Friday, January 24, 2014

Small Wonder Drinking Game Version 1

Every so often in the reviews, I mention the things that should be in the Small Wonder drinking game.  Now, I was a toddler when Small Wonder came out, and I’m 30 now, so I assume most Small Wonder fans (or, haters, whichever) are old enough to drink.  I’m not responsible for your liver or you being younger than 21, so if you try to play this game and die, that’s not on me.  Be responsible.

I suggest that you only do this with one or two episodes of Small Wonder at a time, or else you really will die.  There are some episodes you probably shouldn’t play this with at all.  Again, I’m not responsible for your death, alcohol poisoning, liver damage, drunken texts, etc. if you decide to play this game.

And notice I called it version 1.  I plan on updating it every season.

Take A Drink
·         Character says a catchphrase.  This is Joan’s “That’s cute” or “That makes sense” or Bonnie’s “No nonono nono no no no” at this point.
·         The adults make a sex joke
·         The kids make a bathroom or fart joke
·         Jamie decides to use Vicki to make money
·         Vicki’s panel makes an appearance (not including the theme song, or you will die)
·         Anyone makes an overtly 80s reference
·         Ted or Vicki show each other a lack of affection
·         Vicki says something inadvertently ominous
·         Vicki’s pinafore changes between episodes

Take Two Drinks
·         The kids make a sex joke
·         The Brindles try to swindle their way into something
·         Any one of the Brindles actually say they think Vicki might be mistreated
·         Ted does something borderline sociopathic
·         Vicki asserts herself

Take Three Drinks
·         Harriet flirts with Jamie
·         Anyone flirts with Vicki
·         Harriet spies on the Lawsons
·         Someone makes Vicki cry
·         Joan does something borderline sociopathic

Chug It
·         Another character borrows a catchphrase
·         Ted explains something technical that doesn’t sound real
·         Ted hides his computers
·         Body parts in a case
·         Continuity errors within the same episode
·         Joan is driven to madness
·         Vicki is driven to madness

Friday, January 17, 2014

Season 1 Recapped

From being body parts to a case to her first emotional breakdown, Vicki Ann Lawson has had quite the year!

From the day she’s built, Vicki proves that she’s no normal automaton and sneaks out of the house that very same day!  She's a curious creature, after all.

Of course, the snoopy next door neighbors, the Brindles are often curious about Vicki and why she’s not treated like other kids.  This leads to them being suspicious of the Lawsons.

But, the Brindles being the Brindles leads to Vicki being adopted.  They’re not all bad, even if they love to swindle their way into everything.

Vicki and Ted have a very complicated relationship.  Let’s leave it at that.

There’s a few times Jamie has tried to earn money.  All of these attempts go ridiculous.

There was that time Vicki was a babysitter.  That went hilarious.

The kids found love, even though Vicki might not have been in love as much as she found someone to take her away from her horrible family.

We also got to see outside of the Lawson home a bit.  There was scenic Harriet’s room, that one section of the woods, the outside area of Jamie’s school, and the locker room.

And who can forget the time Vicki tried to end it all?

But mostly, they practically live in their kitchen.  At least, Joan and Vicki do.

But in the end, Vicki is no bucket of bolts.  She’s fantastic and even her haters fall in love.

That’s it for this wrap-up.  Next time… it’s been hinted at many, many times, and it’s finally here… IT’S THE SMALL WONDER DRINKING GAME, Y’ALL!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Season 1, Episode 24: Grandpa Lawson's Visit

We’re here!  It’s the final episode of the first season!  It’s all downhill from here.  I shouldn’t say that.  I know my least favorite episode ever is still a ways off, and we’re still nowhere near my favorite episodes.  But the second season is better than the first season, and that makes me feel like I can breathe again.  This is also my absolute favorite first season episode.  I’ve hinted at it many times – they make the robot cry.

