Monday, December 03, 2007
Written by Hombre Divertido
One cannot ignore the talent of Robin Williams, and after introducing the character of Mork on an episode of Happy Days, it was quite evident why ABC rushed to create a show for him. Most comedians cannot carry a show on their own, but we all know that Robin Williams is far from “most comedians.” Unfortunately, even he was not enough to carry this show through its entire run, and it clearly started to show in the third season.
Some of the episodes are cute, but there is simply no supporting cast around Mork. Mindy (Pam Dawber) plays an attractive straight man to the comedic team, but it was clear that the writers did not know how to write anything other than “Robin makes this funny.” To have Tom Poston (as neighbor Mr. Bickley) on the cast list and not be able to incorporate his talents into comedic scripts is simply tragic. Also listed in the cast but rarely seen were Jay Thomas and Gina Hecht as brother and sister owners of a local restaurant, Jim Staahl as Mindy’s cousin, and of course Conrad Janis as Mindy’s father who served as the voice of reason in most episodes.
In season four, Jonathan Winters would be added to the cast as Mearth, the son of Mork and Mindy, and though he clearly brought more comedic genius to the show, it was too late, and the show ended in 1982 after four seasons and ninety-five episodes.
When viewing the third season, though Williams is still funny, he appears to be struggling to make comedy out of the weak plots. Fundamentally the season is highlighted by episodes featuring strong supporting performances by guests. In “Mork in Never Never Land” Mork meets his pen pal who lives in an asylum and thinks he is Peter Pan. The lighthearted performance of David Spielberg makes this an enjoyable outing. In “Mork the Prankster” we are introduced to Todd Norman Taylor (TNT) portrayed by Bill Kirchenbauer who made such a lasting impression, that he is brought back in future episodes.
Any appearance by semi-regular Robert Donner as the local town nut job Exidor is fun, and there is also a pre-Mearth appearance by Jonathan Winters as Mindy’s uncle in “Mork and the Family Reunion”. You can also see a young Corey Feldman appearing in several episodes.
No extras in this set which is disappointing.
Recommendation: There are a few fun episodes, and it is enjoyable looking for stars of that era such as Foster Brooks, Ross Martin, and Lyle Waggoner, but the show just looks tired by the third season. Perhaps some insightful extras would have made this collection worth recommending, but without any bonus material, the first season is a far better reflection of the true comedic nature of this venture.