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Small Wonder
Smallwondercast.jpg
The cast of Small Wonder during the first season
Genre Science fiction sitcom
Created by Howard Leeds
Directed by Peter Baldwin
John Bowab
Bob Claver
Dick Christie
Linda Day
Selig Frank
Leslie H. Martinson
Starring Tiffany Brissette
Dick Christie
Marla Pennington
Jerry Supiran
Emily Schulman
Theme music composer Rod Alexander
Howard Leeds
Diane Leslie
Opening theme "She's a Small Wonder"
Composer(s) George Greeley
Ed Lojeskie
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 96
Production
Executive producer(s) Howard Leeds
Producer(s) Budd Grossman
Bruce Taylor
Running time 30 min (approx)
Broadcast
Original channel Syndication
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 7, 1985 – May 20, 1989

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

Contents

Premise

The storylines revolved 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, 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 parallel port under her left arm, and an access panel in her back. Despite this, the Lawson family tries to pass the robot off as their adopted daughter.

The Lawson family tries to keep the robot's existence a secret, but their disagreeable neighbours, the Brindles, keep on popping up at the most unexpected moments — especially nosey red-headed girl-next-door Harriet and her parents, Bonnie and Brandon; the latter just happens to be Ted Lawson's coworker. The show's humor frequently derived from V.I.C.I.'s attempts to learn human behavior, V.I.C.I'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, Ted gave V.I.C.I. an upgrade in the series's 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

  • Victoria "Vicki" Ann Smith-Lawson (Tiffany Brissette) - A robot modeled after a real human girl. The robot was a Voice Input Child Identicant (V.I.C.I.), but was nicknamed Vicki. She has real hair and realistic skin. She possesses super human strength and speed and runs on atomic power. Vicki has an access panel in her back, an electric socket in her right armpit, and an RS-232 serial port under her left armpit. Vicki's artificial intelligence is not perfect. She is incapable of emotion, speaks in a monotone voice, and interprets most commands literally. She does manage to blend in to the real world to a point. Vicki attends school, and no one but her family members and a few trusted friends know her secret. Occasionally Vicki had rare abilities that seemed to only appear in one or two episodes, such as elongating her neck to reach a door's peephole, shrinking her size to become as small as a doll or making herself ten feet tall to get noticed by everyone. One recurring theme was that Vicki had a super-powered learning system which enabled her to improve upon something such as a new detergent or to greatly increase the gas mileage of cars, which Ted and Jamie often saw as a chance to get rich quick, only to find her improvements were not perfect. Vicki lives in a large cabinet in Jamie's bedroom, and becomes more human over the course of the show.
  • Jamie Lawson (Jerry Supiran) - The 12 year old son of Ted and Joan.
  • Ted Lawson (Dick Christie) - Jamie's father. Vicki's creator. A robotics engineer. He originally created Vicki as a domestic servant whose girl-child appearance was only meant to be a selling point.
  • Joan Lawson (Marla Pennington) - Ted's wife. Joan regards Vicki as a real person more than anyone else on the show does.
  • Harriet Brindle (Emily Schulman) - The young and nosy little neighbors' daughter who has a crush on Jamie.
  • Brandon Brindle (William Bogert) - Harriet's father. Becomes Ted Lawson's boss after stealing Ted's ideas.
  • Bonnie Brindle (Edie McClurg) - Harriet's mother. Written out after the second season.
  • Ida Mae Brindle (Alice Ghostley) - Brandon's outspoken, know-it-all sister, who is nearly identical to his wife Bonnie.
  • Reggie Williams (Paul C. Scott) - Jamie's best friend.

Criticism

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], and according to the BBC, it "is widely considered one of the worst low-budget sitcoms of all time." [2] In the audio commentary for the South Park episode "Simpsons Already Did It", co-creator Matt Stone lamented that "for some reason, people lump South Park and The Simpsons and any animated program together... which is unfortunate that we have to be compared to one of the best shows on television ever and one of the most popular shows on television ever, we never get compared to Sister, Sister or Small Wonder."

2009 reunion

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

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 India, China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Asian countries, Small Wonder was syndicated on the Star TV Network in the mid-1990s. In Latin America, the show appeared on TV 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 also formerly aired on GMA Network in the mid-1980s, and on ABC in 1992.

Awards

Year Award Category Recipient
1986 Young Artist Award Best Young Supporting Actress in a New Television Series Emily Schulman
1987 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Long-Running Series, Comedy or Drama Emily Schulman

DVD releases

Shout! Factory has acquired the rights to the series and will release Season 1 on Region 1 DVD in the United States on February 16, 2010.[3]

DVD Name Ep# Region 1 Special Features
Season 1 24 February 16, 2010 Five commentaries with Christie, Pennington, Supiran, McClurg, Daryl Bartley, and Howard Leeds, original episode promos, fan art gallery [1]
Season 2 24 TBA
Season 3 24 TBA
Season 4 24 TBA

References

External links








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