For those of you unaware, Small Wonder was an 80s sitcom starring a robot girl.  The father built the girl and raised her as his own daughter.  The show is ridiculous.  The dad doesn’t seem like he could build a robot.  The robot talks like a cartoon version of a robot, making herself easily identified.  And the writing…it’s bad.  As we will see.

Today, I want to talk about the first episode of the third season, entitled “Woodward and Bernstein”.

The main plot is that Jamie (the brother) is looking for a story for the journalism contest in school.  He wants to win and become a reporter for the school newspaper.

They go to school and meet a new Student named Krissy who comes from Arizona.  The jokes are lame and a little dated.  At one point Jamie introduces himself to Krissy as Vicky’s (the robot girl) brother.  His friend Reggie (who is black) responds that he’s not her brother, he’s just a brother.

The fashion is…interesting.  Krissy sports a side-ponytail and a sweater that looks like it was designed by Banksy.

Unable to find a story, Jamie and Reggie decide to go the fake news (or as Trump would say FAKE NEWS!) route and believe an unverified source that the cafeteria uses horsemeat.

Under pressure from the principal they fold and face punishment.

Meanwhile, Krissy visits the house and Vicky point out that Krissy’s picture is on their milk carton.  She’s a missing child.  The audience titters uncomfortably at this news clearly unsure how to act.  The boys sit down and complain about not being able to find a story, all the while the milk carton (with Krissy’s face pointed towards the camera) is framed between them.  They say that there must be a story right under their noses and the audience erupts in laughter.  Because isn’t it hilarious that a child is missing?

Vicky tells them about the milk carton and they decide to write the story to win the contest.  Unfortunately, their father throws out their only evidence, the milk carton.  When they tell their parents about their story the dad suggests they write it up so the principal is “aware of the problem”.  They don’t call the police or even reach out to Krissy’s father.

The next day the boys are once again called out by the principal for their story.  They admit they don’t have proof but right then the dad shows up.  He says he called the number on the milk carton and confirmed that Krissy is indeed a missing child.  Not only that but apparently they were even comfortable giving him all the details: that Krissy was abducted by her father after a nasty custody battle and her mother has been going out of her mind trying to find her.

I have to point out at this point that part of what makes this episode so terrible is that each scene dealing with this issue is filled with terrible jokes.  It’s clear that the writers had no idea how to deal with this kind of a story and so they just go about it in the most insensitive way.  The dad also drops the bomb that the police have been notified but when they went to Krissy’s house it was vacant.  The father has panicked and run off again.

Then we go the kitchen of the home where the boys are presented with a chocolate cake as a reward for winning the journalism contest.  Krissy’s storyline is wrapped up with a phone call from the police that Krissy has been found and is being reunited with her mother.  Not sure why the police decide to call the dad, but whatever.  The show ends with a big laugh when Jamie says “now I feel like burying my face in a big piece of cake” and Vicky shoves his face into the cake.

There are a lot of dark undertones to this episode.  Krissy’s dad is going to jail.  Krissy had no idea she was missing so she’s going to be reunited with a mother that she barely knows while her father rots in a cell.  The girl’s life is destroyed, but hey we got cake!

Not one person understood what they were doing in this episode and as a result, the tone is a complete mess.  It’s not something (like the Garbage Pail Kids) that I would advise you stay away from, but it’s not good.  Yet, I almost think you should check it out and see what kind of disaster it is.  You can find it on YouTube.

Join us tomorrow for a TV that doesn’t suck.

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The Author

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips is the author of several thriller and literary novels. His Bentley Books series introduced the world to sadistic serial killer Bentley Grimes, a villain of unbelievable cruelty and unimaginable coldness. His literary novels are populated with richly drawn characters struggling with issues that affect our society today, such as: homosexuality, alcoholism, family struggles, poverty, greed, and bigotry.

He is an avid sports fan as well as a lover of movies and television.

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