I’d like to blame my lack of ability to sleep peacefully in any bed other than my own for my discovery of the TV show Small Wonder. Back in the day, they use to show reruns of this memorable ’80s show at totally ridiculous times – like 2 AM – and I vividly remember watching an early morning mini-marathon from the top bunk at a friend’s house.
The show focuses around the Lawson family, namely “Vicki”, a robot ten-year-old that was created by inventor Ted Lawson for United Robotronics. Ted brings Vicki (who was named due to her being a Voice Input Child Identicant – get it?) home to try and have her adapt to a typical family structure. The concept was intriguing to me as a child, especially since Vicki was close enough to my age at the time.
In one episode, it was revealed that Vicki was modeled off of a Missing Child poster that Ted saw in town. Kind of a heartbreaking plot, when the family couldn’t explain that the child who was spotted wasn’t the endangered child, but a “child modeled to look like the kid that’s missing.” Oof. Should have thought that one over, Lawson family.
The show lasted for 4 seasons, with a plot line created in season 3 to explain Vicki’s aging. While only the first two seasons have seen a DVD release, the show is constantly being referenced in movies and television today.
So – what’s the cast doing now?
Tiffany Brissette as Vicki the Robot
Tiffany got her start with modeling and pageants, and while she appeared in a few commercials and had a few brief appearances on television shows before Small Wonder, it was her first big series. After the show was cancelled, she was featured on a few episodes of Teen Win Lose or Draw, and starred as Katie Rogan in the early 90’s show Equal Justice. Unfortunately, she gave up on acting soon after.
She’s been known to run marathons, notably the Los Angeles Marathon in 1997 and the Sunrise Stampede 10K race in 2001. She decided to pursue higher education, and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Westmont College. Currently, she’s living in Boulder, Colorado as a nurse.
Dick Christie as Ted Lawson
Dick took a pretty significant break from acting, but made a triumphant return with a brief role in an episode of Breaking Bad that aired in 2009. Since then, he took a role on The Bold and the Beautiful this year as Charlie Webber.
Dick is also a writer – while he penned four episodes of Small Wonder, he also wrote the 1999 film Molly, which stars Elisabeth Shue and Aaron Eckhart.
Oddly enough, his decision to try to act in Los Angeles (where he then booked the role as Ted) was based on a coin toss. Who knows what would have happened if the coin flipped the other way!
Marla Pennington as Joan Lawson
Playing Joan, the Mom who seemed to keep her family in check, was the last acting role Marla took after starting her acting career in 1974. Prior to, she was known for the series Soap, portraying Leslie Walker.
Marla still has good memories of the Small Wonder days, and provided commentary to the Small Wonder season 1 DVD set.
Jerry Supiran as Jamie Lawson
Jerry played Jamie, Ted and Marla’s 12-year-old (human) son. After the show, he had a small role on an episode of Mr. Belvedere, but couldn’t find work afterward. In an interview with the National Enquirer, Jerry admitted that he had dated a stripper at the age of 18, who took all of his money. Yep – little Jamie Lawson was robbed by a stripper.
He ended up waiting tables at a few different steakhouses, but was laid off in 2010 based on the economy. “I either sleep at the homeless shelter I volunteer at, or under a local bridge,” said Jerry. This year he tried to get onto Dancing With The Stars, but sadly, didn’t make the cast.
Emily Schulman as Harriet Brindle
Every show from the ’80s seemed to have the “quirky neighbor”, and little Emily fit that role. Playing Harriet Brindle, who charmed the world with her mop of decorative red hair. Known for her crush on Jamie, I’m sure she’d be truly upset about the way Jerry Supiran turned out.
Emily starred in the 1989 films Troop Beverly Hills and Caddie Woodlawn after the show, but decided to end her career on camera after portraying Ruby Mae Morrison in the TV drama Christy.
Since 1995, she’s served as a commercial agent for adults at Acme Talent & Literary. She’s also become a Mom – after marrying a man named Derek Webster in 2002, she’s had three kids, named Lasarina, Maev and Colm.
If you read that as “Lasagna”, that’s okay. I did too.
Paul C. Scott as Reggie Williams
Paul played Reggie, Jamie’s best friend. While he seems pretty loyal, he’s totally in the dark about Vicki’s robot ways.
As there must have been some type of “Small Wonder Curse”, Paul also didn’t have any roles since the show, except for one – he played “Policeman #2” in an episode of Baywatch Nights, which aired in 1996. I can’t even find a recent picture of the guy!
Winner: I’m going with Emily Schulman. Christy was a big hit when it was on air, and it’s impressive that she’s found a career in the entertainment industry that she’s exceptionally good at. Also, since it’s often tough for the “neighborhood kid” of the 80’s to move onto other roles, it’s great that the parts she’s accepted have been pretty significant.
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