Friday, December 4, 2015

Season 2, Episode 10: The Older Woman

So, Jamie apparently has an unrequited crush on Harriet’s cousin. Sadly, this cousin is not Bippy because at least that would be interesting. I don’t remember this episode at all and I’m starting to wonder if I didn’t only watch select episodes on my season 2 DVD because this is like the ninth time I’ve said it in 10 episodes. Anyway, let’s get to it.

Okay, there’s a lot going on in this opening scene. Ted’s computer stuff is out, which only happens when he’s using it, but he’s over there playing Monopoly with his family like an attentive husband and father. Vicki is watching them play Monopoly, which is just creepy. Is there a legit reason a robot can’t play a game of luck and negotiation skills? Because Vicki would probably be really bad at it. Then there’s lightning in the background, so I guess it’s a rainy night, and the lightning knocks out the power. That’s just five seconds in. Man, if this episode is not dense, they wasted early potential.

Joan groans about the lights being out, but Ted says he has a solution and walks over to his computer set up. Wow, his one instance of being too lazy to put that stuff away is turning out to be super convenient. Ted says he wired the house into the computer and he just has to plug in the computer to a power source. He did have the house wired to the computer in Neighborhood Watch, but that did not go well, so I feel like this is going to be a Vicki sacrifice. Ted plugs the computer into Vicki, and it actually works for like 10 seconds. During that time, Ted compares himself to God, so I’m adding that to the list of reasons I know why Ted is a serial killer in his spare time. Then Vicki very clearly starts overheating, but Joan has to point it out. No wonder all your inventions have glitches, Ted. You can’t pay attention to the details. He has to unplug Vicki.

There’s a knock at the backdoor. Joan figures it’s probably the Brindles. Yeah, I would probably figure that, too. There’s no power. They’ll want something. Jamie goes to answer the door as Ted opens up Vicki’s panel to see why she overheated. That’s a lot of faith that a Brindle isn’t about to just waltz into your house.

Jamie opens the door, and Harriet was sent over by her parents to borrow some candles. I knew they’d want something. Jamie doesn’t see this as an unreasonable request and gives her some. He does ask why the Brindles always borrow stuff and if they ever go to the store, and Harriet says they do go to the store sometimes but Bonnie says the lines are shorter at the Lawson house. Harriet is just a product of her upbringing, y’all.

The lights come back on, and Harriet asks Jamie if he wants to meet her sixteen year old cousin Mary who’s staying with the Brindles. That wasn’t clunky at all. Then Mary conveniently comes over to retrieve Harriet right when they were speaking about her. I thought Jamie’s insta-puberty with Jessica was dramatic, but there is no explaining what is happening here. Little Jamie Lawson is in lust. Aww.

Ted finishes fixing up Vicki and Joan was like, “we were worried, Vicki, but at least we can play Monopoly again.” Joan Lawson: Mother of the Year. Vicki repeats what Joan says, but all the words are out of order. Vicki’s having a stroke. Ted looks into it, says that made up mumbo jumbo I really hoped hadn’t carried over from season 1, invoking Joan’s first “That makes sense” of the season. It’s good to remember your roots. Ted needs a part he has to pick up from the plant the next day, and I’m pretty sure he means steal, so he sends Vicki up to her cabinet and she walks up the stairs backwards. Except, you know, it’s a special effect. Could they not just have her walk up the stairs backwards?

So we have one of those nonsensical transitions where Jamie is in his backyard and Reggie is hanging upside down off of his monkey bars, and Jamie is telling Reggie how perfect Mary is. Reggie wants to know what Jamie is going to do about it. Good, Reggie. Don’t put up with Jamie Lawson’s whining anymore. Make him man up. Jamie admits to not having a plan because it’s hard for 12 year olds to date 16 year olds, and Reggie tells him to smoke a pipe and say smoking stunted his growth. Reggie is  a good friend.

Jamie realizes smoking a pipe is not a good plan. So he decides he needs to act like the classy gentleman from old movies. Reggie decides he can’t deal with this nonsense anymore and leaves, telling Jamie to call when he gets back from Fantasy Island. Reggie actually dropped the Fantasy Island reference. I wouldn’t. It’s not in my pop culture reference bank. I know it existed, I just never think of it because I was 3 when this episode came out.

Ted comes out to ask Jamie if he wants to go to the plant with him to pick up parts to fix Vicki - wait, it went from one part to multiple? And also, this isn’t like picking up office supplies from work. Robotics parts are expensive. Jamie says no and asks for advice. Ted starts to tell Jamie how to impress a woman, and Joan walks out. Oh, this is going to be awesome. So, in giving his advice to Jamie, Ted reveals that he was totally head over heels in lust with Joan’s roommate Barbara. Based on that look Joan is giving, this is the last we will see of Ted. Ted asked Joan out on dates and told her to bring Barbara along. Joan storms off just in time to miss Ted saying the more he took Joan out, the more he realized he loved her and not Barbara. It’s still going to be amazing when Joan murders him.

Ted goes to leave, but Harriet comes over. She asks if Vicki can come out and play, and Ted says no because she’s not herself. At least the excuses come up less often, so they seem less flimsy. Harriet asks Jamie to play, because she has nothing to do until Mary comes home, so Jamie uses Ted’s advice on Harriet. It’s happening! He’s going to realize he loves Harriet and they’ll get married! Jamie invites Harriet to the movies, and says it would be rude to leave Mary behind so they’ll take her, too. Harriet kisses Jamie on the cheek, but at least he waits until she leaves to wipe it off. That’s commitment.

