A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mork & Mindy is a show that appealed to young kids when it aired in the late '70s and early '80s, and it hasn't lost that appeal. However, as on many '70s shows, Mork & Mindy has a relatively high number of sexual jokes and innuendo: The fact that male Mork cohabitates with female Mindy leads many other characters to misunderstand their relationship. That relationship also eventually leads to love and marriage. Parents may also not appreciate the show's constant fat jokes, as Mork takes every opportunity to insult his (apparently large) boss, Orson.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
MORK & MINDY was a half-hour television sitcom that aired on ABC from 1978 to 1982 and was a huge smash amongst grade schoolers and tweens. Mork (Robin Williams) is an alien from planet Ork, banished for having a sense of humor on a planet where emotions have been forbidden. He is sent to Earth and commanded to report back mentally to his superior, Orson, on the way human beings function. Mork is taken in by Mindy (Pam Dawber), a Boulder woman who works in her father's music store. She quickly learns Mork is an alien and agrees to let him live in her house, in exchange for him teaching her what life is like on Ork. Each episode centers on Mork learning something new about human behavior, and ends with him explaining what he learned to Orson, which usually drives home some moral lesson.
Is it any good?
You watch this show and you know why Robin Williams became an instant mega-star. He is funny, manic, winsome, and adorable, and lost in the world as he is, very easy for kids to relate to. Williams also has terrific chemistry with Dawber that has not faded with time, even as some of the dialogue begs for eye rolls. The special effects are silly but imaginative. Kids love the way Mork drinks with a finger and shakes hands with a cheerful "nanu nanu."
The downside is typical of '70s television. It's just a little too sexy to be worry-free. Mork and Mindy live together, and other characters are always assuming they're romantically involved, which leads to lots of leers and winks. Mork gets jealous of Mindy having dates, and they eventually fall in love. It's pretty innocent, for the most part, and many kids may not tune in to the sexy stuff, but it's there.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the funny things Mork does. Do you ever do things that make people laugh when you're not making a joke? How does that make you feel? Is it fun to watch that happening to someone else on television?
Mindy's father doesn't like Mork because he thinks Mork is weird. Is that a good reason to dislike someone? If not, what are good reasons? Can someone be weird, and still nice?
Mork's stated purpose is to report back to Ork on life on Earth. If you were to report back to someone on your family, what would you say?
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