Friday, November 27, 2015

Season 2, Episode 9: Home Sweet Homeless

I had to take some screenshots without pausing this week for reasons. As such, some pictures have a certain derpiness to them, and some scenes don't have the actual photo I wanted to use to represent them. On to the review.

I don’t have a pre-episode thing that wouldn’t be depressing, and my goal is not to depress you. It’s to make you see that just because a show is objectively bad doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. And I fail that task sometimes, but you know, overall. That said, let’s just get right into it.

Vicki and Ted are in the kitchen and I don’t know what’s happening because Ted’s pants are distracting. Jamie comes into the kitchen and shields his face from the glare coming from Ted’s pants while he says they’re awesome. Ted takes the compliment. No, Ted, Jamie did not mean awesome like good. He meant those pants inspired awe because it’s impossible to comprehend them. Jamie makes his point clearer by saying he hopes there are no bulls on the golf course, and Ted threatens “to the moon.” Oh, cool, let’s bring back the euphemism for abuse. Ted finally says Vicki was making him a protein shake and I just realized everyone except for Joan is in the kitchen. Small Wonder is making excellent strides in feminism, especially since I don’t know if Joan is actually employed this week or not. Ted tries to use the blender, but it doesn’t work, so he uses the handy-dandy Vicki.

Joan finally enters the kitchen and says they can congratulate her. Joan, please don’t be the Ted this week. Apparently, her women’s auxillary club called and Joan is the chairperson of the committee to help the homeless. Shenanigans. Joan doesn’t have a cell phone, so everyone would have known she was on the phone and thus she could have had a less awkward entrance. “Oh, hey, honey, who was on the phone?” Entire women’s auxillary line goes here. Vicki doesn’t know what homeless means and 2015 me is like that’s privilege rearing it’s ugly head. Of course the robotics engineer who gets job offers out the wazoo doesn’t think to teach his robot child who was designed to help people about a group of people who need help. Check your robotics engineer privilege, Ted. Joan explains it to Vicki, and Ted agrees that they should help the homeless, but Vicki just walks away. I’m not making this up. It looks like they were explaining it to Jamie and Vicki happened to be in the room to overhear. Program your robot child some manners.

Joan says that it’s hard to make people aware of the issue, which is obvious since you couldn’t even hold the attention of a robot, and Ted suggests trying to go on TV and raise awareness that way. Jamie suggests telling Harriet. These are both valid suggestions. Joan sides with Ted. Ted agrees to drop her off and pick her up because he’s going to the golf course, and I knew it! One car family! Only bit of continuity that sticks. Wait, so how has Joan been getting to work as a teacher? Darn it... Joan asks Jamie to go to the store for her, but the length of that list is ridiculous. He brings Vicki along.

On the way home from the store, Vicki and Jamie see a homeless person. Vicki points out Joan said it was their duty to help the homeless. No, Vicki, Ted said that. See, that’s what happens when you walk away mid-conversation. Jamie notices the alley the homeless person was in was a mess and it should be cleaned up, so Vicki blows everything away with her super robot breath. Seriously. This show has a problem remembering robot is not Superman. Robots can’t breathe and while it would make sense for her to have an exhaust fan in her mouth area so it would mimic breath, it would never be that strong. I pay attention to real world stuff sometimes! Jamie and Vicki approach the homeless guy and wake him up. Rude! Just come back later. You wouldn’t like it if someone woke you up when you were sleeping.

The guy is a little confused when he wakes up, but he is very well mannered around the children. Says how do you do, removes his hat for Vicki - real charming. His name is Roland Cardwell. Jamie asks Roland if he lives in the alley, and he says for the moment. Then he lists the “conveniences” it has - solar heating, air conditioning. He’s a real positive guy. I like that.

We cut back to the Lawson kitchen, and Jamie is making a sandwich. It looks like the beginnings of that ridiculous sandwich he makes in the theme song. There’s a knock at the door and I’m sure it’s Harriet, but the shade is down so we can’t see - let’s find out. It’s Harriet! Jamie says he’s busy and tells Harriet to come back later, so she opens the door and says it’s later. I love Jamie Lawson’s future wife. Harriet wants Jamie’s sandwich, and he tells her to go home and make one for herself. Harriet says she’s not allowed to eat between meals and then makes a joke about Bonnie’s bad cooking. Jamie finishes the sandwich and it is a clone of the ridiculous one! It would make Shaggy and Scooby Doo proud. Jamie kicks Harriet out and then he goes into the living room just in time for Ted and Joan to come home.

Joan says that the reporter agreed to do a story on the homeless, and Jamie casually brings up bringing a homeless person home. Well, no, he says “guess what I did today” and Roland walks out in Joan’s robe. But it is all pretty casual. Roland says hello to Joan and Ted and politely asks Jamie for bubble bath. Ted needs some answers, like “who are you? What are you doing in my house? Why are you wearing my wife’s robe?” Roland, of course, answers the last one.

Vicki comes in wearing Roland’s hat and she is super adorable! She gives Roland some slippers which also look like Joan’s. Jamie introduces Roland to his parents, and Roland lays on the charm. He is so lovely, I want to adopt him. Jamie made the sandwich for Roland. I like how Jamie isn’t a little shit in this episode. I mean, he wasn’t even rude to Harriet earlier. Ted is really upset that Jamie brought the guy home, but Jamie points out Ted and Joan said they had to help the homeless find a home. Wrong. They never said that. But Joan agrees, so free pass, Jamie. Ted agrees to let Roland bathe and that they’ll feed him, but he worries Roland has a criminal record. Privilege check, Ted. No, I’m kidding, I have a roommate who locks her bedroom door when she takes a shower, so I get having trust issues.

