Friday, October 20, 2017

Season 2, Episode 17: Wham-Bam Body Slam

You guys, this is sincerely one of my favorite episodes of Small Wonder of all time! It has a future governor in it! Who's also a wrestler! Also, this is the first time as a child I noticed a continuity error - well, my mom noticed but she relied on my memory to confirm that it actually happened. I'm the one who submitted it to the episode's IMDB page!

Without any further ado, let's get into this feature presentation.


The episode starts with Jamie and Vicki watching Jesse the Body Ventura wrestling on TV, because of course it does. Then Ted comes downstairs and he gets really into it, too. I barely remember 80s wrestling since, well, I was a toddler, so I don't remember who all the heroes and villains were - but judging by the boos and Jesse throwing the referee out of the ring, Jesse definitely seems to be a villain. The entire Lawson family loves him, though, so I believe this substantiates some of my theories about them being sociopaths and serial killers. Joan comes in from the kitchen because of course she does and wants to talk about dinner, but the entire family silences her. Who cares about food? Wrestling!

Joan waits politely for Jesse to perform his signature Wham Bam Body Slam before trying to talk again, but Ted remembers he hasn't expressed his alpha maleness in awhile and starts demanding popcorn and drinks. Ted, Joan hits you. You should think things through before manterrupting. Joan does get upset and throw a popcorn bowl at Ted before storming out of the room. Vicki threw a towel at Ted and followed after Joan, but at this point I can't tell if it's in solidarity for the mom who usually loves her, or it's that beautiful Vicki/Ted relationship. Maybe both.

Vicki and Joan come back from the market, because Small Wonder has amazing transitions, and literally the second they walk through the door, Joan asks Vicki to make her coffee and toast. In her own special Vicki way, she calls Joan out for being a hypocrite. The doorbell rings, and Joan decides to have Vicki answer the door instead. Joan listens to reason and that's why I like her, even if she does hit. Also, you know this isn't someone who normally associates with the Lawsons because they don't automatically know what room they happen to be in.

Vicki opens the door and it's Jesse the Body Ventura! He asks Vicki if her mother is home. Vicki confirms she is and then shuts the door. Wow, living with the Lawsons and next door to the Brindles has just made Vicki so over the human race. Joan comes into the living room to ask who was at the door, and Vicki gives a proper introduction before showing Jesse the Body Ventura on the other side. Joan seems really nervous that a wrestler just showed up at their house, and treats him like he's an escaped criminal she saw on the news. Oh, I guess Joan is the one Lawson who doesn't love the villains.

Apparently, Jesse saw Joan at the shopping mall and followed her home. Um, wow, Small Wonder. You don't know how to introduce a big guest star like a professional wrestler, so you just result to having him stalk a woman at the mall? Apparently, Joan went to college with him when he was known as Wally Crandle and she used to give him mercy dates. Now that she knows who he is, she ignores the stalking and invites him into her home. Joan's all about her family's safety like that.

It also turns out that Jesse took up body building because he was tired of getting picked on by guys in college - and the most relentless was Ted Lawson. I mean, that checks because Ted Lawson is a sociopathic serial killer, but he's a robotics engineer - how did he swing being the nerd and the bully? Joan decides to invite Jesse to dinner, and he agrees under the condition that Joan does not tell Ted how much he's changed since college. That's fair. Wally the Wimp deserves comeuppance.

Ted comes home and straight up catches Harriet in the act of eavesdropping. There's no way Harriet doesn't know Vicki's a robot by now, right? The Lawsons barely watch what they say when they know someone's in the other room, and here's Harriet always snooping. Ted asks her if she's heard anything interesting, and she said a guest is coming to dinner and she's trying to find out who it is. Then Harriet suddenly realizes that she's been busted and explains she's been practicing for when she grows up to be a Hollywood gossip columnist. Small Wonder - fast and loose with the definition of stalking. Ted then gives Harriet the tip to use a stethoscope. Um, does Ted want Harriet finding out Vicki is a robot if she hasn't already figured it out? What the heck is this scene?

