Friday, October 30, 2015

Season 2, Episode 6: Neighborhood Watch

So this week is a hot mess and I apologize. There are screenshots, I just haven't edited them yet. I will try to do them after work tonight, but they'll be up latest tomorrow. Part of it is too much work time, not owning enough USB cords to satisfy my needs, and having to rewrite parts of this review - which I don't do ever, but I made a lot of bad taste jokes and I will own up to that. On to the review. Next week will be better, promise.

Now with more pictures. I'm trying to implement a system in my hectic schedule to make sure this doesn't happen again. At any rate, I'm looking into getting a USB cord strictly for the computer.

I don’t remember this episode. I’m really starting to wonder about my memory skills. Anyway, we are a third of the way through season 2! Yay! Let’s get to it.

Ooh, it’s dark. Like, really dark. I think that wall is from the Lawson’s backyard, so I’m pretty sure this is the kitchen, but they couldn’t get at least a nightlight glow going on so I could see? And this guy is up to no good, breaking into the house. I think it’s a guy. It’s too dark to see.

So the guy shines the flashlight around and yes, it is the Lawson kitchen! It is Small Wonder, so it was a safe assumption. But you never know, it could be about theft in the neighborhood. This is like the worst burglar ever. He stopped to eat pie.

So the next stop on the burglar theft train is Jamie’s room, because that makes sense. Also, who leaves their house this dark when they go out? Leave a light on so you don’t bump into your furniture, and also people might think you’re home. Then he starts stealing Jamie’s toys. Why? They’re not even collectibles. Then he opens the cabinet and sees Vicki and screams. Vicki screams back.

Apparently the Lawsons went out to dinner, and this is the first time I’ve seen them exit through the garage. Convenient that they’re in the backyard. Ted’s got an upset stomach, and they spend a million years talking about it. How short was this episode running? Then Joan finally notices that the backdoor was broken into. Alpha male Ted has Joan and Jamie stay in the backyard while he checks it out. Ted has them come into the kitchen to see how burgled they were, and then he goes into the living room to check things out.

Dang, look at what happened during a part they skipped over in favor of that awesome Ted upset stomach conversation. So, Ted has them come see how burgled the living room was. Joan thinks of how lucky they were that they were all out when it happened, and Jamie reminds them that Vicki was at home. They realize their darling robot might not be safe and actually go to check on her. Aww, they love her when the plot demands it.

When they open the cabinet, Vicki screams, and the Lawsons scream in reaction. Ted asks if she’s okay, and Vicki says she’s functioning normally. I see, she’s too brave to bring up the psychological trauma. The Lawsons decide to call the police.

Joan is making a list of things that were stolen, and then Ted goes on and on about a putter. Again with nonsense filler conversation. The police officer finally shows up and reveals they only check for fingerprints in routine burglaries, and it would be different if there was a corpse. That’s what the police officer said when my house was robbed in 2001! Either Small Wonder got something right, or lazy cops stole the idea from Small Wonder. Okay, the thief apparently took the TV, and I’m calling shenanigans on that one. He did have a duffel with him, so I can see him carrying a lot of stuff, but he came in through the back, left through the front, and was startled by Vicki. Unless he noticed the child upstairs and took the TV on the way out, that involves way too many trips through the front door to steal the TV while trying to not be seen. When my house was robbed, they took the VCRs, DVD players, and videogame consoles, but they left the TVs. And Small Wonder was doing so good just a second ago.

Jamie asks if they’ll get the stuff back, and the cop says it’s not likely. The officer then asks if the Lawsons asked any of the neighbors if they saw anything, but Vicki speaks up and says she did. The officer is confused as to why Vicki was home, which the Lawsons cover up by saying she doesn’t like Mexican food. That’s not an excuse. But also, she’s 11 and it was for a few hours so it’s not a big deal. Vicki says that the thief ran out when he saw her. Then she gives a perfect description of the crook.

The police officer asks how the the crook got in, and says the lack of deadbolt made it easy. Um, no, the glass window made it easy. It’s one more step to turn the deadbolt unless you have the kind that needs a key from the inside, too, and very few people do. The police officer then suggests that they start a neighborhood watch program. He then offers to have another officer help them set it up. Then the police officer admits his own house has been hit up twice, and he has a guard dog. Yeah, and you’re also a police officer. And is everyone against security systems or something?

