As we mourn the loss of Robin Williams, a man who has brought laughter into our lives for so many years and in so many ways, it is only natural that we think back to that one character he has portrayed that, above all others, certified to us his comedic genius and sealed our membership in a lifetime fan club, the magnitude of which we are only seeing now, as we share our feelings of great loss.
Image courtesy of Sean O'Neill/INFphoto.com
For me, the pinnacle in the vast body of work with which Robin Williams entertained us came at the very beginning of his career, when he portrayed a sweet, rather quirky and quite funny alien named Mork, who arrived on Earth in an egg-shaped spacecraft and befriended a beautiful, young woman who let him live in her attic as he observed and learned about human nature and telepathically reported his findings back to his home planet, Ork. Yes, he was Mork from Ork. Mork and Mindy aired on ABC for four seasons, from 1978 to 1982, and viewers watched in amazement as this young, unknown comedian filled their hearts and their homes with laughter and delight.
Here are 10 of the countless Mork moments that will make you smile.
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10. “Mork and Mindy Pilot”
Mork and Mindy was actually a second spin-off (Laverne and Shirley being the first) from the popular Ron Howard-starred, ‘50s-based sitcom, Happy Days. In the pilot of Mork and Mindy, Mork tells Mindy about The Fonz (Henry Winkler, who now plays Hank and Evan’s father on Royal Pains) setting him up for a date with his friend Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall), a tough-talking, cynical, Italian bred Brooklynite. This is shown in a flashback sequence. The comedic talent in this scene is priceless.
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9. “Mork and the Immigrant”
The first season of Mork and Mindy was by far the most successful in ratings as well as in script. However, as you’ll realize as you watch these videos, Robin Williams doesn’t exactly follow a script. He was one of the greatest manic improvisational comedians of our lifetimes. In fact, he would make up so many of his own jokes during filming, that the writers began leaving gaps in the scripts to give him the opportunity to perform freely during the show. This seemed to come easy for Williams, however it was a bit more difficult for Dawber, who would have a hard time keeping a straight face. This video includes a few short clips at the beginning and end, but the main scene shown here is Mork at the immigration office where he has gone to register as an alien.
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8. “There’s a New Mork in Town”
Mork is challenged by Xerko from Ork (Lyle Waggoner) to a duel, to determine who gets Mork’s job as an Observer living with Mindy and who has to go back to planet Ork.
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7. “Putting the Ork Back in Mork”
In this season 3 episode, an ancient elder (who is a 10-year-old since you age backwards on Ork) is sent from the planet Ork to retrain Mork in his Orkan ways, as Mindy misses his original innocence. When all else fails, the elder performs an eggs-orcism to rid Mork of the Earth spirits in his body. If it doesn’t work, Mork has to go back to Ork and be ostracized.
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6. ”Mork Goes Public”
In this season 1 episode, there is a newspaper reporter offering a $25,000 reward for proof of alien life on Earth, and he has suspicions that Mindy can offer him that proof. After hearing Mindy and her dad talking about how they could use the money, Mork decides to turn himself in to pay back the McConnells for all they’ve done for him. In this scene, Mork admits to the reporter that he is an alien.
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5. “Mork’s Seduction”
Mindy’s high school rival, Susan, has no interest in Mork until she learns that Mork lives with Mindy. To get Mindy back for stealing her boyfriend in high school, she arranges to pick Mork up that night for a date. Mindy is so overcome with jealousy that she goes too. Determined to get him alone, Susan invites Mork to her place for a condlelight dinner. Unbeknownst to her, Mork has a dreaded fear of a sacred flame that announces the coming of Volgar the Enforcer on planet Ork. In this scene, Mork comes home and tells Mindy how his date went.
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4. “Mork and Mindy Pilot, pt. 1”
Just in case you’re wondering how a girl from Boulder, Colorado and an alien from the planet Ork got together in the first place…
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3. “Mork’s Mixed Emotions”
In 1997, TV Guide ranked this episode of Mork and Mindy No. 94 in TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. The episode is provided in its entirety here. It will take you about 25 minutes to watch, and is completely worth it.
Mork has a bad dream which leaves him in a raw emotional state. Yet Orkans are not supposed to have emotions so Mork feels cheap and dirty. He decides to close off his emotions forever. Mindy tries to get Mork to “unlock the door” to his locked-away emotions, but Mork refuses. So Mindy kisses him to try to stir them up. That works. Mork’s emotions are unleashed… and unruly. Mindy convinces Mork to let her talk with each of his emotions and maybe she can convince them to get along.
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2. “Young Love”
Mork, being the captain of a ship, agrees to officiate the wedding of his 10-year-old friend, Eugene, to his friend Holly.
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1. Mork and Mindy - “I’ll Never Say Goodbye”
In remembrance of the great character Robin Williams gave us and the great show he and Pam Dawber delivered.
Nanu Nanu, Robin.