Ted enters the kitchen and Vicki announces that the jerk is home. Yep, it's just that beautiful Vicki/Ted relationship. Every day I'm more and more sad Fox quit this show just before the teenage years. Joan lets Ted know that they have a surprise guest, but then tells him that it's Wally Crandle, so Ted should really be suspicious of what's going on. Of course, he's not, because he's already thinking about tormenting Wally Crandle because that's what sociopaths do. Joan warns Ted to be nice to Wally, and he says he will. Then he borrows Vicki under the guise of looking for old college yearbooks, but he wants to program his robot for evil. Then he straight up does an evil villain laugh. I can't make this up! Ted Lawson is a super villain.

Ted and Vicki are going over the pranks he's programmed her to pull off, and he gets excited just thinking about them. Then the doorbell rings, and Ted is already making fun of Wally - but nothing shuts him up faster than opening the door and seeing Jesse the Body Ventura. That's right, Ted. You're going to die.

Jamie comes in to tell Joan that the oven timer just went off, then makes this precious face children only make when face to face with their idols. Jesse shakes hands with Jamie and Vicki, only unfortunately, Ted had already forgotten about the pranks, so Vicki shocks Jesse and Ted can't stop it from happening. Everyone knows Ted did it, but he still tries to pass the blame onto Vicki.

So, three of the Lawsons and Jesse eat dinner, and I'm wondering how Jesse didn't question Vicki not eating? I know I would. Jesse compliments the meal, the home, and the kids and does it in a way that insults Ted, and I love Jesse even more than I already did. Meanwhile, Jamie catches Harriet at the door, and she's back with a stethoscope. Jamie yells into the door, which of course hurts Harriet's ears. Jamie says it serves her right for snooping, but Harriet says she just wanted to meet Jesse the Body Ventura with a look she normally reserves for Jamie. Oh, man, Jamie's being replaced by a much older man. Jamie gets jealous because he can deny his feelings for Harriet all he wants, but he still feels them. He asks Harriet if she'd like it if he had a body like Jesse's, but she doesn't think he has the head for it. Jamie slams the door on Harriet.

Vicki comes into the kitchen and announces that dinner is ready. Everyone adjourns into the living room, but Joan tells Ted to bring the coffee. That's right, Joan. Make him bring you drinks. Ted walks into the living room again just in time to catch Vicki pulling off a second prank he forgot to unprogram her to do. Despite the fact he very obviously tries to stop Vicki, Ted tries to blame the whole thing on Vicki, but Jesse is not dumb. He decides to use Ted as a volunteer to show Jamie some wrestling moves.

After the demonstration, where Ted is clearly all shook up, Joan and Jamie go to clean up the kitchen. Jesse says it's a good thing that he didn't use his Wham Bam Body Slam on him, and Vicki decides this is a perfect time to show off. Also, I'm pretty impressed that this is the only special effect in the whole episode, and it actually ties into the plot. Jesse's confidence takes quite the hit being body slammed by an 11 year old girl. Ted decides to do the most human thing in his life, and he lets Jesse in on the family secret.

Jesse is impressed by Vicki, and grateful that Ted let him on the secret just to restore his confidence. I mean, that is an extreme act of trust - Jesse is a celebrity and could easily put that information on blast. It also puts all of his conspiracy theories into perspective when you realize he's known robots walk among us since 1987. Jesse decides that he needs to make things right and make Ted look good in front of his family, so he stages it so it looks like Ted beat him at wrestling. This friendship seems mended to me.

After Jesse leaves, Ted admits to being a jerk and apologizes. Joan forgives him. However, there was one prank that Ted had forgotten about the whole time.

The Duck Prank.

The end. I love this episode so much. Ted gets everything that's coming to him, and a celebrity is in on Vicki's secret. But let me show you this continuity error. It's involves Vicki's pinnafore. As you know, Ted unhooked it to show Jesse Vicki's back panel. But when he tried to hook it back together, he missed and it stayed unhooked.

And it stayed that way, which you can see in some of the other screenshots, but here's some more.

However, it was fixed here, right before Ted goes upstairs.

And here, after the reveal of the duck prank.

But continuity was never a word in the Small Wonder memory banks.


  1. I'm going to leave this page up all weekend just so I can come back and look at Ted's face in those wrestling moves.