Small Wonder

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Short Version: That show you vaguely remember about the terrifying robot girl in the French Maid outfit.

This Fantastic Comedy aired in first-run Syndication in the 1980s. Ted Lawson, a robotic engineer, had a family like any other in California, except that his daughter, Vicki, was a robot he designed and built. Ted, his wife, Joan, and their son, Jamie, continually tried to keep Vicki's identity a secret. This was no easy task, since Ted lived next door to his gloryhound boss, whose daughter wanted to be Mrs. Jamie Lawson.

The series is often derided for its silly premise and uneven episode plots, some of which were downright uninspired. Due to popular demand, however, Shout! Factory released the first two seasons of Small Wonder on DVD in the first half of 2010. The series' star, Tiffany Brissette, has retired from acting to avoid typecasting. More information about the show is at the Semi-Official Small Wonder "Cabinet of Contents" Home Page.

Tends to be confused with Out of This World, which is that show you vaguely remember about the alien girl who could freeze time.


Tropes used in Small Wonder include:
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Harriet Brindle.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot
  • Amusing Nonhuman
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Harriet, in spades. Jamie can be this way too, at times.
  • Celebrity Star: Lyle Alzado, Art Linkletter and Jesse Ventura, among others.
  • Dark Horse Victory
  • Do-Anything Robot
  • Drop-In Character: Harriet and her parents.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: Vicki can lift and carry Ted around easily.
  • Emotionless Girl: Normally during the first two seasons, but subverted in two cases. At the openings, Vicki grins and winks to us, and in an episode where a computer she was smitten with is deactivated a tear trickles down her cheek. Starting late in the series' second season and becoming more progressive through the rest of the series, Vicki begins talking in a normal voice and shows emotion more often, to the point where she becomes more "humanized" (this was in part to explain actress Tiffany Brisette aging into puberty).
  • Evil Twin: Vanessa, successor to VICI.
  • Fantastic Comedy
  • Fun with Acronyms: VICI stands for Voice Input Child Identicant.
  • Hand Wave: VICI is upgraded in Season 3 to look older (since Tiffany Brisette had grown into a young teenager later in the series). Also, she's designed to eat food (to help pass for human) and liquids she consumes work as coolant.
  • Human Hummingbird: Vicki acts like one in "Vicki and the Pusher".
  • Hypno Fool: In the Season 2 episode "Look into My Eyes", Vicki learns to hypnotize by watching a professional hypnotist on TV, and gets the family to do weird things at mention of a code word. The first one she hypnotizes is the mother, and makes her act like The Vamp (see Fetish Fuel, on the YMMV tab).
  • Literal-Minded: Much of the show's humor came from Vicki interpreting commands and figures of speech literally.
  • Machine Monotone: This is Vicki's normal mode of speech. By the final two seasons, this was downplayed somewhat as she began speaking in a normal girl's voice (due to upgrades and to help her pass as human).
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands
  • Noir Episode: In "Big 'J', Private Eye", Jamie did his book report in the film noir style.
  • Product Placement: Actually, sort of a reversal. If you don't remember ever watching this show, you certainly remember seeing posters in Pizza Hut that tied the series into its "Book It!" school fund-raising program. Lord knows what the connection was between robots and books.
  • Reset Button: After every episode, almost everything is forgiven and forgotten. Only sometimes do some details prevail.
  • Robo Speak
  • Robot Girl
  • Robot Kid
  • Robot Maid
  • Sidekick Ex Machina
  • Sitcom
  • Styrofoam Rocks: In the series finale, when Ted gives a literal meaning to the term Cardboard Prison. He offers to pay for the damage, but the movie director says there's no money in the budget for it.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The kind of denials Vicki gives when asked what has she seen/done.
  • Unwanted Glasses Plot: The basis of the episode "Vicki's Glasses".