don’t know what kind of –ist that is, but Jamie is that.  Machinist?  Humanist?  Jamie prefers humans to robots, and it’s wrong is what it is.

Ted decides to forge documents for Vicki.  Joan, who needs to make up for the cabinet faux-pas, points out that’s illegal, and Ted says for humans, not for robots.  Um, I would like to see your degree in law, Ted.  I’m pretty sure the act of forging documents themselves is illegal, but I can’t follow that logic train too far because this is a wacky sitcom and not a drama about the legal rights of robots.

Of course, spending money on Vicki is lame, so Ted just programs her to forge her own documents.  With a Sharpie.  Genius.  As they’re finishing up, Mrs. Fernwald knocks on their back door.  Unlike every other time, however, she actually explains how she knew what room the Lawsons were in – Bonnie told her.  Makes perfect sense, Bonnie is a snoop.  Mrs. Fernwald picks up the documents, and mentions she made an appointment for Vicki’s physical.  Ted has a completely logical reaction to this: dismantle Vicki.

I seriously never got the big idea of why he couldn’t tell anyone.  I get why he preferred not to – he wants to see how well a robot can pose as a human.  But when push comes to shove, he’d rather kill her than let the world in on her secret.  Ted is a horrible human being.  For no reason at all, other than he inherited some fucked up genes from his dad, Jamie suggests a better solution would be to dismantle Harriet.  The hell.  I’m praying for Joan to be the voice of reason here.

They just skip ahead to the next day.  I will have no idea how they were convinced that murdering Vicki wasn’t the only solution.  Or how they came up with this genius solution.

The doctor somehow never picks up on Jamie being a boy, and makes comments about how cute he is.  His parents give him shit about it.  The doctor gets called to the golf course, so he decides “Vicki” is in perfect health.  This is supposed to be some kind of good and famous doctor.  I mean, Jamie didn’t even have to pee in a cup, and I remember doing that much during my physicals as a kid.

Well, after that rouse of a physical that I’m partially convinced the doctor was in on, Vicki is adopted.  Bonnie and Harriet come over, thinking the Lawsons are throwing a surprise birthday party for her.  The Lawsons explain that they’ve adopted Vicki, and Bonnie reveals she was the one who complained about Vicki not going to school – which is an issue that didn’t even get resolved in this episode.  Bonnie does point out fucked up shit does happen to kids and you can never be too safe, and the Lawsons do forgive her because this is a fact.

End credits, and oh shit y’all.  The doctor that’d rather play golf than do his job is Richard Erdman!  He grows up to be Leonard on Community.  I was just so enthralled that he was the world’s shittiest doctor that I missed it.  He’s on my first favorite show, and my current favorite show.  Circle of sitcoms and all that jazz.

Until next time, guys.

Firsts: Miss Fernwald, Bonnie isn't a complete tool