I’ve mentioned before that I wasted a lot of time when I was young watching and re-watching the same episodes of Matlock. Matlock, because it was always on every day and, when we got cable, on several channels every day, remains my greatest time-sink sin. It was never a good program (would that I were raised in The Age of Law & Order!) and… well, it was Matlock. Some people, however, might contest Matlock’s status as the primary timesuck because for a year every day I would watch a show of legendarily shoddy quality. In case you haven’t figured it out yet by the title of this post or the video up above, that show is Small Wonder.

Small Wonder was a program about a little robot girl, VICI (“Vicki”). She was created by her geeky father as a human replica of sorts. Ted, the father (whose name I didn’t even have to look up!), didn’t want to tell his employers about his little project for reasons that I cannot recall. So Vicki was the Lawsons’ little secret. The episodes generally revolved around either the typical hijinx of situation comedy with often a few robot-related things thrown in for good measure. A lot of it involved trying to keep what would have been the greatest techological achievement in mankind up to that point (an achievement still unmatched in the real world) from anyone that might notice little Vicki’s monotone voice, odd behavior, and lack of a bedroom (she “slept” upright in a closet).

To give you an idea of just how much sense the story made, one episode involved around Jamie (whose name I also did not even bother to need to look up), Vicki’s brother, getting impatient with living with the coolest invention ever and not being able to tell anybody when faced with the typical “My dad is cooler than your dad” arguments at school. So Ted tells Jamie that the blender in their kitchen is really a nuclear somethingorother. Jamie thinks this is awesome, but then of course Ted tells him that he can’t tell anybody. Somehow, Jamie doesn’t seem to notice that he is in no better position that he was. Maybe because he tells people anyway (despite being perfectly able to keep Vicki a secret throughout the show). Hilarity ensues when the Lawson’s neighbor (and Ted’s father) gets wind of the blender. Ha, ha.

Another episode (a couple episodes, I think) had a more high-tech clone of Vicki named Vanessa (VICI was short for Voice Input Child Indenticant… no telling what Vanessa could have been short for) who was smarter and more human than Vicki but also more freedom-minded and likely to get herself (and the lawsons) into trouble. There was apparently talk of a Vanessa spinoff.

There was once a Very Special Episode about Jamie’s friend, who is… horror of horrors, a latchkey kid! You may have to reach pretty far back in the recesses of your mind, if you’re old enough, to recall that term. It referred to the poor, poor unfortunate youths who had working parents and had to let themselves in when they got home from school.

I make fun of the show now, but it will always have a place in my heart somewhere between Thundercats and Gilligan’s Island. I used to watch it day in and day out with my best friend Clint. Not over at his house or anything. We’d both be watching it at our own houses and talk about what transpired on the phone. I didn’t have a phone or TV in my bedroom, so I sat on the wooden chair in the kitchen so that I could be on the corded phone and we could discuss this important television program. Ahhh, those were the best days. I never went through a “girls are icky” phase like a lot of boys did, so Vicki was always cute even though I did not yet know what was meant to be done in response to that cuteness (though some say that Vicki was TV’s first lesbian! Then again, on the show the girl was a robot, so I shouldn’t go there anyway. Notably, the actress found Jesus and appeared on The 700 Club at some point).

Below are some clips. If you’ve never seen the show or want to get a blast from the past if you have, you can get a pretty good feel in the first minute or so of each clip.

-{This blast from the past courtesy of BoingBoing}-

Category: Ghostland, Theater

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3 Responses to A Girl Unlike Other Girls

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    Weird. I vaguely remember this show, but I had no idea that it was about a robot girl. I’m not sure I ever actually saw an episode—I may just know of it through previews I saw during other shows.

  2. Peter says:

    I had never heard of this show until reading your post. Guess that says a lot about my TV watching habits.

  3. trumwill says:

    Probably says something pretty positive about your TV watching habits, Peter.

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