So the other police officer is giving tips to the neighborhood in the Lawson living room and Brandon Brindle is the only one I believe is actually from the neighborhood. She tells them to make it hard for the thief by putting up a neighborhood watch sign. How does that make it hard? That just tells them to be on the look out for people on the look out. She also tells them to put their lights on an automatic timer. Um, that’s exactly the kind of thing the Wet Bandits cased a neighborhood for in Home Alone. Get a security system. Then she gives some good tips, like don’t leave your newspapers all over your yard when you’re gone and don’t hide your spare key in obvious places. Then she quizzes the neighbors and apparently, if there’s an unfamiliar car in the neighborhood, you call neighborhood watch patrol and keep an eye on it. Apparently, people never get new neighbors or guests or even new cars. That sounds like a lot of work. Then Brandon admits he has a gun. Let's not get into super heavy issues, but I think we can all agree Brandon Brindle is the last person on Earth who needs to own a gun. He’s also the only neighbor to not join neighborhood watch. Again, I don’t think those other neighbors are neighbors and one of them is going to rob him blind.

Ted puts on the deadbolt and asks Joan to fool around, but Jamie walked into the kitchen. Apparently, if you go half way through an episode without making a sex joke you can just have the adult characters semi-discuss it. Jamie wants to show them something in the living room, and that something is Vicki with a siren on her head. He turned her into a security system. Jamie Lawson is the one who makes sense in this whole entire episode. Jamie Lawson. Shenanigans!

Jamie has Ted pretend to be a burglar, and when he comes in through the window Vicki sounds off an alarm and then flips Ted over the couch. Again, Jamie Lawson thought of this. Did I start watching a different show?

Then Harriet and Brandon come over. Brandon notices the deadbolt, but that conversation lasts one line. Oh, now they don’t have filler conversations. He actually had a purpose for coming over. Bonnie’s out bowling and he has a lodge meeting, and Harriet’s sitter called in sick, so he asks if they could watch Harriet. Oh, so his house is going to be empty, huh? The Lawsons agree and say for Harriet to come back after dinner, but Harriet Brindle Swindles herself a dinner invite when she finds out they’re having pizza.

Jamie and Vicki are going through the neighborhood watch brochure when Harriet comes over. Then a meter man comes over, but he’s a stranger so Vicki asks him to identify himself. Jamie seems apalled by this behavior, but dude, it was your idea. The meter man does not identify himself, so Vicki tosses him on his back. The meter man is so freaked out by Vicki, the Lawsons get a free month of electricity. Awesome sauce!

Ted is programming the entire house to be on a timer. It backfires. I’m surprised this man invented Vicki. Then Brandon comes over, excited because he won some election at his lodge. The police suddenly swarm, and the police officer says a thief was caught trying to break into the Brindle home. Brandon tries to say that the police have everything covered so neighborhood watch is dumb, but the police officer says neighborhood watch reported the robbery in the first place. The thief also stole Brandon’s gun, and it turns out he really is every bit the incompetent gun owner I pictured. But Vicki solves that problem and breaks the gun. The end.

This episode got a few things right, I guess, but it was kind of a chore. Too many filler conversations.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Season 2, Episode 5: Moving Up

I don’t remember this episode like, at all. The last time that happened, it was a completely forgettable episode. Let’s see if this episode is par for the course.

Ted walks into the kitchen and sees Joan on the phone with someone named Natalie. There is no Natalie on Small Wonder. Joan doesn’t have friends. I’m already calling shenanigans on this episode. Ted is like “woman, I told you to stay off the phone” and Joan was like “my imaginary friend wanted to give me this recipe.” Is that a real thing? Did women in the 80s really just call each other to give each other recipes? Because that seems like an in-person thing. Ted asks Joan to stay off the phone because he’s expecting a call about whether or not he’s getting a new job at another robotics company. I have asked this before: why doesn’t Ted just create his own company? He made Vicki! Ted is excited because it’ll mean more money, but apparently Joan doesn’t want to move to Massachusetts and touch clams. Priorities.

