Smoker's Delight 1st Aired Week of 12/13/86

Jamie learns a sobering lesson in using smoking and chewing tobacco to elevate his freshman status in junior high.

Second-season opener with a snazzier teaser. Notable: Vicki smoking up a storm in her cabinet and carrying on like Bette Davis (“Peter, Peter, Peter!”) in Ted and Joan's bedroom. Vicki loses her rolled ponytail for a scrunchied one. The concept of using Vicki's “robot fact” to get away with gags “normal” children can't such indulge in, such as smoking, was a unique yet touchy advantage for a sci-fi show, which was never exploited.

Production Title: "Chewed Out"
Completed: 5-Sept-86
Show no: 215
Written by Bruce Taylor
Directed by Leslie H. Martinson
Executive Story Editors: Warren Murray and Bruce Kane

Guest Cast:
Reggie: Paul C. Scott
Peter Watson: Adam Rich

This is the second-season launcher and Small Wonder's 8.1 Neilsens are top dog in the first-run syndication market. It's a shock to Variety and TV Guide (whose initial derision, then embarrassment, shies from making any Small Wonder interview. Tsk-tsk, TVG!). But most of all, it's a giant boost for the concept of non-network first-runs, and the avalanche has begun with so many fly-by-night syndie first-runs that you need a scorecard! Still, Vicki is beating out vehicles with Sally Struthers, Chuck Connors and George C. Scott. Fox acquires Metromedia with Small Wonder as its jewel in the crown and prospects of an animated Small Wonder series for a 1988 launching. NBC's ALF springs as Small Wonder's first “fantasy clone” sitcom, along with Disney's Not Quite Human TV-movies, while ABC and CBS fly their own android-assisted pilots. With demographics showing Small Wonder has unwittingly tapped a vast base of sci-fi fans looking for anything to hang their hats on, many non-staff writers submit scripts with high-quality topics viewed as too cerebral or “inappropriate” to the producers. These writers, who cut their teeth on the show, move their adopted concepts to Amazing Stories and the new Twilight Zone. In the writers' circle, smoldering debates are occurring over whether to break off light sitcom plots to explore more social sci-fi type issues, and it heats up as the season continues. The cast is largely kept isolated from these ideas, presumably to avoid seeding any grumbling for maturer scripts.

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