The family is eating breakfast when Vicki enters and gives Ted a lightbulb he requested.  Is her pinafore always going to change back and forth between episodes now?  That might drive me crazy.  Ted asks Vicki to test the lightbulb and she straight up channels Uncle Fester.  It’s a three way bulb, so Ted pulls on Vicki’s ear to do a thorough test.  Jamie wants to know how Vicki did that, and I would say maybe he’s a future engineer, but I know Jamie’s grades.  Ted says a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo, leading Joan to quip, “That makes sense.”  Ted immediately leaves for work, but tells Vicki to put the bulb in the living room lamp.  At least they didn’t forget about it.

 Right when Ted leaves, the phone rings.  It’s Jamie’s grandpa!  After they have a brief conversation about how Jamie has a thing for a 13 year old because he likes older, more experienced women (what?), Joan takes the phone from him.  Turns out grandpa’s coming to visit that upcoming weekend.  Ted comes back in right after the phone conversation, because that’s his timing, because the car battery doesn’t work.  Jamie tells Ted about the visit, which Ted initially thinks is great, but then realizes they can’t tell his dad that Vicki is a robot because his dad hates robots.  He worked for the same company for 40 years before he was let go and replaced by a robot.  That’s exactly what this show needed – robot prejudice.  Ted does try to cover Vicki’s ears to hide the truth from her, but her ears are so great she hears it anyway.  At least he tried to spare her feelings.  Ted decides they’re worrying for nothing because his dad’ll love Vicki once he meets her, and then they can tell the truth.

 Ted has Vicki help him with the car.  Joan is afraid that Ted’s going to make her push it, which he assures them is not the case, but doesn’t really clear things up.  Joan and Jamie follow him to see what he’s up to, and he hands Vicki jump starter cables.  Sure enough, Vicki jump starts the car.  Then Joan makes a menopause joke, because those are way more appropriate than sex jokes.

It’s the weekend already and Ted comes home with his parents.  Jamie, like all rude kids, demands a present, and he gets an African medicine man mask.  It’s supposed to keep away evil spirits.  Ted sits his parents down to tell them about an addition to the family, and Grandma makes the same assumption Jamie did many episodes ago, and assumes that Joan is pregnant.  She says Joan doesn’t show a bit and is flat as a pancake.  That is a compliment of the highest regard.  They say they adopted a little girl, and Grandpa says it’s just as good because they always wanted a granddaughter.  Then Harriet comes over, and they assume Harriet is their granddaughter.  The Lawsons emphatically deny it.  I guess it would be weird for them to make Jamie's future wife his sister, too.  Harriet wanted to know who the guests were, and Ted reveals everything the Brindles need to know before Jamie scares her off.  

Vicki’s grandparents love her instantly.  They do comment on her voice, and Ted blames her tonsils.  He says she has three tonsils, and Joan says they’re large as walnuts.  Grandpa decides since Grandma is a woman, she should unpack, and he’s going to have fun with his new granddaughter.  Grandpa plays elephant with Vicki, but he can’t make an elephant sound.  Vicki does, and when she does it and he wants to know why, she goes, “three tonsils”.  Grandpa notices Vicki never runs down, and he needs to catch his breath.  He feels he got carried away, so Vicki tries to carry him away.  It leads to Ted revealing that Vicki is a robot.  Joan and Jamie explain how they love her like a real member of the family, but he feels duped.  He calls Vicki a worthless bucket of bolts and tells her he doesn’t like her.  Grandma tries to tell Vicki that she still loves her, but Vicki is upset Grandpa doesn’t like her and she cries.

Jamie and Joan are amazed that Vicki is crying, but Ted tries to pull the “robots don’t have feelings and emotions” thing but even he is stunned that Vicki is crying.  He admits he doesn’t know what it is.

Grandpa starts packing and Harriet pops up in the window.  Grandpa tells her that he wishes that Harriet was his real granddaughter.  Jamie and Vicki show up and Grandpa gets angry.  Jamie shuts the window on Harriet, but Grandpa has a heart attack.  The adults all rush up to the room after Jamie calls for them.  Grandma reveals that Grandpa didn't want them to worry so didn't tell them about his bad heart.  The adults rush out of the room to go get help, but Grandpa stops functioning.  Vicki doesn't even hesitate before she jump starts Grandpa, like she learned watching Trapper John.  I watch House and I don't feel at all qualified to determine something isn't lupus, so how is Trapper John going to program a robot?  Imagine how skilled she'd be if she'd been programmed by watching Scrubs, but I digress.