Jamie enters the kitchen and asks if he can invite Reggie over, and Joan says it’s okay. But then Jamie picks up the phone and Ted freaks out. When Jamie deservedly calls him out on it, Ted apologizes and says that waiting for the phone to ring is driving him crazy. Joan suggests that Ted work on that experiment with Vicki, and I just realized we’re two minutes into Small Wonder and there have been no robot shenanigans. That’s like the longest since the pilot. Ted makes Jamie come with him, probably so he can’t pick up the phone to call Reggie. Ted is a crazy person.

They go up to Jamie’s room and Jamie wants to know what this experiment is all about. I do, too. Where is Vicki? What have they done to her this week? Ted decided that since Vicki’s been a slave for a year, he’s going to give her her freedom and allow her to make decisions for herself. Oh, so you’re going to be a good dad now? Because I somehow don’t see that happening. Ted tells Vicki she’s on her own for 24 hours and she can do what she wants - oh, yeah, there it is. He’s going to be a good dad for a day. Vicki actually says being on her own is totally awesome. This is all the poor robot slave has ever wanted. Jamie agrees with Vicki, so she reveals she learned the word when Reggie showed Jamie a Playboy. The robot made a sex joke. Show over.

Wait, no, we’re only three minutes in and there’s like 67 episodes left. With Vicki’s newfound freedom, she goes into the kitchen and helps Joan cook. Poor slave. The phone rings and Ted answers the phone and acts like a madman. Apparently, he got the job. The new company president and his wife wants to come over, but Vicki misunderstands and thinks Ted means the Reagans. Dang, the 80s were a long time ago. Jamie comes into the kitchen wanting to know what all the yelling is about and Vicki excitedly tells him Ted got the job and swings Jamie around in a hug. It took them two minutes to get to the robot, but we still got our special effects in before the five minute mark. You’re beautiful, Small Wonder.

Jamie says he doesn’t want to move to a state that he can’t even spell and leaves, with Vicki on his tail. Ted wonders why Jamie isn’t more excited, which a small part of me gets why Ted thought Jamie would be excited. Jamie loves money. Joan says Jamie doesn’t want to leave his friends behind, and hints she doesn’t want to either. Joan, you don’t have friends. The Brindles don’t count; you hate them. Ted reveals he pretty much has to take the job, and Joan sadly understands.

Oh my gosh, 80s special effects. You think you could light them better. Jamie says he has never felt so low, so Vicki picks him up in the chair. We’re still less than six minutes in. This episode is packing in a lot. Jamie tells Vicki to put him down, but she says she doesn’t have to because she’s on her own. Jamie threatens to rewire her ears so she’ll hear through her nose and she puts him down. Aww, they really are real siblings now. Harriet conveniently pops up in the window right after Vicki put Jamie down - imagine if she’d been five seconds earlier? We would have gotten a flimsy excuse, but that’s so season 1. Jamie tells Harriet what’s going on, and Harriet is upset that the wedding’s off. She compares them to Romeo and Juliet and just drops the word consummated. Vicki wants to know what the word means, but Harriet admits she doesn’t know and that she heard it on Dallas. Oh my gosh, a sex joke where neither party knows it’s a sex joke. Show over.

No, no, there’s still more. Dang it. Joan comes up to talk to Jamie, and Harriet wants to listen in. Vicki closes the shade on her. Vicki really did pick up on a lot in the past year. Then Vicki decides to leave the room. Joan asks her where she’s going, and Vicki says she doesn’t know. Wow, the robot has learned boredom. Jamie tells Joan he doesn’t want to move, and when Joan tries to talk to him about it, and Jamie calls her out on the fact she doesn’t want to move, either. But they do agree to do it for Ted, even if it makes them miserable.

When Vicki gets downstairs, Ted tells her to make coffee. Well, so much for giving the girl a full day. Vicki says no, so Ted threatens to dismantle her. Vicki suddenly decides that she wants to make coffee. Joan and Jamie come down and tell Ted they’re not happy about moving, but they will for him. Ted does the only selfless thing in his life and says they won’t move if it makes the family that miserable. Joan insists that they’re going, and Joan and Jamie feign an interest in winter. They’re still super unhappy but Ted is excited.