Ted seems to be finishing repairs on Vicki, so let’s see how he screwed up this time. Oh! Vicki is in slo-mo! Joan comes downstairs with bedding and smiling evilly. She’s going to use the bedding to wrap Ted’s corpse in when she dumps it! She reveals that she heard the conversation, drops the bedding over Ted’s head, and then hits him with a pillow. That last part doesn’t sound as vicious as it was. The pillow was the closest thing. I think if a lamp had been right there, she would have hit him with a lamp. Joan has anger issues.

At the movies, Jamie sits between Mary and Harriet, which is the smart way to work this stupid plan. Then he compliments Mary, but makes Harriet fish. Come on, Jamie. Where was that commitment you showed two scenes ago? Jamie sends Harriet to buy popcorn - at least he gave her the money for it - but says it would be rude to leave the girls alone. Harriet buys this, and Jamie takes the opportunity to hit on Mary some more. This guy that apparently knows Mary shows up, so she ditches Jamie without even an explanation. I mean, come on, dude. I get what’s going on, but you should at least give your alibi an explanation. They’re your alibi. Harriet returns and is excited that she gets Jamie to herself.

Joan is in the kitchen - man, this episode really reverted to season one. Jamie comes home and when Joan asks how his date was, Jamie said, “Abe Lincoln had more fun in the theatre than I did.” Dark. Jamie admits to taking Ted’s advice, and Joan’s like, “well, if you want advice about a woman, don’t ask a man - ask a woman.” After Joan needs to clarify for her C-average son that she is, in fact, a woman, Joan tells Jamie to be direct and honest. Good advice. It’s going to backfire.

Ted is working on Vicki and is hunched over because the sofa is apparently bad for his back. I’m fun sized, so I’ve never had that issue, so I can’t even empathize. Let’s see how Ted messed up Vicki now. She’s a Chipette! Then he fixes her voice but she copies everything Ted says. So Ted turns her voice off because that’ll fix the repetition thing. Vicki fixes Ted’s back but still copies everything he does, voiceless.

We cut to Jamie in the kitchen and, can we not have one transition that makes sense? Harriet comes over and says she wrote Jamie a poem about her feelings for him and Jamie slams the door in her face. Oh, I thought we were over this, Jamie. Harriet lets herself in and reads it, and Jamie somehow finds a way to use that as momentum to see Mary.

We go back to the living room and Ted is trying to deal with the bedding but he’s useless. Joan comes down and asks how he slept. Where is Vicki? Whatever, nevermind. Ted begs forgiveness, and Joan gives it. Then Ted pulls Joan onto the couch and pulls the cover over them. Remember, if you go that long into an episode of Small Wonder without a sex joke, you can be blatant.

Jamie’s pacing around the backyard, wondering where Mary is. I’m guessing waiting in the kitchen is out because Joan and Ted don’t seem like the quiet type. Vicki comes out and tells Jamie to wash up for lunch and now I’m just confused about the timeline. Also, Jamie realizes Vicki is fixed. No, she can’t be. They showed us like 37 failed attempts. They are not allowed to just fix her off-screen. Jamie says he’ll be in later and starts rehearsing what he wants to say to Mary.

Mary finally comes over and Jamie confesses to being madly in love with her. Mary thinks that’s crazy, so Small Wonder has one character that makes sense. Shame we’ll never see her again. Vicki keeps piping in with unhelpful comments and I can’t tell if she’s really fixed or not. If she is, she reverted to season 1 Vicki. Harriet shows up and listens in, and Jamie should have realized that was a risk having this conversation anywhere but the bathroom. Jamie confesses he used Harriet to get to Mary, which Harriet of course heard. Mary thinks Jamie is a horrible person and she never wants to see him again, and Jamie is like, “too bad, because I’m going to stalk you.” That is the honest summation of Jamie’s response. Reggie comes over and talks some sense into Jamie. And by that, I mean, Reggie says he has a better chance with Mary. I love this show.

Mary’s boyfriend comes over and is totally ready to beat up a 12 year old. Yeah, that’s a characteristic all 16 year old girls should look for in a boyfriend. Jamie asks Reggie to help, but Reggie takes off running. Harriet and Mary come over and Mary tells her boyfriend to put Jamie down. Mary and her boyfriend leave. Jamie actually gives Harriet a heartfelt apology and offers to take her out on a real date, so all is forgiven and this ship is sailing again. Then Vicki drags Jamie into the house. The End.

Really? He fixed Vicki off-screen?! Yeah, that’s my complaint. I mean, I guess that's it for this week. Oh, wait, no I do want to mention one more thing. Mary is played by Leslie Bega, who was Maria on Head of the Class and grew up to be Valentina on The Sopranos. See, Small Wonder doesn't curse careers. Okay, I will see you next week.


  1. So, I just have to state, Vicki's slo-motion speech is incredibly terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. Other than that, watching Jamie get his comeuppance is pretty funny. I also laugh at how Ted just sits on the couch motionless under his blanket after Joan smacks him with the pillow. Good review! Looking forward to your thoughts on some of the future episodes!