Broadcasted from 1978 to 1982 for 4 seasons on US TV network ABC & according to IMDb March 10 1979 in the UK, Mork and Mindy was then-unknown Chicago born improvisational stand-up comedian, Robin Williams's first onscreen character role as alien Mork from the Planet Ork, with Pam Dawber playing Mindy McConnell, Mork's best friend, who lives with him. Mindy discovers Mork after he lands in Boulder and when she learns that he is an alien, vows to keep his identity a secret from others.
However, Mork's first TV appearance was ABC's 'Happy Days' & Williams's offbeat performance not only made Mork the star attraction, but for himself, it earned him his own spin-off in Mork & Mindy, as well as it carved himself a name as a breakout global superstar. Mork's mannerisms and antics endeared him to adults and children alike: these included sitting upside down on his head & drinking with his finger (Bellomo, 28).
In Mork and Mindy, Mork is based in Boulder, Colorado in then -present day 1970s and early 1980s. Mork arrives on earth in an egg-shaped spaceship. In order to fit in and assimilate into the environment, he dresses, looks like and tries to act like a human being. He is sent by his superior Orson to observe and monitor human behaviour and to report back with his findings at the end of each episode. These end- of- show summaries act as moral life lessons and allows Mork to reflect upon those experiences & what he takes from each of them. Throughout the series, the story-lines centers on Mork's attempts to understand human behaviour and American culture, as Mindy helps him adjust to his surroundings.
Mork's greeting and catchphrase is ''Na-Nu Na-Nu'' and he was born in an Orkan lab as a test-tube baby.
The series was and is Robin Williams's first major and famous on- screen role in ultilising his improvisational comedy skills; he would come up with so many different jokes and routines during filming. He got the role after sitting on his head, and thus showing off his rear in the air, during an audition for producer Garry Marshall.
Who could forget moments like when he uses his powers on some creep, who tried to hit on Mindy, when he regressed to and acted like a child (like literately acted like a child: see below pic), or when he dressed up like a pimp in season 4?
One would be mad to dismiss Mork from Mork and Mindy from their list of Robin Williams's memorable and definitive roles - let's face it, if it wasn't for the success of this show and his madcap antics and performances that catapulted this series to popular acclaim, not to mention his rise to the top in popularity status, then I don't think he would have went on to attain roles in movies such as Good Morning Vietnam, Hook, Dead Poets Society. Plus, the character's own traits and mannerisms can be detected in the likes of Robin Williams's comedy movies, 'Mrs Doubtfire', 'Fathers' Day' and in his cameo role as a madcap doctor in 'Nine Months', where there are little hints and traces of Mork sprinkled here and there in his roles. This is best illustrated in scenes where he shows off his improv (improvisational) work.
Sure enough, the show was never able to duplicate and replicate the success of the first season, culminating in a decline in ratings, and the arrival of Mirth in the penultimate season was a pure jump-the-shark moment for Mork and Mindy as a series. Mork and Mindy was incredibly short-lived as a series, but then again, I'd rather it hadn't lasted more seasons like other long-running sitcoms that were & are on air and see their quality and standards dip even further. But the end of Mork & Mindy, turned out to be the beginning of, as well as a significantly long chapter & journey into Robin Williams's acting career and in his successful transition from the small screen to the big screen as a feature film actor.
For a show that first introduced us to the talents of Robin Williams and for giving audiences & the public a glimpse into this man's extraordinary talents that he has blessed us with for over 4 decades, Mork & Mindy through Robin's energetic and off-the-wall style of comedy, cannot go amiss.
Image credit: Robin Williams Fansite
Mork and Mindy - Wikia
Mork and Mindy - Wikipedia
Mork and Mindy: the Sci-Fi comedy that launched Robin Williams To Stardom
Totally Tubular '80s Toys, Mark Bellomo
Mork and Mindy - TV.com