Reggie and Jamie are hanging out in Jamie’s room and Reggie says he’ll miss Jamie. You know, I’m really glad that they managed to fit Reggie into the second act after mentioning him before they even showed the robot. Vicki comes up with a snack for the boys that she made herself, but then she throws them at Reggie. What did he do? Jamie decides to give Reggie a souvenir to remember him by, and Reggie takes Jamie’s surfboard.

Joan is making hors deourves... hors d’eourves... little weenies for their guests and Ted freaks out about it. He wants everything to go perfect, and swears Joan will love the new bosses more than Brandon Brindle. Oh, a knock at the back door. I wonder who that could be? Brandon Brindle, of course. This episode is cramming the most people into it, I swear. Brandon is really upset that Ted is leaving. He gets even more upset when he finds out that Ted is moving up in the world. Brandon Brindle is a great friend.

The Lawsons are all dressed up for their company. Well, Ted, Joan, and Jamie. Where is Vicki? I am asking that question too much for Small Wonder. Jamie reveals he put Vicki in the cabinet, but she can do what she wants so that’s not going to go well. The guests arrive and one of the first things they mention is that they expect Jamie to go to military school. Jamie excuses himself to do homework. The guests insult the house, and Joan is upset because she and Ted designed it themselves. But of course Ted is sucking up.

So Vicki decides right now is the best time to vacuum. I guess vacuum before the guests arrive is not in her memory banks. Ted tells Vicki to go to her room but she says no, so he carries her off to the kitchen. The guests are surprised by Vicki’s appearance, and Joan says Vicki is their adopted daughter. The guests are shocked anyone would take in a stranger’s child and Joan just cannot take any more of them. Joan was the first one to truly love Vicki, so yeah, I can see why she’s insulted.

Joan tells Ted he can take his new job and suck it, but Ted begs her to just go along with it. Then he threatens to turn Vicki into a blender. You couldn’t even be a good dad for one day, Ted. Ted and Joan return to the guests, and Brandon comes over and introduces himself. Vicki comes in and Reggie has come over to see Jamie. He apologizes for not knowing that there were guests, and Vicki insults them. Ted sends Reggie to Jamie’s room and tells him to take Vicki, too. The guests are totally racist. They totally insult Reggie. Ted has finally had enough and lays into them, and somehow defends Brandon. Things have taken a weird turn. And then Joan is super excited Ted is finally saying what everyone is thinking. Insult Vicki, it’s cool, but Reggie and Brandon each have a Y-chromosome and we just can’t have that in the home of an alpha male. Ted kicks the guests out.
Brandon thanks Ted for defending him and says he’ll repay the favor some day - just not right now. Then Vicki comes downstairs and decides she’s going to play football in the house and she breaks the window. The end.

This episode was okay. I mean, we see how much Ted is willing to sell out for, but he won’t put up with bigotry or the insulting of friends. But the Vicki being on her own plot was weird and felt like it was there because they forgot to write an episode of Small Wonder with the robot in it. It’s not a memorable episode, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are episodes I remember that I wish I could forget.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Season 2, Episode 4: Who's The Boss?

It's my birthday! And this is how much I love you guys. Guys, we are reaching new levels of bad. Like, not fun, quirky Small Wonder bad. Not early 90s slang bad. Bad. Just... let’s get to it.

We start with Vicki and Jamie watching TV, and at first it sounds like a nature documentary but then it has dramatic music so I’m confused. Jamie turns off the TV and says he’ll never outgrow jungle pictures and does a Tarzan yell. Vicki mimics him and of course is better. Also, what’s the point of calling it a jungle picture and then making it super obvious it’s Tarzan? That call has to be way more copyrighted than the title, you know? Joan comes down and decides the living room is a mess and tells Jamie to clean it up. Jamie tries to get Vicki to do it, but Joan tells him to do it himself and learn some responsibility. If only he had parental role models to teach him that just because you have a robot slave doesn’t mean you have to use it. Joan. He learned it by watching you.

