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September 3, 2015

Short-Lived Shows: Small Wonder

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 13th 2006 12:01PM
Small WonderTechnically, this show may not have been short-lived enough. Small Wonder ran for four seasons - from '85 to '89 - in syndication. Whenever I am baffled by the popularity of tween vehicles like The Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, I just think of the inexplicably high ratings little robot Vicki got in her first year and the solid following that held on until the show's demise.

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.

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I totally forgot about this show!! I am ashamed to admit it, but I watched it religously. I would have never been reminded of it had you not posted this little story, but it does bring back fond memories.

January 05 2007 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Small Wonder should be come out for sale. It was as good or better then some of the ones that are out there for sale. Does anyone else want to owe the series.

December 04 2006 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I HATED that girl who lived next door. But her mother ended up playing "Mrs. Poole" on The Hogan Family. She might be best known as the secretary to the Principal in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Sometimes I can't remember my phone number but I remember that.

November 20 2006 at 10:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

According to imdb, I'm two days older than the actress who played Vicki. All I remember about the show was thinking she would be doing porn in about ten more years.

November 14 2006 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Small Wonder may not have been great, but I always found it to be a family-friendly, "bubble gum for the brain" syndicated sitcom. If you want to talk about worst shows ever, look no farther than Surreal Life.

November 13 2006 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A good friend of mine had a recurring role on this show. We have no end of fun mocking him about it.

November 13 2006 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone remember Mr Merlin about Merlin in modern day teaching a young apprentice? or Powers of Matthew Star about an high school student who has super powers because he's an alien? What about Whiz Kids about a bunch of kids who use computers to solve crime?

November 13 2006 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cara gustman

Small wonder was awesome..it was a time where saturday mornings and afternoons were devoted to tv and everyone watched with delight!
Out of this world was an awesome show as well. I can sing both theme songs ... "would you like to swing on a star..carry moon beams home in a jar.... "

November 13 2006 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I lived in China for a few years and that show was on everyday on Star (HK-based English-language channel). It was horrible but since we didn't speak Mandarin, it became our defacto favourite sitcom. She's fantastic, made of plastic.

November 13 2006 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

And dont forget the voice of the Dad in Out Of This World was Burt Reynolds!

November 13 2006 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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