A week later, the grandparents are leaving.  Vicki carries down the luggage, and Grandma is upset Jamie’s letting a little girl do all the work.  Jamie reminds her she’s a robot, and Grandma admits she forgets and tells Vicki she’s adorable.  Vicki comments that she’s an adorable bucket of bolts.  Poor kid has a complex, but everyone is more sensitive to it now that she’s actually started crying.  Grandpa comes home from the hospital and he still hates Vicki.  She calls him a stubborn old fool as she takes his luggage to the car and when she’s outside, the family finally reveals – it was Vicki that saved his life.

After processing this information, Grandpa tells everyone he needs to talk to Vicki alone.  He tries to explain where he was coming from but admits that he’s starting to warm up to Vicki and asks her to give him a big hug, which she does.  The rest of the family joins them and Grandma tells Vicki that she’s a unique granddaughter and that they’re going to miss her, which leads to Vicki crying again.  Ted comments mockingly that she’s turning into a real woman, she cries when she’s sad and she cries when she’s sad and she cries when she’s happy.  His mother and his wife both punch him and it’s great.

And that’s it!  End of first season.  Next update will be a recap, and then the next one after that is the much talked about Small Wonder drinking game!  Then I should be all refreshed and ready to take on season 2.

Firsts: Vicki cries actual tears, Ted’s parents, Vicki jump starts a car, Vicki jump starts a heart

Friday, January 3, 2014

Season 1, Episode 23: Health Nuts

We are almost there!  One more episode and season 1 is a thing of the past, and we’re one quarter of the way through all Small Wonder episodes.  Yay!  I don’t see why we should wait, so let’s get right to it.

Joan has come home from grocery shopping, and the bags are clearly too heavy for her.  Jamie offers to give Joan a hand… by opening the door.  That was real helpful, Jamie.  Keep learning your dad’s alpha male traits.  Joan asks Jamie to get the rest of the things out of the car so she can go get their father, and I wonder if the Lawsons are a one car family.  I know that errands day ballet well, except our version involved waking up at 6 am to take dad to work because mom wasn’t going to leave us home alone even if we were just sleeping.  Jamie says he’s taken care of it, and poor Vicki shows up completely buried in bags and dry cleaning.  Poor robot can’t ever catch a break.

Turns out Ted is already home because he got a ride from his coworker Lou, which apparently the family met at the company picnic.  Do companies actually have picnics?  I have never been to one.  I have been to theme parks with my parents companies, so maybe my parents just worked for less cheap and way cooler companies.  Apparently Lou was a big 300 pound man, but Ted goes on about how Lou’s family went to a health club and now Lou is a lean 165 pounds.  Ted thinks it sounds great, and of course, being a kid, Jamie’s all like, “You know what sounds better?  Junk food.”   Vicki decides to voice her concerns about Jamie’s habits and says junk food will ruin his cardiovascular system and give him zits.  That’s an urban myth – the zits, not the negative health effects, though exercise counteracts those, too.

Jamie’s all “Who asked her?” and Ted for once agrees with Vicki – and eats Jamie’s chip.  Bravo.  Ted reluctantly agrees Vicki is right for real, and admits that he’s having real body image issues and he wants to get into shape.  Joan says that Ted looks great, and right when he starts to feel better about himself, she pokes at his spare tire, and Jamie picks at his beer belly – I mean, pasta pouch.  Seriously, they make 93 sex jokes a second and they can’t call a beer belly a beer belly?  Anyway, Ted crumples and while I’m not the biggest Ted fan, they’re going to give him an eating disorder.  Jamie and Joan are worse than mean girls.  Joan says she was kidding, but Jamie says he wasn’t.  The Lawsons would be better off if they just put their son up for adoption.  They would.

