Every once in a while, a premise is so patently ridiculous that it wins the hearts of many, thanks to its unbridled absurdity. And there might not have ever been a stronger contender for the top of the “you’ve got to be kidding” list than Small Wonder, a strangely endearing show about the lives of the Lawson family, who possessed a little, closely-guarded secret – their youngest child was actually a robot.
Debuting in 1985 and shown in syndication, Small Wonder revolved around V.I.C.I. (Voice Input Child Identicant) a robot replication of a small girl created in a laboratory by family patriarch Ted Lawson, a robotics engineer at a cybernetics lab. Ted brought his creation home to live with him, his wife Joan, and their 12-year old (human) son Jamie. The official story was that Vicky was an orphan whose parents were killed in a car accident, and the only folks in on the secret were the members of the Lawson family.
That didn’t quell the suspicions of those that came in contact with Vicky, however, especially the nosy neighbors next door, the Brindles, which included father Brandon (Ted’s boss,) his wife Bonnie, and their overly-nosy daughter Harriet. Much to the dismay of the Lawson family, Harriet pretty much had Vicky pegged as a robot, partly due to the fact that the little cyborg girl possessed super-human strength, spoke in a strange monotone voice, and seemed to take every bit of advice far too literally. Perhaps the fact that she lived in the closet should have been a glaring clue as well. Still, the Lawsons did everything in their power to keep their artificially powered daughter a secret, no small task.
Small Wonder ran in syndication for a good four years and was a surprising hit. Despite abysmal reviews, it proceeded to air all around the world in places such as China, Pakistan and Italy, finding plenty of popularity abroad as well. And that’s something that may keep network executive scratching their heads for years to come. Fans of Small Wonder, on the other hand, remain loyal to this day and Vicky has truly earned her place as one of the oddest, yet best remembered characters in recent television history.
If you count yourself as a Small Wonder fan, we welcome your memories of this series in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this memorable show and that charming cyborg, Vicky.