Friday, December 11, 2015

Season 2, Episode 11: You Gotta Have Heart

Finally, another episode this season I actually remember! And one I remember first run, even. Because Vicki and Harriet are adorable besties. Anyway, let’s just get right to it.

So, we start with the Lawson family watching The Wizard of Oz together. Oh, that reminds me so much of childhood. My family used to watch The Wizard of Oz together every year. Ted and Joan go on about how amazing the movie is, but that’s just filler conversation because everyone knows how amazing that movie is. Then they have that Vicki fake cry effect when she mimics Joan where she literally has tears coming out of her eyebrows. I hate that effect. We already know Vicki can cry real tears, so why not just do that? It would look better.

Jamie’s hair is weird. Anyway, Jamie says that he likes the Wicked Witch best, and I’m not really surprised. Vicki mimics the Wicked Witch and dang I’m just noticing she has a bracelet. I have never seen that before and I’m pretty sure we will never see it again. Joan says her favorite is Tin Man and mentions he got a heart, and Vicki asks what a heart is. Wizard of Oz is a three hour movie, how is this the first time Vicki is questioning this? During the “If I Only Had a Heart” sequence seems like the optimal time for that question, but any other time they brought it up in the following two hours is also reasonable. This is just lame set up. Joan says it’s where people store their love, and Vicki asks if she has one. D’aww. Ted says no, but thinks the premise is interesting, because if he could give a robot a heart, he’d win the Nobel Prize. Aww, guys, we’re witnessing the conception of LES! Season 3, please don’t be late.

Vicki says she’s not programmed to know about people storing love in their heart, and asks what love is. Oh my gosh, this episode of Small Wonder is the one that made me start asking the big questions about robots. You guys can’t know how big that is, but it’s big. Apparently humans don’t know what love is, either, because Joan starts quoting movies and Jamie relates some story I’m 91% sure is about Jessica. Then Jamie says love is stupid. For some reason, that reminds Joan that people show affection by giving gifts, and one of the gifts is Ted gave Joan a heart shaped necklace I’ve never seen before and given what this whole episode is about so far, it’s a set up. Then they tell Vicki they gave her her bracelet because they love her. Vicki says Jamie didn’t give her anything, so he doesn’t love her, and she says it as sad as monotone gets. Also, great lesson, guys. Jamie gives Vicki gum, but she’s not impressed.

We cut to Jamie doing pull ups in the backyard, and guys, this is consistency. Jamie is into fitness. Well, actually, he only does one but it’s an improvement. Good for you, Jamie! But Vicki is a little show off and does countless pull ups because no muscle strain. Jamie goes back on the bars to try again, but then Harriet comes over. Jamie decides he’s done and goes inside, leaving Vicki and Harriet alone. Fun!

Vicki gives Harriet her bracelet. Harriet wants to know how much, and man, nobody loves Harriet. Vicki says she’s giving it to her because she loves her. Aww! They are going to be the best sister-in-laws one day. Harriet still doesn’t believe, but then Vicki gives Harriet her shoes. Harriet and Vicki officially become best friends. Harriet is glad because when they’re old they’ll buy a condo in Miami like the Golden Girls and treat men like playthings - a life goal I myself hold to this day. Vicki and Harriet go to the Brindle's to play.

Small Wonder doesn’t just use badly timed transitions, but they use transitions like they just discovered editing. They flip cut to Joan in the kitchen and Bonnie Brindle comes over. Oh my gosh, Bonnie Brindle! She hasn’t been in an episode all season, just mentioned. I’m so happy to see her! Bonnie baked cookies, but she uses lima beans and lard so Joan isn’t impressed. Bonnie is thrilled Vicki and Harriet are BFFs, and Bonnie decides Joan should be her BFF and they’ll be like Kate and Allie. Pop culture overload.

Vicki and Harriet come in through the kitchen and they’re wearing each other’s clothes - right down to the hairstyles! Vicki gives Bonnie a potholder. Aww, Vicki is so loving! Ted comes into the kitchen and is amused by Vicki and Harriet’s friendship. Yay, it’s a Ted is a good dad episode! Sure, he’s a fun serial killer abusive inventor, but when he’s a good dad, my heart feels warm and cozy like hot chocolate by the fireplace on Christmas. Vicki and Harriet leave, and Joan explains Vicki and Harriet are BFFs, and Bonnie reveals she and Joan are BFFs, too. Joan is giving a look like “I never agreed to that,” but Joan, you don’t have friends. Take the offer. Then Bonnie declares Ted is also her close friend and then drops a “I’m in crisis” bomb on them. I love you, Bonnie Brindle. You Brindle Swindled yourself two friends and made it all about you in record time.

