Small Wonder (TV series)

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Small Wonder
Small Wonder poster.jpg
Promotional poster
GenreScience fiction sitcom
Created byHoward Leeds
Directed byPeter Baldwin
John Bowab
Bob Claver
Dick Christie
Linda Day
Selig Frank
Leslie H. Martinson
StarringTiffany Brissette
Dick Christie
Marla Pennington
Jerry Supiran
Emily Schulman
Theme music composerRod Alexander
Howard Leeds
Diane Leslie
Opening theme"She's a Small Wonder"
Ending theme"She's a Small Wonder" (Instrumental)
Composer(s)George Greeley
Ed Lojeskie
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes96
Production
Executive producer(s)Howard Leeds
Producer(s)Budd Grossman
Bruce Taylor
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22–24 minutes
Production company(s)20th Century Fox Television (1986-1989)
Metromedia Productions (1985-1986)
Distributor20th Century Fox Television (DVD prints of episodes only)
Broadcast
Original channelSyndication
Picture formatColor (480p)
Audio formatMonaural
First shown in1985-1989
Original runSeptember 7, 1985 (1985-09-07) – May 20, 1989 (1989-05-20)
 
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Small Wonder
Small Wonder poster.jpg
Promotional poster
GenreScience fiction sitcom
Created byHoward Leeds
Directed byPeter Baldwin
John Bowab
Bob Claver
Dick Christie
Linda Day
Selig Frank
Leslie H. Martinson
StarringTiffany Brissette
Dick Christie
Marla Pennington
Jerry Supiran
Emily Schulman
Theme music composerRod Alexander
Howard Leeds
Diane Leslie
Opening theme"She's a Small Wonder"
Ending theme"She's a Small Wonder" (Instrumental)
Composer(s)George Greeley
Ed Lojeskie
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes96
Production
Executive producer(s)Howard Leeds
Producer(s)Budd Grossman
Bruce Taylor
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22–24 minutes
Production company(s)20th Century Fox Television (1986-1989)
Metromedia Productions (1985-1986)
Distributor20th Century Fox Television (DVD prints of episodes only)
Broadcast
Original channelSyndication
Picture formatColor (480p)
Audio formatMonaural
First shown in1985-1989
Original runSeptember 7, 1985 (1985-09-07) – May 20, 1989 (1989-05-20)

Small Wonder is an American science fiction sitcom that aired in first-run syndication from September 7, 1985 to May 20, 1989. The show chronicles the family of a robotics engineer who secretly creates a robot modeled after a real human girl, then tries to pass it off as their daughter. The show was created under Metromedia Productions and its rights were acquired by 20th Century Fox Television in 1986.

Premise[edit]

The story lines revolve around V.I.C.I. (an acronym for Voice Input Child Identicant, pronounced "Vicki"), an android in the form of a 10-year-old girl. V.I.C.I. was built by Ted Lawson, an engineer/inventor for United Robotronics, in an effort to assist handicapped children. The robot is taken home by Lawson so that it can mature within a family environment. V.I.C.I.'s features include superhuman strength and speed, an AC outlet under her right arm, a serial port under her left arm, and an access panel in her back. Despite this, the Lawson family tries to pass the robot off as the cousin of their son.

The Lawson family tries to keep the robot's existence a secret, but their disagreeable neighbors, the Brindles, keep on popping up at the most unexpected moments — especially nosy next-door neighbor Harriet, whose dad happens to be Ted Lawson's co-worker. The show's humor frequently derived from V.I.C.I.'s attempts to learn human behavior, the robot's literal interpretation of speech and the family's efforts to disguise the robot's true nature.

To explain child actress Tiffany Brissette's aging during the show, the series' producers had Ted gave V.I.C.I. an upgrade in the series' third season. He aged her face, dressed her in modern clothes, and allowed her to eat and drink. The food passed through her naturally and the drink cooled her internal system.

Characters[edit]

The cast of Small Wonder during the first season

Recurring[edit]

2009 reunion[edit]

On January 14, 2009, on Fox's The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, Tiffany Brissette appeared in-studio as a guest for a "Where Are They Now?" segment; unbeknownst to her until the segment began, Dick Christie, Marla Pennington, and Edie McClurg were all present for the interview via satellite. Fond remarks and memories were shared about Brissette in the very brief segment. On the show, Brissette had stated that she was living in Boulder, Colorado and attending nursing school.