Ted comes down in a sombrero and... I just can’t describe it. This whole thing screams “Mexico” for all of the wrong reasons. Ted is super excited because the family is going on a Mexican cruise the next weekend. Yeah, that’s not happening. We haven’t gotten further than scenic that time you went to the woods. Mexico is not happening. Joan points out that they can’t go on the cruise unless someone cancels, but Ted gets her excited for it anyway.

Jamie finishes cleaning and wants to play basketball, but Ted has more chores for Jamie to do. Man, Joan and Ted are super allergic to work. Jamie asks what the parents do if he does all the work, and Joan starts with cook and clean. Liar. You haven’t done that in over a year. But then they do start to list legitimate stuff and Jamie gets the point. Ted and Joan leave to go shopping and they tell Jamie to have everything done - and if a Mr. Willis calls to tell him to hold the cabin and they’ll be back by four. That was some Vicki specific language, so I expect something to go wrong. Once the parents leave, Jamie and Vicki go to play basketball.

Jamie tries to spin a basketball on his finger, and Vicki shows him she can do it. She can do it on her head, too. Then Reggie comes over and tells Jamie that when he stays over the next weekend that his dad got them tickets to see Bruce Springsteen. Then when Reggie leaves, Harriet comes over and asks when Jamie is going to pick her up for the concert. He says never because he’s still resisting the chemistry. Jamie and Harriet forever, y’all. Harriet starts asking for souvenirs as the phone rings and I know this will go horribly. Mr. Willis calls and says that his parents should call him back by 1:00 at the latest. I know Jamie will get blamed for that, but how is it his fault that the agent gave him a time limit?

Joan and Ted come home and none of Jamie’s chores have been done, and Jamie isn’t even at home. He left a message on Vicki saying that he went to hang out at Reggie’s. Ted threatens to spank Jamie when he gets home, and Vicki mentions the Bruce Springsteen concert and the parents don’t think he’s old enough to go. When Jamie gets home, though, they end up agreeing. Joan says if they get lucky with the travel agent then they’ll all have a good weekend, and that’s when Jamie remembers to give them the message. I would have kept my mouth shut if it was already after 1, because doing the responsible thing always gets punished in Sitcomland. Ted and Joan are angry at Jamie, but that’s not his fault! Ted grounds Jamie and he throws a legitimate temper tantrum. Ted sends Jamie out to do his chores, and then throws a legitimate temper tantrum over not going to Mexico.

That night, Jamie complains that everyone is always telling him what to do, and Vicki points out everyone is always telling her what to do. Jamie says that’s because she’s a robot, so he wishes his parents were robots, too. Then we end up in a dream sequence! Why, Vicki’s cabinet seems to have grown. Jamie opens it up to reveal his entire family is robots! Oh, sitcom wackiness at it’s finest.

The thing I hate about Small Wonder is sometimes, for commercial breaks, they repeat what just happened when they come back. Commercial breaks were shorter in the 80s - how short do you think my memory is? I won’t remember the set up from two minutes ago? And people tuning in half way through an episode are already lost. And I know it was the exact same footage because the same guy was laughing like this was the first joke he'd ever been subjected to in his life and he had to make up for lost time. Also, with all the special effects, how did Small Wonder have a studio audience? I know Sabrina had canned laughter for that exact same reason.

So after the repeat set up, the robots are on the couch watching television. Vicki says she’ll never outgrow those jungle pictures, and Joanbot and Tedbot agree. Then all three robots do the Tarzan call. Guys, how much filler can one episode have? That entire first act was filler, you know. Then Jamie comes down copying Ted’s Mexican thing. Apparently, Jamie is excited for a Mexican singles cruise - guys, why? Why can’t this show just be normal bad? The robots decide to go play basketball, but Jamie makes them do chores first. The robots are upset that everyone tells them what to do. Jamie decides to leave and tells the robots if the travel agent calls to tell him that Jamie’ll be home by four. This is the worst set-up for an Aesop ever. I took Jamie’s side and everything. This might be my second least favorite episode. Then Tedbot asks for chocolate microchip ice cream. Groan.