Joan says if it makes Ted feel better, he should join a health club, but Ted’s like, “I just use the handy dandy Vicki instead!”  Oh, bother.  He’s going to program her by making her watch exercise shows on TV and then adding in some customizations, and then he’ll have a ten year old personal trainer.  There are 10 year olds in countries that depend on child labor that would feel bad about how much work Vicki did – well, as long as they weren’t in on that whole “she’s a robot” thing.  But this is America and a robot child is still a child.  I think.  Joan and Jamie support him, and Ted reveals that they’re joining him.  They decline, so Vicki tries to use the negative momentum as her out and quits.  Ted admits he needs the support, and Ted has never been so vulnerable.  If he wasn’t a complete sociopath, I’d feel for him.  They reluctantly agree, even though Jamie thinks he’s in great shape.  Vicki is quick to cut him down, though.  Love that robot.  Hey, after he was so quick to be mean to Ted, he deserves a little taste of his own medicine.

Vicki wakes up Ted and Joan and I think this is the first time we’ve seen their room since the pilot.  Also, I always wanted an exercise outfit like hers.  I don’t think I would look good in one now, at age 30, but as a kid I would have been darling.  Wait…

Is their bedroom the same set as the living room?  No wonder we never see it.  Anyway, they don’t want to get out of bed, but Vicki gives them tough love.  Vicki has woken the entire family up at 5:30 am for a 2 mile jog.  This is why I don’t exercise that much.  I’m not against waking up at 5:30, and I’m not against jogging… but two miles and that early is medieval torture.  Ted is into it, but Jamie isn’t, so Vicki drags him to get him into it.  Vicki does not play.

We cut to the end of the jog, where Jamie and Joan are right on Vicki’s tail, but the jog has proven to be too much for Ted.  He makes a noise like a dying dog as he finishes jogging up about a minute behind the family.  Vicki lines the family up to do jumping jacks.  The family wishes for music, so Ted remembers to turn on the radio – Vicki.  Vicki then has them do sidebends, and then that exercise where you hold your arms out to the sides and make little circles with them.  Remember doing that exercise in elementary school?  I’m sure there’s a reason nobody does it anymore.  What exactly was it working out?  Anyway, Vicki makes them go faster and faster until she takes flight.

After exercises is breakfast, and Ted is feeding them fiber.  Man, I bet Vicki is glad she can’t eat because she doesn’t even stick around to watch.  Joan sarcastically mentions not being able to wait for dinner, and Ted lists a menu of items that when a vegan tells you that’s what they’re having for dinner, you just want to slap them.  People aren’t behind kale in the 2010s, and he’s throwing it around like it’s normal in the 1980s?  I have no problem with vegans, I should clarify.  I just hate the pretentious ones.  I can be pretentious about meat, too, I’m just not because I’m not an asshat.  By the way, who is making this dinner?  Ted can’t cook for crap, established.  Whatever, Ted goes on to say in a few weeks, his family will be in the same shape as Good Ol’ Lou.  Wait for it.

It’s another day and Joan admits that this new healthy lifestyle is agreeing with her.  In just two days, Joan has lost some weight.  Vicki weighs Jamie, and it turns out he lost some weight, too.  Ted comes home just after that, looking like he’s seen a ghost.  They were having lunch, and Lou dropped dead in his alfalfa sprouts right in front of him.  It was a heart attack.  Ted can’t figure it out because Lou was living such a healthy lifestyle and was in the best shape of his life.  Joan tries to stop Ted from worrying about it, but come on – healthiest guy you know drops dead from a heart attack and you’re nowhere being that healthy, it’s worth worrying about a little.  Ted questions his mortality, and Vicki tells him in a couple of weeks, he’ll be in the same shape as Good Ol’ Lou.  I almost died.  That is the best and well placed echo of the entire series.  To her credit, Vicki does try to comfort Ted.  Their relationship is so complex.