International airings[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the show was screened regionally on the ITV Network and in the early 1990s on Sky One. In Italy, the show appeared in the mid-1980s on Italia 1 network and was titled "Super Vicky". In France, the series was shown as "Petite merveille" on Canal+, starting in November 1985. In Spain, the show was broadcast on Antena 3 Televisión as Un robot en casa in December 1995. In India, China, Pakistan and other Asian countries, Small Wonder was syndicated on local TV stations and the Star TV Network in the mid-1990s. In Latin America, the show appeared on Rede Globo and, later, TV Record in Brazil and was called "Super Vicky", VTV (Venezolana de Television) in Venezuela between 1987 and 1990, Canal 13 in Argentina, and Frecuencia Latina in Peru, where it was called La pequeña maravilla. In the Philippines, it aired on GMA Network in the mid-1980s, and on ABC in 1992. In Saudi Arabia, it was aired during the '80s as a daily family show during the month of Ramadan on Saudi TV (Channel 2). India on Star Plus first in English then in Hindi most of the time. In Indonesia, aired by TVRI. In Iraq it was presented to children with Arabic subtitles and called (الاعجوبة الصغيرة); it aired on تلفزيون العراق - ألقناة ألاولى in 1987.

Awards and critical reception[edit]

YearAwardCategoryRecipient
1986Young Artist AwardBest Young Supporting Actress in a New Television SeriesEmily Schulman
1987Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Long-Running Series, Comedy or Drama

In 2002, Robert Bianco, TV critic for USA Today, listed it as a contender for one of the worst TV shows of all time.[1] This was repeated in 2003 by Mark Lewisohn of the BBC who referred to the program as "widely considered one of the worst low-budget sitcoms of all time."[2]

Episodes[edit]

First Season[edit]

Episode #Prod #Episode Name/SummaryOriginal Air Date
1-01101Vicki's Homecoming

Ted Lawson introduces his family to V.I.C.I. (or the Voice Input Child Identicant), a secretly constructed robotic domestic aide in the form of a ten-year-old girl.

September 7, 1985
1-02102The Neighbors

The Brindles, the Lawsons' snoopy neighbors, suspect the Lawsons are hiding something and attempt to sniff out their family secret, while Harriet shows off her toy robot.

September 14, 1985
1-03103The Sitter

When the Lawsons' babysitter cancels, Ted sees an opportunity for a new function for Vicki.

September 21, 1985
1-04104The Suitor

Jamie's friend Warren, the school nerd, falls in love with the only girl who doesn't slam the door in his face, Vicki.

September 28, 1985
1-05105Sibling Rivalry

Jamie decides to run away when he feels that his parents attend to Vicki more than him.

October 5, 1985
1-06106Spielberg, Jr.

When Jamie and his best friend Reggie put together a sci-fi movie project for school, the directorial power goes to Jamie's head.

October 12, 1985
1-07107The Lie

Jamie learns the value of consistent honesty when he can't convince his parents that he's not responsible for breaking a teapot.

October 19, 1985
1-08108The Bully

When a bully begins extorting money from Jamie and his friends, Ted attempts to teach Jamie how to fight.

October 26, 1985
1-09109Slightly Dishonorable

Jamie uses Vicki to do his homework and gets on the school's honor roll.

November 2, 1985
1-10110The Adoption

After Bonnie Brindle tips off Child Services about the Lawson's new child, Vicki must pass a medical exam.

November 9, 1985
1-11111Child Genius

With Child Services watching, the Lawsons must hire a tutor for Vicki, and Joan resolves to complete her teaching degree.

November 16, 1985
1-12112Ted's New Boss

Following a house fire, the Brindles muscle their way into staying with the Lawsons.

November 23, 1985
1-13113Brainwashed

When Vicki begins to mimic Harriet, Ted decides to reprogram her.

November 30, 1985
1-14114The Burrito Story

Jamie attempts to mass-produce burritos made by Vicki.

January 4, 1986
1-15115The Camping Trip

The Lawsons, Reggie and Harriet take a wilderness camping trip and get lost.

January 11, 1986
1-16116Love Story

Jamie throws a lavish party to impress his first crush.

January 18, 1986
1-17117Substitute Father

Brandon Brindle begins a father war when he finds that a golf-crazed Ted has been neglecting Jamie.

January 25, 1986
1-18118The Robot Nappers

A rival robotics firm suspects that Vicki is a robot and plans to steal her.

