Monday, March 17, 2014

Mork and Mindy




It was one of my favorite sitcoms from back in the 70's and 80's.  Although it was on the air for only four seasons, didn't it seem like it was on forever, like an old friend?  

Mork and Mindy was one of those memorable and unique sitcoms that ran along the edge of bizarre.  The world was introduced to the mad comedic genius of Robin Williams, who drove the writers crazy with his improvisational whims that he just threw in as it was being filmed.  They ultimately had to leave gaps in the scripts, giving Robin the artistic freedom to put in his unique touch.  Fans of the show responded favorably, making it one of the most successful sitcoms in it's first season.

The sitcom started as a spoof of the 60's sitcom, My Favorite Martian, in the form of a dream Richie Cunningham of Happy Days had.  Robin Williams' character Mork was so popular with the viewers that the powers that be had to spin it off into a sitcom all to itself.

Mork arrives on earth in an egg-shaped space-craft with the intent of the Orkans to study human behavior.  However, the real intent was to get Mork off the planet of Ork, where humor was not allowed.  Imagine that . . . Mork must have drove them mad!

The sitcom centered around Mork trying to understand American culture while Mindy (Pam Dawber) attempts to assist him with adjusting to life on Earth.  A feature of each episode came at the end of the show in the form of a summary, when Mork reports back to Orson, his superior from Ork, on what he has learned about Earth.  This feature gave Robin the chance to throw in his outrageously comical commentary on social norms of the times.

While the first season was wildly popular, the ratings began to slip in the second season when attempts were made to change what didn't need fixing. Between the changes and constant changes to the time slot, the series never regained the popularity of the first season.  The biggest mistake of the second season was the attempt to link Mork and Mindy romantically.

By the fourth season, despite the decline of the sitcom, the network wanted to give it another chance, hoping to capture the magic once again since Robin Williams remained hilarious as Mork.

The changes that came with the fourth season were personally an insult to my intelligence.  The addition of Jonathan Winters, along with Robin Williams, could have been a genius move if not for the unbelievably lame storyline.

Mork and Mindy got married.  Mork laid an egg that grew larger and larger, hatching a full grown adult, Jonathan Winters, as their son.  The explanation was that Orkans aged in reverse from humans.  Although I always loved Jonathan Winters, I was not amused with him talking like a baby.

As a huge fan of the show, I wanted it to succeed and continue on since I loved the characters, but it died a dismal death of awful ratings that ended at #60. Seems like I was not the only one whose intelligence was insulted.  Too bad they couldn't have come up with a better storyline.

Mork and Mindy was cancelled after four seasons and 95 episodes.  

I still hear the greeting Mork often used, na-nu na-nu . . . the saying is a piece of pop culture history in itself.

Robin Williams went on to super stardom . . .







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