Vicki goes to wake up the Lawsons, but Ted says he’s thrown out his back and every muscle in his body aches.  Vicki literally gets up in Ted’s face and says no excuses, and Ted tells her to stop.  She says, “You programmed me to do this,” which is an actual direct quote, and it says so much.  Would she love to show compassion if only she could ignore the prime directive?  I mean, it is Ted, but again, they do have a complex relationship.  Ted says he’s changed his mind and decides they don’t need to jog anymore, so Joan sends Vicki to start breakfast.

Jamie asks what’s wrong with Ted, and Ted chooses that moment to prove he is completely bat shit.  The aspirin has run out, and Ted flips because medication is the first defense.  The first defense against what?  It’s actually the last defense.  I can’t preemptively take NyQuil and not catch colds.  Jamie also catches on that Ted is cracking up.

Ted returns from the funeral depressed.  Ted goes on about how great his dead man crush looked, and thinks it’s unfair to be so beautiful and so dead.  Joan’s like, “Yeah, over it… I mean, whatever you want me to say.”  Ted worries because everyone at the funeral said Ted looked so good, and Joan is like, “You look great!  That’s not a bad thing!”  Ted picked up some stuff from the pharmacy, which is a lot of hypochondriac medication.  Joan jokingly asks, “No laxatives?” and Ted starts to flip because he forgot and wonders if he needs them.  The universe broke Ted and it’s kind of awesome.  Joan calls him out on being crazy, but Ted feels justified.  Jamie tells Ted to see a doctor, and Ted says he did.  The doctor gave him a clean bill of health, but he doesn’t trust it because he was Lou’s doctor.  Then get a freaking second opinion.  You live in Sitcomland, you can do that.

Ted completely loses it.  He clutches his medicines and make the kids help him to the couch. He refuses to lie down, and then he breaks his promise to take the family to the movies because of the germs.  Joan is like, “Get over it!” but that doesn’t really do anything, and Ted says he wants dinner, which Joan thinks is a good idea.  She made Ted his favorite, pot roast, and he freaks out over eating meat and cholesterol.  I can’t even… this was fun at first, but if Ted doesn’t stop whining I’m going to hope he has a heart attack just to get it over with.

Ted has Vicki help him up to his room so that he can put on his slippers, but before he can get up there, he tells Jamie he’s a good kid and asks him to take care of his mother.  Oh my gosh, die or get over it.  Jamie decides that Good Ol’ Lou is in better shape than Ted, and Joan admits she may kill Ted.  Joan decides she’s taking Jamie to the movies anyway so they don’t go crazy, and when Jamie asks if that’s a good idea, Joan decides Vicki will be around to keep him company.  Jamie decides it’d be an interesting experiment to see if Ted can drive Vicki crazy, and I wonder if he’s missed out on life with a robot.  Ted and Vicki drive each other crazy all the time.

Vicki actually does a good job of taking care of Ted, but he’s falling apart even more.  The blanket Ted wraps himself up in, I always wanted as a kid.  I just like it.  Plus all my blankets were hand me downs, and this one looks new.  I had hand me down blankets, pillows, and beds as a kid – but all my clothes were new.  Anyway, Ted goes completely insane and thinks the germs are winning and his memory is going and blah blah blah.  Ted decides he’s in such bad shape that he’s ready to die.  Jamie and Joan come home from the movies and Joan is pissed.  She won’t give in to Ted’s hypochondria for another second.  Ted decides to talk to Joan about the life insurance policy, and Vicki takes the opportunity to do Ted a favor – she shows him exactly how he’s been acting.  When Ted actually sees it, he can see how horrible it really is so he apologizes.  Everything in moderation, he vows, and Jamie’s like, “Cool, we can start by eating this chocolate cake like we haven’t seen food in months.”  Ted warns about how deadly chocolate cake can be, but decides it’s a pretty decent way to go.  Jamie asks if Vicki is coming, but knowing the futility of not being able to eat the chocolate cake, she decides that she’s ready to die.  Okay, she was still copying Ted, but I know I would die without chocolate cake.

That’s it.  End of episode.  Just one more to go for the season!

Firsts: The family exercises, Ted goes completely bat shit, Vicki goes completely bat shit, Vicki mocks and comforts Ted in the same episode