Bonnie acts like she doesn’t want to talk about it, but then in less than ten seconds says she wants to talk about killing her husband. Um, wow, Ted has rubbed off on you. He wants to kill Brandon all the time. You guys should start a club. Brandon is apparently jealous and thinks men are after Bonnie. I feel like something is slightly off, but I can see Brandon being jealous, yeah. That part adds up. Ted offers to help out, so Bonnie Brindle Swindled her and Harriet staying with the Lawsons. Bonnie Brindle, please adopt me. My mom might say “no-nono-no-nono-no-no-no,” but I’m 32 and I make those decisions.

We come back from a commercial break and Bonnie is unpacking. Ted wants to know how long she’s staying, and Bonnie says until she gets a good divorce lawyer. Ted and Joan try to talk her out of it, but Bonnie’s mind is made up. Ted asks Bonnie if she loves Brandon, and she says she shows it by tying his pants in knots in the middle of the night. Bonnie, seriously, I’ll make Harriet a great little sister. The Lawsons manage to reverse Brindle Swindle Bonnie and convince her to go back to Brandon.

We cut to Jamie’s room. Vicki is packing up a duffel bag and Harriet wants to play a game called Secrets because BFFs always share secrets. Jamie is right there on the bed watching, so Harriet really doesn’t know what a secret is. Jamie then admits he’s insanely in love with Harriet. Then he covers it up by saying he’s insane. Jamie-Jamie-Jame, never be ashamed of your feelings. It’s okay. Everyone knows you love Harriet. Jamie suggests playing hide and seek, but Harriet said last time they played that she didn’t see him for three days. Dang, Jamie, that’s cold. Jamie reverse Brindle Swindles Harriet by saying he’ll kiss her on the cheek when he finds her - Harriet, he’s not even going to look. Harriet agrees anyway, and tells him she’ll be in the hall closet.

Jamie tells Vicki that if she keeps giving Harriet things they’ll never get rid of her, and that Harriet is taking advantage of Vicki. Jamie, why are you trying to separate Vicki and her best friend? So Jamie decides he’ll program Vicki to be like Harriet. Jamie, that’s happened before, remember? Your dad ended up disassembling Vicki because you and Joan got peeved.

We jump down to the kitchen and Ted and Joan are real glad they got Bonnie to go back to Brandon. I know! Reverse Brindle Swindles are not that easy to pull off. Then Brandon barges in with a suitcase. Damn, that is some advanced Brindle Swindling - skip the schmoozing, go to the doing. Brandon thinks Bonnie is jealous - and yeah, I can see that. But Brandon is way more upset than Bonnie was. Maybe a divorce is what they need. Harriet could have two Christmases. Plus, it’s Bonnie’s last season anyway, so what’s the point, you know? Brandon then admits that he shows Bonnie love by rearranging the furniture so that when she sits, she misses the chair. Harriet has not got a chance. Ted and Joan manage another reverse Brindle Swindle and get Brandon to go home. Oh my gosh, the Lawsons are on top of their game tonight. But I guess it’s easier when it’s two Lawsons against one Brindle. Brandon hugs Joan in gratitude. This is sweet.

Oh, wait, no it’s not because Bonnie comes over and assumes there’s something going on between her husband and best friend. Really? In front of your best friend’s husband? What do you think the Lawsons are into? Bonnie takes off, but Brandon goes after her. I think these two kids are going to be okay.

We jump back up to Jamie’s room and he’s just finished programming Vicki. This is hurting my heart, Jamie. Don’t take your sister’s love. Harriet comes back into the room, wondering where those guys went. Then Harriet decides she doesn’t want to play anymore, and takes the duffel Vicki packed. Vicki stops her and she wants everything back. Harriet ends the friendship and leaves. Then when Jamie decides to celebrate Vicki’s loss, she decides she wants what she gave Jamie, back, too. Yeah, at least with Jamie, he’ll still be her brother. Jamie says later, but then Vicki attacks him.

Ted and Joan run up to the room and they demand an explanation, especially because Harriet left upset. Yeah, I can imagine they don’t want the Brindles coming back over. Ted tells Vicki that Jamie steered her wrong because you can’t be selfish and have love in your heart. Vicki becomes confused and upset because now she has no friends and no heart. Jamie admits that he was wrong, so Vicki asks if she can have a heart like the Tin Man. Ted apologetically says no, and Vicki borderline cries because she wants a heart. Vix, you’ve had one all along. When Ted says he doesn’t know what to do, Joan gives Vicki her heart necklace. Vicki likes her heart and it makes her happy. The End.

That episode was sweet. I don’t know what else to say. It wasn’t Emmy-award winning or anything, but it was cute.

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.