The robots are all spinning basketballs on their fingers in the backyard when Reggie comes over. I hate this episode. Reggie invites them all to a Lawrence Welk concert. The robots get excited. This episode is making me sleepy. If my review ends abruptly, I fell asleep. This episode literally has no point. Then when Reggie leaves, Harriet comes over and asks when they’re picking her up for the concert. They say never because this is Jamie’s dream, and Jamie dreams of stuff that already happened. Then the phone rings, and Harriet asks for souvenirs. Wow.

Jamie comes home and the robots didn’t do any of the chores. Tedbot and Joanbot left, but they left a message on Vicki - they went to Reggie’s house to hang out. Vicki mentions the Lawrence Welk concert, but Jamie doesn’t think he wants them to go. Jamie agrees to let them go, but then the robots reveal that he missed out on his cruise, so they don’t get to go to their concert. Then the electricity and the phone stops working, and then Tedbot reveals that the mortgage hasn’t been paid either, and the whole thing turns into a nightmare except I’m still watching this episode.

Ted and Joan wake up Jamie and he tells them about his dream. Jamie tells his parents he appreciates them, then they check on Vicki in the cabinet, and then the episode is over. No, I didn’t fall asleep, that is just how they ended it. End credits and everything.

There were special effects this week, but it was that tired about face thing I’ve already mentioned like 9000 times because once you find one gag you think is funny you don’t try anything else. It’s only worth mentioning now because Joan and Ted got in on it in Jamie’s dream, but - bleh.

So this episode was completely awful. No redeeming qualities at all. Well, except this is going to be the new cover on the Facebook page:

Let’s hope for better next week.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Season 2, Episode 3: My Mother the Teacher

So I’ve said a million times I do the episodes in production order, except for the exception I’ll be making in season four. This episode is a perfect example of why. It originally aired well before the episode I reviewed last week, but in that episode Mrs. Fernwald asked Joan if she was still tutoring Vicki, and in this one Vicki starts school. I can’t criticize continuity because it was aired out of the order it was made in, because they technically kept it. Anyway, let’s get to it.

Small Wonder has the cutest aprons. At least they make sure the women staying in the kitchen are dressed to impress. Anyway, Joan is clipping coupons and has Vicki making mashed potatoes. She tells Vicki to put the beater into the potatoes and spin it real fast, so of course Vicki spins herself really fast. That’s kind of stretching it, but whatever. Small Wonder has a special effects budget, so by gosh, they’re going to use it. Joan blames herself for Vicki’s mistake,but come on. Vicki needs to learn how pronouns work - wait, isn’t Joan Vicki’s teacher? Yes, Joan, blame yourself for not doing your one fake job.

Ted comes home and asks Joan how her day was as he notices the potato gunk everywhere. Joan says terrible, so Ted makes a joke about the mess. Ted, this woman hits you on the regular - do you really want to poke the bear? Joan explains she’s bored because Ted built a robot child slave so she has nothing better to do. Just because you have a robot slave doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time! Anyway, Ted realizes we’re two minutes into the episode and nobody has made a sex joke yet so he gets it out of the way.

Jamie comes home from school and asks Ted if he even went to work because he left his parents in the same position, but Ted just says you can’t overdo a good thing. Jamie goes on about how great school was because his teacher got sick and he got a two hour recess. Wait, who gets recess in junior high?! Man, I got ripped off. Jamie also refers to his teacher as a battleax and commented with pure glee how green she turned. So of course his parents chastise him and remind him empathy is a thing, right? Have you seen Small Wonder? Ted simply suggests they’ll have the battleax replaced with a sub by the next day. Jamie points out that all the teachers are sick and the principal is having a hard time finding enough subs - who is poisoning the teachers? Flu my foot, not that many teachers are sick if the kids aren’t. Anyway, Joan comments that she actually read about that in the paper, and Ted points out Joan could do the job.

Joan doesn’t know if she’s really ready to actually use that teaching credential that she drove herself crazy to earn, but Ted says it would help him out to have Vicki go to a public school with public kids. What?! How do you keep continuity and ignore it in the same five minutes? The whole reason Joan has her teaching credential is because you didn’t want Vicki to go to a public school with public kids. Season three, where are you? I need me some Vanessa and LES. Ted and Jamie encourage Joan to do it and she decides to call the principal. Ted tells Vicki that she’ll be going to school, and she mimics Jamie’s comments about his teacher. It doesn’t even make sense but the Lawsons all seem to think it’s funny. That wacky robot.