February 8, 1986
1-19120The Company Takeover

Cutbacks at United Robotronics have the Lawsons scrambling for odd jobs.

February 15, 1986
1-20123Good Ol' Lou

Ted is motivated to get the family into shape when an obese co-worker loses a record amount of weight.

February 22, 1986
1-21121Like Father, Like Son

Jamie tries out for the Pee-Wee football team.

March 1, 1986
1-22122Vaudeville Vicki

A vaudeville actor becomes convinced that Vicki is his long-lost daughter.

May 3, 1986
1-23119The Real Facts of Life

Jamie attempts to educate his dad in the ways of love.

May 10, 1986
1-24124The Grandparents

Ted must break it to his father that Vicki is a robot.

May 17, 1986

Second Season[edit]

Episode #Prod #Episode NameOriginal Air Date
2-01215Chewed Out' (Smoker's Delight)

Jamie and Reggie try smoking for the first time; Vicki tries smoking too, which angers Ted.

September 13, 1986
2-02201Money, Money, Money

Jamie thinks that his crush Jessica will only like him if he has a lot of money.

September 20, 1986
2-03203My Mother the Teacher

When Jamie's teacher is ill, Joan Lawson gets hired as a substitute.

September 27, 1986
2-04213Here Comes the Judge

Jamie plays a judge in his school's mock courtroom.

October 4, 1986
2-05209Home Sweet Homeless

The Lawson family gets first-hand experience about how a homeless man lives when Jamie accidentally brings one home.

October 11, 1986
2-06212Crazy Like a Fox

A con man sells Jamie and Vicki stolen merchandise that doesn't work.

October 18, 1986
2-07210The Older Woman

Jamie meets Harriet's older sister Mary, so he makes a plan to get to know Mary better.

October 25, 1986
2-08204Who's the Boss?

Jamie has a dream that he's the boss of his parents.

November 1, 1986
2-09207P-P-P Paula

Jamie is assigned to help a stuttering girl gain confidence to give an oral report. Vicki decides to get to the root of the stuttering through aversion therapy.

November 8, 1986
2-10211You Gotta Have Heart

Vicki becomes best friends with Harriet in order to learn more about love, while Ted thinks about inventing a heart for Vicki.

November 15, 1986
2-11202The Shoplifter

Mrs. Fernwald from Child Services visits the Lawson family, and Vicki steals an expensive gold watch from the department store.

November 22, 1986
2-12208Thanksgiving Story

Jamie's friend Adam talks about being from a broken home, so Jamie and Vicki try to bribe an agency into going on a ski trip.

November 29, 1986
2-13206Neighborhood Watch

The Lawson family get robbed so they develop a neighborhood watch program.

December 6, 1986
2-14205Movin' Up

Ted turns down a job promotion at one of the top robotics companies.

January 10, 1987
2-15221Top Secret

Ted makes up a story about Project Blender to make his job sound exciting.

January 17, 1987
2-16218The Personality Kid

Reggie thinks Vicki has a stuck-up personality, so Jamie gives her an adjustment.

January 24, 1987
2-17216Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Jamie wants a new bike so he starts a computer dating service.

January 31, 1987
2-18223Little Miss Shopping Mall

Vicki gets entered into a beauty contest, but Ted doesn't want her to enter. Jerry Supiran, did not appear in this episode.

February 7, 1987
2-19214Victor/Vicki-toria

Jamie disguises Vicki as a boy named Victor to aid his struggling baseball team, but Ted is unsure about having a robot play against a bunch of little boys.

February 14, 1987
2-20222Look Into My Eyes

Vicki tries out hypnosis on the Lawsons after she sees it performed on television.

February 21, 1987
2-21217Wally the Wimp

Joan gets a visit from her college friend Wally. Guest star: Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

February 28, 1987
2-22219The Cat's Meow

Ted buys Vicki her first toy, a robot cat that causes Vicki to have an emotional breakdown.

May 9, 1987
2-23220Vicki Goodwrench

Jamie wants to get a summer job, so he and Vicki decide to work at Sid's Garage.

May 16, 1987
2-24224Double Wedding

Ted and Joan, along with Bonnie and Brandon Brindle, decide to renew their wedding vows.

May 23, 1987

Third Season[edit]

Episode #Prod #Episode NameOriginal Air Date
3-01303Woodward and Bernstein

While Jamie and Reggie search for a story for the school paper, Vicki discovers that a new girl in class is a missing child.

