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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

TV Rewind | Small Wonder: An ode to nostalgia

This week, we look back at Small Wonder. The show that 90s kids in India still swear by because sometimes a big dose of nostalgia is more than sufficient to compensate for quality.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: October 20, 2019 5:15:09 pm
small wonder tv rewind TV Rewind: Small Wonder takes us back to those early days of network television in India.

The 90s kids in India had limited access to American television shows but one show that we were blessed with, and which still evokes a sense of nostalgia was Small Wonder. The story of the Lawson family who adopt an android girl named Vicki was equal parts science fiction and comedy.

Granted that the show released in US in 1985, but the audience in India got access to the popular show with the introduction of the Star Network where the show was broadcast both in English and Hindi.

Why Small Wonder worked?

Small Wonder has a huge fan base all over the world but it has a special place in the heart of the Indian audience. The 90s brought in a revolution on television. We were moving past Doordarshan and with the introduction of new content, there was an increasing interest in shows like Small Wonder and Bewitched that were broadcast with Hindi dubbing. It helped that many cartoons by Disney were dubbed in Hindi too, thus, the audience was getting familiarised with American content on their TV screens.

Small Wonder was the story of a family and that appealed to an average Indian consumer.

In the show, Ted Lawson is a robotics engineer who creates an Andriod in the form of a human girl and to acclimatise her to regular life, he brings her home. She gets the name Vicki and is treated like Ted and Joan’s daughter. Joan treats Vicki like a real person and this translates to her son Jamie as well.

The show depends on Vicki’s lesser understanding of the real world which provides the laughs for the major part of the show. Her ability to learn fast and her physical strength is often highlighted in the show.

How Small Wonder changed?

As the actor who played Vicki, Tiffany Brissette, was growing up in real life, the makers had to find a way to incorporate those changes in the script. Which is why the later seasons had the storyline of Ted further improving the robot so that it could eat.

The show had a short life span of four seasons, which in today’s time isn’t a lot but the 90s kids still fondly remember the theme song of the show.

The best bits

As much as we loved the Lawsons, the Brindles added their own touch to the show. Harriet Brindle was the annoying neighbour who would drop in unannounced whenever she wanted and for the longest time, we thought she would be the first one to blow Vicki’s cover but thankfully, that never happened.

TV Rewind | Breaking Bad | That 70s ShowAHS Roanoke | Friends | The West Wing | Sharp Objects | Patrick Melrose | AHS Murder House | Arrested Development | Two and a Half Men | Girls | The Good Wife | Dead Set | Dexter | Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip | The Office | Parks and Recreation | Fringe | Broadchurch | Seinfeld | Lost | Mad Men | Sex and the City

Small Wonder is certainly not the greatest show that we have seen but sometimes a big dose of nostalgia is more than sufficient to compensate for quality.

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