So we finally see the inside of Jamie’s school. It is very depressing. My school at least painted the lockers to not match the walls. Jamie and Vicki walk up to Reggie and he wants to know what Vicki’s doing in school. Jamie says Vicki’s going to be in their class, which Reggie thinks is cool but he thought Vicki didn’t go to school with them because she was a snob. Wait, isn’t Vicki supposed to be  a year younger than them? Don’t question that, Reggie, just insult the girl. Vicki doesn’t know what a snob is, so Reggie acts it out for her. Expect it to come back later. Reggie’s locker is stuck, so Vicki rips it off the hinges for him. Reggie is impressed.

Reggie worries about the pop quiz they did the day before, and Jamie says he’ll put in a good word with the new teacher since they’re pretty close. Reggie asks the teacher’s name and Jamie says “Mom.” It was a tired joke. I’d rather have last week’s cringiness over that joke. Reggie is excited that Joan is going to be the teacher, and tells the class that she’s the nicest person in the world. Jamie calls his mother a push-over. Oh my gosh, why have they not abandoned him in a shopping center yet? Punky Brewster’s mom did it and Punky’s actually awesome. Even Sitcomland has no justice.

Joan thanks the principal for the opportunity, and he tells her being a teacher is no different than being a housewife. “Instead of yelling at your own kids for no money, you’ll be yelling at someone else’s kids for no money.” I like that joke! I like the principal. I think he comes back a few times. That makes me happy. The principal introduces Joan and Vicki to the class. Joan gets nervous in front of the class and says she is new even though she’s qualified, then points out the class should be the nervous ones. Please let this be foreshadowing. Joan asks if the class was going over - um, something - before the teacher left and Jamie says “that’s right, Mom.” Then he laughs like he just pulled a prank. I am over him. Joan tells him to raise his hand and that she’s not Mom, she’s Mrs. Lawson. Then Jamie asks if he has to call her that at home, too. Send him to the principal’s office.

Joan starts asking the class questions as a review, and Vicki starts answering all the questions. I mean, she raises her hand first, but dang Vicki is rude. Jamie tells Vicki to cool it, but she doesn’t listen. Reggie asks Joan to tell Vicki to give the rest of the class a chance because showing off how smart she is is just rude. We agree, Reggie! Reggie actually called her a snob, though, so Vicki acts it out and that is apparently the classes cue to stop caring and start throwing things. I’m 100% sure this episode of Small Wonder is why I never wanted to be a teacher.

Joan gets mad, as she rightfully should, and she sends students to the board to write that they will not misbehave 100 times. It’s not going to fit, but I trust your judgment Mrs. Lawson. She makes Reggie write a 500 word composition on the revolutionary war, and the rest of the class has to read six chapters. Joan tells them not to complain because they started it. Reggie decides Mrs. Lawson is more of a monster than a pushover. No, she’s just a mom. Moms are all cool until you misbehave. Reggie tells Jamie to get rid of her. Joan asks Jamie what they’re talking about and when he says nothing, Vicki repeats one of the comments. Love that robot.

Ted comes home from work and Vicki is in the living room vacuuming. Ted says hi, and Vicki sucks up his tie in the vacuum. She’s just not in the mood for Ted at all today, I guess. He asks Vicki what she learned in school, and she said throw a spitball. Ted repeats it, so Vicki throws a spitball at him. Love that robot. Ted walks into the kitchen and immediately tells Joan he disapproves of her teaching methods. Doesn’t even say hi or make a sex joke. I think he’s being serious. Joan explains some of the kids got out of hand but she nipped it in the bud, and Ted somehow turns that into a sex joke. I guess I spoke too soon. Jamie comes home with his backpack on and I just don’t understand how he’s barely coming home from school when Joan is there and Vicki even had time to vacuum. Did Joan give him detention? Wait, he came home after Ted in the beginning, too - Jamie doesn’t play sports. Just what is he up to after school?! I need to know.

