Short-Lived Shows: Small Wonder
The show's conceit involved a robotics firm engineer designing an AI cast-off from Annie to come live with his family. The robot was a "Voice Input Child Indenticant." VICI. Vicki. You get it. The Lawson family had quite a time trying to keep the monotoned Vicki's origins a secret from those pesky Brindles next door. They couldn't possibly destroy the adorable bundle of bolts that Dad had so lovingly (and sorta creepily if you think about it) put together and kept at home long past her beta-testing date.
After all, Vicki was a marvelous addition to the Lawson household. She made a great kid sister to the Lawson's only flesh-and-blood child Jamie. He spent most of his time trying to teach Vicki to act like a normal kid. It probably would have helped if she owned more than one dress.
Vicki did, however, have a dark side - alter robot ego Vanessa. This is where Small Wonder became a real acting tour de force on the part of young Tiffany Brissette. Vanessa was a foul-mouthed, conniving little brat who almost got her own spin-off, Too Good Too Be True, when Small Wonder finally hit the skids. If you're curious about Brissette's post-child star traumas, you'll soon get to see them aired out on television. Tiff was chosen as a Surreal Life participant for 2006. Her appearance will air on VH1 in early 2007. I wonder if she'll be bringing her Vanessa or Vicki persona to the house party?
Small Wonder was named one of the worst TV shows of all-time by USA Today in 2002. The show does have its fans, which I can only hope is the result of childhood nostalgia and helping spoonfuls of irony. Lord knows that's why a little part of my brain will always be occupied by a girl robot with a back panel accessible for repairs.