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Small Wonder: The Complete First Season


None March 19th, 2010

If memory serves correct, "Small Wonder" was one of the first sitcoms to premiere on syndication "” that is, not home to any network. In 1985, my brothers and I watched it regularly. Now that its first season has hit DVD, I have to wonder, "What were we thinking?"

Like many shows of our childhood, it's super-cheesy, and better as a memory than in actuality. Not that it was high art then, but it certainly hasn't aged well. Tiffany Brissette stars as V.I.C.I. "” or, simply, Vicki "” a robot who looks just like a little girl. Or at least a robot who looks just like a doll from the 1950s who looks just like a little girl.

She's the creation of nerd-alert scientist Ted (Dick Christie), who brings her home to live his wife (Marla Pennington, oddly hot despite the hairdo and jumpsuits) and their young son, Jamie (Jerry Supiran). You bet your laugh-track ass that hijinks ensue! In these 24 episodes, V.I.C.I. forever raises suspicion in the neighbors (hey, it's Edie McClurg!), inadvertently makes Jamie jealous, becomes the target of Ted's competing firm, exhibits super-strength and other powers and basically appears altogether creepy.

There are some really weird episodes, like when Jamie teaches Ted about sex. Don't miss that one. Several others, you can skip. A little V.I.C.I. goes a long way, especially with cheap effects that were instantly outdated and hack jokes that induce groans. Revisiting the series after a quarter of a century, it's hard to believe the shenanigans continued for four years. (And now its syrupy theme song is embedded again in my mind.)

Shout! Factory's set contains commentaries and a fan-produced art gallery that's a little disturbing, but not, sadly, any on-camera cast reunion, which would be something to see. "”Rod Lott


 
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