We cut to the kitchen because transitions that make sense are for other shows, and Roland has apparently found Ted’s robe because he’s wearing that. He makes himself a cup of coffee as he tells Jamie some fantastic story involving a King Cobra. Jamie asks how Roland got the money to have such adventures, and he says he does things for free. Jamie asks if Roland ever works and he seems allergic to the word. Way to go, Small Wonder. Raise awareness for an issue by perpetuating the stereotypes. Ted and Joan come into the kitchen, and Jamie is enthralled by Roland. I see this going over well. Joan is washing Roland’s clothes, and Ted says that after the clothes are done and Roland eats, he can leave. I can’t even be mad at Ted’s bad attitude. He really could have kicked Roland out a long time ago, but he’s helping as much as he feels comfortable with his own home. Jamie is super offended, and wants Roland to sleep in his room. What, with Vicki in the cabinet? You think that through, Jamie? Roland turns Jamie down, and Ted and Joan use this momentum to make it seem like literally opening up your home to a homeless person isn’t enough, but then Roland drops the bomb and says he’ll be staying in the backyard. That’s when you call the police, but then this episode would only be 11 minutes long.

We cut to the backyard. Roland is sleeping in a lawn chair with that blanket I love so much, when Harriet enters through the gate. Harriet approaches him, but then quickly goes to report it to Jamie. That was responsible. Harriet can be responsible. Jamie pulls Harriet inside and says that Roland is the Lawson’s houseguest. Liberal use of the term houseguest there, Jamie. Jamie explains Roland’s situation to Harriet, and she thinks he’s a bum. You know, in this situation, you’re probably right, Harriet, but that’s not the fair assumption to make usually. Jamie defends Roland by repeating his fantastic stories and Harriet now likes him and wants an introduction. Also, Harriet manages to successfully hit on Jamie while asking him to make the introduction. Knew it. Harriet’s going to be a Lawson some day.

Ted is still upset Roland is around and says if Roland calls him Dad one more time, he’ll wrap him in a blanket and leave him on someone’s doorstep. Ted, you have a real serial killer edge that you may want to work on. Ted wants to kick Roland out badly, but Joan says she doesn’t want to look bad in front of her committee and maybe Ted should just find Roland a job. That is a great suggestion.

We cut to the living room later, I guess, since the people in the room have changed, and Roland is wearing Ted’s awesome red pants. Roland is telling Jamie and Vicki how he gets money when he needs it by saying hello and telling a hard luck story. Ted comes home, and Vicki calls him a sucker. I love those two so much. Ted threatens to bury Roland up to his neck in a sand trap for wearing his pants. See, Ted is totally a serial killer. Ted asks Vicki to take his briefcase up to his room, and she agrees and calls him sucker again. This show got canceled right when it was going to get good. Teen Vicki and Ted, guys! Would have been great.

Joan enters from the kitchen, and Ted says he has good news for Roland. Roland assumes they’re going to Disneyland. I love this guy. Ted got Roland a job, and Roland starts acting all allergic again. Jamie defends Roland, and I’m surprised Roland hasn’t started a cult. Like, that would be the perfect job for him. Roland then says he isn’t homeless because he chose his lifestyle, and he feels bad for the actual homeless. Okay, Small Wonder. I’ll give you points there. Roland is an early Freegan. Then Ted and Roland get into a fight over Roland’s lifestyle choices. Look, if Roland is happy - you know, kick him out and move on with your lives. Then Jamie says he wants Roland’s lifestyle. Shut up, brain. We’re trying to not be depressing.

Then we cut to the next morning in the kitchen and I really don’t think this episode of Small Wonder knew what it was doing, timeline wise. Vicki has made Ted eggs. Ted complains about how Vicki made the eggs, so she dumps them on the table. Love them so much. Joan comes into the kitchen, excited that the homelessness story is going to be on the news that night. Then Jamie enters from the backyard asking where Roland is, and Vicki reveals he’s gone. Jamie is really upset and wants to get Roland back. Joan and Ted decide that Jamie needs a taste of Roland’s lifestyle to get it out of his system.

So the Lawsons all go out after dark and go back to Roland’s alley. Vicki says no one else is in the alley, but she detects smaller life forms - the ones that go crunch when you step on them. Ew. But at least it isn’t rodents. Ted uses the opportunity to teach Jamie some of Roland’s life skills and dumpster dives for pizza when a rodent finally does show up (ew) and Ted says if they catch it, it could be dinner (triple ew). Right when Jamie starts to get it, the news crew shows up. This going to be hilarious. And are there no other alleys in town? The reporter mistakes the Lawsons for a homeless family, and I wonder why with all that dumpster diving. Joan asks the reporter if he remembers her, and when he does he assumes Joan moved the entire family out to the alley to prove her point. Well, technically, that is kind of what happened. Joan starts to tell the truth, but Ted steps in and says that’s exactly what happened. Jamie says that that’s no way for a person to live and they should help the homeless and then Vicki asks for money. Love that robot.

I did it. I got through an episode I knew would be hard. And now I’m done with it. I want to give Small Wonder credit for wanting to raise awareness about such an important issue, I just think there could have been better ways to do it. The End. See you next week.


  1. I like that Joan's auxillary club elected her to lead the campaign on the Homeless Awareness stuff- makes me think that she has some standing with her shadowy neighbors. I'm curious though, I've never heard of the term Freegan, is that like living the old fashioned hobo lifestyle? Also- what do you think about Joan's screentime in the kitchen this episode? :D

    1. Freegans try to live for free. Sometimes they squat in empty homes, they dumpster dive, they barter, but they also grow their own food. And I think Joan only had the one scene in the kitchen - remarkable!