Sunday, December 26, 2021

That Candle Is Awful Close To That Wreath

Small Wonder debuted in syndication on September 7, 1985. It was a reasonably popular series running for four seasons and 96 episodes. Its popularity was probably due to it being very kid-friendly for those coming home after school. Despite this, Small Wonder is considered one of the worst sitcoms ever by just about everyone. The premise is simple but stupid. Engineer Ted Lawson (Dick Christie) invents a robot that looks exactly like a young girl in order to help disabled children. He takes it home for some reason and hijinks ensue every week. The robot's name is Vicki (a variation of the robot's description Voice Input Child Indenticant, or V.I.C.I.) and it speaks in a monotone voice, has no emotions, but is able to do a multitude of different things, some lasting only for one episode.

Small Wonder was created by Howard Leeds and starred Dick Christie, Marla Pennington, Jeremy Supiran, Emily Schulman, and Tiffany Bissette. Let's go over the pilot episode. Some commentary here also appeared in an issue of Gyrbynerjk. You can watch the pilot for yourself here.

This is quite possibly the worst theme song I've ever heard. It's a syrup concoction of insipid words that attempts to explain the premise of the show but fails miserably because the premise of the show is utterly stupid.
Why is he eating outside? Do they not allow food in the building?

Now wait a minute. Jamie just gave a soliloquy about how he wishes he had someone to play with--a brother or sister--and someone actually comes over to play and he slams the door in her face.

"Harriet deserves it. She's a pill and she's nosy. What a waste of womanhood." I guess we can check off those boxes on the male child character personality checklist. He hates school. He talks about sex. He complains about women. He's whiny about everything.

He at least eats his vegetables.

So Ted, the guy that can't eat at work, comes home and is upset that his boss didn't want to talk about his weird child-like robotic sex helper doll. Ted believes this could be a world-changing invention. I mean, I get it but I find realistic robots disturbing and even more so when they are girl-child slave robots.
I'm sure Tiffany Bisette loved being able to be mocked by someone just holding up a CPR dummy.

Ted is given permission to work on his robot at home so we fade back in this guy has a little girl laying down on a chest in the bedroom and he's telling her to blink her eyes and wiggle her nose. Anyway, the newly-coined Vicki is now ready to be foisted upon an unsuspecting family. Being TV characters, I feel they take this better than they would in real life.
Joan: "You're putting us on. That's a real kid, right?" Ted: "No, no. It's a robot." So it's not technically illegal, says some pervert in the YouTube comments.

The next day, Jaime (Jamie?) wakes up and lets Vicki out of some weird toy chest/closet. "We've got work to do," he exclaims to Vicki before telling her to pick up his dirty clothes before saying he'll show her how to make his bed. The laugh track finds this hilarious because "Why can't he pick up his own crap? Ha ha!" but this is exactly how Vicki is supposed to work. It is supposed to be a robotic housekeeper. Everything Ted said about Vicki helping disabled kids or teaching is a pipe dream. We all know what something like Vicki will be used for.
Despite not mentioning it at any point before now, it's Ted and Joan's anniversary so Jamie and Vicki go downstairs to make them some breakfast in bed. Harriet comes over and wants to know who the new, weird girl is. Vicki is Jamie's cousin but it takes a few minutes to actually get to that because Jamie has to offer that Vicki is his sister first. What? Why?
I do like Harriet's hair.

Anyway, Jamie slams the door in Harriet's face again and it's time to go serve Ted and Joan their breakfast--which consists of bowls of cereal and grapefruit. There were going to be eggs but Vicki crushed the eggs and ruined them. I don't know why Jamie has to explain where their bedroom is to Vicki. She was created there so should know where it is.

Let's see how Ted and Joan are celebrating this anniversary on this beautiful morning.
Ted's reading an instruction manual. I don't know how Joan's panties haven't flown off yet. After complaining about 11 years of inconvenience, Ted does roll on top of Joan but are then interrupted by Vicki who wishes them a happy anniversary from her and Jamie and then throws the tray of food at them.
This is definitely the funniest part of the episode. Jamie, and Vicki, are sent to his room as punishment. I don't know why. It's not Jamie's fault Vicki misunderstood the command. I feel that's on Ted.

Jamie believes that if he gets his parents an anniversary present then he won't be in trouble anymore. "Dad sleeps late on Saturday so I'll be back before they wake up." What? They were just awake. Vicki threw breakfast at them.

Jamie puts Vicki in the closet and goes to a store and buys some sort of glass dish. Vicki, for some reason, arrives at the store, is believed to be a store display, and placed in a closet. Oh, no! How will Jamie and Vicki get out of this predicament?
Vicki tears the door off the hinges and they run home to find Ted and Joan waiting for them. "Why did you take Vicki out of the house?" Ted asks. "I didn't. I put her in my closet. I don't know why she followed me," is what Jamie should've said but doesn't. Jamie gives his parents his gift and he and Vicki are once again banished to Jamie's bedroom.
Upset at Vicki, Jamie banishes her to the closet but then feels bad. I don't know why. Jamie is one of the few 80s sitcom kids that's innocent. Vicki's the bad one. Anyway, Jamie apologizes, Vicki rips the door off the closet. "I can see I'm going to have nothing but trouble with you," Jamie says, rolling his eyes.

"Trouble," Vicki monotones and smiles.
So Vicki is going to kill us all. And this is the last thing we'll see before we die.

She's a small wonder, lovely and bright with soft curls. She's a small wonder, a child unlike other girls. She's a miracle, and I grant you, she'll enchant you at first sight...

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Sherman's Lagoon
There are an awful lot of Boxing Day themed comics today. I'm not sure why other than it's December 26 and a Sunday so there's more room to talk about it. None of the comics get Boxing Day correct though.

B.C.
There are also a decent-sized number of comics making jokes about supply chain issues and riling up the people in the comments. I don't know why you would want to take an issue as politically volatile and complex as supply chain issues and condense it into a eight-panel comic strip but you do you, I guess.

I don't why Peter had to read B.C.'s note either but, again, you do you.

Dark Side of the Horse
O...kay...Is there a reason the characters are drawn in Don Martin's style? It's great that you're a fan, Kerplotznik, but this was jarring.

Crock
Nothing like giving your mother the gift of pornography to warm the cockles of your heart.

The Family Circus
Why are all these stuffed animals so nightmare-ish? I'd stick with the older stuffed animal, you know, the one I've already conquered, too.

Gasoline Alley
Oh, no you don't. I rang in a new year back in 2021 and 2020 and both years turned out to be crap. No more new years. We should've stopped counting back in 2020. It should technically be March 666, 2020.

The Born Loser
I am happy to report that the three Matt Damon/Jason Bourne movies (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum) are all available to stream this year, unlike back in 2019. The first two are on HBO Max and the third is on Peacock.

If these two streaming services owned by massive global conglomerates would like to give me a few bucks for maybe throwing some viewers their way, they or even you can buy me a cup of coffee over on Ko-fi.

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