September 12, 1987
3-02312Everyone Into the PoolSeptember 19, 1987
3-03314Whodunit?September 26, 1987
3-04306Bride and GroomOctober 3, 1987
3-05302It's Okay to Say No

When a schoolyard pusher tries to hook Vicki on drugs, the Lawsons help the police on an undercover sting, to stop the pusher.

October 10, 1987
3-06307Read My LipsOctober 17, 1987
3-07316The PromotionOctober 24, 1987
3-08320The Lawsonville HorrorOctober 31, 1987
3-09308The Bad Seed

Ted brings home Vanessa, an upgraded twin of Vicki whose revolutionary but quirky quasi-human artificial intelligence runs amok. Note: Tiffany Brissette, plays a dual role.

November 7, 1987
3-10318Breakfast of Criminals

Vicki is discovered by a marketing firm to play in a cereal commercial, but the Lawsons have second thoughts when her taste test reveals that the product isn't all it's crackled up to be.

November 14, 1987
3-11317The Fats of Life

Ted unwittingly upgrades Vicki's energy-supplementing polynucleotide processor with an appetite, which creates excess digestive gases and causes her to be bloated which caused a major issue for an upcoming dance.

November 21, 1987
3-12309The Bank JobNovember 28, 1987
3-13305Oooga MoogaDecember 5, 1987
3-14301Here Today, Gone TomorrowJanuary 16, 1988
3-15304Bye Bye Brindles

Tired of the loud and impudent Brindles as neighbors, the Lawsons concoct a fake earthquake to scare them into moving.

January 23, 1988
3-16319For Sale by Robot

Ted begins remodeling the house, and Joan's new real estate side job gets upstaged when Vicki sells the Lawson homestead to an unscrupulous cowpoke couple.

January 30, 1988
3-17411Ronald McDonald HouseFebruary 6, 1988
3-18325The Russians are Coming, the Russians are ComingFebruary 13, 1988
3-19311I'll Drink to ThatFebruary 20, 1988
3-20313Big J, the D.J. (Special guest star NFL star Lyle Alzado)February 27, 1988
3-21324The Rock BandApril 30, 1988
3-22415Book-ItMay 7, 1988
3-23310Safety FirstMay 14, 1988
3-24320When You Hear the BeepMay 21, 1988

Fourth Season[edit]

Episode #Prod #Episode NameOriginal Air Date
4-01409Divided We StandSeptember 17, 1988
4-02413Double DatesSeptember 24, 1988
4-03315The Gang's All HereOctober 1, 1988
4-04422RashomonOctober 15, 1988
4-05410Come Fly With MeOctober 22, 1988
4-06322Love at First ByteOctober 29, 1988
4-07405The SheikNovember 5, 1988
4-08403TogethernessNovember 12, 1988
4-09416My Favorite MartianNovember 19, 1988
4-10406Mommie DearestNovember 26, 1988
4-11407No Laughing Matter

A digestion feedback problem with Vicki's polynucleotide processor generates nitrous oxide gas that brings laughs to anyone near her, but not to Vicki herself — just as Ted's boss is about to visit about lay-offs.

December 4, 1988
4-12401Tag, You're It

On their first day in junior high, Vicki becomes a hall monitor and Jamie tries to avoid Harriet for a dance while vying for a class fox. Meanwhile, Ted prepares to host a cybernetics conference. Marcia Wallace guest stars.

December 11, 1988
4-13404The Jailbirds

Jamie and Vicki are arrested for spray-painting a wall—and its owner's $60 shirt.

January 7, 1989
4-14408Riches to RagsJanuary 14, 1989
4-15418Radio DaysJanuary 21, 1989
4-16421Kid-O-GramsJanuary 28, 1989
4-17402More About LESFebruary 4, 1989
4-18420Hooray for Hollyweird!February 11, 1989
4-19419Minnesota VickiFebruary 18, 1989
4-20417Vicki DoolittleFebruary 25, 1989
4-21414The TattletaleApril 29, 1989
4-22323The StrikeMay 6, 1989
4-23412See No EvilMay 13, 1989
4-24326Thy Neighbor's WifeMay 20, 1989

DVD releases[edit]

Shout! Factory has released the first two seasons of Small Wonder on DVD in Region 1. Season 2 was released as a Shout! Factory select title, available exclusively through their online store.[3][4]

DVD NameEp#Region 1
The Complete First Season24February 16, 2010
The Complete Second Season♦24June 22, 2010

♦ - Shout! Factory select title

References in popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]