CULT FACTION

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Small Wonder

Small Wonder was an unintentionally creepy American science fiction sitcom that ran from September 7th 1985 to May 20th 1989 (Four seasons/96 episodes). The show chronicles the  family of a male robotics engineer who secretly creates a robot modelled after a real human girl, then tries to pass it off as their adopted daughter. Note: This show was aimed at children and families!

The creepy story lines revolve around V.I.C.I. (an acronym for Voice Input Child Identicant, pronounced “Vicki”), an android in the form of a 10-year-old girl. V.I.C.I. was built by Ted Lawson, an engineer/inventor for United Robotronics, in an effort to assist handicapped children. The robot is taken home by Lawson so that it can mature within a family environment. V.I.C.I.’s features include superhuman strength and speed, an AC outlet under her right arm, a serial port under her left arm, and an access panel in her back. Despite this, the Lawson family initially tries to pass V.I.C.I. off as an orphaned family member whom they eventually legally adopt as their daughter.

The Lawson family tries to keep the robot’s existence a secret, but their disagreeable neighbours, the Brindles, keep on popping up at the most unexpected moments — especially nosy next-door neighbour Harriet, whose father happens to be Ted Lawson’s co-worker. The show’s humour frequently derived from V.I.C.I.’s attempts to learn human behaviour, the robot’s literal interpretation of speech and the family’s efforts to disguise the robot’s true nature.

To explain child actress Tiffany Brissette’s aging during the show, the series’ producers had Ted gave V.I.C.I. an upgrade in the series’ third season. He aged her face, dressed her in modern clothes, and allowed her to eat and drink. The food passed through her naturally and the drink cooled her internal system.

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