Jamie says he needs to talk to Joan alone, and Ted says, “real man to person stuff, huh?” So who’s the man? A twelve year old? And why couldn’t he say “woman”? Is that a ridiculous notion? Either way, for once, Ted isn’t a heel and decides to check the mail so Jamie and Joan can have their privacy. Jamie tries to get Joan to quit, but she doesn’t take the bait. Jamie fakes being happy about it, but then immediately tries to convince Ted to get Joan to quit and somehow Ted works in another sex joke. Like, has he just not been getting enough? Because this is getting ridiculous. Ted can tell something is really bothering Jamie, so Ted coaxes it out of Jamie. Ted ends up taking Joan’s side, so Jamie decides to program Vicki to help Joan decide being a teacher sucks.

The next day, Jamie and Vicki sneak out of a classroom. Reggie approaches them and asks what they’ve done about Joan. Jamie promises she’s taken care of, and Reggie says she better be or Jamie’s next and then pantomimes a hanging. Wow, some best friend. Joan asks if everyone did what she assigned and they say yes, so she just takes their word for it. Really? Because the first thing I would have done was given them a pop quiz. You really need to commit to your punishments, Joan. Joan starts to teach them about George Washington, and then pulls down a map of the United States - why? America was slightly different in the 1700s. Either way, there’s a drawing of a monster man on the map and it startles Joan. She asks who did it, but when no one fesses up she agrees to let it go this time. So of course she immediately finds chattering teeth on her desk. Dude, Joan’s kids are lame. This is the best a troublemaker and a robot could come up with? Joan threatens them with the pop quiz she should have given them in the first place and finds a giant spider balloon in the desk. These Lawson children are not creative.

Joan has finally had it, so Joan demands an answer. Vicki says she cannot tell a lie, and Joan deflates when she think her darling daughter is involved. However, Vicki blames Jamie, but Jamie is quick to point out Vicki helped. Just like real siblings! Joan sends them both to the principal’s office. Uh, Joan, you know Vicki had to be programmed, right? She didn’t do this of her own volition. You’re not Ted. She tells the class that if it ever happens again she’ll send them all to the principal’s office and then immediately sits on a whoopie cushion.

At home, Jamie is picking at his dinner and his parents tell him to eat it. Jamie’s upset that Joan sent him to the principal’s office - well, because you turned your classroom into a circus, dude. I’m still upset she sent Vicki. Ted starts to say Jamie deserved it, but gets sidetracked when he finds out that Joan sent Vicki, too. Look at Ted being a good robotic father this episode. He got choked for no reason so I’m giving him one free pass in a future episode. Joan justifies it by saying she was upset and they did do it together. Ted explains to Jamie that it would be wrong if Jamie had done that to any teacher, but then he wants to know why because it’s not like Jamie to act that way. Damn, he’s being a good normal father, too. Why is Ted not written this way in every episode? I could like this Ted! Vicki speaks up for Jamie and explains that Jamie wants Joan gone so he’d still have some friends left. The kids explain that the other children don’t like her, and it upsets Joan. She agrees to quit, which makes Jamie happy, but Ted disapproves. And he’s being a good husband this episode?! Seriously, if it wasn’t for the 9000 sex jokes made earlier in the episode, I literally could not complain about Ted this episode. That is a first!

Jamie tells the other students that Joan is leaving, and they get excited. Then Joan and the principal walk in together. The principal says that many of the children have complained to their parents, but the parents have been calling in to thank him for employing a teacher like her. It turns out that the real teacher is quite sick and so Joan is staying for a long time. Yeah, that’s not the flu. Someone poisoned that teacher. The police need to be investigating the matter. Joan says she does want to be the kids’ friends so that they need to work towards that. Then she finds one left over prank from the day before, so Vicki drags Jamie with her as she takes herself to the principal’s office. The end.

That was hard. I’m seriously concerned about what happened to the original teacher, but that’s never being touched upon again. I'm also seriously concerned about Vicki. So, at first I thought Vicki vacuuming Ted was a "I'm tired of this bull" thing, but actually, I noticed this when I re-watched the episode:

Vicki is dusting Jamie! She is malfunctioning. Ted, you were such a good dad this episode - how about doubling down and being a good inventor? Notice your robot's cries for help!

Firsts: Vicki goes to school, we see the inside of the school, Ted wasn’t an insufferable tool